Jonna and Alan's trip to Belize

In 2011 Jonna's brother Jamie called and asked if we might be interested in joining them on a trip to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. We are always up for a trip to a new location and it was a bonus that this time we get to travel with family. As the time for the trip approached Alan was laid off from his job and we decided to limit our spending. However, Jonna sold some jewelry and used the money to pay for her plane ticket to Belize. At the last minute Alan received a job offer and was able to arrange a start date that allowed him to go on the trip. We got Alan a last minute ticket and what a perfect tropical vacation we had. Usually our trips are quite active and busy. This was our first (but not last) trip to feel like we truly relaxed and enjoyed doing nothing on vacation. We certainly got in some fun activities every couple of days but much of the time was just enjoying our rental house, the beach and the family.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture. There are two pages of photos in total):

1) Our seats on the flight from Belize City to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye were "first class". We were right behind the pilot, with views out the side windows and straight out the front! The one hour flight was on a little 13 seat Cessna Caravan operated by Maya Island Air.

2) Our first glimpse of San Pedro as we approached the runway on Ambergris Caye.

3) The piers on the Carribean at San Pedro. We took a sea taxi north along the shore to the house Jamie had rented. (Note the boat named "Ethan" posted for Alan's cousin.)

4) The panoramic view from the roof of our rental house, the Blue Dolphin. Palm trees, white sand and blue seas. Perfection.

5) Looking down on Blue Dolphin's pool from the upper deck of the house. Showing a rare moment when no one was in the pool.

6) Alan relaxing in the living room area of the house. Alan doesn't do this strange thing called "relax" when on vacation. However, one could not help but relax no matter where (or who) you were.

7) Another scenic view: Blue Dolphin's pier in the evening.

8) Jamie and Kelly's 25th Wedding Anniversary dinner at O. Pictured from L to R: Larkin Sherrill, Jonna Fleming, Judy McGrath, Jamie Sherrill, Kelly McGrath, Rosie Sherrill, Brianna Sherrill and Alan Fleming.

9) One of our excursions away from the house was an all-day boat trip to the mainland to visit the Mayan ruins at Lamanai. The first part of the trip was a boat across the bay from Ambergris Caye to the mainland and up the North River. Can you see the well camouflaged little bats clinging to the trunk of the tree? They were very cute.

10) The boat ride up the North River was like a carnival ride, with the pilot sliding the boat around tight bends. Judy and Jamie braved the front of the boat for the ride in.

11) After an hour long bus ride and then another hour long boat ride up the New River, we arrived at Lamanai. New life growing in ancient structures. In this case on one of the carvings of the Jaguar temple. It is surprising that the high humidity did not fog up the camera.

12) This photo shows the full pyramid which is the Jaguar temple. It is around 1,500 years old and is approximately 95 ft above ground (but apparently extends quite a ways below the current ground level as well.)

13) Although the major buildings have been cleared, the area between sites is still think jungle. Here we are walking through vegetation between the Jaguar Temple and the High Temple.

14) You get a good idea of how dense the vegetation in the area is in this panorama taken while looking out from the top of the 108 ft tall High Temple.

15) Alan and Jonna at the top of the High Temple. A ten story climb up steep stone steps in near 100% humidity is worthy of the obligatory tourist photo!

16) The stairs leading to the top of the High Temple are much higher, much steeper and much rougher than they appear in this photo!

17) A Howler Monkey up in the trees near the Mask Temple. Normally these critters will belt out a noise that will quite surprise you if you aren't expecting it. However, the troop that was in the trees above us were so calm we couldn't get them to make a peep.

18) A Larkin monkey climbing a vine at Lamanai.

19 The Mask Temple, unlike the two pyramids we had just visited, is believed to be a tomb rather than a temple. Unfortunately, people climbing on it damaged the carvings on the front so they are now covered by the fiberglass replicas seen on either side in this photo.

20) Jamie and Kelly, the anniversary couple on top of the Mask Temple.

21) The kids as we left Lamanai. This was a much appreciated dry moment after a short torrential downpour soaked us all. Pictured from L to R: Rosie Sherrill, Larkin Sherrill and Brianna Sherrill.

22) The hour long bus ride from Carmelita to Bomba was its own adventure. This road used to be the Pan American Highway but it hasn't seen much maintenance since Belize gained its independence from Britain in 1964. Obviously, it no longer sees much traffic. Our trip was taken on an old Ford school bus that was originally from Iowa (or so claimed a 1970s Iowa School District window sticker).

23) Jars of local, fire-roasted cashews for sale on the side of the road. They were sold in re-purposed Cheeze Whiz containers and they were yummy!

24) The village of Bomba is a sleepy, middle-of-nowhere kind place. This old scooter and napping dog prove the point.

25) The kids in the town of Bomba trying to cool off in the flooded North River on a hot afternoon. They are sitting on a dock that a foot underwater due to the high water levels.

26) Our return boat ride over Ambergris Bay, heading back to the island of Ambergris Caye. This was a very bumpy and windy ride over open water. This time it was the kids who braved the front of the boat. Pictured L to R: Brianna Sherrill, Rosie Sherrill and Larkin Sherrill.

Go forward to the second '12 Belize Trip Photo Page.

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Alan Fleming