After spending the night in the parking lot of Cheers Restaurant we set off south to Plascencia. This is a small town located at the tip of a peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. But first we wanted to checkout The Spice Farm, this place grows local and East Indian spices and the restaurant serves Indian food.
As it turns out The Spice Farm was not what we were anticipating. You can go on a guided tour of the spice gardens but they want $20US per person, which we thought was expensive for a stroll through the gardens. They have a lot of cruise ship tours, therefore the price for all their goods in $US and overpriced. The restaurant only had Mexican and local Belize food being served which was a bit of a disappointment as we were looking forward to some Indian food.
We picked up a couple of items that we were specifically looking for and decided to continued on to Plascencia, maybe we have been spoilt by Mexico with spending so much time there?
It had been a long day of driving, as in Mexico, travel times are longer than those shown on maps! When we arrived in Plascencia we had already decided that we would stay at the Mariposa Suites and Restaurant. They allow travellers like ourselves to stay in their parking lot on the condition you dined once a day in their restaurant.
The owners Bruce & Sharon are Canadians who are originally from Calgary. We can certainly recommend their hotel for those who would wish to visit the area for a vacation or travelling as we do.
After a long day’s drive, we did not feel like walking into town for the evening, so we sat at the pool where we had a beer before having dinner in the restaurant. We had a laid-back evening before retiring. Next morning, we were up early were we had our coffee sitting on the beach, what a great location this is!
After having breakfast, we were getting ready to go for a walk when we met two other Overlanders, Scott & Rachel (Sporadic Sojourns) who are from the USA, they were just leaving, having been here for a few days already themselves. Once Scott and Rachel left, we walked into the town which was about 3kms/1.5miles away further south on the tip of the peninsula from Mariposa.
Check out the sign in the middle of the next photo, I sure hope they do not get things mixed up!
After strolling around the town, we started back towards Mariposa but this time along the boardwalk which runs parallel to the seafront, where we found a place for a refreshment on the beach.
Just so you know how far we are from anywhere; this next photo will give you some reference.
As we walked along the boardwalk, we found out it’s not just a dog’s life but cats have it pretty good too!
And remember, do not go near the guard dog!
After four or five days here, we headed back north as there are no roads that take you into Guatemala or anywhere else in the south of Belize, our destination was to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. This is not to be mistaken by THE BLUE HOLE, which is located about 80km/50 miles off shore within the world second largest reef.
In the National Park there is a Cenote and some caves that can be visited plus all kinds of wild animals, birds and bugs that can be seen.
First, we set-off to see the Cenote.
When we arrived at the Blue Hole, we found there was a group from a Christian School in the US that had been relaxing in the pool but were now heading to the entrance of a small cave where the water flowed. Once inside the small cavern they started sign using the cave’s acoustics, the sound was quite impressive as they had no instrument’s, they just harmonized.
Next up we visited the main cave.
When we reached as far as we could go inside the cave without a guide we stopped for a moment as we could hear voices, then we saw some lights, before long there was a floating armada of innertubes sailing by with people in them. We had done this activity many years ago at another location while visiting Belize on a cruise ship.
We left the caves to head back to the Ranger Station where we would be staying the night when Catherine spotted a snake, it was only about 16inch/400mm long
When we returned to the Ranger Station, we mentioned about seeing the snake and showed them a photo, they told us it was a Fer-de-lance and is highly poisonous.
The fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper)
The fer-de-lance, widely known in Belize as the yellow-jaw tommygoff, is among one of Belize’s eight venomous snakes. The fer-de-lance can be distinguished by its cream to yellow colored labial scales as well as a brown skin with white-lined black saddles running vertically down its back. It can be found throughout Belize, inhabiting both pine and broadleaf forests, often seeking refuge underneath rocks, in crevices, and among clusters of leaves of woody debris. They are most active at night.
It is responsible for the highest number of deaths from a snake bite in the region. The males in particular can be aggressive, and will not hesitate to strike when it feels cornered and threatened. However, given enough space, it will flee rather than fight, and does NOT chase or pursue people. (As per the Belize Zoo: http://www.belizezoo.org/reptiles/fer-de-lance.html )
That night while we sat out after dinner enjoying the evening, a couple of the Rangers came over and joined us. All of a sudden in the dark there was quite the noise coming from the jungle. We asked the rangers if that was a bird upon which they replied “No it was a beetle; it was mating season and that was the mating call”. Then we thought we were seeing Firefly’s, again the Rangers said; “They are also beetles”. What we were seeing was their eyes which light up, again due to mating season, they were trying to attract a mate.
After a night in the jungle listening to all the various noises, we awoke, had some breakfast then continued north.
Next: San Ignacio