Back from Belize and back to reality. All semester I was anxiously awaiting winter break because I couldn’t contain my excitement about going to Belize with my family. This trip was extra special to me because it was a place that my grandma loved and somewhere she visited quite often. She passed away over the summer and we thought this would be a great trip to remember her by. She was very passionate about traveling and wanted us to experience the world as well. After my grandmother retired as an ophthalmologist, she would spend weeks at a time in Belize exploring, and even providing eye exams to people there who couldn’t afford them. She had seen the world, yet still always seemed to find her way back to Belize, so I thought it must be a pretty special place.
We would be spending the first few days of our trip in Punta Gorda. Our trip didn’t exactly have a smooth start. We left our house at 3 a.m. in order to make our flight and got to the airport and through security with plenty of time to spare. The problems began after we boarded our first flight. The plane we were supposed to take ended up having a problem, so we were no longer able to take that plane. After they got a new plane for us to take we were finally off 3 hours after our original flight was scheduled, causing us to miss our connecting flight. That was only the first bump, but I’m just going to skip over the others and get to the fun stuff!
When we finally made it onto our third flight, I felt like the trip had really begun! This flight was on the smallest plane I had ever been on. It only held 15 people, including the pilot. It was definitely way less scary than I thought it would be, and because the sun was getting ready to set, the views from the plane were stunning!
Because of the extensive travel required to get to Belize from NJ, we didn’t do much the rest of the day. My mom, sister, and I traveled together, and we met up my uncle and cousin who had arrived in Belize a few days before us. We enjoyed a really delicious, fresh dinner in Punta Gorda at a restaurant down the street from our hotel called Asha’s Culture Kitchen. This was probably my favorite meal I had on the whole trip.
The next morning, a boat picked us up right outside of our hotel, and we headed out on our snorkeling trip at the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. The boat ride to our snorkeling spot was about an hour long, but on the way we stopped on a little island where they gave us some information about what we would see and how they protect the area. There was also a lookout that we climbed to the top of to see the nice view of the ocean and some surrounding islands. We then made our way to Snake Caye where we saw some Boa constrictors in the trees and wild Hermit crabs all over the ground. We then took the boat to a spot right off of Snake Caye where we did our snorkeling. We saw loads of fish and beautiful coral. Some of the fish that I can remember the names of include Permits, Angel Fish, Lion Fish, Barracudas, Nurse Sharks, and Jellyfish.
After our snorkeling trip we headed back to our hotel to hangout for a bit before riding through town and grabbing dinner later on. I absolutely loved riding bikes and walking through town because Punta Gorda is not an area that attracts tons of tourists, so your always surrounded by the native people. Belizean people are some of the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. Wherever we were, there would always be people stopping to say hello, sometimes starting up a conversation or providing some recommendations for restaurants to eat at. It was a very warm and welcoming environment.
The next morning, we spent some more time exploring the town and stopped at the markets to buy some of the local fruits and vegetables. I tried lots of new foods and they were all fresh and delicious! We also stopped at the Cotton Tree Chocolate Factory where they gave us a little demo on how they make their chocolate and gave us a taste of what they make. It was delicious so of course we bought some for ourselves and I also got a chocolate face mask, which I can’t wait to try!
Afterwards, we packed up our stuff and headed to Placencia, where we would spend the second half of our trip. On our way, we stopped at Nim Li Punit, which is a Maya archaeological site. Here we saw many artifacts, as well as tombs and a ball court among the ruins.
We then spent the remainder of the afternoon checking out the resort we would be staying at exploring downtown Placencia a bit to get an idea of what to do and where to eat during our remaining days.
The next day we rode our bikes around town and checked out a nearby marina before spending some time relaxing by the beach and the pool. At our resort, they provided kayaks that you could take out on the ocean, so my mom, sister and I decided to go kayaking. Kayaking is one of my favorite activities, so I’m really glad they had them there! Later that night we spent more time walking through town, checking out the shops and enjoying more excellent food.
The next day was another relaxing day because it was our last day in Belize. After dropping my cousin and uncle off at the airport, my mom, sister, and I decided to check out another marina and beach area closer to the airport. We then decided to take advantage of our final hours of warm, sunny weather before heading back to cold NJ and spent most of our day at the beach.
After experiencing Belize I 100% realize why my grandma loved this place so much. It is filled with so much beauty and the friendliest people. I already can’t wait to go back one day because there is so much more that I want to see and experience.
Finally, I’ll leave you with some of the adorable dogs and cats we saw on our trip. There were loads of them all over Belize! The first dog pictured lived at the island we stopped at with the lookout on the way to our snorkeling spot. The other dog and cat were living at the first hotel we stayed at. They were all very friendly and soooo cute!