Belize as others see it: Of travel and chocolate

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Lagoon-side of San Pedro from which the water taxis leave for Corozal in northern Belize and Chetumal, Mexico. (Photo by San Pedro Scoop)
Lagoon-side of San Pedro from which the water taxis leave for Corozal in northern Belize and Chetumal, Mexico. (Photo by San Pedro Scoop)

What is that saying, “It is not the destination, it is the journey”?

I was thinking about that the other day as I read Rebecca Coutant’s step-by-step account of traveling back to the States from San Pedro in her blog, San Pedro Scoop.

Rebecca chose the most economical albeit time-consuming way to the States. Remember, it is about the journey. And by her estimate, she saved $400 USD. Not chump change by any measure.

Follow along with Rebecca as she travels by water taxi, cab and bus to Cancun, where flights to and from the U.S. are much much cheaper than Belize-U.S. flights. Rebecca includes helpful details, like the prices of her various modes of transportation, length of time each mode takes and calories consumed at McDonald’s while waiting for her U.S. flight.

A few things you need in your kit for this trip: Time, flexibility, a sense of adventure, a sense of humor and a good grip on your Kindle.

The bridge from Belize to Mexico, near Corozal. (Photo by San Pedro Scoop).
The bridge from Belize to Mexico, near Corozal. (Photo by San Pedro Scoop).

The more traditional — and direct –way to get in and out of Belize is to fly with Tropic Air or Maya Island Air from San Pedro to Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport north of Belize City. It is also more expensive. A flight directly to the airport is $72 per person, one-way.

Or you could take a $15 to 17.50 USD water taxi to Belize City and then a cab to the airport. You have a choice of water taxi companies — Caye Caulker Water Taxi and San Pedro Belize Express.

Just last week, Tropic Air announced the addition of two new roundtrip flights between Cancun and Belize. The airline frames it as a boon to European travelers arriving in Cancun — you no longer have to overnight to catch a flight to Belize — but I’ll bet increasing the frequency of connections benefits US and Canada travelers, too. San Pedro to Cancun will run you $320 per person/one-way.

As Rebecca notes in her headline: San Pedro, Belize to Cancun Airport: You’ve Got Options, Almost Too Many.

It really pays to take some time and pencil out the costs and time commitments in the various options.

But let’s talk chocolate

Sampling some of the delicious chocolates of Belize.
Sampling some of the delicious chocolates of Belize.

I’ve got to alert folks to the coolest festival that I have never attended.

Hey, I just got here!

Next year.

It is the Belize Chocolate Festival in Punta Gorda, Toledo District. This remote town at the southern end of Belize seems to be getting more love all the time.

We’ve spoken with a number of friends who recently returned from trips to Punta Gorda and they have spoken approvingly of the people, the food, the experiences (Drumming! Chocolate! Mayan ruins! Chocolate beer and lionfish!) to be had there.

Many people who head south from Ambergris Caye, speak of experiencing a trip back in time. Caye caulker is San Pedro 20 years ago. Placencia is San Pedro 10 years ago. Punta Gorda is San Pedro 30 years ago.

I’m not sure if this reflects uneasiness with the current state of San Pedro or a nostalgia for a time when the land was less-developed, the people more-relaxed and the prices less-pegged to U.S. big-dollar tourism.

Most recently, Rebecca Courant (again) has written several blog posts on the Chocolate Festival. You can find them on her San Pedro Scoop. They really do show a different side to Belize, one that could be more of the country visitors envision when they book here.

And again, Rebecca provides the most organic and entertaining means of traveling to the distant Toledo District — by water taxis and buses.

Excellent example of a Garifunian drummer fn Punta Gorda where chocolate and rhythm blend naturally into a brew called happiness.
Excellent example of a Garifuna drummer in Punta Gorda where chocolate and rhythm blend naturally into a brew called happiness.

Also, Lorenzo Gonzalez offers some nice photos from the festival on the Adventure Belize blog, which I gather are courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board. At the end of his post, Lorenzo provides links to several other tours worth checking out while visiting Punta Gorda.

While I have not attended the festival nor been to Punta Gorda, I have eaten Belize chocolates in many incarnations. They make your U.S. industrial chocolates as in Snickers and Hershey bars taste like cardboard. I’m not sure the average American taste buds are ready for  chocolates so reach, so flavorful, so infused with primal energy.

The average American who eats Belizean chocolate might begin thinking unregulated thoughts of independence and desirability, might think living in a foreign country is preferable to having 24/7 access to a 7-11 or something, might stop wearing a business suit and strap on sandals, might think they were really born tobe a drummer rather than third assistant district manager for consumer acquisition.

Belizean chocolate in small doses can make you a very happy person.

Trust me on that one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Belize as others see it: Of travel and chocolate

    4sarge said:
    June 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Wow, enough to create a desire to immediately pack ones suitcase for an extended stay.
    The average American who eats Belizean chocolate might begin thinking unregulated thoughts of independence and desirability, might think living in a foreign country is preferable to having 24/7 access to a 7-11 or something, might stop wearing a business suit and strap on sandals, might think they were really born tobe a drummer rather than third assistant district manager for consumer acquisition.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      June 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Trying to remember what kind of chocolate I was eating at the time I wrote this, 4Sarge …

      Like

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