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I fell in love with San Pedro...again. Life in the slow lane

Tropical the island breeze, all of nature wild and free, this is where is long to be...la Isla Bonita, Ambergris Caye, Belize

sunny 82 °F

What is it with Tropic Air? We show up, get on whatever plane is leaving next, and we have the jet all to ourselves. Safe, comfortable and fast. We love them. We head back to San Pedro, because we love it too.

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Last time we stayed several miles north of town and just about wrecked our kidneys on the bumpy golf cart ride back and forth, so this time we stay at Belizean Shores.. It’s a pretty place, right on the beach, with a gorgeous pool area.

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It’s Thursday night so we headed straight to Daydreamin’, our favorite local B&B, where we stayed last time. We planned this trip on 24 hours notice, so they didn’t have a room for us, but we knew they had their Thursday evening wine social. Music, wine, great apps (thanks Mar!) and great company.

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One of our favorite things to do in San Pedro is to walk the beach in the morning. Birds, sand, coffee and a warm breeze...does it get any better?

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Thanks for the T-shirt Rick Steves!

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Sometimes you just need a coconut. And a guy to crack it open for you. And offer to put rum in it at 8:00 am. We stuck with coffee.

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So here’s a secret that’s not a secret about San Pedro. On Tuesday nights, you’ve got to go to the chicken drop at Wahoos. What is a chicken drop, you ask? Well let me tell you. Picture a giant square with numbered tiles, a couple dozen happily drunk people lining up for tickets, and a chicken (or two) that walks around the squares waiting to drop...a...well, you know. If he ‘drops’ on your number, you win the $$. Trust me on this, it’s serious fun! Sometimes you just need a chicken to tell you where to go.

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“The chicken who doesn’t poop tonight is barbecue tomorrow!” Im telling you, these people are cutthroat. No chicken is safe.

Ambergris Caye is only about 25 miles long. But when you’re in a golf cart and the road looks like this, we’re talking about a day trip. A nice little Belizean custom involves men stopping at any point on any road to pee, so there’s that. The north end of the island borders Mexico so we figured we’d know if we’d gone too far. Adventure time!

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First stop, mile 5.6 or so... Rojo Beach Bar. Fantastic place, nice people, great atmosphere.

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Next stop, El Norte...mile 10. So let me get this straight, you mix your own drinks here. Seriously. A guy sits on a stool and tells you how to make his rum punch.

-one shot dark rum
-one shot coconut rum
-one shot white rum
-whoa are you kidding me
-pour in some unidentifiable fruit juice from an unmarked bottle
-whoa wait a minute
-top it off with club soda
-it’s going to be a long day

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At mile 14.5 they are building a new Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville resort. So here’s the thing...there are NO ROADS and no airport here! It took us 2 hours on a golf cart from San Pedro! So we ask the one guy who’s working there...”how are people supposed to get here?” He says “water taxi”. So if it’s raining, it’s windy, seas are rough...? Yep. “But,” he adds...”Jimmy’s trying to get an international airport in Chetumal.” Oh, OK. I’ll be curious to see how this place goes. They may have water and electricity most of the time, but at least they’ll have boat drinks.

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This is the only building they have finished at the new Margaritaville resort. It has a model condo and one can be yours starting at $399,000 US. Let me know how it goes.

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We finally hit Tranquility Bay...about 17 miles up. This is what a place looks like after a zombie apocalypse. THERE ARE NO HUMANS HERE! We learn that there are a boatload (see what I did there) of bone fisherman who patrol the flats all morning looking for fish they can lie about catching bonefish, permit and tarpon, and that they will, in fact, be back after lunch. The one woman working here sits in a corner ignoring us while we sit looking around at the bar, until we finally ask if we could get some food. “Oh sure” she says. Never gets up, never asks us what we want to eat, just sits there looking at her phone. We finally ask for a menu, She looks up surprised, as if she forgot we there there. She finally takes our order and...goes in the kitchen to cook it. Interesting place! It’s quiet, I’ll give you that.

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The road really improves after this point...if you don’t value your kidneys.

We soldier on, and quickly realized we had gone too far...(we didn’t really make it to Mexico, we just ran out of road).

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One of the best things Ambergris Caye is the sheer number of thatched roof, funky beach bars with great live music. We make it our mission to check out as many as possible. Purely for research purposes of course.

