Caye Caulker Belize
17.7425° N, 88.0250° W
We scoped out as many caves as possible seeing ATM Cave, St. Herman’s Cave, Rio Frio Cave, and Crystal Cave as well as checked out Mayan Ruins at Corocal and the inland blue hole.
Needless to say, we docked on the island yesterday only slightly covered in mud because we swam at the blue hole again after repelling and crawling through Crystal cave. Right away we were so happy to chill island style and relax after some intense days!
Anyways, it’s been fun going back and editing these pics from Puerto Lopez; remembering how great it felt to FINALLY ARRIVE at Puerto Lopez and unwind.
Here is the story about getting to Puerto Lopez…Kind of Long Tale as I go deeply into bus transportation in Ecuador
From my last post on Huaraz Peru you would know that we had traveled in on overnight bus. What I didn’t mention in the blog was the awful food poisoning I got about 20 minutes before boarding that overnight bus. Needless to say, I was incredibly grateful for the bathroom on the bus (I would later find out buses in Ecuador don’t have bathrooms!) and incredibly tired when we arrived in Lima at 5am in the morning.
I prayed in the taxi ride to the hostel (Ekeko Hostel from before) that on some off chance our room might be ready, but it wasn’t. Luckily they have a comfy couch where Tom and I watched Apocalypto and began to prepare for Belize.
Needless to say the next morning even after a chill day in Lima I was super exhausted and dreading the full day of travel + I’d read some horror stories about Ecuador buses.
This first ride proved to be not so bad, however it did draw on FOREVER! It took 4 hours to drive the 165 km, mostly because you stop every other min to allow vendors to hop on and sell you fruit, chips, and water. (The fruit was pretty bomb!) What’s crazy is as these vendors finish their sales, they hop off the bus even if it’s starting to move! It’s crazy!
Anyways, we were obviously not on a direct bus which I learned the hard way can leave you very prone to be a victim of theft.
On our bus ride home I had our super sweet camera stolen from purse as it sat between my legs.–The Perp even left a 1L water bottle so I wouldn’t notice the bulk or weight difference! 🙁
Boo! If you’re going to ride buses in Ecuador, check out this great post on what I did wrong: Safety Tips for Riding Buses in Ecuador
Anyways, the ride to Puerto Lopez was definitely more entertaining than anything else but-none-less still super long so you can only imagine how happy we were to get off the bus at 7:30PM after a day of travel, walk the 3 blocks to our room and be greeted with an air-conditioned bathroom en suite at Piedra del Mar Hotel Boutique for $36 a night.
I’m sure we could have found something cheaper but this was by far the best offered on Hostel World and in a great location! 🙂 (2 blocks from the beach and 2 doors down from the best coffee in town!)
Heading down to the water, we got a bomb meal with some really good calamari and chicken skewers and topped it off with a freshly blended pineapple and papaya juice!
We only have 3 and they were quickly filled with a trip to Isla De La Plata and the San Sebastian Jungle.
Isla De la Plata is commonly referred to the Poor-Man’s Galapagos.
I’m hoping the (one and only) traveler I met in Banos is right and that the Galapagos is over rated. (Although I doubt I would agree with her as according to her everything in the world is lame except India) But alas, amazing or not the Galapagos were WAY outside our travel Budget. It cost $600 bucks a person just to fly there and then each park has different fees. –Long story short our option was the poor man’s version that for just $40 allows you to see Blue Whales on the way over, Blue Footed Boobies, Red Footed Boobies, and Red Frigate Birds.
You might not get to see quite as much as you do at the Galapagos, but the price point is awesome! Don’t worry about shopping around, everyone is basically $40. We got ours for a bargain $38 at our hotel. One girl was able to get her tour for $35.
Isla De la Plata:
Tour Group: It doesn’t matter they group you together anyways. If you trust your hotel use your hotel.
Fitness Required: From reading other blogs, yes fitness is required because you do a lot of hiking. The hiking it pretty flat but if you go basically anytime (it’s basically on the equator) it will be really hot and there is hardly any shade. BRING SUNSCREEN!
Worth Going: Definitely! You can’t find Whale watching for $35 anywhere! Go just for that! Plus I get to walk around an island even somewhat like the Galapagos–COOL! The Boobies are by far the best part 🙂
Ask if one of the guides will speak English. Ours only spoke Spanish, but luckily we had a member of the group translate for us.
You get back into town right around 4/4:30 just in time to take a shower and hit the beach villas for a fresh fruit drink as the sunsets.
Most were playing World Cup which made the experience even better! 🙂
The last thing we did in Puerto Lopez was take a jungle tour to San Sebastian.
This tour isn’t as popular, but it can be found. I saw the sign outside of a tour agency then asked our hotel who offered us a deal. Sure it was only $2 off, but they did all the arranging while we went to play and then later dropped the price for us because we didn’t get what we expected.
When we showed up we were outfitted with our gear and were soon walking down a mosquito battle ground to get to the jungle. (Seriously, if you’re going hiking always best to just bring bug spray and apparently bugs are attracted to black so don’t wear black.)
We had been told we’d be riding horses through the jungle for $20 a person, but about 10 minutes into walking into the jungle we were told the horses “weren’t here today.” in our guides broken English.
Being as we had no way to get home until 2:15 when he told our taxi to be back we decided to do it anyway.
We were bummed because we were already going to the Amazon for 4 days later in the trip, we didn’t think this Jungle would compare but it definitely held it’s own!
While it doesn’t compare to the Amazon it had some pretty cool things itself! ( We also still had our really cool camera to take bomb photos 🙁 )
Anyways, we had fun and it turned out to be very different from our Amazon Jungle Tour.
If you’re headed to the Amazon, maybe you only need to hit San Sebastian if you are an avid outdoorsy person. But if you do love the outdoors, we saw different Monkeys than we did in the Amazon and had more fruit then we did in the Amazon!
That’s about it for our time in Puerto Lopez. We could have definitely taken a couple more days in this chill town, but 4 was more than enough to do all we had to do.
Leave us a comment!
What do you think about the Poor Man’s Galapagos? Would you go Worth it or not? Have you been to the Galapagos? How much does it not compare? Did you see Whales?