Thursday, July 5, 2018

Belize-an and Reflectin' - the Great, the Good, the Not So Good... and a Happy Ending!



Having been home for over 24 hours and celebrated 4th of July here in Purcellville, it feels like we never left...so it's time to reflect on our 8 nights at The Phoenix and share our thoughts about what was great, what was good and to finally share the not so good.

I decided to save the "not so good" for when we returned. We didn't want to dwell on what we didn't like while we were there...so we just kept on moving and ignored it...to the best of our ability. :)

The list below is a family list...compiled while we were sitting in the airport in Belize City waiting for our delayed flight.  Here we go:

The GREAT:

1. The Phoenix


















2. Local Artisans








3. Weather









4. Coffee shops









5. Snorkeling













6. Lamanai












7. Select restaurants
Poco Loco food court

Hidden Treasure - Katie's birthday restaurant

live music at Blue Water Grill

Blue Water Grill


not a restaurant, but they sell edible items ;)

8. Complimentary Happy Hour every night
 - not just for the drinking part, but the community...we met some really nice people and got to know them over the few days. It was a nice time to just sit and relax after busy days.





The GOOD:


1. Tropic Air
The flights were good, and the planes were small. Sometimes too small to be comfortable...we didn't love it!
Katie sat in the co-pilot seat on our last flight leaving to Belize City








2. Walking around San Pedro
Didn't love it, and didn't hate it...just "good."








3. Food
Some great, some good - we did not repeat any restaurants...a different one every night for dinner. One repeat lunch and a couple repeat breakfasts....










4. Key Lime Pie - tried it all over the island...some good, some great!
5. Locals - the people were so nice..just a LOT of them!
6. Fresh fruits and juices - delicious...should have had more of it!

The NOT SO GOOD:


1. Sea Grass
The sea grass is apparently a bigger problem this year, than in the past. This is not a beach island. If you want a beautiful beach to lay on and swim in the water as it rolls up on the beach you need to go to the Bahamas or another Caribbean island. Ambergris Caye does not have swim-able beaches (there might be one, but we didn't visit it). The sea grass covers every shoreline and is raked by the locals into piles. The piles sit for a bit and then are trucked out...the piles that sit don't smell very good! :(

the brown along the water line is sea grass

pile of sea grass and brown sea grass on top of the water at the edge (there's water underneath it)
The beautiful snorkeling/reef water is just past the docks...and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!

2. Stray Dogs
This is a major problem on the island - these dogs are all over. There are many dogs as pets, and you can't really tell them apart. Some are on leashes, and most are not. Carleigh was very disturbed by this and we were told that as soon as you start paying attention to them, they will follow you and not leave you alone. Carleigh had trouble with that rule of not paying attention to them. As dog people, it made us very sad.




3. Smell - no pictures of this....There was a consistent smell in the town of exhaust and dirty air. We didn't smell it as much inside the resort grounds and of course on our tours/out on the water. The smell probably comes from the abundance of golf carts and vehicles in the tiny enclosed spaces, as well as the trash...

4. Trash on Island - this is another problem that bothered Don a whole lot. The island is very dirty! There are empty trash cans all over the island and lots of trash littering the streets and the shore. The trash mixes in with the sea grass at times. The Phoenix does a weekly trash clean up every Saturday. They walk a half mile down the beach and pick up all of the trash on the shore and then return the half mile on the street and pick up the trash on the street. The resort owner participated with Carleigh and Don and said he started doing this to try to influence others to join in and respect the island more. Some have and many have not. He said that they do the Saturday clean up EVERY week regardless of if anyone helps or not.






5. Drivers/Golf Carts
The only cars on the island tend to be the run down minivans that operate as Taxis. The rest of the vehicles are golf carts and bicycles. There are no driving rules and very few street signs....a few stop signs here and there, and that's about it. There is no speed limit and you just sort of take you life in your hands when walking and/or driving. Don chose not do to the golf cart thing. The girls were very interested in the driving, and the lack of any real structure or guidelines. Our taxi driver did say that golf cart drivers can get fined if they are going the wrong way down a street (lots of one way streets) or if they take their golf cart where it is posted private or no entry.  The fine is $25 Belize dollars - about $12.50 US.





THE BEST!!!!  -
Returning to our Honeymoon spot...19 years later!

Carleigh's Instagram post on our anniversary







THE VERY BEST...

Family time - The four of us together with no worries, thoughts of the past or future - just appreciating the time together!!




























 So...the big question...will we return? And the answer is...probably not! When Don and I were there 19 years ago the local island population was 4,000. Today the local population (we were told by our taxi driver) is about 20,000 people. The island hasn't grown any, so you can imagine the difference...and we felt it. It was more crowded on the streets, there was more traffic and there were many more buildings than we remember. It was an incredible week and we made lots of new memories, and revisited some old ones.

We will continue to adventure forward. We are probably done with Belize. If you have the opportunity, you should visit Ambergris Caye and I can point you to all of the great spots! It is a beautiful part of the world - the reef, the water, the weather and The Phoenix!

So what's next for the Rahns? Well, I have a big birthday coming up in November and we are celebrating in a variety of ways. There is talk of a girls trip to Las Vegas with my mom and my sister.

Then...we return home to Jackson Hole and the Tetons to celebrate my big day over New Year's!

So...stay tuned  for our fall adventures and then preparing to return to winter in Wyoming as we celebrate New Year's and my 50th birthday!!

Thanks for following along and we hope you enjoyed traveling to Belize with us! :)