After three great days at Mama Noots Eco Resort in Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Stann Creek District of Belize, Friday morning, July 27, it was time to head even farther south to Punta Gorda (called "PG" by those in the know) in the Toledo District. This would be our first visit to this district, and we were excited to see it. From what we'd read, this is the wettest part of Belize, receiving about 160" of rain per year. As a result, it is lush and green -- a true tropical rainforest.
We were lucky to catch a ride to the bus terminal in Dangriga with Shacka (sorry if I butchered that spelling!), Mama Noots' manager Liz's spouse, so we avoided a repeat of the 4+ mile hike to the road, plus any risk that the bus would not stop for us along the Southern Highway. It was a hot and sunny morning, so we were very thankful for the lift.
Our bus to "PG"
Our bus ride was three and a half hours, and that is plenty of time to spend in an uncomfortable school bus seat in a crowded bus. We were very glad to arrive in PG, which is situated right along the Caribbean Sea, much like San Pedro. Unlike San Pedro, however, PG is not a "tourist town". This meant less traffic, which is always a good thing.
We had reservations for three nights at Hickatee Cottages
southwest of town, but we weren't sure exactly how to get there. As it turns out, Kate, one of the proprietors, had sent me a lovely map via email, but since I didn't have my laptop with me a couple of days earlier, I hadn't gotten it. I called and spoke to Ian, her husband, and he gave me directions over the phone. It was only a couple of miles, so even though he suggested we could catch a cab, we decided to walk it. We'd been sitting most of the day, so walking felt good, and it wasn't nearly so far as our 4.2-mile hike into Mama Noots.
Walking the streets of Punta Gorda town
Town graveyard to my right and Caribbean Sea in the background
After about 2.5 miles of walking, approximately two miles of which was on dirt roads outside of town, we arrived at Hickatee Cottages.
Entry to Hickatee Cottages
This place is a real gem in the jungle! Since it was not rented, Kate gave us an upgrade from the small "Hickatee Den" we'd booked for $75 US/night to the Wilby Cottage
(normally $100 US/night), giving us more space and privacy. From their website
, I learned that this cottage was recently completed, and it was absolutely perfect and quite upscale, with wood floors; and soothing turquoise, white, and wood decor inside. There was plenty of space for us, two closet areas, a large and comfortable bathroom, ceiling fans, and a desk and futon. This accommodation exceeded our expectations in every way! There was no air-conditioning, but it was cool enough under the trees and with the ceiling fans that we never missed it.
When Kate's husband Ian got back from town, he called us out to the garden to see a troup of five howler monkeys who were right above us in the trees. How exciting! Although it looks like one of the monkeys in the photo is howling, he actually didn't make a sound.
The food (breakfasts and dinners) at Hickatee is all made by Kate, and she is a brilliant cook. Ian takes orders and serves the food, and offers up interesting and intelligent conversation at the same time. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals there. The only slight drawback (for us) is that dinner is served at a set time, 7:30 pm, which is late by our standards. Barry tends to get heartburn if he eats too late and then goes to bed not long after, so we would have preferred an earlier dinner time, but it was worth a little inconvenience to eat such wonderful food, and so nice being right on the beautiful and serene premises rather than having to take another trip to and from town.
Meals were served on the porch of this attractive office/bar building.
Here are photos of our first dinner, which we inhaled after our busy day of travel.
One of the best salads we've had in Belize -- with feta and roasted tomatoes. Barry got my olives!
Fresh-baked whole grain focaccia
There are two choices of entree on the dinner menu each night. We both chose the shrimp with mashed potatoes and green beans. It was delicious as well as beautifully presented. No wonder I gained weight on this trip!
Ian's potent rum punch - delish!
Dessert was organic chocolate drops made right in the Toledo district, and complimentary chocolate liqueur. Now that's my kinda dessert!
Stay tuned in future days for more on Hickatee Cottages, Punta Gorda, and the Toledo District...