North Ambergris Caye Hot Spot
First off, I was invited for a joyride by my Belizean friend, Miami Jack. He had a rental cart and wanted to visit the Truck Stop and go to Cool Cone for a sweet treat. I did not check ahead to see what was happening that night and got a pleasant surprise with live music by the Coconut Trio.
We both went “Homer Simpson” too fast on our dessert and did not get a picture. I had sea salt caramel and he opted for maple bacon (which I have also tried before.) As for the venue itself, we did not make a reservation in advance that night and were able to get in. It was not super packed and patrons were observing the sitting down, mask off, standing mask, on which is appropriate at restaurants here. To see a delicious honey cashew and caramel sea salt “tacogirl style” deconstructed waffle cone (how I eat my ice cream on hot days) click through to Random Comments and Delicious Treats.
The Truck Stop is definitely one to put on GPS – you can see live music on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays around 5:30 pm. If you want alternatives, Trivia Thursdays starts at 7:00 pm with a $5 per person buy-in. The winning team takes the pot! Or check out their unique outdoor movie nights on Saturdays at 7:00 pm and take a dip in their saltwater pool.
It’s started out as a wet one today, so I chose a rainy Truck Stop pool pic to match. If you look closely, on the left you will see the movie screen posts. Imagine yourself with an in-pool bar service watching the Saturday night show or a great sunset on the lagoon. That’s a priceless vacation memory. As for temperature, according to the Philip Goldson International Airport (P.G.I.A) Weather Station, Ladyville, Belize, today’s (June 12 th) coastal temps – high of 84 °F/29 °C and low of 77 °F/25 °C. In comparison, the mainland is slightly warmer with highs n lows at 86 °F/30 °C & 74 °F/23 °C and the hills are slightly cooler at 76 °F/24 °C & 68 °F/20 °C.
Closer to Town
The Palapa Bar and Grill is always a great place to see live music. This time it was my friend Madison who invited me to join her and Margie on a Saturday night to see visiting Colorado-based musicians Alex Johnstone and Bonnie Culpepper play. Their music is inspired by country, jazz, bluegrass, and gypsy-swing. We had a nice chilled time and the bar was busy but has decent space to be spread out. Madison made a reservation in advance for this one so we were sure to have a table.
For those of you planning your vacation social activities, you can also see live music at Palapa on Mondays at 3:00 pm and Wednesdays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, along with cribbage (2:00 pm start) on Friday afternoons.
Aside from the music, it was really nice to sit and stare at the Caribbean sea for a while. So peaceful and a bit exciting after it got dark, we saw a spotted eagle ray and tarpon. The Palapa Bar is a good spot to see marine life. We also saw some British soldiers on the back dock lounging area. It was easy to tell from far away as a few of them were in short tight swimsuits and one was just in his skivvies 😀
I found it very amusing when I arrived at her house, that Madison was having her own version of the same conversation I had with my mom which included Covid talk. My family in Ontario, Canada is still in lockdown and while it keeps people safer, it definitely puts a damper on their social life. For Madison’s mom, Florida made a big relaxation of the rules plus the new CDC mask verdict – people are expecting that to cause a spike in cases again. But enough about Covid and onto the beach.
On to Beach Walks
Lately, Madison and I have been teaming up on errand runs to town and walking the beach for relaxation. Our walks usually start in the afternoon after her husband Lester has gone to work at Hidden Treasure Restaurant (definitely worth trying), and with me flip-flopping 5 minutes down the beach road to pick her up at her apartment.
This road is a must-do on your vacation and has many popular beach bars with lots of tasty food and drinks. There are also some hotel and vacation rental options in the area, for those of you who like to stay within walking distance of things.
On one of our walks, we caught the fishermen cleaning their catch. Of course, we both stopped to capture some frigate bird action. This is always a fun free afternoon activity as you will often see rays in the water as well, looking for fish skin scraps, and pelicans usually join in the feeding frenzy.
Here’s hoping the Sargasso disappears again for San Pedro Lobsterfest 2021. Due to Covid, our lobster season in Belize is on a slight delay. This year the popular summertime celebration starts June 30th with a Lionfish hunt event and Lobsterfest events start on the first day of the season, July 1st, and run to July 10th. Click through to see the 2019 San Pedro Lobster Festival. For island hopping fun, Caye Caulker Lobster Festival is also a great time and will likely be back next year.
