Belize 2018

Well Belize, you were an absolute dream. Hands down the best week of my life. What truly made it a remarkable experience was all of the amazing people we met every step of the way. I hummed and hawed over whether I wanted to break this blog down into three sections (one section for each destination in Belize), but I decided in order to give the reader the full effect of this trip; the energy, connections, spontaneity, and law of attraction represented throughout, it is really important to explain it's entirety. I will break down what we did, where we ate, what we saw, where we stayed in a separate post so it is neatly laid out for future travelers (more of a brief list style), and I will also be sure to mention those throughout this post here. All I ask is that while you read through the evolving story below, you be patient and read to the end, I promise you will not be disappointed. 

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Day 1: Travel/Arrival

3:45am and we are waking up to get going to the airport. Early morning flights definitely aren't the greatest but I would rather get to the destination as early in the day as I can (especially since we had a layover and a 2 hour drive upon arrival to get completed before we would arrive). Our first flight to Miami was rough. The turbulence was the worst I have ever experienced, and it lasted the entire 2 hour and 43 minute flight. Paula, a very nervous flyer to begin with, was completely freaking out and I was almost puking from motion sickness. When we landed, our energy was definitely off. We were hungry, tired, feeling ill, and rattled from the flight. Too hungry to look any further, we stop at the first restaurant we see and unfortunately had another not so great experience. The food was not very good (or good for you) and extremely overpriced. We left feeling unsatisfied, a little queasy, and frustrated (especially because only a few steps later we discovered there were a TON of great stands with healthy and delicious options).

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Finally after another not as bumpy plane ride, we land in Belize! Me being the hyper-organized control freak that I am, had booked a shuttle with Viator online - my intention was to make this travel as seamless as possible while we were down there and what better way to experience that than to have a driver waiting at the gate for you with your name on a sign. Unfortunately that was not the case... When we left the airport there were a ton of shuttle companies holding signs with names, as well as taxi drivers everywhere. While we searched for the sign that would read Kaitlyn MacEeachern, we slowly started to realize there was none. Our flight did arrive a little earlier than expected so we tried to keep our cool and wait it out until when we were supposed to have landed. The shuttle tickets to San Ignacio were not the cheapest route, and as time went by my anxiety begin to creep in. I pulled out the booking confirmation which was neatly placed in my travel folder and we each tried calling the local driver's number... No luck.

It was hot, we were tired from travelling, we had cab drivers coming up to us every other second offering us a ride, and telling us we should have just taken a cab it's the "easiest and best way to get to San Ignacio", so our discomfort was getting to an all time high. But of course, the helpful and friendly Belizean culture was there to save the day and a kind security guard offered us his phone to try and call the local company, Belize Family Adventure (I see now that Viator just books a local company so in future I will cut out the middle man and go straight to one of the many local companies, or take a cab!). We finally got a hold of the person at the office and they informed us that they tried to reach my cell (of course Rogers doesn't have roam like home in Belize), to notify us that the driver was running late. Okay, frustrating but at least it gave us a little piece of mind. Finally, an hour after our flight had landed we are on the road (with a quick stop for beer of course). 

Jose, our driver, was an absolute delight! He was so friendly and apologetic, his positive and charismatic energy instantly brightened our moods (or maybe it was the beer) and we were already feeling different vibes. During our 2 hour drive to San Ignacio (located west in the main land closer to the Guatemala border) Jose gave us an incredible history lesson on Belize and all of us were just soaking up everything he had to teach us, as well as the scenic views all around. We also talked about his family, growing up in Belize, his kids, his passion in life (he wants to open up a hostel in San Ignacio) it was so pleasant.

As we arrive in San Ignacio I am overwhelmed by the culture around me and the many incredible scenes it has to offer. One thing that was present in each destination and road traveled in Belize throughout the entire trip was the Belizean's LOVE for smiling. Smiles, happiness, and joy everywhere you go. It definitely made me more inspired to live more positively especially during the mundane, routine, and not so pleasant times in life. 

