By Cindy Blount
Edited by Naturalight Productions
NB: Remember to click on the links in the article to see all the images.
Traveling back in the silence of the early morning drive along the winding Hummingbird Highway to Dangriga, I rolled over in my mind the many great experiences from the last four days of travel. One of the "best things" about working for an internet-marketing company is getting out of the office, visiting clients and exploring new places in Belize. My co-worker, Melissa, and I recently spent a week in Orange Walk District to begin collecting data for the Toucan Trail.
We thought you would like to share in our adventures over the next few months …
In all, we traveled over 700 km (434 miles) on this trip and met 25 new people associated with the Toucan Trail properties. We ate 2 boxes of granola bars, over 21 tacos; only ate Chinese food twice; burritos, 2 times, and we saw Belize being advertised on the Travel Channel! We stayed safe, comfortable and within our 'budget-traveler' amount of US$30-35/per day.
Here's a run-down of how it went:
Mercy's on Queen Victoria Avenue, Orange Walk Town. Inexpensive and very tasty! Enjoy the action on the main street as you sit on bar-stools on the sidewalk. Very sanitary also with a screened kitchen and running water to wash hands.
Hideaway Condos … secluded, brand new, small-apartment like with recessed lights in the ceilings, a fluffy couch, half or full kitchen, big TV, AC … very nice … take your special someone.
Hillside Bed & Breakfast… Blue Creek Village. Overlook the rolling hills and valley with rice fields and planted crops of grain.
Second Best View:
The sign for "Blue Bird Ceviche Bar" in Indian Church, our destination for lunch. This was after a nearly 2 hour bumpy ride…and a long overdue lunch and listening to the one song on the cassette player on 'repeat' for the last 1 ½ hours.
Best Veranda View:
Lamanai South Lodge, Indian Church Village: Lie in the hammock and look out onto the lagoon with howler monkeys serenading you!
Best Shades of Pink:
D* Victoria Hotel, Orange Walk Town. Definitely eye-catching from the outside and easy to spot. Also has a swimming pool!
Best Local Advertising:
Lucia's Guesthouse, Orange Walk Town. Currently advertising on 2 billboards in town and small posters around town. Inexpensive rooms to lay your head and a friendly family to greet you.
Best Route for Birding:
The 2-hour dirt road from Yo Creek to Indian Church Village near the Maya archaeology site of Lamanai. Birds include: Jabiru Storks, Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Ruddy Ground Doves…and many more unidentified ones.
Best Source of Local Info:
Jonathan, a University of Belize Environmental Science student, grandson of Hector Urbina of St. Christopher's Hotel, Orange Walk.
Best Mangos and Coffee:
St. Christopher's, Orange Walk Town and Lamanai South Lodge, Indian Creek Village.
Best Unexpected Adventure:
Locking the keys in the Toyota Hilux next to a lagoon 2 hours from Orange Walk Town on Wednesday afternoon.
Melissa: "Is there anyway we can take the door off of the truck?" (after 1 hour of trying to get the keys out of the Hilux).
Cindy: "OK, I have the keys…I did not lock them inside of the truck." (every time we got out of the vehicle after Wednesday).
Melissa: "I think this one deserves a BEER" (after the 2 hours of getting the keys out of a burglar-proof vehicle)
Cindy: "It's OK, Melissa, I just want to drive up and get a picture of all of these sugar cane trucks!" (This is Cindy driving up to the Sugar Cane Factory as the ONLY non-cane truck and non-Hispanic male driver and passenger).
Best Line from a Client:
What do you mean, "Deposits on towels?" That is what they're there for… so you can take them! I have towels from The Ramada and all sorts of hotels!
Best Tip for Drivers:
Always leave the window 1/8 inch cracked in case you lock the keys in the car someone can create a contraption to get the window down and open the door. (It worked for us!)
Best Question from a Client:
When we asked about their rates…
"I don't know…what do you think I should charge for the rooms?"
Cindy on the hood of the vehicle while looking at the key lodged between the 2 seats on the floor.
Thunder-cloud backdrop to the white road going to San Felipe.
Best Shopping (non-tourist):
SP Discount Store, Orange Walk (anything at REALLY reasonable prices…i.e. Double orthopedic mattress for $125, compared to over $200 elsewhere).
Lamanai Riverside Bar: Melissa's BBQ steak was huge and GOOD. (Cindy still can't figure out how they BBQ'ed without a grill!!!)
Blue Bird Ceviche Bar: Shrimp Ceviche at 2 pm-out of this world, especially after a 2 hour ride down an endless dirt road and one taco for breakfast.
Best Home-Cooked Meal:
Blue Creek Hillside Bed & Breakfast. GREAT Mennonite cooking, for example homemade bread, fresh-squeezed orange juice, milk, and eggs! Also excellent ice cream!
Best Landscape and Variety of Flowers:
Tied with 4 properties: La Enramada, Lamanai South, Blue Creek Hillside and St. Christopher's Hotel. Each place has plants that explode with various colors, sizes and shapes.
Best Packing Tip:
Take a second set of keys to the vehicle!
Orange Walk is full of friendly people and places to go nestled in an unhurried pace of life that beckons me to return soon…definitely with a second set of keys to the vehicle.
Images Courtesy of:
Tony Rath Photography