Ambergris Caye, Belize (2007)

Ambergris Caye Travel Blog

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Palapa Bar...lots of fun!
The trip started wonderfully….. a delay while unloading luggage for people who didn’t board the plane. (Post 9-11 rules.) Besides that, however, it was a pleasant trip from New Orleans to Dallas to Belize City. When we boarded TropicAir, to fly to San Pedro, I was designated the co-pilot since that was the only seat available. I let the pilot know I was available if he needed assistance, but he seemed to have it all under control during the 18 minute flight. The view of the Keys from the plane was exactly what I expected…blue water, boats dotting the scenery, and secluded islands that I wish I could retire on.
After landing, we met our taxi/boat driver, Armando, who brought us to our Villa that was 5 miles north of San Pedro.
View from our villa.
(It didn’t seem far at all, but this was before our adventures on the “road” to town each day.) When we got to our villa, it was just as the pictures had portrayed it to be. Two floors, three bedrooms, and every convenience you could imagine, and a large second floor balcony to enjoy the constant tropical breezes, tropical drinks and Cuban cigars.
After winding down, we walked the beach to Mambo’s for our first meal of the vacation. It was about a half mile from our place, but with the breeze from the Caribbean, it was a walk that no one could complain about, even after a long 12 hour day of traveling. The dinner was terrific, we had a few Belikins and tropical drinks at the bar, then went back to the villa for well deserved nights’ sleep.

The next morning, the guys took the 6 person golf cart we rented for $900 and had delivered to our villa into San Pedro for groceries and Belikins.
The villa.
It was only 5 miles to town, but on the muddy, pothole filled, mosquito ravaged “road” it seemed like it would take forever to make the 45 minute, one way trip. We made this journey almost every day, and after a while, it didn’t seem as bad. (I guess we adapted to the bumps, holes, mud and bugs better than we expected.)
We found the supermarket where the groceries were similar to what we are used to at home. Once we saw that the prices were three times what we expected to pay, it was decided that we would shop where the locals do. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip! We found little stores for everything we needed and saved a lot of money. There were several stores for vegetables, meats, etc., but only one place to buy beer. We became very well known at the Belikin distribution store.
Villa pool.
That’s what happens when you go through 10 cases in 12 days! On the way back to the villa, we stopped at the local bakery. It smelled wonderful because the cinnamon bread overwhelmed the entire building. Of course we returned many times.
Once the shopping was complete, we headed back down our favorite road towards the villa. About half the way there, we stopped at the Palapa Bar which a couple from Florida had recently purchased. This soon became our favorite afternoon spot. We took some pictures for themto post on their new website, www.palapabarandgrill.com. Finally, I am an internet star.....and for a GOOD thing! (lol)

The Jerry Jeff Walker concerts at Wet Willie’s were as good as it gets.
View from boat dock.
We had front row seats for the shows, and were actually close enough to feel as if we were in a living room with him. I was worried that perhaps being solo wouldn’t be as good as when we went to Gruene, Texas to see him. Boy was I mistaken! I can’t think of a better atmosphere to listen to his type of music. He was very personable, and talked as if he was having a personal conversation with each and every person there, which is virtually impossible when playing with an entire band. We met a lot of people at concerts each night, and I think we have made some friends that we will stay in touch with. (Only time will tell I guess.) There was a “meet and greet” party on the first Saturday we were there. That is where we met most of our newfound “friends”. The concerts were held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. After the Friday show, we all got pictures with Jerry Jeff and had him autograph various items for us. Dick even gave him a kiss on the cheek!

San Pedro was a nice small town that looked exactly the way you would expect. The streets were narrow and dusty, with people walking around as if they didn’t have a care in the world. No one ever seemed to be in a hurry, everyone was friendly and they all smiled or waved whenever making eye contact. People walked around town and in the shops barefoot, with cool comfortable clothes. It is the first place that I can honestly say that the saying “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” was actually true. Even dressed in my tank tops and swimsuits, which was my daytime attire the whole trip, I never felt underdressed anywhere on the island. We had no idea of what was happening in the news, and that was one of the most relaxing things about this place. You could go about your day with no worry about the war, politics, or any of the things we apparently worry too much about. Little wonder why there is no stress down there! We did have satellite TV and internet access at the villa, but none of us seemed to care what was happening in the rest of the world for two weeks. Besides occasional emails from the kids, we had no interest in what was going on at home.

During our stay, we became close to the housekeeper, yard and pool guy, and the night watchman. Talking to them was extremely enlightening to how people in poorer countries get along. They average about $400 (U.S.) a month, and still manage to take care of the families. (The night watchman had 10 kids!) All three of these people took pride in doing their job, and were more than happy to go out of their way to make us feel at home. When we got home after dark, the watchman was always there with his light to show us the way to our door. He would even help us carry things so we could run from the mosquitoes. The yard man would always ask if there was anything we needed before he started his routine tasks each day. During my conversations with them about various topics, I always had the feeling that they were just as interested in learning things about me and where I lived, what I do for a living, my hobbies, etc. Once they discovered I was from the New Orleans area, they had many questions about how the recovery from Katrina has gone.

We are already planning our return trip fpr 2008! We missd the Lobster Festival, and lobster season by a week, so I am sure it will be on our agenda for next time.
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Palapa Bar...lots of fun!
Palapa Bar...lots of fun!
View from our villa.
View from our villa.
The villa.
The villa.
Villa pool.
Villa pool.
View from boat dock.
View from boat dock.
212 km (132 miles) traveled
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Ambergris Caye
photo by: travelman727