Belize Wedding Day 8: Roatan

After a few days of feeling a bit bored and stagnant on our trip today we start things up fresh and head to Honduras! Luckily it’s not the dangerous part of Honduras, but the touristy beaches of Roatan. Today though was mostly a transition day, so this will be a short entry.

We checked out at 10 with a casual relaxed morning, and Jose came over to pack his laundry on our drying line. Our flight wasn’t until after midday so we moved ourselves to the Black Pearl with Pam and Chuck and the others until 11:30 when we had to move again when we moved to Godfry’s, a restaurant down on the beach where we found Linda and Roger enjoying some crab. The restaurant is owned by a Belizean who has moved back from working in theatre in The States. He had a nephew working for him, and they were quite the hosts. Jenn, Sara and I shared some chicken strips with Mango Tango, this spicy mango sauce, which was especially great mixed with a bit of ketchup. My parents and Jose hung out at Oasi.

At about 1 we gathered up in the ChuckWagon™ and headed to the airport. Our flight was a bit delayed, some 20minutes, and that made my dad pretty nervous because they were flying back to Texas on another airline. Meanwhile we were like 8/10 seats on the flight to Roatan, they wouldn’t be leaving without us if they had delayed our getting to the airport. Getting through immigration at Belize International is pretty easy, and they ended up with plenty of time to shop duty free and relax.

For us instead of the normal Cessna Caravan we’d been flying in a twin prop plane with a pressurized cabin. We really did have 8/10 seats on the flight, the other two were a Belizean married couple. George the husband is a doctor in Belize City, while his wife funny enough, works as a bank teller on Caye Caulker, and commutes via the water taxi every day back and forth. George is easy to talk to, and we end up chatting away the entire flight. Interestingly I find out George knows about the dive guide requirement, and why it ended up the way it did. Apparently a decade ago they had a lot of people getting injured while diving and more than one death, and every time someone had decompression sickness they needed to be airlifted to Belize City where the only decompression chamber in the country is found at his hospital. This cost the local government a whole lot of money, and that is what sparked the legislation. This is something I can totally understand, it’s the reason we have helmet and seatbelt laws in our country. George and his wife love Roatan, and any holiday they can take, this is where they go. I’ve always wondered if you lived in paradise, where would you visit when you need a break. Apparently Roatan. That bodes well for us. We also talked about our trip so far, and I think fairly convinced them they need to visit Black Rock Lodge. He also asked after how we found out about Tropic Air’s flight to Roatan (I’d seen it last time we were in Belize), and how they could attract more business from non-locals. To me the trick there is to be listed on Google Flights, Hipmunk, or Orbitz. He also explained what happened to Maya Island Air. Apparently they’d started out with a mish mash of different planes, some of them too large to make money flying. Tropic Air on the other hand started small, and with a fleet of identical Cessna Caravans following Southwest Airlines strategy. Eventually Maya Island had to scale back to just a couple of Caravans, and Tropic Air became the defacto national airline. He also picked my brain on how I planned trips like this, and where I’d traveled to and had loved, and where I hoped to go. All favorite topics of mine.

Our flight took us longer than it normally does, but still very short, just under an hour. We were at 9000 ft for most of the way landing in a drizzly Roatan at sunset.

Customs was REALLY slow, to try to cut down on drug lords vacationing here (apparently), they do scans of finger prints, and print a unique visa in your passport. This whole process is very error prone, and we often had to wait to see if the finger print scan worked, then try again, and again. Then the printer wouldn’t work. Eventually we found our driver waiting for us on the other side, which isn’t a common experience for me.

Marty our driver took us to a grocery store on our way for snacks, wine, and odds and ends. It was pretty fun going through a super market. Kids help you load your groceries and expect tips, but of course we don’t have any Lempira yet, so I gave him a US dollar.

Our house is very modern, but a bed short. We were under the impression there was a pull out, but really all we had was a sofa with a long ottoman. Jose had paid for his room, but was a gentleman and shared the bedroom with Sara by taking turns sleeping on the sofa. There weren’t even sheets! Or rather there were but the front desk forgot about them, and they were locked in a cupboard! There was some debate over who go which bedrooms though because the upstairs beds were ensuite. Chuck and Pam had taken the nice bedroom at the Black Pearl, but had also done all of the organizing for both legs. We got one of the ensuite bedrooms because we were newlywed (that word is still surreal to me!), but Linda felt that it was only fair they got the other nice one. It was a bit awkward for a moment, but Pam and Chuck let them have it which was really nice of them.

We had planned to go into town for dinner, but ended up snacking instead on the stuff from the grocery store. We also met with the front desk to arrange our plans for the next few days, trying our best to work around the Cruise Ship schedule. Tomorrow we go zip lining and to a park where wild monkeys come down to visit with tourists. It turns out Marty’s wife Blacky hosts in house dinners where she prepares all of the food, and brings it ready for the oven to your rental house and cooks it up. It would come to $32 for lobster and coconut shrimp, rice and beans, tortillas, fried plantains and 2 pies. Holy! Yes yes yes!

Our house is on the extreme west end of the island facing south with mainland Honduras on the horizon. The wind had picked up quite a bit, and was very fresh despite being so far south. We could see a number of cruise ships off in the distance, all lit up.

Jenn seems like shes turned a corner with the cold, and is feeling much better, and we sleep like a pair of rocks.


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