Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dangriga, Belize –> South Water Caye, Belize

December 29, 2013.

We woke up at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga, Belize around 7:00am. The mattress was firm the air conditioning was cold, and the beach was near. We ate breakfast at the resort: a “Belizean Breakfast”- coffee, water, scrambled eggs, fried jacks (giant puffy pastries), refried beans, cheese, bacon, and habanero hot sauce. Yes, I know. HUGE breakfast. It was delicious. We packed up our bags and made our way down the dock to catch our boat at 9:00AM to South Water Caye.

Andrew checking out the view of the dock on mainland Belize

Andrew checking out the view of the dock on mainland Belize

The boat was small and fit our group plus the luggage; it was completely open air. The ride took about 45 minutes. We docked on the tiny caye where we were greeted by Leonardo. He walked us literally 5 yards to the office where we were given water, tea, coffee, and juice (available all the time). He also pointed out the bar. We were given a short tour of the office building which was complete with a library (books, games, puzzles), and a white board that would list the daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans. Life here on the island is simple; no making choices. The kitchen staff makes the menu and that’s what goes. After touring the building, we were taken to our cabins; Andrew and I are staying in “Osprey”- a duplex where Andrew’s parents were also staying. There are kayaks available for our use 24/7 and snorkeling right off the beach. Basically, I’m in heaven. The cabins are on the water.

The group getting the official tour!

The group getting the official tour!

Owen and Aunt Sarah checking out the water.

Owen and Aunt Sarah checking out the water.

Lunch was fish sticks, squash, garlic rolls, ginger cookies, and piña coladas. I know what you’re going to say– Meghan, you don’t eat seafood. Correct. I simply didn’t eat the fish sticks; you learn to go with the flow here. Everything is relaxed. There are no schedules, no facebook to update, no work to do. Just relax. You want to lie on the beach all day? Awesome. You want to snorkel all day? Awesome. You want to kayak to the research station off in the distance? Awesome. You want to lie in a hammock and ready? Awesome. Everything is awesome.

Want to sit in a chair all day on the beach? Awesome!

Want to sit in a chair all day on the beach? Awesome!

After lunch, we kayaked all the way around the island (really only took about 40 minutes) and snorkeled. There are a ton of fish off this island and I swear I will never get tired of them. We showered with cold rain water (perfect way to cool down) before heading up to the bar for a few cold drinks: Belikan Beer, Piña Coladas, and CocoLoco (no clue what was in this last one- they wouldn’t tell us!) For dinner, we dined on Conch Civiche, Lobser Tail, Marinated Salad, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, and Coconut Pie for dessert.

One of many, MANY Piña Coladas consumed on the trip.

One of many, MANY Piña Coladas consumed on the trip.

 

We were pretty exhausted from a day of relaxing, so we headed to bed around the time the sun went down. I couldn’t tell you what time that was– I didn’t know and I didn’t care. We read by dim light for a bit (all the lights are solar powered here), we gazed out at the giant expanse of sky with millions of stars, and then we went to sleep. Tomorrow afternoon we are going on a snorkeling trip. The office has a bunch of excursions available. You just tell the what you want to do and they make it happen.

I could get used to this life.

 

Check out our fun day of travel to Belize here.

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DCA –> South Water Caye, Belize

Ah New Years 2013-2014. As a celebration for a number of reasons, Andrew and I traveled with his parents, brother’s family, and sister-in-law’s family to South Water Caye, Belize. Here’s where Souther Water Caye is located:

South Water Caye is located southwest of mainland Belize

South Water Caye is located southwest of mainland Belize (source)

 

South Water Caye is a private 14-acre island. It has a small marine biology research station (partnership between IZE, Boston University, and National Science Foundation) a few houses, and the Pelican Beach Resort, which is located on 3.5 acres at the southern end of the island. The resort is comprised of: a main house with a kitchen, a bar, an indoor/outdoor eating area, and a bunch of books/puzzles/games; and a number of house/condo combos. But more on South Water Caye later. For today, the trip there…

