After several recommendations from friends and family who had been there, this newly hitched couple settled on Belize for their honeymoon. We decided to treat ourselves to first class and were able to do so at a reasonable price due to cashing in on some airline miles and the fact that flights south of the border are just cheaper. We rather enjoyed getting to cut the lines almost every step of the way, from checking our luggage, to going through security, to boarding the plane.
Taking advantage of the quiet and the comfy seating in the Emirates (not our airline) boarding area of Seatac Airport.
Having the opportunity to fly the first leg from Seattle to Atlanta on a double-decker plane excited us. I booked our seats on the upper deck so that we could get the full experience. As soon as we stepped onto the plane we encountered the stairway up to the second level. Charlie felt like a kid in a candy store.
Our seats were private pods across the aisle from one another.
Control panel for seat position options
This was a red-eye flight, so we took advantage of the fact that the seats reclined fully.
That's the ticket!
Although having the ability to recline fully was nice, the seats did not in fact make very good beds. The walls of the pods made it so that you didn't really have a lot of wiggle room to get comfortable, and the lack of padding in the seats themselves simulated sleeping on a wooden board. My only other complaint was that my travel buddy was so far away that we couldn't hold hands or really even talk to one another. Next time I will book our pods on the same side of the aisle so that I can at least tousle his hair during the flight.
Cha mostly read and watched Die Hard. I just had to suck it up and be brave all by myself during turbulence.
The second leg of our trip, from Atlanta to Belize City, only had business class. We were very hungry but the food was barely edible. Despite the early hour, everyone else in business class drank their breakfast in the form of free mimosas. We were able to sleep some despite the entire plane being full of excited, loud vacationers. At least 50% of them were elderly.
When the plane landed, we exited via stairs onto a steamy tarmac. The air was much warmer and more humid than what we're used to in Seattle, but not unbearably so. As a matter of international standard, the passport control process was a humorless one. The gruff woman in charge of selecting people for inspection challenged our joint entry form. She didn't like the fact that we claimed to be a family but had different last names. "I don't know you're married," she protested. I rifled through my suitcase pockets trying to find our marriage certificate, but didn't do so in a timely enough manner. She lost her patience and, as a result, just waved us through.
Once inside the airport, we found the Tropic Air desk where we needed to check in for the final leg of our trip to Ambergris Caye. We had arrived earlier than expected so the booking agent asked us whether we'd like an earlier flight. "Yes, but we have no way to contact our hotel," we told the her. "Our agents will call them for you," she responded. Then an astoundingly friendly baggage handler took our luggage and gave us a travel brochure. Needless to say, we were impressed by their willingness to help us out.
After a short wait in the tiny, trinket-filled airport, a petite, young, unflappable woman led us and a few flight-mates back out onto the tarmac. We walked in a single file line up to the smallest plane I have ever seen. A man standing next to it instructed us to board through the small side door and move as far to the front as possible. This meant that the first guy on the plane sat in the co-pilot's chair at the controls. The man ushering us in poked his head into the plane and jokingly asked him, "Are you going to fly the plane too?" The newly deputized co-pilot kept turning around in his seat to smile with boyish delight at the young woman seated next to me. I had seen a similar look on Charlie's face many times during new and exciting experiences like this one and I knew he would have traded places with the lucky "co-pilot" in a heartbeat. However, I was glad he was seated next to his terrified wife where he could hold her hand and help soothe the burning anxiety welling up in her chest.
"God help us!"
"My body is ready."
Pilot and "co-pilot"
The pilot arrived and, thankfully, we embarked on one of the most flawlessly smooth flights I have ever been on, from take-off to landing. We flew quite low, mostly over shallow crystalline jade waters in which Charlie spotted a couple medium-sized sharks.
A transparent sea
Our plane landed at the even tinier airport on Ambergris Caye, and once again we were led off the tarmac in single file to an open-air baggage claim. Within ten minutes we had our suitcases and the curbside attendant had called our personal driver from the resort. Another man nearby was not so lucky and began to audibly lose his shit with the attentive airport staff because he couldn't find his luggage. I recognized him as the culturally daft man whom I had overheard in the Atlanta airport asking ignorant questions of an extremely tolerant Belizean woman. The family members receiving him at the airport, obviously embarrassed by his behavior, did their best to calm and reassure him.
The streets of San Pedro from baggage claim. Golf carts, bicycles, and feet are the main modes of transportation.
The only thing better than a regular golf cart is a cholo golf cart!
Our car arrived after a few short minutes. It was a small van driven by a rather imposing man named Jesus. Despite his intimidating, bodyguard-esque air, Jesus was friendly and helpful. As he drove us through town, he gave directions, indicated points of interest, and provided tidbits of advice for getting around. He drove us to a waterfront dock and hauled our suitcases down to the end of it where we would meet the boat that would take us to our resort.
As we waited, Charlie excitedly pointed out a large grey and white speckled ray approaching the dock. It hovered silently just under the surface of the water, slowly winding back and forth beneath the dock and between the watercraft parked there. I exclaimed, "Oh my god!" because it was the first wild ray I had seen. Jesus had no comment.
Our boat arrived after about ten minutes, driven by a young man named Adam and occupied by a pleased-looking couple. As they exited the boat, the woman told us we were going to love it here, hugged Adam, and then told us to do an excursion with him. I'm not a good swimmer, so of course I am also afraid of boats, and especially by small, speedy boats like the one we were about to ride in. Luckily, Adam navigated the boat gently, if fast, across the aquamarine seawater to our destination. The air smelled great, the sun shone, and the warm wind knotted my hair as we sped across the water. I smiled all the way.
After heading north on the water for about fifteen minutes, we arrived at our destination: Capricorn Resort. Because of the deplorable condition of the main road on Ambergris Caye, most people get to their destinations either by boat, as evidenced by the numerous docks along the way bearing signs of the resorts they belonged to, or by biking or walking down the beach. When we pulled up to the Capricorn dock, the staff met us there, helped us out of the boat, and loaded our luggage into a wheelbarrow. One guy instructed us to head to the bar for our (free) welcome drink. The bartender, José, met us at the edge of the bar patio with two icy glasses of rum punch in hand. We apologetically explained that we did not drink alcohol, so he kindly invited us to sit at the bar and enjoy a plate of fresh fruit while he made us a couple of refreshing, fruity, non-alcoholic drinks. Our private cabana was not quite ready when we got there, so we waited about half an hour at the bar and then went in for a long nap.
We woke at dusk, took a powerful shower, and then went to dinner at Capricorn's restaurant. The food was decent enough, but rather expensive. After dinner, Charlie bought an over-humidified cigar from the bar and we sat in lounge chairs under the palapa in front of our cabana.
Capricorn's dock at dusk
View of the eastern beachfront from the dock
I attempted to read A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush while Charlie smoked and stared out into black horizon. A light rain began, so we decided to turn in early.