... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

A day in Belize

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The second shore excursion on our Norwegian Dawn Cruise was a day in Belize!  Will and I chose to take a cruise along the Old Belize River, eat a traditional Belizean lunch and then visit a Mayan ruin site, called Altun-Ha.

Since Belize City doesn't have a port, we had to be tendered over from the cruise ship - which was super exciting for me and set a jubilant tone for the rest of the day.

Once on land, we met our tour guide and waited for the rest of our group to assemble before getting on another boat that took us down to the river.  While waiting, Will and I wasted no time trying something local and bought a coconut to drink.  Yep, an actual coconut with a hole on top and a straw inserted!  Three things I never knew about drinking real coconut water:

  1. coconut water is cold!  it tastes like it's been refrigerated, even when it hasn't
  2. it's more hydrating than plain water
  3. it's delicious! and tastes almost nothing like bottled coconut water!
Moving on!  

Once the entire group had gathered and boarded the boat, we began our journey through the coast into the Old Belize River; the guide pausing sporadically to point out local wildlife or geographical facts.  Major highlight was in the mouth of the river, where we observed a group of manatees (that's dugongs, to my fellow Aussies!) coming up for air!

We sat there, engine idling, for quite some time - just taking it in.  Most of us were already beaming blissfully before we even entered the river, where we witnessed more breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime encounters with local wildlife, such as monkeys swinging off tree branches right along the banks:

(admittedly not the best photos, but if you look closely at the last pic, he's staring right at me!)

We saw many iguanas, but look at this guy, lazily sprawled upon a tree branch:

One rule about anywhere in the Caribbean: don't forget to look up!

There were a few crocodiles to see that day, but here are my best pics:

<---- to the left

Then there were these weird, tiny fruit bats unique to the area:

Many beautiful water birds:

But everyone's highlight was the dolphin that rode along with us for a while, gathering attention and excitement.  Then, when he was absolutely sure that every eye was upon him, he gloriously leaped out of the water as we cheered!  

This river cruise was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  I can't think of a better way to experience native jungle and water animals, or get so close to them!

We'd traveled many miles up the Old Belize River (whatever an hour and a half with frequent stops equates to), before docking at a quint restaurant right on the bank.  Here we ate a traditional Belizean lunch, consisting of oven-baked chicken drumsticks, a black-beans and rice variation and tea.  The locals were sweet enough to include the American favourites of caramel cheesecake and fudge brownies as dessert selections, but being full from lunch, Will and I chose instead to lounge in the hammocks beneath a fig tree canopy, get lost in the moment and await the bus that took us to Altun-Ha.

Along the bumpy bus ride through a jungle road to the ruins, our guide explained that Altun-Ha wasn't the biggest, the oldest or most impressive Mayan site in Belize, it was a mere baby compared to many others, but when we arrived: it blew our minds!  Dating back to 900 BC, it was the biggest, oldest and most impressive Mayan temple ruin Will or I had ever seen and we were sorry not to have more time there.

One hour with a guided tour really wasn't enough time to take it all in, or climb everything - since, amazingly considering it's age, this is one of the few sites where they allow that!  We barely had time to mount the sacrificial pyramid, take photos and walk the perimeter of the main plaza, before being called back to the bus that took us to Belize City once more. :( Major bummer, but...

As we took the streets on the way back, we had a wonderful opportunity to see Belize City and our guide explained many interesting things about the way of life of the people, the political systems and economy of Belize, before returning to the dock; drinking from one more coconut and being tendered back to the cruise ship.

This lovely man chose the biggest coconut for me <3 

 (this time, the coconut contained the most potent pina colada I've ever had! 
Will and I split it and were both still drunk afterwards!) 

It was a marvelous day we had in Belize.  I felt sorry for the people we spoke to that went zip lining, or chocolate making.  They didn't get to see the wildlife - or make the connection - we did.  We got to leave feeling like we'd taken a real piece of the country with us and we're glad we took this tour.


  1. Lena, you're going to laugh, but I would love to have a tail I could use to hang from things!! I'd paint the house exterior. LOL

    Wonderful photos! You guys are having too much fun. (smile)

    1. Dixie, that's hilarious! I'm cracking up at the visual image LOL.




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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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