A Trip to Stan Creek District
We had originally planned to visit Mama Noots Backabush Jungle Resort, near Hopkins in the Stan Creek District, during my daughter Jesse's visit at Christmas time. Unfortunately, our Isuzu diesel developed a weird noise and I wasn't sure it could make the trip.
With Joyce's birthday coming up and the room paid for since December, we decided to invite an other couple from Consejo Shores and make the trip on the April 2nd. Plus we could stop in at the Immigration Office in Belmopan and get our Permanent Residency stamps transferred to our new passports at the same time. What a plan.
So we arranged for someone to look after our house and dog, loaded up the essentials like beer, coke and rum, picked up Jeff and Denise and headed down the dusty road to Corozal and points south.
Our first stop was Cheers, a road side restaurant on the Western Highway just past the Belize Zoo. We have stopped here on most of our trips to Belmopan, not so much for their good food at reasonable prices, but rather for their great selection of hybrid orchids, which Joyce finds hard to pass up. Unfortunately they didn't have any real beauties in bloom this trip. The food was still good.
The next stop was Immigration in Belmopan. The process of obtaining Permanent Residency requires several trips to this office, so we found it quickly and dropped off the passports with assurances they would be ready by Wednesday. After two more stops in Belmopan looking unsuccessfully for some water pump parts, we headed down the Hummingbird Highway toward Stan Creek District and Mama Noots Backabush Resort.
We hadn't been down to this part of Belize since 1994 and had forgotten what a different Belize it is from Corozal or Cayo districts. The first thing you notice is the variety and intensity of the Greens! Deep rich blue-greens blended with surreal cyan-greens intermingled with reds, yellows, purples and nearly every other color imaginable. Simply stunning.
The road is in great shape, but it is narrow with a lot of trucks and busses traveling too fast - at least going down hill. When we were able to pull over to try and get some pictures of the fantastic scenery, there wasn't a real good shot to be had.
Mama Noots Backabush Jungle Resort
Mama Noots Backabush Resort under new managment. Their new website is: http://www.mamanootsbocawina.com/.
Mama Noots Backabush Resort is located in the new Mayflower Bocawina National Park. A well marked exit from the highway put us on the easily navigated dirt and mud road into the park.
When we arrived at Mama Noots, only the grounds keeper was there. He showed us to our rooms. We unloaded our stuff, relaxed with a cold drink then headed up the Bocawina trail to the nearest of the waterfalls.
A two to three hour hike leads to the 100ft Antelope Falls. The much less strenuous walk we choose leads to Three Sisters Falls. This was not a rough walk by generally accepted standards. I walk several miles every day with our dog Harmony, on the flat level ground of Consejo Shores but my legs were sore for 2 days after this "easy" hike!
The water in the pool at the base of the falls was cool an refreshing. Since April is the middle of the dry season, the Falls weren't as impressive as I am sure they are when the river is running a little higher.
When we got back to the resort, we finally were able to meet our host, Nan. We had conversed via email so much it felt like she was an old friend. We checked in, talked awhile then went to get cleaned up for dinner.
The dinner and company were great. We were served Shrimp Linguini and desert was cake and ice cream. Since we were the only guests we had Nan and her daughter to ourselves. This is where we learned that the Bar normally closes at midnight and breakfast would be around 10AM. This is very late for us so we asked how early we could get coffee and Nan said they would leave a pot ready to go on the bar that we could just turn on and get our morning fix.
The coffee and fruit were on the bar the next morning, as promised, but the place was locked up tight! Habits like locking up are hard to break. Our group decided to head into Hopkins in search of coffee and since we we not going to make the hike up to Antelope Falls, we left Nan a note that we would not return for the extra night.
Mix the beauty of the Belize jungle, the hospitality of warm and wonderful people, the great food, and the songs of the abundant birds and insects and you have Mama Noots Backabush Resort.
Jeanie's Jungle Beach Resort in Hopkins
We found Jungle Jeanie's just driving around Hopkins. I think we were drawn by the name. We arrived just as they were finishing up a photo shoot for their website. Since we were the only potential customers in site, they made us a good deal on the rooms. We chose a couple of the beach side cabanas.
After carrying our stuff to the cabanas, we settled down to some serious Birthday On the Beach activities.
Dinner was served just after sundown. On the wall was an unexpected "Happy Birthday" banner. The meal was a wonderful, more than you can eat pork stir fry. After dinner, we were escorted by torch light with Maya Jungle drums playing in the distance, to the a surprise (to Joyce and I anyway) birthday party complete with cake and ice cream.
The owners, Jean and John Barkman are a wonderful friendly couple who know how to make their guests feel at home. The coffee was ready and available at 5AM so we were able to sit on the beach coffee in hand and watch the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea.
Belmopan and Immigration
We reluctantly left Jungle Jeanie's around 9AM to return to Consejo, with a quick stop in Belmopan to collect our passports. After I stood at the counter for 10 minutes, the nice immigration lady with whom I left the passports finally noticed I was there and inquired as to my needs. I handed her the receipts for our passports. "Those aren't ready yet, I thought you meant next Wednesday".
I collected the passports, without the residency stamps transferred, and we went home. So much for the great plan. Oh Well, carrying 2 passports isn't THAT much of an inconvenience.