For the most part, we walk the beach home too. The pic below is us heading north along the Phoenix seawall on a beautiful breezy day.
As you saw in the lobster trap picture above, the sargasso is back and hitting us in full force. Below shows what it is like standing close to Chuck and Robbie’s Dive shop. Thankfully it does not affect diving or snorkeling.
Looking for a dive shop recommendation? Here’s a repeat holiday divers review on Chuck and Robbie’s: “Nothing puts a smile on my face quite like my first stroll up the dock to Chuck & Robbie’s when I arrive in San Pedro. As a professional divemaster and underwater photography instructor, I have been to many dive shops around the world, but Chuck & Robbie’s is by far my favorite. The entire staff is ridiculously friendly, and the divemasters possess the perfect balance of knowledge, professionalism, and concern about your safety. They truly want to ensure you have a wonderful experience. A great location, modern clean boats, expert divemasters, and just a great friendly feel — what’s not to like?” – Kelly Jones.
On one of our walks, not long after we parted ways, I saw one of our mobile snack carts and instantly stopped to snap and send Madison a picture with a message that he was heading her way. I knew she would have just enough time to drop what she was doing, go all the way back downstairs and get a treat. Due to Annie’s Pastries being closed that day, she had gone home without a cinnamon roll.
Madison’s verdict was that the cone was short-lived at a $4 price. For the money, she prefers the ice cream and paletas at Island Frozen Treats on the southern end of Back Street (across the road from, and just north of Caye Supplies.)
If you are unfamiliar with paletas, they are a frozen popsicle-like treat, often made with fruit. Madison’s favs are strawberry basil and watermelon lime. She recommends all other flavors except sweet corn. For ice cream, her winners are chocolate, Oreo, and caramel – Mmmmmmmm.
Back to Bars
I will leave you with a few pictures of two favorite Boca del Rio beach bars, Wayo’s and Nauti Crab, formerly Crazy Canucks, which used to be south of town.
At Wayos, Madison and I were dropping by for Name That Tune and we randomly got to see a young boy do a fabulous dance to Oppa Gangnam Style. Wayos Beach Bar is a must add to your trip planning, you can find live music on Wednesday nights, and Chill time Fridays from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm with a DJ. No matter when you go you will be guaranteed to have fun and meet some cool people.
The real reason we went was that Madison was in a Name That Tune halftime show and as a fun surprise for me, my friend Lara was also in it. So much fun to watch them rock it out to Kid Rock Cowboy.
Last but not least, this week was the inaugural Wheel of Fortune game at Nauti Crab. Madison, Margie, Sharon, Jack, and I all met up to check it out. We all bought in at $2 a ticket for a chance to be on “the show” and as luck would have it Madison was first picked from our group. Sharon’s number also came up and she promptly voted Jack up to the “stage” with her ticket.
Anyone who got on stage got a free shot, Revel Rum and Caye Coffee Roasting Company, Back Street Bold Blend. No one won the big prize that night, $400, so it gets rolled over to next week.
As for other scheduled events, Mondays are the guitar jam at 12:00 pm followed by Wheel of Fortune at 6:00 pm. Enjoy island-style fun on Tuesdays with Hermit Crab Races starting at 5:30 and seaside Bingo on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm. Feeling artsy? Stop by on a Thursday afternoon for Paint N Splash with a 2:00 pm start, $25 USD includes materials and instruction. Feeling smart? Grab some friends and put your thinking caps on for Fridays Trivia night beginning at 6:00 pm, followed by karaoke. You can also enjoy Sunday brunch on the beach from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Reminder, unless you are eating and drinking at a restaurant, masks are still the law here when in public, and you can be fined for not wearing one. Our current curfew is 10:00 pm Sunday to Wednesday and midnight from Thursday to Saturday. If you want further help with vacation planning, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit the Belize Tourism Board website for the list of Covid approved Gold Standard resorts and other businesses. Since I still see people asking about it, please note that the previously required downloadable health app is no longer needed prior to your Belize vacation. Visit the Tourism Board Belize Covid travel requirements page to see the current status. The country is doing a great job of keeping the pandemic in check, all things considered.