Posted March 6th, 2006, 05:51 PM
If you are going to Belize - I cannot highly enough recommend doing the Smuggler's Run Horseback riding with Trevor and Cathy. Despite some problems with my e-mail bouncing, we had wonderful communication. We tendered into Belize and there was this tall, dark, handsome man with a sign with my daughter's and my name on it. Kind - funny. Picked us up and another couple with their two young daughters and we traveled in a very nice van to the Plantation (about a 40 minute ride). He kept a running commentary up during the trip, interjected with humor and fun - and readily answered any and all questions about the country. We pulled up to this absolute GORGEOUS outdoor plantation house (with grass/thatched roof) with a large open outdoor restaurant. We got out and met his wife Kathy, had a quick beverage and went to the restroom (which was huge (many stalls) and very clearn and nice. Then up and onward to the horses. The horses were beautiful, well groomed, clean - obviously well-loved and cared for. I was a little worried (I am a little heavy) but no one made me feel out of place at all. They had some stairs and pulled the horses right around to them - just climbed right up and on - and off we went We had three guides and Trevor was right there riding with us too! It had been a little muddy the day before and I am one of those moms that hasn't been riding in 20 years so I was a little nervous. I shouldn't have worried a bit. I felt safe, secure and as if safety was paramount - along with much much fun! I was right behind the front guide - who was carrying a machete and cutting down any hanging vines as we went - very solicitous of safety - not even wanting the slightest branch to mar your experience. On a couple of spots on the trail, my horse encountered some mud - my guide literally jumped off his horse and led me right through it. Talk about royal treatment! The couple with us had two very young girls (one about 6 riding by herself) and the other about 4 riding in front of her father on his saddle. They had so much fun. Trevor was in back and then there was another young guide in the middle - always helping - always concerned. I didn't have one moment where I felt scared. It was like riding through a tropical rainforest - absolutely gorgeous. They pointed out flora and fauna - trees, told funny stories. It was wonderful. We rode, I think, for about two hours. Then were got back in - again - the same royal treatment getting off the horses as getting on. Then - into this beautiful hacienda - for what was the highlight of our entire cruise. The BEST food I have ever had. My daughter and I were just in heaven. We had chicken with a red sauce that just fell off the bones it was so tender. Rice and Beans and cole slaw and homemade lime juice (they grow limes right on the farm). For desert, there was lime pie. It was so so good. I didn't have ANY meal on the entire Carnival Glory cruise that compared. Cathy is an absolutely great cook - and so kind - a gentle nature - sweet and funny. I wish I could cook like that!
After that, one of the horses had a new foal (4 days old). We went to the pasture to see it and another foal as well and got to see the horses and foals up close (little ones touching) and then saw a beautiful ocelot, some monkeys and some other kind of animal that I didn't know what it was. At all times, Cathy and Trevor were very conscious about what time we needed to be back to the shore (even called on the phone to check departure times to make sure we got back in time - despite the other party being on a different cruise line.) We heard all about some of their ideas for growth for their plantation, but I have to admit - I hope they don't change too much - it was everything I could have hoped for and we were just thrilled.
I didn't feel the cost of the tour made up for what we got and ended up tipping $30.00 extra ($15.00 for me and $15.00 for my daughter) because it simply was just wonderful. If the whole rest of the cruise had been bad, I still would have had these wonderful memories.
I only wish I had brought my camera because I unfortunately didn't get any pictures (Trevor - will you e-mail me some???).
I could see staying in Belize longer just to spend time at Smuggler's Run Plantation - kind people - fun, . . .
You just couldn't have a better time.
GO on this tour - if you pick any to go on - no fears about getting back to the ship on time. Have a wonderful meal, a wonderful time, and meet people you will remember always.
Thank you so much Trevor and Cathy. Molly and I will be back, I promise!