This is the place for photos and reflections of my visits to Latin America beginning in 2012. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr. HAPPY TRAILS!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 2014 - BELIZE! 1st stop, Punta Gorda

In August 2012 Mike and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Belize, though it didn't go as planned despite heavy research and attention to detail in planning. I swished in after a month in Guatemala and Mike flew in to join me, beginning Punta Gorda which is in Toledo District in the far south of Belize. You can read our blog posts about that trip beginning with this one and hitting "Newer Post" at the bottom as often as you wish.

When Hurricane Ernesto blew by close enough to evacuate the southern cayes, it sunk our plans to visit ReefCI (Reef Conservation International) in the Sapodilla Cayes; we quickly shifted gears, were grateful we'd purchased trip insurance and began planning our next visit before we completed that one.

Spring forward to March 2014 and here we are - taking care of unfinished business and revisiting past pleasures.

We flew from PDX to DFW...

to BZE (Belize City)...

then boarded a small plane that hopped down the coast to Punta Gorda.

Our landing spot for the 1st 4 nights - again - was wonderful Hickatee Cottages where owners Ian and Kate generously upgraded us from the "Den" cottage we had reserved to the gorgeous "Honeymoon Suite" cottage.

Here are a few more shots around the Hickatee property, starting with the main building that includes the porch area where breakfast is served every morning as well as optional dinners 5 nights per week. On Wednesdays a talented Garifuna drummer named Ray McDonald arrives for an evening of music and lessons; no Wednesday in our list of days here this year so we found him elsewhere. The Hickatee website has a great activities page for those who are interested.

The grounds are wild and beautiful and there are miles of jungly hiking trails.

We enjoyed the chattering of the parrots in the trees and the ROARING of howler monkeys yards away from our cottage (heard them nightly but did see them in daylight this year).

Ian is a gifted amateur entomologist in a rewarding environment. He manages the Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm (next post) and has a 'new species' butterfly environment on the Hickatee property...

in addition to near daily visits by something unusual; our special visitor was the leaf mantid below. It's head is actually tiny like a regular mantis - it's carrying its big front arms alongside.

We really enjoy the town of Punta Gorda, a "real" town - not especially set up for tourists - with great cultural diversity and interesting buildings and signs. Highlights are the houses we pass along the way, the market, and the shoreline. It's about a mile from Hickatee into town on bikes.

Note the sign on the laundry: International Airline Reservations and Tickets

Note the sign: Louis Braddock, Commissioner of Supreme Court (chair is busted so man with long beard is sitting on a board across the arms)

We found a little local place to order lunch and bought delicious little coconut tarts from a boy passing by.

Note bottom of sign on left: fish, gibnut, deer: when have

One evening we enjoyed a nice dinner at Marian's, a Belizean/East Indian place...

and then headed to Da Lazy Fish for an evening of fabulous Garifuna singing and drumming with Ray McDonald (white shirt) who runs the Warasa Drumming School and his dad and 2 aunties.

Too bad Toledo District is off the radar for most visitors to Belize - lots to see and do. If you're interested, there are more photos to check out here:

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