Give us this day our daily run on the shore of Ambergris Caye

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Welcome to the neighborhood, just north of the San Pedro Town bridge. Today we're going to take a short jog through the area ... so strap on those Nikes and put some sun screen on. No need to stretch. We won't be breaking any speed records, nor climbing any hills. This is a fun run. Really.
Welcome to the neighborhood, just north of the San Pedro Town bridge. Today we’re going to take a short jog through the area … so strap on those Nikes and put some sun screen on. No need to stretch. We won’t be breaking any speed records, nor climbing any hills. This is a fun run. Really.

So, every morning I go for a run over brutal rugged rainforest terrain, up breathtakingly steep hills and down slippery slopes, sometimes narrowly leaping from the jaws of animals I have yet to identify and fending off attacks from angry macaws – or are they mosquitoes? Not bad for a 10-mile sprint.

Ha! Ha! Just kidding.

Would you still be reading if I said: “So, most mornings I go for a short run up the road, until I reach the Palapa Bar where I do not stop for a beer, no matter how tempting. I turn south and head back along the gentle beach trail past beautifully landscaped houses and resorts. Not bad for a two-mile jog.”

What can I say?

Running in Paradise is not a struggle unless I get a late start and the sun is really warm. Then I sweat a little more and get a tan.

No, this is not man against nature and my daily (most days) run would never make the highlight reel of a reality TV show, unless it were House Hunters International.

Not surprisingly Rose and I both set out “becoming healthier and more fit” as goals when we made this move to Belize. Both of us sort of fell off the health and fitness wagon some time ago – Rose because she was working so hard keeping others fit and healthy and me, well, let’s say it has been a long road back after surgery last April.

Rose has been getting up every morning and pedaling to Zen Arcade on the south side of San Pedro to take a yoga class. Sometimes she returns later for a dance class. Yesterday she did yoga in the morning, dance in the late afternoon and then I met up with her for a candlelight yoga class at 6 p.m.

Running has always been my path to good health and fitness. So I am simply going with what I know best – step by step, a little bit more every few days. (With a yoga session salted into the mix, here and there.)

I have company on the road, mostly young men and women on bicycles heading north to work in the resorts or construction sites, of which there seem to be quite a few.

I do wonder what they must think of this old guy running up the road.

I want to wear a t-shirt that says:


Started working in 1969 …

and never stopped (until last month).

Don’t hate me!


This is my run.

It will get longer. I will get stronger. I will get tanner.

Meanwhile, this is a nice way to show you a bit of what our neighborhood looks like.

***   ***   ***

Every run begins here at the entrance to our condo. Not only that but part of my daily fitness regimen includes carrying our bicycles up and down from the third floor balcony. If that doesn’t build muscle mass … 

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And out the entrance to the main road…photo (117)

One of the island’s great curiosities, an information booth in the middle of, basically nowhere. The other day I saw two official-looking people in the booth for the first time. They were policemen who had set up a license-check roadblock. Some day, when I know a lot more about Ambergris Caye, I think I’ll sit in this booth and dole out information and opinions to passing golf carts ….

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Turn left at the information booth and hit the road north. This is the only road north (or south) above the the town bridge, by the way. Very hard to get lost…

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One of the joys of my running route is passing the home of our good friends John and Rose. They built this home from scratch and opened it up to us when we first arrived a month ago.

photo (113)

OK, I’ll shut up now. I don’t need to tell you that the road is bordered by lush vegetation that can provide welcome shade on hot days. It is also quite dusty this time of year as traffic builds and rainfall is scarce. It is not unusual to see people hosing down the road to keep the dust down. OK, really, I’ll shut up.

photo (112)

photo (111)

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Eventually you come to what only looks like the end of the road. Straight ahead is a police substation and a sign for the world famous Palapa Bar, made famous by Jimmy Buffett and thousands of tourists who came away too loaded to recall just how they contributed to the bar’s fame. But they did. More than likely they also borrowed a magic marker so they could leave behind on any available surface in the bar: 1.  their name, 2. their declaration of undying love, and/or 3. the name of their SEC football team. We will take a right here, conveniently heading toward the Caribbean Sea.

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At the end of the fence we will take a sharp right and head south into the steady, cooling breeze that rolls off the sea. This is the beach half of the run. This trail is used by joggers, walkers and cyclists and experiences heavy southbound traffic in the late afternoon as people head home from work. 

But for now, it is almost ours exclusively. Let’s head out, shall we?

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This fellow was paddling north with quite a load on his kayak. There is a local kayak fisherman who pulls up to the beach in front of a local bar called Coco Loco during the early evening and sells his fresh catch to the patrons there. We haven’t seen him yet but imagine enjoying your evening cocktails, picking up a fresh snapper and heading home to the grill.

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As hard as it is to take your eyes of the blue and green hued ocean, there are some pretty impressive homes along the waterfront. A lot of them are either for rent or sale.

