July is coming to an end – and things during the summer and autumn in Belize tend to slow down. The slow season, the off-season, the low season**. Despite that, I’ve had a busy few weeks…just after I returned from my yearly trip to the states, my friend arrived for 10 days. And then, with a one day overlap, she departed and family arrived.
Seeing and eating like a visitor…I need to do it more often! So here’s a July recap of some highlights of the last few weeks.
- #1 Best Trip Visiting Caye Caulker on a chartered trip with Creative Tours where we searched for manatees, stopped in a bunch of spots on the island (including The Split – below – and fabulous Koko King!) and snorkeled our hearts out. AND ended up seeing a manatee at Hol Chan Marine Reserve!
- Best Food Eaten: Three way tie (lame perhaps but with visitors, there is LOTS of eating)
- Fish and Chips at Lily’s on the Beach in downtown San Pedro. Ever single time, the fish is flaky and moist, the fries well done and the portion huge. The view does not get better.
- Sushi Night at Blue Water Grill (every Tuesday and Thursday – get a reservation even during the slow season!) – we had some great sashimi and rolls but I always absolutely adore the Ahi Poke Salad. Fresh tuna, avocado, crispy crunchy fried wonton skins. It’s on the dinner menu every night.
- $10bzd Fried Chicken Tacos at Sip N Dip on Caye Caulker: Sip N Dip is the bar, ice cream place, over the water fun park near the Split (swings, tubes, a basketball hoop, hammocks in the water). But I’d never been there to eat. What drew me in was TODAY’S SPECIAL – (4) FRIED CHICKEN TACOS $10. Mmmm…fried chicken in a taco? DELICIOUS. But it wasn’t that at all. It was chicken in double or triple rolled in corn tortillas – and deep fried. Served with sour cream and salsa, they were delicious. FRIED chicken tacos NOT FRIED CHICKEN tacos. See the difference? And again, the view was perfect.
- Craziest Moment (BY FAR) Last night, 7 of us went on the ACES CSI Tour – an educational and crazy creepy-fun tour around the lagoon behind San Pedro town at night. Shining flashlights into the mangroves looking for crocs. Listening to stories of bull sharks, boas and giant crocodiles.
Crocodile Chris, our guide, got out of the boat to try to capture a smaller croc earlier in the night (very poorly shown in this photo) – but the 3 footer eluded him. IMAGINE GETTING INTO THIS WATER AT NIGHT!?!??!
BUT not far away, he spotted the glowing orange eyes of an adult American Saltwater Crocodile.
Our small boat pushed up against the mangroves, the three boys stared down at a 10 footer lying under the water. Chris decided it best to just look – there was no way that size animal could safely come onboard. But seconds later, when the croc made his escape, taking our boat around with him and then reared his HUGE head out of the water to get free…it was CRAZY!
HOLY MOLY. What a handsome and fearsome animals. Who, by nature, wants NOTHING to do with humans. He definitely proved that to us last night.
- Animals Spotted THE CROC! This beautiful laughing falcon about 10 miles north on Ambergris Caye and then a gibnut (with his beautiful brown fur and white spots) diving into the bush at night. Not far from where a neighbor spotted a margay just a few nights before.
- Visitors Favorite Addition to the Island: Absolutely the French Bakery (Delices De France) my best friend ADORED the chocolate croissants and our family visiting from California has declared the almond croissants “the real deal”. I still eat at least 2 baguette sandwiches each week. I LOVE this addition to San Pedro – AND…can’t wait for their coffee shop next door.
- Recipe to Try: Pickled Vegetable Slaw from the Smitten Kitchen – I bet it is DELICIOUS with carrot, cho-cho, cabbage…jicama! All cheap and plentiful vegetables this time of year. Could vegetables look prettier?
- Best Belize Product Tried This Month: Marie Sharp’s is known world-wide for her hot sauce. Born in San Pedro – she moved to southern Belize and created some AMAZING carrot based (rather than tomato based) hot sauces that you can see on every table in Belize and many stores around the world. (Did you know that the country that purchases the most Marie Sharp’s in the world – including Belize – is JAPAN?)
But this isn’t about the hot sauce. It’s the BANANA JAM! If you like bananas, try it. With peanut butter or without, this stuff is delicious.
- July Low: Since real life isn’t all sunshine and snacking, here’s my low on the month. For those who live in a tourist oriented locale, slow season can me empty pockets. And…well…let’s just say that I might be eating more rice & beans in August than sushi and croissants.
** Slow season does NOT mean that there is no one here or that things are closed. In fact, it’s a great time to visit Belize. Prices on lodging are often discounted. It does mean that the weather is going to be a bit warmer and probably a bit more humidity. On Ambergris Caye, it often means that it rains a bit during the night. There is a possibility for a rainy morning or afternoon.
But during the last 3 weeks, when I’ve had visitors – we’ve had one cloudy day. And it was a great one for walking around town.
Hopefully this post will give you some Belize in July inspiration.