“Are you sure this is the place?” our driver asked as he pulled up to a somewhat dilapidated dock in Dangriga, Belize. And the hubby looked at me and I looked at him and we both knew that we actually weren’t sure and we had two kids and a whole bunch of suitcases and three nights riding on the fact that someone would show up in a boat and whisk us away to paradise. But there were no official looking signs or arrows or people in uniforms or activity desk anywhere to be found.
Just a dock.
“So maybe let’s go for Chinese food and come back” and instead of dropping us off he took us to a nearby restaurant with pristine bathrooms and tasty food and we ate until we felt like we could go back a little more calm and collected to assess our situation again.
Thankfully when we went back to the dock, we were picked up by a boat with the IZE logo on it and a friendly crew and off we went on a thirty minute boat-ride over clear blue water dotted with birds and leaping manta rays.
Our stay was at IZE, a neat little zoological resort on South Water Caye that I heard about from a friend from the guys’ school-a place I’d read about but couldn’t find many recommendations on, and then in a conversation we realized that this was where our friend stayed on a college trip with her school ages ago. When we were there, there were no school groups and I think it could get a little crowded feeling if there WERE school groups there. But we were practically the only ones at the resort, except for two other groups of two; a couple of kayakers and a father and a son and for us it was perfect. We could use kayaks and paddleboards whenever we wanted. Or we could stay on the beach until we were called for our next meal. We were stuck in forced relaxation and it was a great way to hang out as a family.
The water was so calm and inviting that the kids could have stayed in it the whole day and because there weren’t many other people on the island it felt perfectly safe to let them just roam freely (within our view still, of course). We took them out to a spectacular reef where they were amazed at all the fish and sea creatures that call Belize their home. We rested in the afternoon when the sun blazed hot above us and then went back for late afternoon swims until the sun set.
We even saw quite a few rays. My guys can tell which are sting rays and which are manta rays because of the Octonauts show. They are all just rays to me. This one though was massive and I was thankful I was on a paddle board and not in the water when we met him, whatever type of ray he was.
My guys fell in love with the resort staff and all the fun things they learned from them. We collected hermit crabs at night for crab races and coconuts in the morning and learned how to scoop the fresh coconut meat out of the shells. We ate delicious meals in the common lodge and I think our favorite was something called garnaches.
And there was supposed to be wifi at this place, but when we went it didn’t work and if you go I hope it doesn’t work for you either. Because not having wifi was soon forgotten. We learned to read books again and waged Uno wars against each other long past regular at-home bedtime. We hung out together as a family on that little island until that same little boat that brought us to this magical place dropped us back off at the dock where our adventures began.
And now that we are home my guys talk about going back to this island-this amazing little island so far away from home and the hubby and I laugh at how scared we were at the beginning of this adventure and how amazingly perfect it ended up turning out.