We arrived at the tiny airport of Punta Gorde, or PG as it is more affectionately known, and having disembarked (banging my head on the ceiling of the small plane as I battled to get off) we found our way to the baggage retrieval point. No conveyor belts here, just an open area shaded from the sun by a canopy. The luggage followed us very quickly, not surprisingly as there were only 10 of us on board and I, sitting behind the pilot, had been able to keep an eye on all the instruments (not that they meant much to me).
Back on terra firma we’d been collected by Ian (see other review) and had a comfortable ride to the group of cottages. After a brief rest my wife and I decided to explore the area on two wheels. Cycles are provided free and cycle selected we headed on the dusty road away from the town of PG. Now it’s a long time since I rode a fixed wheel bike and my wife had never done so. Yet another challenge for us. Once we were on the road we tried a few slow-downs and sudden stops and after a few skids we were feeling fairly comfortable in the saddle.
The dusty track was fairly quiet which was just as well as we were manoeuvring across the width of the road to avoid the pot-holes. There was plenty of signs of life with bird calls coming at us from all quarters, and at one point we were rewarded with the sight of two green parrots flying across our eye-line. But it soon became evident that we needed to keep our eyes peeled in all directions as my wife saw a fairly hefty tarantula making its way across the track. We paused whilst I reached for my camera (my wife wasn’t going to get close to this "beast") and I was happy that the spider seemed to be fairly photogenic as it posed on the roadside for this camera call.
Back on the bike and we soon heard the familiar sound of the Orependula and sure enough at the top of a tree there was a group of very excited birds. They were flashing their yellow tails and walking in an ungainly fashion along the branches. Then just as we were enjoying their antics they spread their wings and flew off.
Along the route we were kept company by a stray horse, it had obviously broken loose from it tethering as it still had the rope around its neck. As we approached it got a wee bit skittish and cantered off the lane and into the undergrowth. However, he obviously didn’t like the terrain because he was soon back on the track and giving us a suspicious glance every so often. We spent the rest of our ride giving each other plenty of space. He was, after all, a lot bigger than us!
It was really quite noticeable how friendly "the locals" were to us. A couple even slowed down in their vehicles to have a word with us. English is not their first language but they just seemed that they wanted to let us know about their town and its surrounding countryside
Of course you always need to remember, especially on a linear ride that you have to return and as much as we’d enjoyed free-wheeling down the slopes of the dusty track we had to retrace our cycle track and pedal slightly up hill on the return journey. Not too onerous, but it meant we were both "glowing" when we arrived back at Hickatee Cottages.
The bar had just opened so we ordered ourselves a bottle of Belekin beer. This is the only local beer sold in Belize and I understand that the company has been issued with exclusive rights to brew and sell their beer for 15 years. Now that’s what you call a deal for the brewers. We sat back and enjoyed the ice cold beer taking in the beautiful surroundings of the garden at Hickatee