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We stayed at the Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio and the view of the town was absolutely breathtaking. As well, the little huts themselves were adorable - cozy and quaint with actual straw roofs, the restaurant was reasonably priced, had absolutely delicious food (the shrimp curry and this shrimp tomato dish were incredible) and had a beautiful ambiance. There was also a nice pool to swim in, the staff were all very friendly, and the location was perfect. One night, we asked our kind waiter Walter where we should go hit up the town, he said Thirsty Thursday's. When we asked where that was, he said to meet him out front in ten minutes and he will give us a lift there. By this point of the trip we were truly feeling the Belizean love and our energy was the most positive it had been all trip. There is also just something so incredibly trusting about everyone we had met so far, and they all seem to have the most honest and authentic intentions. (PLUS Mikenna did read a review online that said the staff was so nice they even ended up taking a group of guests out on the town). 

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We met Walter outside and he drove us down the road to Thirsty Thursday's, a cute outdoor bar with a DJ and a dance floor. Walter parks the car and says he is coming in for 3 beers. We all kind of giggled to ourselves as we thought it was so funny that he picked such a specific number. We sit at a table and exchange stories, have some drinks, and learn about Walter's life; his position at Cahal Pech Resort, his family, where he was raised, his wife and his daughter. We had already decided amongst ourselves that we would be getting Walter's drinks as a token of thanks for showing us around. After exactly three beers Walter rises to go and thanks us for a lovely evening. Mikenna decides she is getting tired and is going to head home as well, Walter again graciously offers to drive her back. As the two of them head out Paula and I go to the waiter to settle up our bill, when he goes, "oh no he already took care of it". The entire thing? We ask. Yes it is no problem, it has been taken care of. How kind and again the most pure and innocent intentions. Definitely very different than we are used to. The next morning when we all woke up we were just so smitten by how nice Walter was and by the flow of energy and conversations that were exchanged the night before. 

Day 2: mountain pine ridge reserve: rio frio, rio on pools, & big rock falls

Prior to starting our trip, we had contemplated and researched the many exciting and amazing things you can do in the areas surrounding San Ignacio. Explore Mayan ruins, horseback ride through the wilderness, climb through caves, water raft down rivers, and view beautiful waterfalls. In a nut shell, so much to do and too little time. We only planned for one day of excursions, so choosing was very difficult. I wanted to hike and see Mayan ruins, Mikenna wanted to hike and explore caves, and Paula was interested in seeing the waterfalls. Luckily we are all very easy going and chose a tour that involved hiking a cave, swimming in pools, and seeing a waterfall. I didn't get my Mayan ruins, but our resort was actually a 3 minute walk from the Cahal Pech Mayan ruins so I could easily do that the morning before our departure to our next destination should it be in the cards. 

Our tour guide, Cookie, from Mayawalk Tours and the driver, Israel, showed up and they both were (of course) so sweet. It was about an hour and a half drive through Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve to get to our first stop and Cookie continued to educate us the entire time as we explored and observed the new landscapes and small towns we were passing through. The roads to get there were extremely bumpy (they call it a free massage lol), but it was fine because it was just the three of us in a SUV as opposed to a big clunky tour bus. Our first stop on the tour, Rio Frio, was this incredible massive cave! Cookie showed us the different sediments part of the cave, told us the history of how the Mayan's used to use this cave for ceremonies, and took us through how the erosion over time created the landscape before us. Photos do not do this place justice, it is HUGE! After exploring and hiking a bit we hopped back in the car and proceeded back the way we came to stop at destination two, Rio on Pools. Of course this was the point of the trip where Cookie whips out the rum punch and we enjoy the tropical beverage as we float and swim around these refreshing pools, taking in the view. We then hiked to dry off quickly, up to a look out point that shows the true depth of the pools and let me tell you, it was stunning. 

