Friday, July 1, 2016

Belize Vacation Part 1 - Snorkeling with Raggamuffins

Last weekend, Nick & I took an #unbelizeable vacation to the Caribbean! Yep, you guessed it, we went to Belize!

Once we landed at the tiny international airport, we hopped in a taxi to take us to the water taxi terminal. The ride through Belize City was a little scary... But the driver got us to the terminal quickly & we were able to catch the 4:30 boat to the island.

The water taxi ride was about 45 minutes long & we finally made it to Caye Caulker a little after 5pm. Not bad considering our flight left Houston a little after 2:00pm.

Luckily, we spotted our hotel from the water, so we knew right where it was! 
(It's the yellow building behind Nick in this pic.)

It was only a couple hundred yards from the water taxi dock. So we quickly walked over & checked into the Seaside Cabanas.

Our room was a 2nd story cabana

with a really cool thatched roof.

And an #unbelizeable view from the balcony!

After we checked in, we walked around the island in search of some place to eat dinner. The Rainbow Grill smelled good as we walked by, so we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, we were not impressed with the quality of the food. (A problem we encountered at almost every meal which Nick says is because we're food snobs. An easy problem to have when you live in Texas!!!) But the open air atmosphere was awesome!

After dinner, we walked around the island a little more & then went back to the hotel to settle in for the night. 

After booking our flights to Belize, I did an obscene amount of research on where to stay & what to do... Once I had narrowed it down to Caye Caulker, all the travel books & websites said you have to snorkel Shark Ray Alley & Hol Chan Marine Reserve & you have to do it with Raggamuffin Tours.

So the next morning, we got up early and we booked that snorkeling trip with Raggamuffin Tours!

It didn't leave until 10:30 though, so we had enough time to go grab some breakfast, change into our swimuits & walk around the island a bit.

Then we were back at Raggamuffins at 10:30 sharp 

to board our boat, the Ragga Gal!

They had 3 boats sail out that day, the red boat, the blue boat & the Ragga Gal, aka the yellow boat. (This is obviously the red boat, but our boat looked just like this, only it was yellow.)

As we headed out, our tour guide Shaq, threw some fish to the gulls.

Then we sailed for about 45 minutes on the crystal clears waters of the Caribbean Sea until we reached Shark Ray Alley.

Which was full of nurse sharks & rays!

This was our first of 3 snorkeling stops.

We snorkeled for about 30 minutes or so here & then we climbed back aboard the boat to have lunch & sail to our next stop, Hol Chan Marine Reserve. When we signed up for the trip, they asked us if we wanted chicken or seafood for lunch, so we thought we would try both & got one of each! Unfortunately, neither was that good. Sorry Raggamuffins, but us food snobs were not impressed. The chicken was ok but the rice that was with is was not. And the seafood, I don't even know what to say about it. I think it was some kind of coconut curry but it was just not good.

And unfortunately, at this point, my brand new waterproof camera stopped working :( To say I was disappointed is un understatement... Not that the quality of the pics were that good anyway, but I didn't get to take any photos at Hol Chan which was so much cooler than Shark Ray Alley. 

The first thing we saw at Hol Chan was a giant sea turtle with two remora fish underneath him. Then we swam over to the reef channel & there we saw all different kinds of coral, a green moray eel, lots of vibrant colored fish including angelfish & trumpetfish & a spotted eagle ray. It really was just #unbelizeable!

Even though I didn't get any pictures, we met some fun people during our trip & I got the email address of one of the girls. She said she would send me the link to her dropbox after she uploads them. So maybe I'll get some after all.

The whole time that I was in the water at Hol Chan, I could feel the waves rocking. So combine that with my lack of food for 2 days and the fact that I had swallowed some salt water when I jumped in the first time, all of that coming together was making me feel a little nauseous. While we were along the reef channel, our guide swam through a small cave/tunnel & told us that we could do it too. Normally I'm up for anything & would have done it, but I was not feeling all that great, so I didn't. (Nick said he could tell I wasn't feeling good when I didn't take a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim through the tunnel!!) So as soon as I climbed the ladder back to the boat, the nausea hit me 100 fold! I ran over to our guide & told him I was going to be sick. He said to jump back in the water & so I did. And then I threw up in the ocean, not once, but twice.

Our last stop of the day was called the Coral Gardens. Even though I still wasn't back to 100%, I jumped in to check it out. It really wasn't all that great after Hol Chan... just some coral, a few fish & conch shells. Nick & I spent maybe 5 or 10 minutes snorkeling around & then called it quits. I spent most of the rest of the time like this, relaxing on the deck while we sailed back to Caye Caulker. 

We docked on the island around 5pm & the first thing Nick & I did was look for food! We saw a pizza place along the main road & we tried it out. The pizza was ok. It didn't compare to anything back home, but it was the best thing we had eaten so far! 

And it served some of the county's awesome Coca-Cola!

Bottled right there in Belize City & full of sugar from sugar cane grown on the mainland. It's so much better than American coke! (Oh & by the way, almost all their beverages are in bottles & they save the bottles & reuse them. Super cool & eco-friendly!)

And that's about all we did that Friday.

Stay tuned to hear about what we did on Saturday.

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