Ah, the power of the Internet to connect us all! A few years ago, when we first visited Belize and I blogged about it, I picked up quite a number of Belizean readers. One of the most enthusiastic was Drew Travers down in Placencia — which was not a part of Belize we had visited. When I blogged that, on this trip, we were planning to station ourselves in Placencia, Drew graciously extended an invitation to get together. This was pretty exciting since our stories had a number of similarities. Namely, finding oneself somewhere we never thought we would be, doing something we never imagined doing and blogging about it regularly. In Drew’s case, he left work at the Maine Medical Center for a sabbatical working in a clinic in Punta Gorda and ended up buying property and moving himself and his wife Karen down permanently. Next thing they knew, they were running guest cabanas and developing property in Seine Bight.
Another similarity: working with the land. In the past ten years, they’ve cleared out a jungly tangle on the lagoon-side of their property and learned to replant and nourish mangroves. On the ocean side of their property, they’ve cleared out sick and blighted palms and replanted younger healthier ones. (Well, they did have some help with the clear-out from Hurricane Iris in 2001 — a rare hurricane to make landfall in Belize which is generally out of the hurricane path.) So after a delicious brunch at The Inn at Roberts Grove (thanks Drew and Karen for treating us), we went on to see their properties.
That’s where we discovered another common bond: dogs. As Drew says, “I started reading Left Coast Cowboys for the Belizean posts. I stayed for the terriers.”
While Drew and Karen showed us around, we peppered them with hundreds of questions about everything from Belizean construction methods to social issues in the country to recommendations for the best dive shops. They graciously answered and set straight some of our misperceptions. Remember how I’m always cautioning that Belize is not the place to go for a beach vacation? In general, Belizean beaches are narrow strips of sand usually covered with washed up sea grass and edged with mangroves. Not that that is a negative. What Belize gives you in terms of spectacular diving would not be available without the mangroves and the sea grass providing a nutrient-rich spawning ground for the reefs’ colorful fish, manatees and birds. So if you want wide sandy beaches, go to Florida or Hawaii or the Caribbean. And expect a tenth of the sea life you can see in Belize.
Now let me amend that assertion. Don’t expect beautiful beaches in Belize unless you stay at Drew and Karen’s Maine Stay guest cabanas that front up on what must be the best beach in the country.
Andy and I decided The Maine Stay would be a great place for families or two families traveling together to stay and enjoy Belize, especially with its little fenced in yard.
Meanwhile, if any of you have any other questions about this wonderful part of the world, call me or email. I have a Man in Belize.
(You can find Drew’s blog here.)