And we're back!
We got home from the world's most perfect honeymoon (that's right, I'm just gonna say it!) yesterday and we've been trying to get back into our daily routine. Woo, that's hard to do after a week in paradise.
Over the next couple days, I'm planning to upload daily recaps of our trip, complete with photos! So to kick things off, here's Day 1:
We drove to Houston Sunday night and slept three hours at Hans' mom's house. Then it was up at 5 to dash to the airport - three hours early, thanks to a certain would-be bomber. Our flight was only about two hours and I was able to sleep most of it. We sat in the front row so we had some extra leg room (which Hans loved!) and the aisle seat in our row wasn't taken so it was just the two of us. Quite comfy.
As we were flying in over Belize City I was amazed by how green everything looked. It looked like this big cushy, bright green blanket covering everything. We landed and disembarked onto the tarmac... no real terminal! It kind of reminded me of a shack in the middle of an airstrip. Amazing. I can't believe that's an "international airport." We found our baggage easily but had to wait in a long line through customs. We knew we needed to take a taxi to the dock, but weren't sure about anything. We didn't really plan anything for the trip, just figured we'd wing everything. This taxi driver picked us up and said he'd get us to the dock, no problem. We'd been warned by the resort that it would be about a 25 minute taxi drive.
No. Not with this dude. He was the craziest driver I've EVER seen. He was taking corners super sharp, passing four cars at once (in narrow stretches of road with "no passing" signs clearly posted). When we got downtown he was swerving in and out of traffic as people honked and cursed at him. When he turned down a narrow alley I thought "This is it, he's taking us somewhere secluded to kill us." But no, he was just going to the dock. I think we got there in 10 minutes instead of 25 minutes. I"m thankful to be alive.
The water taxi was just about to leave and they wanted to squeeze us on so that we wouldn't have to wait another hour for the next one. We had to sit up front and it was the bumpiest ride! I felt so sick. It was a pretty big speed boat, held maybe 20 people. There was a native grandmother sitting across from me and we'd both wince as we hit the big waves and then she'd smile conspiratorially at me. But we did get our first glimpse of how gorgeous, clear and bright blue the waters are. The journey took 70 minutes and I think I checked the time every 8. Not sure a water taxi was the best idea....
Finally, we arrived on the island of Ambergris Caye, in the town of San Pedro.
We stopped in a place called the Baker for a quick sandwich since we'd been traveling so long. It was delicious! We then headed over to the dock to meet our guide, Chris. He came running up a few minutes later, apologizing. He'd been waiting for us over at the water taxi dock. Oops! He was really sweet though. We waited until the resort's boat came to pick us up. That's right, a plane ride, a taxi, and a water taxi later and we're still not at our resort. A 10 minute motor boat ride later and we've arrived. Now, I was aiming for something secluded (this being our honeymoon and all) but I feel it's safe to say that I succeeded too well. We were in the middle of nowhere! The island is about 27 miles long and at its widest point only 3 miles across. The northern part of the island is separated from the southern end by a cut in the island that has a little footbridge over it. From what I could tell, the northern part of the island is uninhabited - no homes, stores, etc - just resorts. We had a resort directly to one side of us, but that was it. Nothing within a good 15-20 minute walk. Crazy.
As the boat pulled up to our resort, Mata Chica, we noticed a girl on the dock smiling and waiting for us. Mayra greeted us and the boat captain, Charlie, told us to just leave our luggage. "Woah, cushy!" I'm thinking. She lead us into the lavishly decorated lobby where a waiter was waiting for us with a tray of virgin Strawberry Daquiris.
Mata Chica is a cute little boutique resort - instead of one main building, it has 13 little casitas - basically one or two bedroom little thatched-roof bungalows. Instead of having room numbers, they are named after fruits. We were in "Cocoa."
Hans managed to unpack in about two minutes while I was still laying on the bed taking it all in. Once we got settled, we changed into swimsuits and headed down to the beach to get some sun. We pulled some chairs farther down the beach to try and catch the last rays of the fading sun. No sooner had we stretched out, we both promptly passed out and didn't wake up until it was almost dark and we were the only ones left on the beach.
I was surprised by how early it got dark there. The sun is completely gone by about 5:30 or 5:45. By about 4 p.m. the sun is setting and the wind is picking up, so you can't really stay at the beach much later than that. I think we woke up around 5 and it was pretty chilly, so we headed back to the room for a warm shower.
After about 6 p.m., there's not a whole lot to do at Mata Chica. It's too dark and the mosquitoes are crazy bad, so you can't really walk along the beach. To get into town you need a boat, and they cost $12.50 per person, each way. 50 bucks to go into town and back? No, thank you! That means that your options for dinner are go into town and find dinner for dirt cheap and still spend a good $75, or eat at one of the North island resorts and spend $50-60. We opted to eat most of our meals at the resorts and they were pretty darn tasty (not to mention we felt very fancy!)
The first night we ate at our resort's restaurant, Mambo. I had pork tenderloin and Hans had the Fillet Mignon. I think he chose better - it practically melted in your mouth!
Even though we were done with dinner by 7:30, we decided to call it a day. It'd been a long one so we turned in early. It was a lot of travel, but we felt like we'd arrived in paradise.