Making Our Way From San Pedro To Cayo by Boat, Taxi and Rental Jeep, Part Two

So as I was saying in yesterday’s blog post, I was traveling from Ambergris Caye to the western part of Belize.  (Click to the excellent Moon Guide maps of Belize)

Water taxi from Ambergris Caye to Belize City – 1.5 hours  (RT ticket from San Pedro to Belize City with the frequent user card is $50bzd)

Taxi from Belize City to Ladyville to pick up the very expensive rental car – 20 mins  ($30bzd)

And then we were off…the highway out west.

Another thing to remember as you budget is that gasoline is PRICY in Belize.  Almost $11bzd a gallon (or $5.50US).  When I round trip was over – we filled our little Jeep with just over $100bzd.

Our first stop was at a GIANT store just before Belmopan called Art Box.  I pass it all the time on the bus…and have 101 questions.  The basics like:  what is inside?  Why so much space?  Who is stopping here…WHY SO BIG!

It’s a cavernous space…and someone spent lots of money on this.  Filled with souvenirs…like an entire section for thousands of key chains…a huge upstairs for furniture…lots and lots and lots of Christian materials – crafts and books.  I mean EXTENSIVE.  A massive restaurant area…bathrooms with 10+ stalls.  All very beautifully done.

Loved my latch on the bathroom stall.  (Ha!  That’s the one picture I took inside – sorry!)

We were the only ones there.  I asked two staff members who shops here….is this huge size for groups from cruise ships?  Neither of them knew.  The website mentions that it was built almost 25 years ago!!!  By a couple that visited Belize from Taiwan…wow.

Quite a place.

We headed into Belmopan – the capital of Belize.  #1 thing I noticed — there are 4…5…maybe more…HUGE new modern 4 story buildings for Call Centers.  Belmopan, to me, looks NOTHING like it did a few years ago…I can’t believe how quickly they popped up!  Here is a link to one of the companies and...WHY BELIZE?

I’ve heard about this industry growing in Belize over the last few years but had NO idea the scale!  I wonder what sort of calls are being fielded in Belize…

We stopped in at Hummingbird Furnishings to look around.  I am on a quest for a comfy reading chair…ideally it would be in Belize, not too expensive, and…well…comfortable.  It’s a surprisingly difficult thing to find.

Hummingbird deals mainly in rattan, bamboo, and some local woods.  Everything is beautifully made but way out of my price range.  (I was hoping to find a slightly used one like this…for a SIGNIFICANT discount but they didn’t have one on the showroom floor)

The search continues.

There are two vast floors of furniture and as we were leaving – I realized that the key to our rental Jeep had slipped out of my pocket.  And was lodged in ONE of the chairs that I had tested.

A needle in a haystack!  But luckily it only took a few minutes to locate.

We headed into downtown Belmopan – the US Embassy, many Belize government buildings and the sprawling market.

I first stopped at a pharmacy to buy a prescription that I take.  The cost in San Pedo is $3-4bzd a tablet – in Belmopan, a box of 30 is $21.45bzd.

We bought some car snacks and grabbed a quick lunch (to-go) at the market.  $4bzd bought us 4 hot fresh garnaches and 6 hot homemade chicken panades.   I’m always shocked by how much cheaper Belize is away from the more tourist areas!

For a refresher on the difference between panades and garnaches and tostadas and salbutes, read this blog post.

Casava and plantain chips with ketchup – $1bzd a bag.

Local sweets for sale – $1bzd each.  Wangla – a sesame seed brittle, peanut candy, boiled coconut candy in sugar (also known locally as cuto brute is my absolute favorite)

Waiting for our food to-go.

We jumped back in the car and headed out.  Very pleased with my pharmaceutical thriftiness and our good eats.

Back on the road to San Igancio…it’s about an hour from Belmopan.

And things just keep getting greener and greener as you head westward in Belize.  The views were absolutely GORGEOUS.  I wanted to stop 101 times.  But then I also wanted to get to Chaa Creek!

Love this speed bump sign on the way to the resort – and the dog lounging in the sun, a bit miffed that I was riding up on him.

Hot and dusty when we arrived (our AC was working about half the time) – the welcome drink could NOT have looked better.

Cold sorrel juice – I love the sweetness and the twang – and icy peppermint facial towels.  We let out a big sigh…and let the mosquito-free magic of the Lodge at Chaa Creek take over.

I can’t WAIT to go thru all of my pics and share them with you.  One of my best trips ever.

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