Traveling South in Belize: From San Pedro to Placencia – Here’s What I Saw & Ate…
As the crow flies, I traveled about 100 miles. San Pedro on Ambergris Caye to Placencia Village. But as I often do, I took the cheaper route and it took me most of the day. Traveled from breezeless heat thru pouring rain over the mountains and then back down to the heat.
There is a MUCH faster way to do it…in fact, I took that easy breezy flight down just this past June. Super convenient.
My departure point yesterday was the San Pedro Belize Express water taxi. The 7:30am boat should get me to Belize City – HOPEFULLY – for the 9:15am bus from the Belize City terminal to Independence, Belize. ($24bzd each way if you have their Membership Card.)
The water at the dock was crystal clear…and it made for a very comfortable ride. Almost an hour and 45 minutes we were pulling into Belize City and I wasn’t going to make my planned bus.
A gorgeous day.
I walked down the street a bit to Spoonaz Cafe – it’s one of the best lattes around. And then are building a backyard deck to enjoy this view. I don’t think there is a more beautiful one in Belize City. It’s like time stood still.
Spoonaz is a very comfortable spot. I took this quick pic/selfie of (I think) the owner’s father. Love that you could pose for your army photo with a cigarette.
A quick taxi ride to the bus station and I was ready for the next bus – the 10:15am.
The bus was…the bus. First Belmopan and then south to Dangriga.
I’ve already written my 8 Tips to Bus Travel in Belize but this trip I noticed another few ways that the bus differs from the bus travel that I was used to in the States.
Music is a integral part of the ride. The bus driver is in control of the music and the song selection. Usually the music is horrible, old-time country (Harper Valley PTA) or some sort of mega-remix of reggae classics. For the remix, each song is played for about 30 seconds and then very sloppily transitioned to the next song with lots of cheap electronica sound effects.
Yesterday, I got the reggae and what is always certain? The music is played at a level just higher than the cheap speakers can handle leading to lots of crackling and ear drum aching fuzz. NEVER have I heard anyone suggest that the music be lowered. In fact, on this trip, when he lowered it a bit to take a phone call (perfectly kosher around here), there were shouts from the back of the bus – tun da music up drivah!
Difference #2: Eating and drinking on the bus is encouraged. The driver will stop to allow in local vendors selling even the SLOPPIEST food. Like iced watermelon slices or my snack yesterday, boiled corn. Or “bahled cahn”.
We stopped, basically in the middle of an orange grove, to pick up a man with a cooler.
Inside, cobs of corn. Double bagged. 2 for $1bzd. I had to have some. And this guy was selling to practically every customer. Kids were going crazy begging parents for the cahn.
The salesman gives you your bag, cuts you a wedge of lime and the cannister of salt and spices is passed around the bus. We all went silent as we chawed on our bus snack.
This stuff is not fresh sweet corn. It’s more of a seed corn…more bland, much tougher (perhaps dried and then reconstituted?) and a hot mess to eat on a bus. Very satisfying.
Almost 5 hours after we pulled out of Belize City (the driver took maybe a 20 minute break at a gas station outside of Dangriga), I rolled into Independence/Mango Creek. (Here’s a look around from a previous post.)
I called my favorite taxi guy, Karl. Stopped at the supermarket with my favorite cat, Mish.
She is absolutely the queen of the store.
And then over to the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi. It runs from Independence, across the lagoon to Placencia Village.
A ride and a message.
Placencia. I made it there by 4pm. Not impressive speed but…scenic for sure.
Time for real food. I went right over to Omar’s Creole Food for a late lunch/early dinner. I was planning a very early bedtime/very long sleep.
I’ve passed this super cute spot 100x but never gone in.
Omar’s is draped with lovely purple flowers and known for his seafood.
At this odd hour, I was the only customer and Omar said that he was MORE than happy to cook for me.
Love this guy already.
He showed me some fresh “devil crab” just in…and convinced me to try it.
Wow. This is no joke…
This guy is awesome.
And a damn good cook. Coconut curry broth and a serious pile of crab. Beware: this is not a food for first dates.
Along with salad and rice & beans all for $25bzd. PLUS a free piece of chocolate cake.
Today is going to be a lovely HOT day in Placencia. And I’ve got lots to do…