In Belize, cruise ships have to drop an anchor a few miles away from the port and then guests are taken by boat to the island. It’s a pretty common practice, something my mom and I are very experienced at by now, but it’s always a little annoying because it means a lot of sitting and waiting. They try to fill up each boat with hundreds of guests, so it takes awhile as they load up the boats and also when the guests depart the boats.
Since we had an excursion, we left on a boat that was specifically set aside for guests with excursions. It took about 40 minutes to get to the island, but the views were outstanding and it was such a beautiful day that I couldn’t complain. Once we finally got off the boat, Mom and I hightailed to our tour group where we were funneled onto a bus to take the journey to Bacab Eco Park.
The ride to the park was fairly long – probably around 45 minutes. During the ride, our tour guide told us all about Belize and their culture, as well as pointed out some interesting sights along the way. Here are some of the things I learned:
- Public education is not free in Belize after middle school. Parents have to pay to send their children to high school, so if they have multiple children, they have to make a decision on which one to send.
- Doctors and nurses aren’t in high demand, as most of the people practice bush medicine (i.e., natural healing). During our horseback riding, the tour guides pointed out different trees, bushes, plants, etc., and told us the natural healing properties of them.
- The official language of Belize is English, but in social situations, most Belizians speak Creole.
Once we got to Bacab Eco Park, we were met by our tour guide for the horseback riding adventure. He took us on a very slow walking tour through the grounds. At this point, I was beginning to regret wearing long pants because I was so damn hot in them. It was probably not my best decision, but I wanted to be properly attired for horseback riding.
After that, it was onto the horses! We were told to put on a helmet (dorky bicycle helmets, sigh) and then, one by one, we were assigned to horses based on our experience. I was given Sydney to ride and she was a pretty low-key and easy horse. She was a little slower than I would have liked, but she kept up a good pace for the ride. We stayed near the middle of the pack for most of it.
When I went riding in Puerto Rico, I remember feeling a bit uncomfortable in the saddle and feeling grateful when we finished the ride. But this time around, I felt so comfortable and at peace on my horse. I could have ridden for hours, I think! It was just so much fun to be in the jungle on horseback and enjoy all the sights. We spent about an hour riding and it was seriously the greatest time. I took way too many photos!
Once we were finished horseback riding, we trekked over to the pool area where our lockers were. My mom and I wasted no time getting something to eat and drink! We had definitely worked up an appetite after being in the sun all morning long. My mom got the local beer (she loves sampling the local beer and always really enjoys it!) and I got a soda, and then switched to a mixed drink that was very strong. Our excursion included lunch, which was a traditional Belizian feast of beans and rice, chicken, and plantains. I decided to get that while my mom ordered something off the menu. And then I proceeded to eat half her lunch, too, because when on vacation, right? Obviously, I was one hungry girl!
After eating, we hightailed to the bathroom to change into shorts and man, did that feel great! We brought our swimsuits in the hopes we could take a dip in the pool, but there just wasn’t enough time. We had maybe 30 minutes to relax before we would have to leave and it just didn’t feel worth the effort. Instead, we relaxed in the hammocks and put our feet in the water for a short time.
Then, it was time to go back to the bus. My mom and I were some of the first people on the bus and I was all settled in and ready to take a short nap on the way back to the port when my mom started rummaging through her bag in a panic. You know, that panic. The “omg-where-is-my-phone” panic. She turned to me and said, “I think I left my phone by the pool.”
So she had to rush back to the pool to get it and mind you, this is a woman who is notorious for tripping and falling over herself. On our last cruise, she tripped while walking and bruised up her knee badly. So, I was worried that a) she would fall; b) that she wouldn’t find her phone; and c) that the bus would leave without her.
More and more people were getting on the bus, and soon, they were ready to depart but my mom was still nowhere to be seen. AHHH. The tour guide came on board and started counting the people and said, “Okay, somehow we’re missing two people.” And I had to stand up and say, “My mom had to run back to get her phone. Please don’t leave without her.”
Thankfully, the tour guide was super nice about it and just said, “Hey, I live here. No skin off my nose.” HA.
After what felt like HOURS, I finally saw my mom running back to the bus with her phone in hand. Thank the Lord! She got back on the bus and sat down next to me, breathing heavy. She told me all about her experience trying to find the pool again (her sense of direction is laughably bad, haha) and then how one of the little kids who was helping us during our horseback riding excursion had to help her find her way back.
Never a dull moment with my mom. 🙂
It was a fun day, though, and I’m glad we picked this excursion. Our tour guides were fantastic and the horses were great for beginning riders. I wish I had more time to spend at the pool because it looked super fun with a waterfall and loungers placed in the shallow end of the pool. Next time!
Bacab Eco Park is located 20 minutes from Belize City and features a wide range of adventures: horseback riding, jungle biking, kayaking, nature trails, and more. They are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.