There are so many wonderful things about Belize! I enjoyed canoeing the Macal River in San Ignacio, hiking in the Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve (and tubing down Stann Creek in the jungle there), and eventually making my way to the rural Mayan villages in the South (Toledo District) -- this area should not be missed!
Fondest memory: I have fond memories of driving my rented pick up truck down South -- the paved road ended -- the journey from that point on was very dusty! I eventually made my way out to San Pedro Columbia (Mayan village) and visited some fantastic ruins there. I sat with the caretaker (forget his name) for two hours while he told me stories. While visiting San Pedro Columbia, I met a wonderful family and spent the day with them! I met this woman down by a river while she was washing clothes -- she asked me if I would take her to the next village -- San Antonio -- so she could visit the Health Center. I took her and her children to the village and, I spent the day meandering around and playing with her kids -- while she waited (for 5 hours in line) to see the doctor. The children were fabulous!! Here is her youngest child...gazing through the window at me from the bed of my truck! Simply sweet...
if you come from Punta Gorda by boat you propably will take the James Bus Line to Belize city. The're several busses daily doing the 8hrs during journey over rough unpaved roads. Fortunately foreign nations are sponsering the paving of the whole road and so in a few years the gruyere-roads will be history.
It might be a long trip in a not realy comfortable bus, it will not be boring! In those 8hrs you'll pass many typical villages and you'll have great views over the Belizean hills. It's worth it...
The Garifuna came to Belize from the Bay Islands of Honduras on 19th November 1802. They are the result of the intermingling of African slaves, Carib and Arawak Indians. The Garinagu dominate the southern towns of Punta Gorda and Dangriga as well as the villages of Seine Bight, Hopkins, Georgetown and Barranco. Some Garinagu are also residing in Belize City and Belmopan.
Fishing and agriculture is a traditional way of living for the Garifuna. Rituals and traditions are still being retained as the Garinagu strive to maintain a place in Belizean society.
November 19th is a national holiday in Belize to commemorate the arrival of the Garifuna to Belize.
Punta Gorda was the place where our boat arrived, comming from Puerto Barrios in Guatemala. It was a strange place I've to say, but almost immediately after arriving one of the locals, a Garifuna from a village further south, started talking with us. He brought us to the cheepest hotel in town and told us his live story. All very interesting to get to know that Garifuna culture of course.
Enfin besides meeting locals, there's nothing interesting in town. Its just a place to take a bus somewhere else or you might visit a Garifuna village in the neighboorhood (If they like you, you'll get a place to sleep for free, just paying your food).
One of my fondest memories of Belize, and I have many, occured one time when we arrived in Punta Gorda. We were waiting for our ride to get us, and instead of hanging out at the 10'x10' airport, we decided to walk across to the street to see what was going on. Inside what appeared to be an old barn, there was a game of basketball going on. We, a few youngens, stood in the doorway and watched the game, knowing that we'd be beaten by a large margin if they asked us to play.
So many memories of people and things there. Watching soccer is fun too.
The word Belize evokes memories of a Belize I used to know. A time, long ago, when as a youth, I traveled. Magical, now, as then. A careless and carefree life of a young boy. I recall now our missionary-friend Larry's pick-up as we sped along the dirt roads of an exotic country. We, my brother, Larry's daughter, and I, stood, leaning up against and holding onto the rollbar behind the cab, the wind blowing fiercly in our faces, as we leaned the taste of Belizean dirt. Along the bumpy roads we cruised, I remember thinking to myself how wonderful it was to not be in school, how carefree I was. How nothing mattered in that moment, except the world of green and brown around me. The bumps in the road, the farmer who waved at us coming home from working his field. I recall the roads, the bridges, or shallow crossings as they had no bridges, that we would plow through in Larry's other pick-up, with a tractor engine and a huge innertube that we bounced around on in the wood shelter built upon the bed of the truck.
I recall the waterfalls, where we slid down into a crystal pool, the green river, beside which we set up a medical clinic for the natives. They came from miles around to have their teeth pulled on the tailgate of Larry's pick-up, or to get shots, or some medicine for a stomach ailment. Eating a dinner cooked on the wood stove of Larry's thatch-roofed home, with no electricity, save that from a generator that was turned on periodically. Picking greenish oranges for breakfast from trees that Larry had planted along the road to a place called the Eagle's Nest, an open-walled common area for people to gather and for Larry to preach the Word of God to the people. We slept at the Eagle's Nest when we did the clinic, the three-foot barbed-wire fence walls keeping any larger animals out, but not the scorpions we couldn't see in the dim light of the green and blue chemlights we cracked to light the night. Although, who needed chemlights when you have billions of visible stars, and one of the most detailed and brightest meteors I have ever seen.
Pretty amazing for a pre-teen youth.
That was when I was 5-10.
Fondest memory: Our tour of the Monkey River was one of the most fun parts of our trip. We stopped to hike in the jungle to see the monkeys in the trees overhead, and the monkeys decided to climb down the trees and swing and play in the vines right by us for about ten minutes. After the hike and the boat ride through the river, we stopped in Monkey River Town (which has a population of less than 200 people) for lunch at our guide's mom's restaurant for some excellent food. We then went back in the boat and spotted a family of manatees.