Hickatee Cottages: A MUST STAY in Punta Gorda and a Bargain in Belize
I have been back in San Pedro (aka The Far North) for a few days now and the more I think about my time spent in Punta Gorda, Belize (the Deep South) the more excited I am to return. Punta Gorda is everything you picture Belize to be…everything that you want it to be…in one relatively small area. It almost has the feel of what I think Belize was like 30 or 40 years ago. I’ll say it again. Punta Gorda, Belize is magical. (Check out pictures from around town.)
And here’s another cool thing about it. I found the perfect place for you to stay. I mean PERFECT. Hickatee Cottages. The owners Ian and Kate are warm and gracious. And their love of Punta Gorda, infectious.
The cottages are set on a property that is groomed, comfortable and close to town (PG is only a 1.5 mile bike ride away) but also teetering on the edge of what Ian calls the “high bush”. Or to me, trails through a very serious jungle.
Let me show you some of my pictures from my four days at Hickatee so you can love it too.
We checked in and were shown to the Wilby Suite. Our own cottage with a sitting area (with a futon), a hammock and a very comfortable bed.
The bathroom. One thing that I forgot to ask them about. WHERE DID YOU GET THESE TOWELS? No where in the world have I used a towel so thick. Honestly. They are huge. They must have been barged to Belize at quite some cost.
And the outside. A small front porch and a hammock.
And a favorite of mine. Delivered coffee. EARLY. Ian brought our coffee BEFORE the Garifuna Re-enactment at 5:45am. How great is that?
The gardens around the cottages are beautiful. Tons of different trees, orchids and plants…all labelled. Some for attracting butterflies…
some used for decoration in the rooms and on the dining tables…
and some with monkeys in them. MONKEYS. A troop of howler monkeys spends quite a bit of times in the Hickatee jungle. A threesome…an alpha male, a mom and her baby spent the night just above the pool. Hard to photograph with my skills but amazing to watch. We watched them fall asleep and then get up the next morning. At around 8am. Who knew? Monkeys like to sleep in.
A mom and a baby curled up fast asleep on this skinny little branch.
There is also bug board with a light that attracts icky things after dark. I’ll be honest. I did not spend much time near it.
And the cottage cats periodically prowling and mostly lounging about the yard. This big boy was my favorite.
Kate, who owns the cottages with her husband Ian, is an amazing baker and chef. Each breakfast plenty of good coffee, fresh juices and fresh-baked warm muffins and bread were served…
Or, one morning, British Shrove Tuesday pancakes. Delicious thin crepes with crunchy sugar and lime. I will be attempting to replicate these at home.
Dawn coffee and fresh baked bread? Spoiled rotten. And location for dining…
On the porch of the main building. With the bar that opens in the evening, tons of books (including every one ever written on Belize I’m pretty sure) and comfy couches and chairs.
This porch is also the spot for this super fun Wednesday evening event. Ian and Kate have invited one of (if not the best Garifuna drummers) in Belize, Ronald “Ray” McDonald of the new Warasa Drumming School to give the guests lessons on these traditional drums.
First Ian does a bit of showing off…he is really good at keeping the paranda beat on the big drum and then Ray does his thing. You can hardly see his hands. He is AMAZINGLY talented.
Trust me. Ian made keeping the beat look way too easy. Jackie gave it a try first…
A simple four beat. As soon as Ray starts going, it’s almost impossible to maintain it. Jackie and I were certainly the worst…some other guests had a bit more rhythm.
Super hard but strangely addicting.
The final product is absolutely amazing. I really could listen for hours. When I head back to PG, I am definitely going to remedial drum school.
So there is it. Beautiful, extremely comfortable cottages with rates as low as $75US a night – and that includes breakfast, transfers to the air strip/bus, the drumming lessons on Wednesday night and all the information you could want about the town and life in Belize from Kate and Ian. And an insane amount of wild life. My howler monkeys woke me up one night with their barking. (They are mine now.) The emerald green hummingbirds woke me one morning with their LOUD whirring.
You feel deep in the jungle but you are close to town and in no way “roughing it”. Perfect.
And what is not to LOVE about a Belize resort manual that actually includes a (semi-joking) paragraph on what to do if you run into a JAGUAR?
And the owners, two of the most charming knowledgeable business owners that I’ve met in Belize. I’ll stop now.
Oh yeah…for those who are wondering. If you run into a jaguar in the jungle….stand your ground. And for those of you that are worrying, don’t. The owners have only spotted one in over 10 years and that was through a window very early in the morning.
For more information on Hickatee Cottages, check out their website and plan your visit. You’ve got to get down to Punta Gorda.
There are daily flights on Tropic Air or take the bus like I did. The express from Belize City is 5 hours and costs $24bzd. Now THAT is a bargain.