Meanwhile…Belize (part 4)

Our final day in Belize was one of the most relaxing.  We explored Caye Caulker, took naps by the ocean (and Mikey swam in it), and then headed to the airport.  It was the perfect way to end our time in a country we absolutely loved.

What an incredible experience!  We loved it!  Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving us the opportunity by taking such great care of the boys!  And thank you, Mikey, for celebrating our 10 year anniversary in such a fun way!!!

The Clevelands-2

 

Meanwhile…Belize (part 3)

Wednesday:

We walked around the Belize Ocean Club (where we had stayed the night before in Placencia) that morning and spent a little bit of time by the ocean.  It was a beautiful place, obviously.

Then we were on our way back north again.  We drove on Hummingbird Hwy, by far the prettiest road in Belize.  It was gorgeous!  We stopped at Blue Hole National Park and had the coolest experience.  We got a personal cave tour of St. Herman’s Cave.  We went tubing in the cave with just our awesome guide, Vida.  If anyone heads down to Belize, this is definitely the place to go (and you can request Vida!).  Vida lives in my favorite village in Belize: Armenia.  It was so fun to ask where he was from and to be able to say, “I loved that village.  We drove through it just yesterday!”

After this incredible experience, we dropped off our rental car and took a boat out to one of the islands: Caye Caulker.  We caught the last boat heading there and took a golf taxi to our place, Weezies.  What a view!  Then we went walking to a cool place for dinner where we picked out our food before we sat down.  Mike had more lobster; I had the crab.  Yum!

Meanwhile…Belize (part 2)

Tuesday:

We had breakfast at the golf resort.  This is the restaurant and Paul, the owner.

Then we headed north to Patchacan to visit Jacob’s Farm, a rehabilitation center for men recovering from addictions.  It is the only rehab center in Belize and it happens to be run by a wonderful man, Ismael.  He is the brother of a family friend and the resemblance was so comforting.  We absolutely LOVE what he is doing there and his faith and compassion were very evident and beautiful.  Learn more here.

This was just about as far north in Belize as you could get (just over the Mexican border), so we didn’t have a lot of time there before we had to start the drive back down close to the southern border.  The roads aren’t great and are not well-lit, so driving after dark is not advised.  We attempted to stop at the prison gift shop on our way back through, but it was already closed!  We were so bummed.  This is the only prison in Belize and they have gifts made by the inmates and sold by them.  It seemed like a really neat idea and we had hoped to learn more.

 

We made it to a super lovely hotel on the ocean that evening.  We ordered their special – lobster!! =)

Meanwhile…Belize! (part 1)

Mike and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary at the beginning of the month.  The plan originally had been to drive up the coast of California and stop for various hikes and sight-seeing along the way.  Mikey changed up the plans (with enough warning for me…as you all know that I dislike surprises a LOT) and we flew to Belize instead!  Such an incredible treat for us!

I’m not even sure how to describe Belize or our feelings about this country.  It was beautiful.  Very beautiful.  And we absolutely loved our experience there.  It’s considered a developing country and was definitely very poor.  I’m not sure that we ever saw a building taller than about 4 stories and we drove from nearly top to bottom and side to side…in 4 incredible days!

I think what stood out to me the most about Belize was how small it is.  There are four major roads in the country and very little that could not be seen from one of them.  I LOVED this!  We didn’t need to go off-roading to explore or try to find places (with one exception as you will see soon), nearly everything we had researched or heard about we saw on one of those roads with very little effort.  At one point we saw a truck with a sign talking about some kind of ministry and that same day we drove right by the ministry.  And you could ask someone in a village about a place you were trying to find and with no exception, they knew where it was and could point you in the right direction.

Our 4.5 days in Belize (part 1):

Sunday: arrival and drive through Belize City and to the only golf course in the country.  Played a little golf before sunset:

Monday: breakfast in the clubhouse and then golf (got caught in the rain):

Awesome moments caught on video (having a hard time getting them both to load, so we may have to try to do a YouTube link at some point):

That afternoon we went to Xunantunich, an awesome Mayan ruin.  This was incredible!  We were rained on again, briefly, but still made it to the top.  It was rainy season in Belize, so we were prepared!  But I believe this was the only other time (besides golf) that we got caught in the rain!  In order to get to the ruins we had to take a hand-cranked ferry over the river.  They required that I get out of the car so that if the car accidentally went into the river they would only have to save Mike.

This is the part of our trip when things got interesting…. We attempted to find a Mennonite community, but the signs were very sparse.  We saw a road that went directly to the river, and forgetting our previous experience on a hand-cranked ferry, we assumed that was surely not the right way.  SO, we went down a super muddy hill instead…and also dead end-ed at the river.  Thankfully Jr. was there fishing.  He spent the next hour (maybe more??) helping us push our supposed-to-be-4-wheel-drive-vehicle into someone’s yard and eventually out of the mud pit.  WOW.  He was using his machete to cut down weeds and tree branches and whatnot.  He was awesome and we truly could not have done it without him.

We made it back to the golf resort for steak dinner with a bunch of people from the US and British Embassies.  Phew!  It was a wonderful first full day in Belize.