After our interesting border crossing, right away Ricky was the nicest guy we have met. Ricky and his scruffy dog Rex ran “Casa Ricky’s” which had three private rooms and a small apartment downstairs. There was a cool roof top area with hammocks, plants and seats and tables made out of solder blocks and slices of tree trunk. We were seriously relieved to arrive somewhere so nice after such a long and frustrating journey!
Casa Ricky’s @ Orange Walk
Ricky booked us on a tour for the next day, pointed us in the direction of good/cheap eats, beer and set up our room.
We found some friendly Americans- Katie, Willy and Hayley who we joined for dinner and a few drinks that night.
The next day we went on a boat tour to Lamanai ruins. Lamanai is known for its stone reliefs, impressive architecture and the marvellous setting that over looks the New River Lagoon and is surrounded by Northern Belize’s densest jungle. On the boat we travelled up New River, or “river of many strange faces” as the Maya had called it, due to the copious strange faces they would see as the Europeans came and went. We saw some bright orange Iguanas (males) and green Igunas (females) in the trees, vultures, great blue herons, kingfishers, a couple crocodiles and some more bird species that only Alice can remember.
Great Blue Heron @ New River, Orange Walk.
Iguana Get To Know Ya @ New River, Orange Tree.
Over a traditional lunch of chicken, rice, beans, coleslaw, salad and fried plantain we got chatting with some fair trade sugar cane researches, Megan and Mike, Megan was from California but lives in Scotland (and Malawi) and Mike is from South Africa but lives in Swaziland. Such interesting and friendly people. After lunch we wandered through lamanai ruins. We learnt about the different rituals of the Maya, as well as about the buildings in front of us. We climbed the steep High Temple and got the most fantastic view of the surrounding jungle and river. I stayed relatively close to the stairs with one hand always clinging on meanwhile Alice climbed off far to close to the edges to get photos.
Unfortunately on the way down, Chaak the rain god decided we had seen enough and he poured the rain down on us. I mean, it really poured!! It was like having a powerful 30 minute shower. Completely drenched, we all headed back to the boats in time for the sun to shine, the rum punch to be poured and more chats with our new boat friends!
The High Temple @ Lamanai, Orange Walk.
Mask Temple @ Lamanai, Orange Walk.
After a quick beer with Mike and Megan at the restaurant where the boat docked, we headed back to Ricky’s. After having dinner with Ricky and another German couple we e had met, we called it a night.
The next day we headed for the bus station, destination – Belize Zoo! It was an hour to Belize City, bus swap, and 40 minutes west to Belize zoo, a bit of a distance but we didn’t wantto stay in Belize City as it’s really not that safe.
At the bus station we saw a vendor selling crushed ice scoops, covered in red and orange syrups topped off with a ton of condensed milk! Mmm just what everyone wants on a hot day.
The Belize zoo was created from a wildlife sanctuary and is viewed more as an educational, rehabilitation and sanctuary rather than a zoo. It was amazing. I had a conservation with a keel billed toucan, a brown speckled owl showed us his dead chicken lunch and a jaguar raced us up and down the fence before showing off in front of us.
Moves Like Jaguar @ Belize Zoo.
Howl Do You Like Me Now? @ Belize Zoo.
Toucan Play That Game @ Belize Zoo.
The Speckled Brown Owl and his Dinner @ Belize Zoo
On the commute home, we worked out that, from all over Belize, Belizeans have no choice but to travel into Belize City for work, taking up to 2-3 hours commute one way. Not to mention that the buses do not run to a schedule, they are on Caribbean time, all the time!
For our last night in Orange Walk we met Mike and Megan for dinner and some good chats.
The next morning after realising we hadn’t picked up the right adaptor for the camera, we went out early to find a connection cord, again something Alice’s Dad recommended we take with us. We went into a computer store five times. 1- we found the cord and second guessed ourselves. 2- we did the same thing in another shop, 3- we took the camera in and tested it (at this point we borrowed some from Ricky), decided it didn’t import RAW images so wasn’t going to work and 4- once we got back to our accomodation, packed everything up, I realised it did in fact work, ran back down to the store for a fifth time. At this point the store attendant gave us the cord free of charge, laughed at us and wished us happy travels in Belize.
It seems a vast majority of Belizeans are grateful for tourists and tourism in their country. The amount of times we have had people stop to talk to us, just to wish us happy travels, is just amazing.
We loved our stay at Casa Ricky’s, meeting Ricky’s dog Rex and the general feel of the sleepy little town of Orange Walk!