This is Stella’s Sunset. Everywhere you go, you hear a lot of Jimmy Buffett and Jerry Jeff Walker. Jerry calls this island his home away from home and has a music festival called ‘Camp Belize’ every January. We just missed it last time we were here.

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In our travels to Ambergris Caye, you’re going to see a lot of pictures from The Truck Stop.. It’s an amazing place with incredible food trucks, great music, fun family activities every night, sunset views, pool with a swim up bar...I could go on but check it out yourself. Also, this is Serena. We met her and her husband Scott the first night on island and continue to run into them EVERYWHERE! Pretty soon we were fast friends. I love when that happens.

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This is Coco. Her owner is sitting next to me, leans over and says “hey, can you watch her? I’ve gotta run out for a few...” Uh, sure. She’s pretty cute and lots of fun. She almost came home in my suitcase.

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If you love Colorado, you would love 3O3 Belize. The owners are from Denver (thus the 303 area code) and everything about the place is ski related. It’s a great overwater bar.

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Another favorite is The Dive Bar. A literal dive bar and a great PADI certifying dive operation. Last time we’re here it was their annual wahoo fishing tournament and wow was it fun!

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The cut separating north and south Ambergris Caye has. ‘toll bridge’. The ‘fee’ is $5 BZ but there is no rhyme or reason to whether you’ll actually be asked to pay. There are always guys standing around to collect, but most of the time they are just yakking it up with each other, or they’ll stop you and just say, “hey, how are you doing? Are you having a good day?” The Belizean hospitality is real and is costing the toll collectors a boatload!

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We head south of town on the golf cart one day and stumble upon Pirates at South Beach. It’s got a white sand beach, table in the water, a great bar and plenty of places to have a cocktail and just chillax. We will definitely be back here!

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One night we hear that there is a live reggae band at a place called the Sun Deck. We decide to check it out and find a ragtag bunch of Rasta guys who have apparently decided they are going to try to burn the entire island down have a bonfire on the beach, even though the wind is whipping. I think their massive intake of rum and ganja might have led to bad decision making. We make introductions and try to dance around the flying embers but decide we’d better get out of there before my hair starts on fire. The bartender runs after us and pours AN ENTIRE GLASS OF RUM into my thermal mug. Says “have a good night, irie!” This Belizean hospitality will get you in trouble if you’re not careful. Thankfully I am old smart enough to pour it out after we leave.

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We stumble (is it stumbling if you arrive in a golf cart?) on Paco’s Tiki bar one afternoon and have a fantastic lunch on the beach. We play a few games of ‘shut the box’ and meet a local realtor who offers to show us around. A group of very drunk enthusiastic, friendly women loudly toast to each other with their massive frozen cocktails, and we laugh. The owner invites us back for another bonfire (because of course he did...these people will invite you to move in with them, I swear) and we end up having a great time.

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We used to love going to Key West and Meeting of the Minds (the largest gathering of Jimmy Buffett Parrotheads). We still love the Keys and ran into a very cool guy named Roger Jokela.. We have a great time sharing stories and listening to his music at Rum Dog., another great overwater bar.

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There are great bonefish flats on Ambergris Caye. PK loves getting up at the crack of dawn (I know, what the hell, I’m on vacation) to fish. We head out over the causeway toward Secret Beach, enjoying our coffee and the sunrise over the flats. We see one crocodile and zero fish, but it’s a pretty relaxing way to spend the early morning. Every morning, food carts rumble down the streets of San Pedro, offering local fare at ridiculous prices. We scoop up three chicken tacos for $1 BZ (50 cents US), pick up some fresh juice and a bunch of bananas ($1 BZ) and breakfast is served.

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Our favorite place on island is Secret Beach, and more specifically Blue Bayou. BB is a new, overwater restaurant that has tables scattered all over in the ocean. Great food, great service, great live reggae band on ‘Sunday Funday’ and the BEST mango daiquiri ever on this planet. Go there!

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These people have it right...next time I am bringing my float for sure.

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We’re home now and the coronavirus is raging. It’s bittersweet writing these blogs but I am happy for so many good memories and hopeful that we can make more sometime soon. Take care, everyone.

Posted by traciekochanny 11:59 Archived in Belize Tagged beach caribbean belize central_america secret_beach ambergris_caye blue_bayou_belize san_pedro_belize truck_stop_belize

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