Today we are off to cave tube with Charlie's cave tubing....
We decide to get up and out to breakfast at 8am, the ship docked at 7am...the Crown is anchored off shore as are the other 3 ships and we are tendered in by high speed tender, approx 15 mins. Sunny skies and turquoise seas. We exited terminal tour and the boys in the superman shirts were waiting for us just outside the door....off with Alf and his assistant in a comfy air-conditioned van for the hour ride to the cave site. Belize is a poor country and it is evident all around....tip well and often. The last ten mins of the ride is on a rough dirt road....but the site area is well maintained, clean and well organized. There are large clean restrooms, changing rooms and several restaurants on site. Be prepared with water shoes...the 20 min hike to over uneven terrain and on loose rocks...you carry your own tube and wear a life-vest and headlamp. We had to cross a knee deep river three times...nothing major and the water was perfect. Our biggest mistake was leaving so late...they wanted us off the ship as soon as possible....and we didn't listen...the river was filled with bus loads of tourist and we missed hiking 30 mins up the river to go through additional caves...drat?
The river was "refreshing" but I though very comfortable...pleasant in fact. Our tubes were hooked together in line and off we went into the caves for about a 2 mile long ride with headlamps on....very cool. There is a small waterfall in the middle of the cave...and bats. After we exited the caves, we cruised comfortably down the river another couple of miles through lush tropical jungle....the original lazy river. You end where you began and hike a short way back to the central area. We changed and sat down in one of the small restaurants for a little lunch, which way included with our tour...BBQ chicken and beans and rice, and a Belizean beer....Yum. I found time to purchase a Wist shell necklace and bracelet and a stone carving with a sea turtle and Mayan gods.
Alf gets us back in the van to head back for the long ride to Belize City....with a short stop at Travellers rum factory....for a tasting. $1 US for 3 tastes of your choice...I go for the cashew wine...nasty...the coconut rum...delicious...and the 5 yr old "5 Barrel" rum....double yum! So I invested in a bottle of the coconut rum for $10 and the 5 Barrel for $15. Highly recommended....this is a must do with Charlie's!
Off to the terminal.....but before we enter the door...there is a very nice bamboo drum man...who could resist...not me? One bamboo drum...$10. We passed quickly through security and on to the tender for a quick 15 ride back to the ship by 4pm.
What a perfect day....sea, sun and snorkeling. Cozumel
We had a 9am start time for our glass bottom boat/snorkeling tour with Chi Chi Charters....great great and great. After the long, and I mean long walk from the ship to the terminal and then again through the shopping gauntlet...crazy long. Be aware that there are some peddle bikes (good tip only) for the first half but nothing through the shopping area?? Not ideal for the disabled.
Taxis were available...$8 for a sedan and $16 for a 10 person van..Down to Carleta Marina to catch our boat. Amanda met us for final payment and handed us over to Angel and Al, our captain and snorkel guide. We cruised 30 mins in crystal clear turquoise seas to Columbia reef, our first stop. Gear on and jump in. Clear down to the 50 foot bottom...huge schools of colorful fish....which we swam through the beautiful yellow and black stripped Trigger fish and grey groupers.... Barracuda, couch shells, moray eel, stingray, flounder, starfish, and more....I could do this for days...it was like swimming in a huge aquarium.
Off to Palancar, Chankanaab Reef and El Ceilo (which means heaven and it is)... No more than knee deep turquoise water and white silky sand....it is truly heaven. This is where Al lays out a table full of snacks...homemade salsas, guac and chips, and fresh fruit while we lazy in the water drinking Coronitas and sodas.....love that! Thanks ChiChi for a wonderful day!
Today we have plans with Victor Bodden's tours for an Island tour of Roatan. We exited the ship...please be aware: the walk from the ship to the terminal is fairly long and slightly uphill. It looks to be recently constructed....by Carnival. You exit and walk down to the taxi stand where for $2 pp they will take you the mile over the hill to meet the independent tours. Victor is waiting for us and we are handed over to our guide, Leonora and our driver, Rupert and their huge tour bus. We chose Victor Bodden's Best of Roatan Tour and decided to pay the extra $5 per person to have our own guided tour...well worth it. Our guide was in the assigned meeting place and quickly got us on our way.
What lovely people....they couldn't be more helpful. We head north on the island to the East side view point...and shopping. Morgan buys a huge seashell for $20 and I find 2 cute Guatemalan bags $10, a wooden salt bowl $5, and cute coconut shell starfish earrings....plus 2 seashell trumpets. Another shopping stop...small oil painting of colorful parrots $20, bags of fresh Honduran coffee beans....which smelled marvelous.
Then off to the butterfly farm...$10 pp entrance to see tons of huge butterflies, wild Capuchin Monkeys, jaguar and wild cats.....right in the cage with them. The monkeys loved my dad and wanted to lick his face? Salt lick?
Back down the road....to the West end...very pretty...the water is crystal clear and warm. We stopped for a lunch at Half Moon Bay...tasty but expensive....I tried couch..not for me, but the fried shrimp were great....$140 for lunch for the 5 of us. Right on the ocean...it couldn't be a better spot to have a few cold ones. I wished we had brought our snorkel gear...this is the perfect spot for a dip.
Next stop....West Bay....the most gorgeous beach on the island...unfortunately; it is jammed packed with people...not our style. Bruce and I have a chat with a real estate broker...crazy prices...I think Roatan has been discovered?
Back to the ship... another beautiful day in a beautiful place. If you need help, they do have one wheelchair at Mahogany Bay terminal...