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Moving along we head to surprise stop number 3, a picnic! Beforehand the tour company asked us what kind of meal we wanted, we all said vegetarian. The food was delicious (curry tofu and vegetables, rice and beans, and a salad), and also so cute packed up in a little tupperware containers, one for each of us. For lunch Cookie took us to a secluded stream where there was nobody else in sight, and him, Israel and us Charlie's Angels (as everyone we met in Belize called us), shared a great meal and exchanged our life stories. We had no idea but Israel and Cookie had only just met that day (they were exchanging words in Spanish and Kreol every now and then, so we just assumed they knew each other). It felt so good to be 100% present this entire trip. Phones away - just engaging and connecting with everyone we were meeting.

After lunch we headed to the last stop (and the most anticipated) Big Rock Falls. These rushing falls definitely exceeded expectations - we could hear the falls well before they were even in sight. We began to swim and jump in the water on the lower level of the falls, when suddenly Israel (our driver) joined us. He led Mikenna and I up and over the second mini falls to swim underneath the big part of the falls. It was definitely the most exhilarating thing I have done in my life and I know I would never have done it if Israel was not there to help us (physically and mentally I am sure I would not have been able to do it). The feeling of the fresh falls pouring over us and hammering the surrounding water was intoxicating, my heart was pounding the entire time. We were so lucky we had Israel there to take us on an unexpected adventure and we also just lucked out so much with the timing as the falls were completely empty when we were there and suddenly as we were leaving we were bombarded by other tour groups. As we walk away on cloud nine we exclaim about how we couldn't believe our luck! 

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Day 3: San Ignacio market / travel / San Pedro night 1 

After a night of drinking, we awoke at the crack of dawn to the sound of crowing roosters and barking dogs bellowing through our hut - perfect time for a sweaty workout. The resort itself was very hilly, with winding paths throughout, so we decided to do a circuit inspired by our recent classes at Barry's Bootcamp that contained hill sprints and full body floor workouts (HIIT), followed of course by some yoga. We then wandered down to the main part of town to check out the well known Saturday San Ignacio Farmer's market. The infatuating reggae music bellowed throughout the streets as everyone flocked towards the tented market. I had every intention of going to the Cahal Pech Mayan temple afterwards but the captivating sights of the market kept me much longer than anticipated. We wandered through the various vendor stands, playing with the local children, petting the puppies, admiring the local artisan crafts, and drooling over the copious amounts of fresh produce. Next thing you know it was already getting close to 11am (our departure time) and we still had to go back and gather our belongings. If I were to ever return to Belize I think I would live in San Ignacio for a longer period of time. Just so that I could thoroughly enjoy the culture, the market, the people, and the absolutely buzzing vibe. 

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We made our way to Belize City where we took the ferry over to San Pedro. We hadn't heard or read great things about Belize City prior to our trip, and even all of the local people we had met so far warned us to stay away from it as much as possible. We were also there during a big political time as the local elections were on their way so to be better safe then sorry. We swiftly moved from the shuttle to the ferry terminal without lingering even for a second. San Pedro and San Ignacio felt as if you were in two different countries, however one thing that was the same between the two - the extremely kind and happy people (for the most part - you will see why). We were a little frazzled after getting off of the boat, instantly we were struck by the smell of the ocean (aka stinky fish...) the heat, sunshine, and overall determination to drop our bags and explore this new place.

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Our Airbnb host said it was a ten minute walk on the beach SOUTH of the ferry dock upon arrival, but when we got there we were so disheveled we thought - let's just walk on the road instead of dragging our suitcases through the sand. We walk to the main street and ask a golf cart taxi (it is almost only golf cart's on the island with a few cars here and there) how to get to Blue Water Grill if we were to walk on the road (a very well known restaurant directly next to our Airbnb). We are not sure if this guy actually did not know at all, or if he did not fall into the same category of nice Belizean people and was sabotaging us for declining his ride offer, but he sent us back to the beach - insisting you could only get there from the beach, and pointed us in the complete opposite direction!! It wasn't until we had walked 10 minutes north (unknowingly) dragging our suit cases along the sand - sweating profusely, that we stopped to ask someone how much further it was. They unfortunately had to break the news to these sweating, messy ladies that they had gone the wrong way. Great.

