In part we chose the week of March 16th because the 16th is a full moon which will cause grouper to spawn and whale sharks to show up for the feast. Mike and I snorkeled with whale sharks off Isla Mujeres in 2010 (blog post about it) and we're both looking forward to having another go.
They can grow to 40 feet long - you can read more here in this wikipedia article.
We'll leave Portland on Thursday, March 13th, pass briefly through the Dallas/Fortworth airport, and land in Belize City mid afternoon. We'll fly directly to Punta Gorda an hour or 2 later. We plan to stay again at Hickatee Cottages (blog post here) through the weekend.
In addition to cute, spotless, comfortable cabins
Owners Kate and Ian provide stellar service.
There's wonderful hiking in the jungle right behind the cottages
Lots to see including black howler monkeys.
There are some interesting Maya sites in the area
and villages to explore including Mopan Maya, Kekchi Maya, and Garifuna. Last year 2 of my highlights before Mike arrived were Garifuna drumming
and Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm (blog post here); I hope to partake in those again in 2014.
Hickatee provides bikes and the town of Punta Gorda, about a mile away, is funky and interesting. In this photo from last year I'm biking into town to drop off my laundry
at the local laundry shop.
Cool links for more ideas of Toledo district activities on the right of this page.
On Monday morning we'll head to the Sapodilla Cayes for 4 nights with Reef CI. In addition to marvelous diving and - hopefully - the presence of whale sharks, rumor has it the flyfishing is awesome. Here are a few photos of tiny Tom Owen's Caye and the underwater world at Reef CI.
On Friday the 21st we'll head back to Punta Gorda in the early afternoon. We had planned to head to Caye Caulker but it doesn't look like we can get there Friday night, even with flights. We've decided to fly from Punta Gorda to Ambergris Caye (there's a later flight there that will work) and enjoy some good food and live music before a sleep at Ruby's, then head to Caye Caulker via water taxi in the morning. (Note: click the water taxi link if for no other reason than to listen to the little Belizean jingle.)
On Caye Caulker
we'll stay at Colinda's Cabañas right on the beach south of town - full kitchen and free use of bikes and kayaks.
Caye Caulker has a fun, laid back Caribbean vibe and great food options if we decide to eat out. Here's a link to our 2009 blogpost. Looking forward to sailing, snorkeling, diving, and hunting down some bonefish.