San Ignacio to Caye Caulker and Swimming with Rays
Caye Caulker Travel Blog› entry 21 of 23 › view all entries
The next day, we woke up early to catch the bus to Belize City. Atousa, however, managed to get us a free ride there instead, without even trying. Some dude just drove up and asked her if she needed a ride while she was waiting for me to get money from the ATM. Never ones to heed Mother's warning about not talking to strangers, we hopped in the car. It was really cool because he went much faster than the bus and gave us a bit of a tour through Belize the whole way there. It ended up taking us less than 2 hours, whereas the bus would have taken at least 3.
Belize is the most diverse country I've ever seen. Every nationality of person lives there. No one seems to be a majority or minority -- it's a jumble of blacks, white, hispanics, asians, menonites, garifuna, rasta, ex-pats from all over -- and everyone, every single person, is.
kind of uncomfortable.
There are also interesting nuances to race in Belize. One on hand, it boast the aforementioned amazing diversity. On the other hand, certain sensitivities commonplace in the US don't exist there. Corner stores are simply referred to as "The Chinaman" because they are often run by Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants (who, by the way wear the coolest shirts ever -- FOB fashion is so going to be next season's big thing). We passed by a town on the way to Belize City named Black Man Eddy -- after a Black dude they found floating in the river at that spot.
From Belize City, we took a water taxi to Caye Caulker. We sat in the back in the open air with a bunch of other people. When it started raining, the grizzled sea captain threw one giant tarp on top of our heads and we all huddled under it.
We got into Caye Caulker and found a room at Edith's Guesthouse for $10 each. It was a large double with fan and a private bathroom. Everything was very clean and we were definitely satisfied with the value.
We walked around a bit looking for the cheapest snorkel tours, and booked a trip to three snorkeling locations for $20.
The snorkeling tour took us to three locations where we saw lobsters, barricudas, schools of fish, and lots of pretty coral. The best part by far was Shark-Ray Alley, an area completely filled with big stingrays that swim right up to you. They're actually attracted to the tourist boats and would swim to whichever boat had their motor on. They were so cute with their big flat spaceship bodies and their beady little alien eyes!
There's reportedly nurse sharks in the area, too, but we didn't see any.