This was an uncomfortable time but sometimes this stuff just happens and you got to stay positive and roll with the punches. We turned around and began our now 20 minute walk in the sand back in the other direction. By the time we reached our place we were ready to collapse, but as soon as we saw this adorable little villa and the remarkable view, all of the turmoil faded away and our positive energy returned. We were so excited to have our own rooms, two bathrooms, a private patio overlooking the beach and the ocean, and a full kitchen to make our own meals. The first thing we did after dropping our bags was head out to find a local store to grab some ingredients to make dinner, water, and wine!  

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Only a 5 minute walk from our place was the San Pedro airport and a grocery store which was a regular stop for us. We picked up some breakfast supplies, all the necessary ingredients for shrimp tacos, water & wine. We danced around the kitchen, sipping our drinks and cooking our meal, and then watched the sun set as we ate out on the balcony. Originally our general plan was to take it easy this night (didn't want to be hungover on my 25th birthday) and go out on my actual birthday. But our moods were too good to stay in, we had to keep this favourable energy going.

We began bar hoping and enjoyed what each one had to offer. The dark sportsbar feel where we took rum shots and the DJ played a carribean version of happy birthday, the breezy karaoke bar with the twinkling lights and the phenomenal female tourist singing At Last, the massive restaurant with an older crowd where a live band played oldies and we invited a group of British Militants to come join for a round of fingers (a fun drinking game we used to play at Dalhousie), and last but not least the lively dance club Jaguars where we took burning shots of rum, danced like no one was watching (seriously, it wasn't pretty), partied with a huge group of wild British Military boys, and everyone in the bar counted down my birthday at midnight as if it were new years eve. These kind Brits even escorted us home (never had we ever felt so safe), and told us they would come back in the morning before their flight (they had trained in the jungle for 6 weeks and were visiting San Pedro before heading home). 

Day 4: San Pedro / Kait's 25th Birthday

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I woke up on my birthday to a happy birthday sign draped across the glass doors. We made eggs and coffee for breakfast and headed down to the dock to reminisce on the evening prior and laugh over our crazy dance moves. Chatting and giggling away on the dock, we see some great British friends we met the night before strolling by. We hung out in the sunshine, keeping cool with the breeze and occasional dip in the ocean, shared more life stories, and learned all about the training for the British Military. When it was time for them to leave to catch their flight - we sat there in awe over the travelers luck we had been experiencing. We said, okay there is no way anything we do will top that - it was way too much fun, we've set our expectations too high now. We didn't know it at the time but this was only the beginning. 

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My birthday was absolutely everything I could have ever wanted. We went to Palapa on the water for a delicious meal (fish tacos of course), sipped on refreshing tropical drinks, and then went back to our air bnb for an afternoon siesta on the beach. Somewhere along the line we decided we wanted to make a cake, so we picked up some mix, icing, and candles, and whipped it up before dinner. The oven wasn't really working (the bottoms were brunt but the top of raw), even when they cooled the icing was tearing the cake apart and our vision of this spectacular cake was slowly dissipating, but all the while we continued to laugh over this insane looking cake we were making. For dinner, we headed next door to Blue Water Grill, a definite must in San Pedro. The best food EVER. We practically had to roll ourselves out of there after all of the food and panty rippers (well known drink on the islands - coconut rum and pineapple juice, they have happy hour as well where they are very cheap!). 