Our flight from DCA left at 7:00AM. We arrived in Dallas, TX at 9:30AM. The great thing about early morning traveling through airports? Early morning margaritas! We settled down at Blue Mesa and ordered some breakfast burritos and margaritas (Andrew had a blue margarita; I opted for the Black Raspberry Swirl). A little while after breakfast, we met up with Austin (Andrew’s brother) and Andrew’s sister-in-law’s family. The group of us enjoyed a margarita more before boarding our 12:45PM flight to Belize City. We arrived in Belize City at 3:45PM and got in line for customs, which was a disaster! Tons of people! We had just managed to to get through the line when someone in our party came running up and yelling that we needed to hand over our bags if we were ever going to make the connecting flight. This is where chaos ensued… and resulted in three members of our party being left behind to catch a later flight. The airport security guard grabbed our bags and shoved them through ticketing and then asked for our ids. Once we showed them, he started yelling that we needed to follow him… and he took the tickets with him. So, just picture 4 of us at this point running through the airport after a security guide. We ended up at the security check line and didn’t see our security guard anywhere. Apparently in Belize City, the motto is, “no ticket? no problem!” as we were pushed through security with no questions asked…

Tropic Airlines.

Tropic Airlines.

Close Quarters on the Tropic Airlines in Belize.

Close Quarters on the Tropic Airlines in Belize.

We were led out onto the runway to wait for about a minute before being ushered onto a 15 passenger (max) plane. The flight was literally about 20 minutes… if that. We left the plane and shortly thereafter, a large black SUV came to pick us up along with our luggage. The SUV transferred us to the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga, on the coast of mainland Belize. The next morning we would hop on the boat taxi to get to South Water Caye. After getting situated in our hotel rooms, and our missing three from Belize City randomly showed up on a completely different airline (apparently they were just pushed onto it), we all enjoyed some ice cold Belikan Belize Beer and dinner. Andrew went for Spicy Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice, while I opted for roasted veggies, rice, and salad. After laughing about the crazy long day and airport antics, we headed to bed. 7AM wake up call.

View from the plane. Belize City to Dangriga

View from the plane. Belize City to Dangriga

View from the plane on the flight from Belize City to Dangriga

View from the plane on the flight from Belize City to Dangriga

Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga, Belize.

Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga, Belize.

View of the dock at Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga.

View of the dock at Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga.

Categories: Belize | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Drangsnes Hot Tubs: Drangsnes, Iceland

As I sit on my computer researching National Geographic trips to Antarctica, it dawns on me that I really need to update the blog for all of the trips that we’ve been on… I love writing don’t get me wrong… but, dreaming [sic: drooling] over new adventures and far off places is sooooo much more fun :0). But alas, the next best thing- Hot Tubs that are outdoors, naturally heated, and free. If you haven’t already, check out my post on the Landbrotalaug Hot Pot.

But for today, on to Drangsnes, Iceland and its glorious trio of geothermal hot tubs. First, where is this place? It’s located on the eastern most fjord of the Westfjords region. Yet another reason to get away from Reykjavik. Again, Reykjavik is awesome, but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve driven around the Westfjords, slept in a Jeep on the side of the road, lived off baguettes, Icelandic butter, and Brennivin (a vodka-gin taste), and visited Dragsnes. Seriously.

So it’s a good distance from Reykjavik but so so worth it– just for the tubs.

The town of Dragsnes is a thriving metropolis of 67 people (according to the 2011 census and wikipedia). It’s located along a curvy cliff. It’s a sleepy little town with not much else to boast (besides a great view of the water and their tubs). When you enter Drangsnes, you almost immediately see a light post on the left side of the road with the all too familiar sign indicating a public pool or hot tub (a drawing of a person’s head, some waves, and a thermometer if it’s heated).  There are two small white buildings and a little gravel parking area in front of them. Again, we lucked out and there was no one else around when we arrived. We pulled in and read the sign hanging on one of the buildings.

Parking, Showers, Pool Sign in Drangsnes, Iceland

Parking, Showers, Pool Sign in Drangsnes, Iceland

We pulled in and read the sign that was hanging by the hot tubs.

Drangsnes, Iceland Public Hot Tub Sign

Drangsnes, Iceland Public Hot Tub Sign

So, we hopped into the bathroom/shower combos (the two white buildings), took our showers, dawned our suits, and headed across the road to the tubs. There are three of them: three different temperatures. There are benches by them as well as trash cans. It would be an absolutely perfect place to spend the whole day, the whole night, heck, you’re whole life.

