Chaa Creek Gift shop: Crafts and more
There is a small but well-stocked shop in the grounds, selling a wide range of items, from local crafts to the basic necessities that you may have forgotten to bring away. Prices struck us as very reasonable considering that guests here are rather a “captive audience” and the shop has the monopoly on their purses.
What to buy: We bought this small wooden carving of a toucan to remind us of the birds we had seen here for just $8.80. It’s roughly but rather charmingly executed, in a similar style to some of the pieces that you’ll see in the cottages and public areas. Chris also bought me a pretty necklace made by a local jeweller, which he tucked away for my Christmas present – but I happened to spot that it was $42, reasonable for the quality of the work and the one-off nature.
We also bought a couple of postcards and Chris got some disposable razors for just a few dollars.
Hua Yong Supermarket: Less than a 10 Minute Walk
Very conveniently located just along the highway from the Trek Stop, was the Hua Yong Supermarket. This very clean and well-run Taiwanese-owned establishment is located at the western edge of the village of San Jose Soccotz, with the Mopan River running past on the other side of the highway. It was only about a 15-minute round trip walk on the shoulder of the highway for us to make our various excursions here to pick up a variety of items.
What to buy: More than once, to help deal with the tropical sunshine beaming down, we simply grabbed chocolate covered ice-cream cones and even iced vodka drinks once. However, since we were at the Trek Stop for a week, and had a common kitchen at our disposal, we also lugged back large jugs of water, drinking cups for our cabana, clothes pegs, granola bars and yoghurts for breakfast, boxes of Mango or Strawberry/banana fruit drinks and Pringle chips. It was a typical supermarket with a wide range of goods at reasonable prices and we really appreciated having it so close at hand.
- Road Trip
San Ignacio Market: A Bustling Market
We made our way into San Ignacio on two different occassions and both times ended up at the local Market. It was noticeably busier on the Saturday than it had been on our earlier Wednesday visit, with about 3 times as many stalls in business displaying their goods for sale. The main part of the market is covered with a tin roof but, on busy days, other vendors set up in the overflow area out in the hot sunshine. While we were in town, we also made the rounds of some of the many other small shops to stock up on a few items that we were in need of.
What to buy: We were looking for fruit at the market and were able to buy a pineapple on both visits (US$1.25 each) that we later had for breakfasts. Although there were quite a few on display, it was a bit of a job to find one that was ripe (by pulling on the green shoots at the top to see if one would come free easily). Four fresh limes (US$0.50) also made for some nice flavours to go with a bottle of local "1 Barrell" Old Rum (US$6.75) that we bought from a Chinese store in town.
By this stage of our trip, we had both finished reading our books so we browsed in a small second-hand book shop in San Ignacio. The lady running the place was helpful, and we managed to find two excellent books that we both really enjoyed - they even lasted until we were home again! One final important aspect of shopping here was the banks. Although there are 3 banks in town, only two have ATM machines and one of these was broken on our second day in town. I did not like to have too much cash on me at any one time, so I had to stock up before we went into Guatemala for our Tikal trip and again the day before we left for Belize City at the end of our time in Belize.
- Road Trip
Celina's Superstore - Ace Hardware: This place has everything!
From sports drinks, soda pop & groceries to pool toys, machetes & other garden tools: If you need it, chances are Celina's has it.
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