If you are a child of the 80’s you are humming along after reading that title. Chanel your inner Journey. Sing the sound. Out loud. It makes you feel good…
As the song goes….Don’t stop belizing—hold onto that feelin’
Speaking of journey…..haha….see what I did that.
During our Belize studies (and the studying we did reading the travel magazine while waiting in lines in custom) we heard about something called the Secret Beach.
Getting there required a 45minute golf cart ride along the island. If you’ve read anything about my traveling experience you know that motorized vehicles aren’t my strong suit.Read here for the moped debacle . Nonetheless, I was willing to try again.
“Are we going to have another moped story?” Liam asked as we piled in our rented golf cart and prepared to follow the hand written map to our destination. A map I must confess included such directions as “when the map ends turn right” and “4 miles down a dirt road.”
We took off. Through the streets of San Pedro we went. We passed bikes, more of the open air boutiques I described yesterday and shanties. The roads may have been paved with good intentions but that was all about all the paving that had. Potholes the size of a small car were prevalent. There were several times I did the whole use-my-arm-as-a-seatbelt to prevent Kinsley from hitting the dash. On more then one bumpy occasion I had to turn around to be sure Liam was still perched on the back seat.
In San Pedro fast food consisted of folding tables and pots and pans full of homemade food sitting haphazardly either on or just beside the road. We passed those too. “Co-Co nuts….fresh co-co-nuts,” barkers called out, “we’ve got rum!” They would add to entice passerby’s to stop.
Block after block we found abandoned constructions sites. Hotels half built. Homes with the skeleton of a 2nd story only barely completed. Several of the properties looked as if the crew had simply walked away one day and never returned. I’d love to know the stories behind the empty ruins that appeared to have meant to be luxury hotels or lavish homes.
Large iguanas sunned themselves on porches. Single palm trees stood sentry in empty lots. The further we went out the more space there became between the crumbling structures. Soon there were handmade signs proclaiming a BAR or a YOGA retreat.
As instructed we got to what appeared to be the end of the island and turned off onto a dirt road. Water began to appear. Marshy, low lands with salt water rivers popping up here and there. It was the only indication we were headed in the right direction.
After a very bumpy 45 minutes we saw a sign pointing toward the Secret Beach. We drove a little more and out of the desolate land popped an oasis. A cheerful man saw us and waved us over. “You are here! Welcome to the Secret Beach. Come. Come.” We parked where he directed and looked ahead.
Palm trees swayed. Music played. Bright blue water laid out as far as we could see. A huge bar was off the the left. Blue cushioned lounge chairs stood ready and waiting. Further out a water playground waited for little ones to play upon. A pier and a thatched pavilion overlooked the turquoise water.
I giggled in glee. Actually giggled. I was so freaking excited. It was paradise. Absolute paradise. Any stress left in my body faded away and I was as suddenly as relaxed and happy as I had ever, ever been.
We spent the morning sipping on cocktails and exploring the clear, cool waters of the sea. The sea was so salty it held you up. All you had to do was kick up your feet and you could float for hours while the water lapped over you.
The secret beach was made up of 3-4 little areas each with their own bar and delights. One had swings in the ocean. Another had little boats you could rent. yet another was a full scale restaurant and bar. This restaurant was unique in that the tables were IN THE WATER. You swam up to your table and a fully dressed water waded over and took your order. While you waited on your food you snorkled around the table seeing sea horses, needle nose fish, tarpon and shiny silvery fish that swam around your feet waiting for you to drop your chip into the water. If you weren’t a snorkeler you could play beer bong in the center of the tables. If tables weren’t your thing you could rent a tube, tie it up to the table and eat and drink floating all around. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond played while the patrons sang along. Boats pulled right up to the pier where people debarked and swam over to tables.
How. Cool. Is. That? I mean seriously HOW COOL IS THAT?
We stayed in paradise all day.
The kids snorkled and I napped.
I napped and the kids snorkled.
We took pictures. In the same order that Kinsley had already established: Me, her, she and I, she and Liam, Liam and then all of us.
We bought souvenirs from 2 little girls with a table set up. Their mother was Guatemalan and handmade purses. They made more of the ever present bracelets and beaded items. Carved wood pieces made of local wood. A lady walked around offering to braid your hair Island style. They offered their wares, they didn’t nag or pester. There very presence added to the festive, fun, party atmosphere of the little beach there at the end of the world.
I could have stayed forever but the clouds darkened and the sun began to fade. We rushed to our golf cart as the skies opened up and rain began to fall.
The rain barely lasted long enough for us to get damp. But we’d spent the day in paradise and it was time to head back.
Midway down the barely marked road I suddenly realized the absurdity of the situation. Here I was on a rented golf cart, miles away from the safety of our resort. I had only a crudely drawn map to show me the way. I had 2 teens in tow. Our phones didn’t work.
About the time I started nervously laughing at the whole situation the gold cart went dead. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed while the teens looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I barely had time to panic when my smart girl realized that the severe bumps in the road had caused the golf carts lever to pop into neutral. Moments later we were back on the road.
It was an adventure within our adventure.
On the way back we stopped at a Co-Co nut stand to let Liam buy a non-alcoholic coconut—straight off the tree. He sat like a toddler with a Capri Sun sipping coconut water right out of the fruit. He might have enjoyed it more had I not hit the worlds largest pot hole that sent him and the coconut flying. Any liquid he had remaining was soon splashed all over him when I, intent of capturing a picture of the surroundings, veered a little too far off the road and almost hit a bike. I don’t believe I was all that close but my dramatic daughter grabbed the wheel and jerked us to the other side of the road.
Words were exchanged. But lets not dwell on that.
Once we were safe and sound back at our little hut I was quite proud of myself. I felt brave. I felt like I’d created memory within a memory that made the whole trip even more faceted then even I had imagined.
And I hadn’t repeated the whole ‘moped’ incident.