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Drangsnes Hot Tubs, Iceland

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Drangsnes Hot Tubs, Iceland

 

If you’d like to read more about the tubs, check out Atlas Obscura. I’ve pointed to this site on other posts as well– if you haven’t checked it out, please do. It’s fantastical. It’s made up of a number of off the beaten path/wanky/completely absurd/one-of-a-kind spots all over the world. We’ve found quite a few spots through that site on our travels… every one was worth it for the story :0).

Until next time, stay warm friends.

Drangsnes, Iceland (Pop. 67)

Drangsnes, Iceland (Pop. 67)

 

 

 

Categories: Iceland | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Landbrotalaug Hot Pot: Hidden in Snaefellsnes, Iceland

I know I know. I’m way behind on so many posts and so many stories and so many pictures. I’m just going to jump around. One of Andrew’s parents’ friends (I know, irrelevant) is heading to Iceland in a few weeks so they asked us if we had any recommendations on where to go. My response— all the recommendations! Seriously, Iceland is up there as one of the best trips I’ve been on… I can’t wait to go back. Today’s story is about Landbrotalaug. This is a hot pot that is in a random field by a little pond behind an abandoned farm that I happened to find when googling “natural hot pots in Snaefellsnes.” Seriously, that’s how I find most of my cool spots… that and Atlas Obscura. If you haven’t checked out that website yet, do it. It’s awesome. Anyway, I digress.

First, geography. Snaefellsnes is the peninsula north of Reykjavik.  By car, it’s about 2 hours to the center of Snaefellsnes Peninsula. To the hot pot, it’s probably more like an hour. Rent a car if you go to Iceland. Don’t stay in Reykjavik. See the country. It’s beautiful. It’s remote. It’s beautifully remote.

Reykjavik to Snaefellsnes takes about 2 hours.

Reykjavik to Snaefellsnes takes about 2 hours.

So, the great thing about Landbrotalaug Hot Pot is that I found a website that has the GPS coordinates posted (GPS: N64°49.933 W22°19.110). The not so great thing is that I didn’t find those GPS points until after we got back to the states. Oh well, the thrill of the hunt made it totally worth it. Basically, if you are driving from Reykjavik towards Snaefellsnes, you will pass Eldborg Crater (on your left). There is literally one main road, so you won’t get lost. After you’ve passed the crater, you’ll see an abandoned farm house up on a hill (Skalg). There’s a road/driveway right before Skalg. Turn left onto that road. You’ll follow the road up and around, past the farm and back into the middle of a field. Once you get a few minutes back into the middle of nowhere, you will see a small sign indicating “Heit Laug Hot Spring”. If you’re lucky, you will be the only car there. Go ahead and park and walk on out to the small pond.

Hot Pot Sign

Hot Pot Sign

There are two “hot pots” at the pond. Both are on the other side of the pond, so you will either have to walk all the way around or across. One of the hot pots is fed by a pipe where warm water shoots down into a very shallow but larger pool. You could probably cram a bunch of people in there but you wouldn’t be very covered. If you look towards one end of the pond, you will see a few rocks that look like a makeshift walkway across the pond. If you follow the rocks with your eyes, you’ll see a makeshift rock wall. Behind that rock wall is the mother-load hot pot. It’s small and can just fit two people (maybe 3 if you push it). It’s deeper though and you will be in water up to your neck. It’s also the warmer of the two hot pots here.

Large and Shallow Hot Pot

Large and Shallow Hot Pot

Please take caution when crossing the pond. The rock walkway is slippery and moss covered, so you could easily slip and cut yourself. Walking around is probably smarter… but not as much fun :0). Enjoy the hot pot. We were lucky in that no one was there when we were hanging out. In fact, no one showed up until we were leaving. I also read somewhere that this is a great spot to watch the northern lights with a cold beer. We did not stick around for that (we arrived earlier in the day and had big plans for the day). More on our epic northern lights spotting locations later.

The rocks are dangerous!

The rocks are dangerous!

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Rock Wall Hiding the Hot Pot

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The Most Awesome Hot Pot

 

Enjoy the hotpot and the fact that you’re in the middle of nowhere behind an abandoned farm. Awesome. Don’t worry if you can’t find this hot pot or you don’t have time to go to Snaefellsnes, there are plenty more fish in the sea!

Until next time, a toast to cold beers, warm waters, and remote locations!

Categories: Iceland | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

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