On Saturday and Sunday (July 28-29), we explored the town of Punta Gorda several times, riding beach bikes provided by Hickatee Cottages
, where we were staying, and on foot. Punta Gorda is very different from San Pedro, even though both towns are right on the water. Unlike San Pedro, which caters to divers, fishermen, and tourists from all over the world (including celebrities), "PG" is not touristy. And since it's not on an island, cars and trucks roam where mostly golf carts and bicycles still travel the streets of San Pedro (though more and more motor vehicles arrive monthly, it seems). Traffic was lighter than in San Pedro overall, even on a Saturday. There's a great Saturday market we got to check out, and I bought a Maya bag from a local man that probably would have cost me double in San Pedro.
The PG town clock is stuck at 1:05 forever, but at least it has a toucan!
Buying Benedryl at the local pharmacy -- only $2.50 US for 24 tablets, way cheaper than in San Pedro!
The local chocolatier was closed while we were in town, unfortunately. Heavy sigh!
Part of the Saturday market
My new Maya bag from this shop with colorful wares -- only $15 US!
We found this row of distinctively painted Blue Bird buses one street off Main. There seems to be a bus for each nearby village. Most Belizeans do not own cars, so this network of local buses provides a hugely valuable service all over the country.
Saturday (and Wednesday) are "cook's night off" at Hickatee, so we knew we'd have to find a place to grab some dinner in town. We chose to ride bikes back in and use our headlamp to find our way back to the cottage after dark. There are many fewer restaurants in PG than in San Pedro, and a few of the restaurants with signs were closed, so we didn't have a lot to choose from, but we landed in a little Italian place that had great pizza and a very friendly Belizean staff (not an Italian in sight!) Unfortunately, the flies chased us in from our table outside, and they didn't have an alcohol license (it's hard to eat pizza without a beer!), but we were glad to get dinner somewhere!
Our view before the flies forced us inside the restaurant
Our large veggie pizza -- we ate every bite!
On Sunday, town was absolutely dead. Most shops and restaurants were closed, and there was no traffic whatsoever. That's another big difference between PG and San Pedro, which is just as bustling on Sunday as any other day of the week.
Loved the colors of this tourist information center -- closed on Sunday
Cute pink public library, all closed up on Sunday
Another library with colorful murals
We had planned on eating lunch in town but were striking out on finding anything open. Just when we were about to give up, we found the Driftwood Cafe, which felt like an oasis in the desert for these two hungry walkers. It was a real hippy cafe, run by a woman from Ohio (like Barry!) with dreads (a contradiction in terms, you'd think!). She served coffee, fresh-baked goods, and vegetarian food.
She was almost out of lunch food, but we split the last plate of vegetarian tamales, veggie chili, and black beans. Delish! I had an iced coffee to drink, and Barry had a tropical smoothie. As if that weren't enough, we also indulged in milkshakes for dessert (Barry got coffee, and I got chocolate), and two peanut butter and jelly muffins. Barry ate his on the spot, but I saved mine for the next day's bus ride.
We started eating before remembering a photo...
The proprietor's husband is a Garifuna drummer, so the interior of the cafe was filled with drums
I loved this islandy painted slate and might have bought it, but had no room in my backpack at all
Stay tuned for more from Hickatee Cottages, a great bike ride to the river, and Placencia as our trip continues....