Celebrating My Eighth-Year Anniversary with Belize: An Unforgettable Ride

I woke up this morning realizing that it was eight years ago, on a humid and hazy summer morning, that I landed in Belize for the first time, solo. I stayed in San Pedro like a classic first-timer, snorkeled Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and happily stumbled on a colorful Dia de San Pedro celebration, bursting in Mestizo culture.

Dia de San Pedro 2019 – Ambergris Caye.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

I went to Caye Caulker on the water taxi for a day. I remember folks being friendly, and the island mellow and safe; I kicked myself hard for not having made it my base.  

The Split, Caye Caulker (2010).

I was dying to see the rainforests and wildlife I’d seen in photographs online, so I traveled to Orange Walk, where my mind was blown cruising the New River, hiking Lamanai Archeological Site, and seeing Jesus Christ birds, toucans, and howler monkeys staring back at me for the first time.

Howler monkey, Lamanai – Orange, Walk (2010). 

Lamanai Archaeological Site – Orange Walk (2010).

My next base was Bullet Tree Falls village, and I was even more thrilled at my natural surroundings. The ATM cave was the latest craze (amazing that it still is), when tourists could bring cameras. I braved the grueling hike, knowing it was too late to turn back. A torrential downpour hit at the start of our expedition, making it a race to

Continue reading »

Rediscovering Barbados on Two Wheels: A South Coast Bike Tour

My first journey to Barbados, ten years ago, came about when my friend Chelsea rang me up one afternoon. We were each respectively stuck at our lawyers’ desks in Washington DC, and on the brink of an upcoming long, Labor Day weekend.

Let’s go to Barbados? 

Like most first-time visitors, we’d ended up staying in a resort in the St. Lawrence Gap area—on the south coast of this beach-blessed island. But after just two days on Accra Beach and a single road trip, I had left Barbados frustrated. Where were those Bajan vibes everyone talked about?

Soon after, I embarked on a career as a travel photographer and journalist, and continued to explore the rest of the Caribbean. But that memory stayed with me—of the one Caribbean island that had eluded me.

So when the opportunity came this Spring to re-explore Rihanna’s home, this time as a travel writer on my own itinerary—sponsored by the tourism board for half of the trip, and with five additional days completely on my own—I knew I was up for the challenge. Surely Barbados has more to it than sunning on gorgeous beaches? I was ready to create a different, culture and adventure-packed memory of Bim.

That’s how I stumbled on Bike Caribbean, while furiously planning and researching another face of Barbados online.

A South Coast Bike Tour

Before I knew it, I’d reached out to the cycling company on Facebook, and signed up for a South Coast bike tour. Their description had lured me right in.

“Explore the hidden surf spots of the south coast and tap into Bajan island culture, stopping at some laid back local favorites.”

To boot, the biking level was marked beginner to intermediate. There were additional adrenaline-packed and advanced itineraries offered on the site, venturing to the east coast, or north of Barbados—all led by elite Bajan mountain biker, Randy Licorish, co-owner of Bike Caribbean. But you know, baby steps. I was about to explore Barbados by bicycle for the first time—what could be more different?

It wasn’t hard for Randy to find me that morning. My sole direction had been to “drive towards Weston and turn right on the alley directly before John Moore’s.” Everyone knows the iconic rum shop—almost as iconic as

Continue reading »