When Madonna sang “Last night, I dreamt of San Pedro” in the late eighties, she was referring to the town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye off the coast of Northern Belize. After having enjoyed two incredible days of diving on Caye Caulker, I decided to head over to San Pedro, rent a bike, and see just how Bonita La Isla was.
I went with my new British Pal Susie who has a very strong head on her shoulders, a wicked sense of humor and an equally vibrant sense of fun. We hit it off immediately when we met in Flores at the Los Amigos Hostel. Susi had just taken a fall outside on the street and was icing her leg as I came in looking like I’d had the blood purposely drained from my body after my bus ride from Rio Dulce. Perhaps it was the shared sense of suffering. In any case, Susie’s Spanish was limited and she needed help re-booking a bus ticket to Belize City. I offered to make a call for her using my iPhone and Skype (which is a Godsend when you’re traveling I have to say for cheap calls on the go wherever there’s wifi!). The kinship was then solidified over a Chocolate Banana Smoothie.
So Susi and I headed off on the water taxi to San Pedro, a jiffy 30 minutes ride. On arrival, we talked with the most amazingly helpful hotelier who told us where to eat, rent bikes, and catch the boat home. She also suggested that we cycle all the way out to Captain Morgan’s Resort and rest up there while taking a dip in their pool.
Sounded like a stellar suggestion to us!
We feasted on Shrimp tacos and Banana Pancakes (sounds like an odd combination but it was the perfect marriage of yummy let me tell you) at Estel’s By the Sea, fuelling up for our mini-adventure.
After generously giving Susi the pink ladies’ bike and saying a little prayer for my girly bits, I mounted my oversized man’s bike and headed north. Susi cried out something about never having driven on the right hand side. I giggled to myself: it wasn’t like we were navigating four lanes of traffic.
Having said that, Ambergris Caye is by far noisier, and busier than Caye Caulker, and there are several vehicles other than golf carts on the streets. There is also a lot more construction going on, with one ugly condo complex after another going up for North Americans wanting to buy a slice of paradise.
After ten minutes or so, and cleverly out-peddling the sneaky bridge toll for bicycles (how ridiculous is that? To charge to ride a bike on a bridge??), we veered right to the beach path which was nothing more than hardened sand.
Or at least, mostly hardened sand.
These were not state-of-the-art mountain bikes and at times the sand got rather deep and I would hear Susi shrieking as she lost control. The upside of the difficulty of the trail was the combination of stellar ocean views to one’s right, and real estate-gazing heaven to one’s left. Mansion after mansion after beach villa unfolded before us with some of the most painfully picture perfect beach views I’d even seen, including what Susi and I dubbed “THE Perfect Hammock” which we photographed about a dozen times from different angles.
We finally arrived at Captain Morgans and sheepishly approached the pool bar with its “Resort Members Only” sign. Carlos, the bartender, warmly welcomed us and suggested we take a dip and order a cocktail at the swim up bar. There was no-one else around.
We were moved to tears.
After a fabulous hour of sun, swimming and “Sea Breezes”, we headed back to our water taxi via the main road singing the Island theme song at the top of our voices.
Yeah. Madonna had a point.
“Tropical Island Breeze, all of nature wild and free. This is where I long to be…La Isla Bonita.”
Where: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
When: 30th March
How: Caye Caulker Water Taxi to San Pedro, Joe’s Bike Rental, Drinks at Captain Morgan’s Resort