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This set of outdoor furniture makes me smile every time I pass by. Wait, I was smiling already.A bigger smile, I guess.

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The wind was fierce the night before and there were palm fronds all around the trail. I assumed any coconuts that fell during the night were harvested quickly.

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Not everything is postcard perfect. There are spots where the buildup of plastic trash is startling, mostly in front of vacant lots. A lot of it is cruise ship trash but a lot is also from people who simply toss a water bottle when they are done with it. This part of the path has looked much worse in recent weeks. A change in wind direction, a high tide, a stiff breeze — and the plastic tide moves offshore, however briefly.

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My second favorite set of beach furniture along the route. The chairs must have gotten tossed about in last nights wind. Usually they are set up, waiting for a nice foursome of card sharks to play “Go fish.”  … Sorry.

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Nearing the end of the run. Head off to the right near the pile of poles and we’re right back on the main road in front of the Barrier Reef Resort.

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And waiting at home as a reward for all that effort: this slice of key lime pie. … No, wait. That’s not waiting at home. That is the reason I ran today. Now I remember. I stopped off at a restaurant called Lick’s Beachside Cafe, in San Pedro last night and had this incredible desert. And, yes, that is pineapple-coconut ice cream with a swirl of chocolate on the plate. Every bit as decadent as it sounds.

Here’s the thing: Never have something this good a half-hour before going to yoga. You’re concentration will be shot and your Standing Tree pose will look more like a swaying willow in the breeze.

And those people? Not Photoshopped. I’m pretty sure they wanted that piece of pie. My piece of pie ….


So this is what I really had for breakfast: A nice heaping bowl of fresh bananas, papaya and local yogurt — with a couple of McVitie’s Digestive cookies crumbled on top.



14 thoughts on “Give us this day our daily run on the shore of Ambergris Caye

    Emily said:
    March 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Great post! It was fun to see so many photos of places I know so well. Looks like there have only been a few changes since we left a year ago, like the fancy new white wall around the property just the south of the Palapa bar, which used to be simple 4×4 wood posts, and before that, no fence at all. I’ll be interested to hear how you like running as the weather gets warmer. Much warmer. I found that I could do a morning jog up through about March. Starting in April, the morning sun just got too hot for me. I could bike, but not run. But I’ve never been able to run in really hot sun in the US either. Has Rose ever given Ak’Bol a try for yoga? It’s a lot closer to you than Zen, and I loved the practice there. One fina comment: that “Information Stand” used to be where the timeshare sales guys selling Reef Village VERY aggressively hung out. Any tourist daring to walk or ride by was fair game. Of course times change — as do resort names!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      March 14, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Hi Emily,
      Ak’Bol is on Rose’s list but I think she just hit it off well with the two women who run Zen Arcade last year when we first visited San Pedro. Living and running in inland San Diego for so many years, hot weather was just a given but, oh my, it could be brutal.
      And thanks, now the “information” stand makes sense. That must have been annoying. I promise to be very polite and non-aggressive when I sit in there. Well, maybe a little sarcastic…..


    Karen Kelly said:
    March 14, 2014 at 5:52 am

    O.k., o.k., o.k., I get it! I’m off to the treadmill. I won’t be running along the beach. My run will consist of an indoor treadmill looking over the freezing cold Old Town Alexandria. I will be in search of Key Lime pie later. Stay posted!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      March 14, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Remember the Golden Rule of eating and running, Karen: If you burned it, you earned it. Be the key lime pie!


        Karen Kelly said:
        March 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

        Yes, Bob! I love the way you think. Elliptical today , four miles. By my altered calculations, that should be good for two pieces of pie. Right?


        robertjhawkins1 responded:
        March 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        No, no, no, Karen. Remember what I taught you: Take one piece of pie, slice it right down the middle and put the halves on separate plates. Very important to use two forks when you eat both pieces. See? TWO pieces of pie. Only not…..


    lifeagain said:
    March 14, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Great post Robert….and unbelievable picture taking, and your Photo book of San Pedro Belize hits the world market when?


    Helen Armstrong said:
    March 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    You are supposed to go to Lick’s for key lime pie for lunch and then Dandi’s for frozen custard for dessert!!!!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      March 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Oy. You are so right, Helen! I’ll just keep practicing until I get it right …..


    Randy and Antoinette Moore said:
    March 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Bob, Thanks for allowing me to live life on the Island thru you 🆒. Randy


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      March 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Randy,
      Great to hear from you — and thanks!


    Dave G said:
    April 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Wow Bob, I always envied you for living in San Diego, CA but this blog and these pictures turn me a whole different shade of green! Excuse me, I have to go scrape some ice off my car ON APRIL 16!!!!!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      April 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Dave! And I always envied your New York living! (Well, less than envy, more like admiration.) Thanks for reconnecting. My e-mail is robertj.hawkins2012(at) fill me in on what you are up to these days! Thanks so much for joining us on this adventure, too!


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