After three days in the jungle, Blancaneaux arranged for us a private transfer to Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola's charming ocean resort in Placencia. Our fourth and final destination. We got settled into our beautifully decorated Balinesisan style cabana and set off to tour the grounds.
That fancy coconut drink? I'd been waiting for one all honeymoon. Hal surprised me with it.
Borrowing Turtle Inn's wheels, we biked into town. Placencia is small, super quaint and 100% authentic. We really dug the non-touristy laid back island vibe. We made it to the crooked dock and bought a few homemade coconut macaroons from Brenda's Caribbean Kitchen. As we left, Brenda shouted after us in her Creole accent, "See you 'round like a donut!" Needless to say, that became our phrase for the rest of the trip.
For dinner, not only was it Indonesian night, it was silent movie night. Score. Our entire table was filled with about 30 small plates of tasty morsels, no kidding. We stuffed ourselves silly while watching Buster Keaton on the big screen.
But this night was far from over. Lucky us, it just happened to be the eve of Belize's Independence Day. The entire village, including the Turtle Inn staff, met at the Barefoot Bar for drinks and dancing. It was pretty awesome seeing the front desk and concierge gals letting loose in normal street clothes. Apparently, we left before the party really started. But we wanted to get back - a storm was brewing overhead...
On the morning on Belize's Independence Day, we woke up the heaviest thunderstorm I've ever experienced. And I live in Seattle, folks. It was thrilling! The rain pounded, the wind roared, and our cabana roof started to leak on my side of the bed. But I didn't even care. I actually watched the storm unfold as I showered. With floor-to-ceiling glass walls, the bathroom looked out to the private patio. It felt like I was outside, but with hot water raining down on me.
After the storm passed, we walked out to the main road to watch the local parade, which pretty much consisted of townsfolk crammed in the back of trucks dancing to music from their boom boxes. Love it. Can you believe that Belize only became an independent nation in 1981?
Afterwards, it was time for our Monkey River wildlife adventure tour. We were so happy to share it with our honeymooner friends, Jeff & Steph.
Meet Terry, our expert guide for the day. He actually grew up in the tiny Monkey River fishing village. We ate a traditional Creole lunch cooked by his mother, while his pops was sound asleep on the porch rocking chair.
It was such a beautiful ride.
After some quality river time, we parked the boat to explore the jungle.
At last, we came upon a family of howler monkeys high in the trees. We heard them from the moment we entered the jungle. They make the most frightening sounds imaginable, similar to the smoke monster from LOST, or dying beasts with breathing problems. If I heard this sound without knowing what it was, I would have ran for my life.
On our way home, we hung out for a bit in shallow waters to try and spot a manatee. And we actually saw a few! Every once in awhile, they'd surface to breathe. Terry has eyes like a hawk. Another day, another incredible tour in Belize. And tomorrow... possibly our favorite one yet.
Guess what we did on our last full day in Belize? As you can see from our extra awesome outfits, yep. That's right. SCUBA!! We upgraded our packaged snorkel tour to an intro dive. We've been dying to learn how. Especially Hal, who could spend all day every day in an underwater aquarium.
We took a speed boat to Laughingbird Caye, the southern most island in the central lagoon of the Belize Barrier Reef. It's one of the world's greatest scuba destinations. We were down for 45 minutes on our first dive! We saw schools of fish and critters in conch shells and a barracuda. After lunch, we went down again. Via boat back flip! (That took some convincing). This time, reaching 70 feet when we're only supposed to go 40. We saw a lobster and a humongous ray.
Sadly, we have no underwater photos of the brilliant things we saw on the bottom of the sea. Just our memories. But we surfaced with ear to ear grins. We're officially hooked and would love to get certified. Do any of you scuba?
Once we got back to Turtle Inn, we took advantage of the complimentary massages for honeymooners. We've decided that here on out, all future trips will be honeymoons. Shhh, no one needs to know.
We hit up the oceanfront bar for pre-dinner drinks and toasted to our final evening with mini Sofia champagne.
After a farewell breakfast with friends, we packed our bags and left for the airport. But in order for us to get there, we had to fly a tiny plane from a tiny airport. Just us and the pilot. Hal even got to sit up front! This was an adventure in itself. It was the perfect way to end a trip of a lifetime. From the little plane, we boarded the big plane. And 3 hours, a layover, and another 5 hours later, we were home.
We hop you enjoyed reading about Shannon & Hal's honeymoon adventure to Mexico & Belize. This concludes a four part Shannon Eileen - Real Honeymoon series. Follow Shannon Eileen's blog