With bookends for our trip, Belize will be a breeze

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Suddenly we have the other bookend for our trip to Belize in search of a new home.

San Pedro on Amberguis Caye -- our first stop on the road to a new home in Belize. Gosh, I hope there is a little room left on the island for us ....
San Pedro on Amberguis Caye — our first stop on the road to a new home in Belize. Gosh, I hope there is a little room left on the island for us ….

We’ve known for weeks that our time in Belize will begin with a few days in San Pedro on Amberguis Caye. And, yes, I know that is where every tourist in Belize goes.

No mea culpas here. There’s a reason everyone flocks to the sinewy, crowded island off the mainland coast. It seems to have everything you ever imagined in a tropical island – funky beach bars and restaurants, snorkel and scuba trips right out your front door, white sand beaches and palm trees, sun and … it’s the iconic island life you see in movies. And in your dreams. This is our decompression.

We soon enough grab a short flight back to the mainland, pick up a car and work our way north to the Corozal District and a little casita on Orchid Bay. Corozal holds some intrigue. I’ve read lots that says there’s nothing to do there. And yet, it is right up against the border with Mexico and mere miles from some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in the region. We’ll see what “nothing” really means.

Then what?

Well, then we have 10 days to go where ever and discover all that we can.

Tools for developing a vacation strategy. Filling 19 days in Belize isn't easy, when you have a wish list 30 days long.
Tools for developing a vacation strategy. Filling 19 days in Belize isn’t easy, when you have a wish list 30 days long.

Rose and I have been poring over blogs, travel stories, maps and books, especially a couple of Moon handbooks “Living Abroad in Belize” by Victoria Day-Wilson and “Belize” by Joshua Berman, as well as the Lonely Planet guide “Central America on a Shoestring” and the photo-rich and relentlessly upbeat “Belize” from Insight Guides.

Still, filling those 10 days has remained sketchy at worse and aspirational at best. We’ve stuck enough pins in our map to keep us on the road for 30 more days.

We are trying to balance our roles as tourists and prospective immigrants. Blue Hole? We can visit that once we live here. The Mayan ruins of Altun Ha, Xuanantunich and Cahal Pech? Perhaps two out of three on this trip. The remote and lesser developed Toledo District of Southern Belize with its great hiking and camping? Once we live here.

Then yesterday, as if it were reading our mind, Groupon sent Rose a new offer for a package deal at a resort in San Pedro with a name that reminded me of that lovely film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – only this is the Exotic Caye Beach Resort. (Did I mention that “caye” is pronounced “key” in Belize?)

That would put us roughly back where we started and seems a great way to end our trip.

I am blessed with a step-son, Jon, who is my same size in shirts, shoes and backpacks -- and he has a much better wardrobe than I do. Thanks for the backpack, Jon!
I am blessed with a step-son, Jon, who is my same size in shirts, shoes and backpacks — and he has a much better wardrobe than I do. Thanks for the backpack, Jon!

Now with fewer days in the middle, the rest of our trip has fallen into place: two days in San Ignacio in the western most territory, near the jungle-enshrouded border with Guatemala and three days along the middle coast exploring Dangriga, Hopkins, Maya Beach and Placentia – all potential places where we could eventually live.

Daddy, start packing
One other event today brings this trip ever closer. My backpack arrived. Actually it belongs to my step-son Jon who has spent the past year-and-a-half in Nicaragua and Guatemala working on his “Life Out of the Box” project. Jon and his partner Quinn are back in the states through the holidays so he graciously gave up this huge rucksack, a Gregory Whitney,  so I wouldn’t have to buy a new one.

Now I must begin imagining what I will fill it with.

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