I would have liked to have taken the 7am flight out of Placencia directly to San Ignacio because it basically would have given us an entire day to spend out in Cayo district doing things like seeing Xunantunich, but getting people to commit to getting up at 6am the night after New Year’s wasn’t in the cards. Plus we’d have had to have made the decision a day in advance, and who knows what we would have done with the lodging. On New Year’s morning everyone was slow to get up and feeling not so good. We all had a bit of the water on Patrick’s recommendation that it was from an artisanal spring and clean to drink. Well, it did have to go through Belizean pipes didn’t it? Jenn was especially sick.
We got up and going for breakfast though and went to go knock on everyone’s door finding that Chuck’s was unlocked and completely empty. Apparently at 8am he’d gotten up, gone over to the girl’s room and left his stuff there so he could go for a walk, not knowing this we were a little worried. Alyssa still down for the count stayed in bed while Jenn Pam and I went for a walk down the tourist sidewalk looking for breakfast. Walking down to the end of the peninsula we spotted Chuck in the distance walking towards us with a can of Pringles waving.
We decided on a restaurant called Friend’s and it was delicious. We ordered while Pam went to go get Alyssa. The pancakes had a huge stack of fruit on them, and the juice fresh.
We didn’t waste much time with our slow start to the day, after breakfast it was time to pack and then leave Placencia less than 24hrs after arriving back on the TropicAir Bus. This time we took off from Placencia, made a stop in Dangriga to drop off a few people before moving on to Belize International and then Belize Municipal. We then had 2 hr layover that turned into 2 ½ thanks to some repairs taking longer than scheduled on the plane we were supposed to switch to. We didn’t have any options for lunch in this tiny airport however as everything is closed on New Year’s day apparently. Only the snack bar was open which we raided until everything good was gone. TropicAir felt bad for the delay so they bought us what snacks were left, then put us on a plane bound back for Belize International where we’d switch planes AGAIN for one bound for San Ignacio with a stop in Belmopan. It’s kind of a fun little adventure, but we’ve now seen all every airport in Belize except for PG, Orange Walk, and one at the Mexican border. Kind of over this. The airport at San Ignacio is by the far the cutest though, it’s a deep mahogany building with lush grass all around set among rolling green hills.
We do overhear that Delta now has weekly non-stop flights from LAX on a 737. I have a look at sure enough every Saturday (really Friday at midnight) they have a 4.5hr flight to BZE round trip $650. Suddenly Belize is that much more desirable of a place to go to me. I’m not sure I’d ever consider Hawaii if Belize is that short, and that cheap to get to. It’s cheaper here, I’m convinced the diving is better, and there is so much to see and do. You could fly to BZE, be there at 7am local time, catch a flight to Caye Caulker and be on the water by 10am. Tired of diving? Fine, 2hrs later you could be in San Ignacio on the other side of the country checking out ruins and spending the night in the jungle. I’m sold for if we have just a few days or a week but don’t want to go too far. We might be back.
Landing in San Ignacio we were expecting to be picked up by Luis, the owner of the rental Pam had arranged for us, but he wasn’t there. Apparently there was a bit of a miscommunication which might be for the best since we landed an hour late. Pam expected we were being picked up but I don’t think that was every really explicitly part of the plan. Luckily Luis is an incredibly agreeable person who does genuinely seem to be people person, and he left right away to come pick us up in his truck.
We dropped the things off at his rental, which is a sizable house in a pretty unassuming normal neighborhood. He has two dogs Rex and Troy, a pair of Rot mixes that he uses to guard the house. The house has so many rooms, all with twin beds, definitely setup for housing a bunch of medical students visiting with his MedicsAway program.
Luis then graciously took us around town, giving us a tour, finding us an open restaurant and listening to talk of setting up a Belize international endurance team before taking us to a grocery store for supplies.
Over a BBQ dinner we discuss our options for the new few days. Plans take shape, instead of Caracol which is likely closed from lots of recent rain, we’ll go across to Guatemala to visit Tikal ruins. Then the next day horseback ride to Xunantunich, and then our final day cave tubing and zip lining out at Cave’s Branch near Belmopan. On our way back to Belize City for our 5pm flight we’re going to try to stop by the Zoo. We’re told it should take just 3hrs to get back to Belize International via Belize City, so we should have plenty of time if we leave on the 9am bus.
I start thinking about the next day and moving to Black Rock Lodge where Jenn and I have a reservation. The transfer fee from San Ignacio is a wopping $45, which seems unreasonable for a spot 7mi out of town. I had sorted out previously that we’d go on one of their tours arranged by them and they’d pick us up in town and take us back with them. This was great except that now we had Luis who also arranges trips and I’m unable to get a response from Black Rock to firm things up. I start thinking about how we’ll have to take another 3 transfers by the end of our trip for a total $180 going in and out of the hotel! Crazy! I write Luis and ask if he could take us, and he says maybe if there is time and he finds that the roads aren’t an issue. My stress is visible and Jenn, Pam and Chuck all take turns to have a sit down talk with me to make me feel better. I reason that we saved money in Caulker with the reef dive the day before The Blue Hole and that’s where the money is coming from. To try to enjoy where we’re going which by all accounts is supposed to be special, and try to remind myself it’s a vacation.