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We came back to our place to eat our fabulous cake but by the time we had lit all of the candles the flames were millimeters from the top of the cake. Wax was pouring everywhere and then suddenly, the happy birthday cake topper caught on fire. We were in tears laughing (after containing the fire of course). The candles had sunk into the not-so-cooked cake and it looked like a disaster - but it was my best birthday cake ever. 

As a quick background leading into what happens next, a coworker of mine told me a few months ago (when I first booked my flights) that I absolutely had to meet up with this nice local guy she met while she was down in San Pedro a year ago. She gave me his Instagram name and we added each other. At the time, I remember thinking, I say maybe now but there is no chance I will meet up with this guy. However, there was something different in the air down there, and we all could feel the cosmic positive energy encouraging us to try and do as much as we can. He just so happens to message me that evening to let me know that he and his friends are going into San Pedro for a drink if we wanted to join. We look at each other, kind of unsure but then thought oh hell, why not! *SAY YES TO EVERYTHING* So we went and joined them for a drink, and ended up completely hitting it off (I mean of course we did, they are Belizean and all Belizean people are so gosh darn kind and friendly).

They take us on a tour of the island in their golf cart, showing us every nook and cranny as they know the place like the back of their hand. They ask what we are doing the next day and we told them we were planning on going to a place called Secret Beach (or as most people call it - not so secret beach). They say no, no - we're all going out on the boat, and we will show you the real secret beach in San Pedro. You girls just bring some beers and we'll take care of the gas. Okay deal. The plan was to meet at 3pm after one of them finished work at Ramon's Village.

DAy 5: The real secret beach (sandbar) and Leo's Island

With not having a working phone, my only means of communication with our new friends was over Instagram direct message when connected to Wifi. Thinking we had all day to kill we headed down to the dock to enjoy the sun and read our novels. I could feel skin burning in the harsh Belizean sun even though it was 10am and I had already applied sunscreen, so I went up to go reapply. When I get to the room I checked my phone and see a message that was sent twenty minutes ago: "change of plans, we are leaving in 40 minutes." What a lucky coincidence that I went up right then to get my sunscreen and so happen to see that message with just enough time for us to change, grab beers, and get to the meeting spot.

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Alex, Tallest, Mikenna, Paula and I had the most magical day out on the boat. It was as if we had been friends for years. We laughed and chatted about an array of topics - hearing their stories and sharing our own. And of course we were just absolutely blown away by the stunning hues of the turquoise water, unlike anything we had ever seen before - not even in my wildest dreams. The boat also match the water colour which made it all the more mesmorizing. This was easy living. Our first stop was the real secret beach - a shallow sandbar in the middle of the ocean. We sipped on rose, danced in the shallow water, and enjoyed the incredibly stunning scenery that surrounded us. 

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Paula also brought her phenomenal camera, and both Alex and Tallest were so keen to take pictures for us... Wait a minute, yes you heard me correctly, guys actually wanting to take photo after photo of girls posing, laughing, drinking, dancing. This is first for us. And they were both so into, Alex behind the camera directing and shooting - different angles, different poses, and Tallest enjoy his beers/wandering off to explore the surroundings - so patient and kind just living in the moment and enjoying everything around him. Alex turned out to be such a natural behind the camera and says he thinks he may have found his calling! 

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Next we boated over to Leonardo DiCaprio's island (currently still uninhabited) and walk around exploring the terrain. Tallest then wanders off and comes back with a fresh coconut he pulled from a tree! My dream! We drink the coconut water straight from the coconut and ate the meat. It was the most magical thing I have ever experienced. After spending some more time here lounging around, photo shooting, having a blast, we finally make our way to Secret Beach. Secret Beach was definitely beautiful and a lot of fun. For sure a great place to spend the day in San Pedro (if you don't have the ability to jet over to sand bars and uninhabited islands).

