My trip to Belize was split between two types of resorts, the environmentalist’s dream at duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge at the beginning, and the beach lover’s paradise of Robert’s Grove Beach Resort in Placencia at the end. I enjoy getting to know people – how they think, live, what they believe in, their dreams and goals, the cultural things they hold dear, that kind of thing. I’m not all that into history, per se, but exploring ancient civilizations, antiquities and such is fun. When I’m traveling to places I’ve never been before, I like to experience the day-to-day, not be locked away behind some resort’s walls where the only taste of the local culture I get is what the resort owners choose to let in.
The first four days of the trip were ideal in that we got to talk to people where they lived, see the country side, most of it unspoiled by industry (or ecological abuse), got to eat at local restaurants – food that wasn’t anything “special” or specifically cooked to appeal to the tourists. I have nothing against all-inclusive resorts in general, but for the most part, they’re not high on my list of vacation spots. At least they weren’t until we breezed on to the grounds at Robert’s Grove.
Now, I’m still a bigger fan of being able to immerse myself in the cultures of the places I travel, but I am an ocean loving beach bum at heart. Toss a resort on the sand that comes complete with relatively luxurious accommodations, gourmet cuisine, and the ocean at the front door, well…I might be persuaded to forget the world outside the resort walls.
Robert’s Grove sits on a narrow peninsula in the midst of housing developments just waiting to find a nice bank account in which to hold your retirement dollars. This area is definitely what you see when you glance through the many ads for beach front property. I don’t begrudge the many folks from the US and abroad who have decided to make this section of the country their home. In fact, I myself considered it when I started exploring ex-pat communities around the world. It’s very sterile – the majority of diversity you find is in the styling of the individual houses, at least those that aren’t part of the small, gated enclaves we drove by. There’s a small town at the end of the peninsula called Placencia. The bit of it I saw consisted of several bars, restaurants, and shops. Quaint, but definitely more about commerce and catering to the out-of-towners, if you know what I mean. We spent some time in the town of Dangriga – that felt more, I dunno know, authentic (doesn’t seem like the right word, but I’ll roll with it for now) than Placencia. There also weren’t any cultural options like museums, ruins, etc. for us to go to close around the resort. Nope – when you’re in this area, you are there specifically for sun, sand, some shopping, and the occasional fruity umbrella wearing drink. Oh, diving and deep-sea fishing too. But I’m not much for either of those so…
There’s a variety of rooms to chose from, we lucked up and landed a suite with a small kitchen, a separate bedroom and semi-private porch.
All I could think of was what a perfect setting it was for a couple’s retreat. I mean seriously – imagine you and the honey of your choice, squirreled away for a few days, within a few feet of the freakin’ ocean, three swimming pools (if the ocean isn’t your thing), and an open air restaurant a casual stroll away. I will definitely be recommending it to my honey as soon as we get settled. (*ahem* more on that later)
We were at Robert’s Grove for three full days. For me, that was just the perfect amount of time. I think any longer than that and I would have gone a touch stir crazy. There really isn’t much to do after you’ve dived, fished, swam, and shopped. They do have television so I guess you could watch some TV but seriously, you can watch TV at home. I managed to do some writing, some reading, but again, I can do that at home. When on vacation, I like to be able to enjoy activities and have experiences that are specific to the area I’m visiting. Aside from sitting on the beach (which I didn’t get to do much of as it rained right up until the day we left), there wasn’t much else the resort could offer me.
But speaking of the beach…
That last picture there is of the sunrise as seen from the stretch of sand directly in front of our suite. I have always loved being on the beach. Don’t know why, but I do. There is something in my blood that draws me to the ocean. I am infinitely awed by its power, its depths, its sound. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves is so high up on my list of favorite things it’s ridiculous. Those first couple of nights, with the storms raging further out to sea, the waves were exceptionally vociferous. The deep rumbling as they broke along the shore was Heavenly.