NWS Tristan heads to Central America for his latest adventure
Day 1: Orange Walk District
Sitting in my window seat on my American Airlines flight that was taking me back to Belize for the first time in eight years, I couldn’t help but feel the same buzz that ran through me during my first trip to Central America in 2008. There’s just something about this part of the world that makes me feel at home the minute I step off the plane. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m terribly excited to venture back into Belize. I’ve got a very soft spot for jungle...
Can we also take a second to appreciate the show that unfolds beneath us as we fly south from Miami? The Florida Keys, Cuba and this pristine sheet of blue paradise, sprinkled with a pinch of barely submerged islands. I sit back in my seat and smile: I’m almost there!
Greeted at Belize City Airport by Reuben (driver/speedboat daredevil/barman and true gentleman), I meet up with five other guests who are also heading to Lamanai Outpost Lodge in the Orange Walk District. Ahead of us lies a 45-minute drive followed by another 90 minutes on a speedboat to reach the lodge which sits on the banks of New River (which owes its name to some creative Brits from the 1800s). I tend to agree with the saying that “it’s as much about the journey as the destination”. This boat journey didn’t disappoint and if the scorching sun hadn’t convinced us of where we were, the winding river certainly did. Bend after bend as Reuben goes full throttle, one gets the sense that civilisation is being left far, far behind. Well, that’s because it is.
Your neighbours here are howler monkeys, anteaters, coatis, crocodiles and hawks.
Arriving into the lush grounds of Lamanai, we are served a glass of fresh hibiscus water (in this heat, I’m pretty sure I’m drinking heaven) before I am taken to my lagoon-facing bungalow. This’ll do. We have unfortunately missed this afternoon’s excursions so I take this time to wander around the property and meet the staff.