One thing I’ve learned about traveling alone is….you’re never really alone. Perhaps it’s because everyone is in the same predicament as you. Getting away, exploring, letting loose, and meeting new people. When I go up to a random group of people and introduce myself here in the states, I get the hesitant, awkward, distrusting looks and hellos…it takes me a minute to break that barrier down. Not once did I have this issue while traveling. Everyone wants to meet everyone.
That being said, I made my first friend in the taxi cab ride from the airport to the ferry. (There’s a ton of taxi cab drivers waiting at the exit, average cost for a cab to the ferry should be about 25 USD.) She was visiting from China and while we were both headed to different islands, we had some time to kill before our ferry departed. The ferry itself was 1 hour. For my trip, I anticipated spending the most money in Belize, as it is the most tourist area, so to speak. One U.S. dollar equals 2 Belize dollars…a round-trip ferry cost me 34 Belize Dollars. A couple drinks and lunch later and we were on our way.
Caye Caulker is a pretty small island, and you can essentially get everywhere by walking. There’s little golf cart taxis that are cheap, but I wanted the walk. I stayed in a hostel called Bella’s Backpackers. Very low cost, quaint, and full of people. Here’s the deal, before traveling you need to know what you are okay with dealing with. I don’t mind bunking with 10 other people and sharing a bathroom or an outside shower. Hell, I can sleep on a hammock outside (I’ve done that), as long as I have a place to sleep and somewhere to lock up my belongings. I’m never there so I don’t see the purpose in spending money on this aspect of traveling. That’s my preference, yours could be different…keep this in mind when booking!
I meet a couple from the states who had been traveling for a couple months and asked if I can join them for dinner. They were more than welcoming and said they knew a good place that served fresh lobster. At the same time, a group of Canadian girls had just checked in so I invited them as well. When they say fresh lobster, they mean FRESH lobster. They cook the live lobsters right in front of you. All this for only 20 Belize dollars.
There’s a little X-mas parade that goes around the whole island.
The rest of the night entails a lot of drinking, a lot of laughing, and a lot of arm chugging.
There are several good bars to go to at night: Sports Bar, Bambooze Beach Bar, The Lazy Lizard, and I & I (Reggae Bar) were a few of my favorites. A lot of the crowd (both tourists and locals) typically head to Sports Bar first, and since it closes at midnight, head to I & I after. Sports Bar gives a free shot to everyone at 11pm and I somehow ended up being the one to hand that out.
Great night, lots of fun; I wake up early the next morning to explore the island and book a snorkeling tour. I see a lot of people I met the night before, including a girl named Ashley who said she was heading to Antigua, Guatemala the same days I was. (More on that later.) I even decided to get my hair braided.
The Canadian girls I was with the day before joined me for half the day, but weren’t feeling too great and decided to go back to the hostel and take a nap. At this point, we’re at this pretty cool oceanside bar called Sip’N’Dip and I’m not ready to leave. I see a few people in the ocean on the swings, and ask if I can join them. Two Canadians and two Americans, and I immediately like them. We immerse into conversation regarding relationships, politics, education, partying, differences between countries….all while day drinking. I also meet a girl named Jessie, who basically has the same itinerary as I do. She’s traveling alone as well and has already lined up her transportation and has booked a couple of Airbnb’s. She offers (or I offer, I can’t recall) to split the Airbnb’s with her if I join. We exchange What’s App info and plan to meet up later. After that we join a music concert and I meet a few more people, including a guy I convinced to have his hair braided as well, and end the night with a bonfire.
Okay, I didn’t really end the night. My crazy American girl Kelsey tells me to go to a restaurant called Wish Willy Bar & Grill…she knows the owner…so I tell anyone who will listen to me to go there as well. Go home, get ready, I walk to the restaurant and it is PACKED. Every table is taken, and there is NO staff waiting on anyone. Granted, I’m a tad inebriated, but I somehow feel obligated to help out some way…so I walk to the kitchen.
Me: Hi, I'm Priscilla. Do you need any help?
Me: Are you sure? The place is really busy.
Willy: I'm fine.
Me: Well, can I sit here and watch
Willy: I don't care.
After about 5 minutes of silence, he hands me a beer so I know he’s warming up. 5 minutes later and I get him to do an arm chug.
He tells me he’s basically the whole staff, with only a couple of bus boys to help out. As we’re talking, a group of people come up to pay out.
Me: Willy, they want to pay.
Willy: Go ahead and charge them.
Me: Willy, some people just sat down.
Willy: Go ahead and take their drink order.
Me: Willy, they were ready to order so I
took their order as well.
Willy: Fine, take these dishes to that table
Ten minutes later and I was Wishing Willy’s new waitress. I even began recommending dishes I had never even tried. Meanwhile, the lot I invited showed up and thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. It took me about an hour to clear the place out, and while I didn’t get paid any money…I got some custom free meals and drinks. So incredibly worth it.
I had scheduled a snorkeling tour early the next morning, so I decided to go home shortly after that. Raggamuffin tours….I tried to recruit anyone who would listen to me to take the same tour and what do you know? I got my crazy American girls, Canadian girls, and even the guy with the braids (his name is Jay) to show up! I was beyond ecstatic. The tour was awesome. They separated (more like quarantined) us from the large group and our small little boat became the party boat. 10/10 would recommend them. There are 4 stopping points; we saw sharks (lots of them), sting rays, the most beautiful fish I’ve ever seen…and of course the largest living coral reef…The Belize Barrier Reef. After the 3rd stop, I had a little mishap but they fed us alcohol and food so after a bit, I didn’t feel a thing. Needless to say we were feeling pretty good by the time we got back.
It was an amazing way to end Belize; I absolutely adored every person I met on this trip, and still keep in touch with some of them via social media. I couldn’t have asked for a better lot. To think….this was just my first 4 days.