The UnBelizable Braacks Honeymoon Adventure February 5-15, 2018
10 miles off the coast of Dangria, Belize you will find Thatch Caye Private Island Resort. This is a barefoot luxury paradise if your definition of luxury is being cut off from the world surrounded by nature, simple and rustic accommodations and handmade furniture. The restored and carved woods from Belize are found all around and in every detail on Thatch Caye. No TV and wifi only in the main house. Thatch roofed huts are spread out over the island surrounded by waves softy crashing outside your room while magnificent frigate birds soar above the sun rising from the East.
Our first full day was enjoyed at our new home away from home. You truly feel like family here. Thatch Caye is fully equiped with Dewey - the island dog boss, who is your welcome crew, as well as the mascot of the island life (aka Chillin like Dewey). On Thatch Caye you will find two bars, two docks, barefoot beach with kayaks, SUP, and hobi cats. You can even get a massage on a private corner of the island to the sound of waves. We chose to kayak around the island (about 45 minutes) after our breakfast and relax on barefoot beach with a local rum drink in hand. We caught a live conch and played with the baby stingrays. After feeling completely relaxed and in the moment, we headed to the Starfish Bar to mingle with some of the other guests. We played UNO and watched the sunset with our new friends from Michigan and Minnesota.
The food has to be one of the most memorable parts of our time on Thatch Caye. Great local curry flavors and fresh fish and produce made with so much love. You never have to choose your meals or stand in a line for buffet food. There is no menu here. They simple make you breakfast, lunch and dinner and tell you about each plate as they serve you. No menus, no choosing, just great food and atmosphere! Belizeans from the mainland work two week with 11 days on and 3 days off. They are also a highlight on the island. Super friendly, helpful and accommodating in a relaxed and island style vibe. People always make a destination memorable and Thatch is very special. There about 26 guests on the island at one time and this intimate experience is felt through and through. Those good feel island vibes all day and night. Learn more about this resort here.
When we arrived in San Pedro it was a big change from our private island of relaxation. We flew Maya Island Air on a small 12 passenger plane to the island of Ambergris Caye. San Pedro town is much more alive than our hideaway in southern Belize. Here we got the taste of the local life by renting a bungalow from a couple expats. This island is pretty buggy so they gave us insense coils to burn in our place, which helped some. Our hosts were so wonderful. We rented a golf cart for a day and they showed us most of the island. We went out to Secret Beach where it is less touristy and just a few miles away from Leonardo DiCaprio’s private island, Cayo Espanto.
On our way back we stopped at the Truck Stop which is a fun place for tourists and locals to get a bite to eat, a cocktail, play games, watch movies and even has a pool! The food trucks are made of storage containers and have options like Asian street food and have New Haven pizza, which is from my home state and the best pizza in the country, and ice cream. There is a swim-up bar at the pool and a dock to watch the sunsets. That night, our new friends took us to a local charity event called Miss Carnival. This is where local middle aged business woman compete in a beauty pageant. They sing and dance and make fun of themselves for the honor of being Miss Carnival 2018.
Some of our favorite spots to relax and eat with locals were Estel’s by the Sea on the beach near Central Park San Pedro Town and Sandy Toes where they have adirondack chairs in the water for your lounging pleasure. That night, we decided to change up our beans and rice for French fare at a new spot called The French Connection. We met the owner the first night when we were exploring downtown. We had an amazing four course meal made by a classically trained French Chef. Our last day on Ambergris Caye was my favorite! I had setup a day on the water with a private guide to three snorkeling spots and lunch on Caye Caulker. We made stops at Shark Ray Alley and the Hol Chan reef, fed tarpons and spotted seahorses. We lunched on Caye Caulker where their island motto is “Go Slow.” Sunday funday at the Lazy Lizard or Coco Caye is a must do. Drinking green drinks and eating classic Belizean stewed chicken and coconut rice and beans was a perfect complement to swimming with Sharks, Sting Rays, Sea turtle along with many colorful fish. Upon our return, Carnival had begun! There were local children running around throwing paint on each other and dancing in the foam machine that was blown into Central Park as the celebration began. We drank and danced and painted each other laughing the entire time. Walking back to our place through Middle Street we stumbled upon more music and a drag queen parade. Women dressed up like Indians and men dressed up like woman all led by a pickup truck blasting music through the streets. This was our only day to experience Carnival and it was only day one.
The next day we changed our mode of transit and hopped a ferry back to Belize City to pick up our rental SUV for part three of our honeymoon adventure. We traveled all day to get to the Blancaneaux Lodge in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. Francis Ford Coppola found this site in 1961 and fell in love with the solitude and raw beauty of the jungle. The journey was no small feat from San Pedro Town- 1 and a ½ hour ferry from the Cayes, 20 minute taxi from the ferry to Belize International Airport to pick up the rental SUV and then about a 3 hour drive from Belize City to Georgeville in the Cayo District and the beginning of Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. I stopped driving at this point and let my new husband drive the rocky roads. It was mostly highway until then. We traveled through a few small villages but also open road. When roads soon turned windy and hilly through the small villages, we stopped for lunch in one of the bigger towns called Belmopan. We tried pig tail with a side of rice, beans and homemade sausage. Driving into the jungle was bumpy but beautiful. It started to rain which made us feel like we were in the rainforest and on the right road (since there are no street signs).
When we finally made it to this remote site in the jungle, Blancaneaux Lodge treated us to fine Italian dining and wine, their own organic farm to table experience, Thai massages, and our very own honeymoon bungalow perched above a rushing river and waterfall. The stars that night were the most I’ve seen in years. The clear sky sparkled and the candle lit bungalow was super romantic. When we left Blancaneaux Lodge, we headed into the city of San Ignacio and her surrounding Mayan ruins. We took a different road into town and seems more populated. Even some road was paved! There was a small village that seemed to have some good money by the size of the home structures and electricity presence. Still pretty bumpy, mountain jungle.
We never got lost. Not once. No street signs but great directions and maps helped us along the way. Getting into San Ignacio we were greeted with colorful welcoming letters. We immediately found a local spot to grab some lunch. This time Tosadas and Belikin (Belize’s local beer). From there we drove to the hand cranked bridge to Xunantunich only we couldn’t drive over the bridge because it had rain so much the day prior that the Mopan River was too high for cars to be on it. We decided to hike one mile up hill to the Stone Lady and it was totally worth it.
Xunantunich(pronounced Shoon-nik-tune-ish) or the Stone Lady was a beautiful experience. We found some interested protectors of this Mayan burial site from very long ago. The loudest howler monkeys I’ve ever heard sounded off like Pterodactyls in Jurassic Park. Where are we?! Stone colored iguanas surprised you as you climb the giant steps to the top. The view from the top was amazing. You could see San Ignacio and the Belize mountain jungles then the other side you can see Guatemala! Rustic and eco-friendly, adventurous and relaxing. As a honeymoon and travel advisor, I highly recommend Belize for the traveler who wants more than just a beach vacation. History, culture, great food, underwater worlds, jungle mysteries and overall touches of luxury can be found all over this country. Contact Jessica about Belize or your honeymoon wishes at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her page for travel inspiration on Facebook at Wildcat Adventures