“How did you choose Belize?” is the question I most commonly hear, especially after I’ve been telling stories about my visit: the howler monkeys, jaguar prints, a jungle survival tour, bats at the window, a scorpion on the door, a snake in the bed, possums in the rafters, an “American crocodile” (A.K.A. alligator) by my kayak, and Mayan confirmations that a cosmic shift is in store for us. My answer is embarrassingly silly: “Because Costa Rica was too far away.” I had a limited amount of time to get away. Mexico, with all the reports of drug-war deaths, kidnappings, beheadings, and attacks in tourist areas, seemed dangerously close to a revolution of some sort. Belize City sits just under 260 miles from Cancun.
I hadn’t even had a chance to ask for a sign showing that I’d made the right choice when I stepped outside of the Belize International Airport for a few minutes just to take a look around. The photo of the “Jesus is Lord” hotel was taken from the airport’s entrance. I’d step back inside to be transported back in time. I boarded a puddle jumper that would take me south to Punta Gorda via Stann Creek and Placencia. At the first stop, a young woman who’d given birth that day joined our little group of passengers. At the next landing, I walked her newborn out to meet the woman’s family. That was two signs within two hours. I hadn’t even reached my destination—the Cotton Tree Lodge on the Moho River—yet.
By the time the plane touched down in Punta Gorda, I knew I was in for a magical adventure.
© 2012 by Lori Tripoli