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Our day ends with a boat ride home and a magical sunset - flawless. We want to thank these two kind souls for showing us one of the best days of our lives, and what better way than with a home cooked meal. We ask what their favourite meal is, and Tallest responds, Fettuccine Alfredo. Done we say. The boys go home to clean up and we grab the supplies and start cooking our shrimp Alfredo with a spicy kick (Alex said he really liked spice). The evening is full of energetic conversations, laughter, smiles, good food, and great company. We eventually make our way out to explore the island on the golf cart, and end up at the most stunning bar I have ever seen, Crock's. The upstairs, for private parties only, had the most phenomenal view of the water and stars, and the ambiance of the place as a whole was simply wonderful. It was the perfect end to the perfect day. 

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Day 6: Caye Caulker

Up at the crack of dawn again, and time for another mini vacation workout. With every pushup my body feels a million pounds heavier than ever before. But I push through and wrap up in time to catch the ferry to Caye Caulker, another island (much smaller than San Pedro) known for its high volume of backpackers and lounging island vibes. On our first ferry ride to San Pedro, we were upset because only specific people were chosen by the captain to ride up top and we thought - hey, I want to do that. We could just picture us up top, enjoying the sun and the wind and the views. As we are boarding the ferry this time one of the workers stops us from getting on and says, "Ladies, the captain would like to know if you three would like to sit up top?" We burst out into fits of laughter, we couldn't believe how well that had worked out! Of course we jump on that and ride in the best seats of the house. 

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As we pull up, even Caye Caulker looks MUCH different than San Pedro. The vibrant colourful buildings, school children in their uniforms biking and running everywhere, hammocks and swings as far as the eye can see. A lot of people there say Caye Caulker is like San Pedro 15 years ago. The much more relaxing vibe instantly made us feel a rush of tranquility. I had researched a yoga studio before hand and couldnt wait to rise with the sun tomorrow and practice in this beautiful space. 

Having learned our lesson in San Pedro, we decided that trudging the luggage (although small) through the sand was not in the cards today and the $5 golf cart cab was much more worth it. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to meet a new person and pick their brain for where to go on this endearing island. The taxi driver told us about Koko King which a short boat ride away and has a beautiful beach, restaurant and bar, loungers, a pool, VIP beds, hammocks, and water activities. We were sold as we could really use a relaxing day on the lounger indulging in our novels. 

We dropped our bags off at Anchorage Resort located slightly south on a much quieter part of the island, and although we set our expectations low (we were not to sure about the photos online) it was actually so charming. The family that runs it are so sweet, and they have the cutest kid. He was so mobile, jogging around freely in his barefeet, following us to the beach and 'assisting' us with our luggage. Our room had a balcony overlooking the beach and water and the outside walls were the most vibrant blue. They also had free kayaks we could use and bikes to rent for $7US a day. The vibe all around was extremely relaxing, and they accommodated our need for early check in too! 

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Without skipping a beat we head out to Koko King. The island itself is surprisingly easy to navigate and we found ourselves naturally stumbling to our correct destinations every time without even being sure if our feet were walking in the right direction. The Koko King boat comes about every 15 minutes or so, and really just transports people to and from. The only rule is that you spend $10US during your stay (and it can be on water, drinks, food, pool access, etc). Note* the water toys (bouncy castle, inner tubes water trampoline, and loungers/beach chairs are free of charge). The restaurant is amazing and extends out over the water, containing a full bar, two covered seating areas, and rooftop patio. We had another delicious meal here and indulged in some Pina Coladas. One thing I must note, the food in Belize is truly exquisite. Everything from the $1 tacos you purchase out of a window, to the abundance of restaurants that inhabit San Ignacio and the islands were phenomenal. The only bad meal we had all trip was at that god awful diner in the Miami airport.  

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For dinner, one of Mikenna's co-workers had recommended Pasta Per Caso in Caye Caulker. He warned that you absolutely needed a reservation in order to be seated (which we chose to disregard). We walk by it and were immediately drawn to the contagious atmosphere; high top wood tables, quaint family style, twinkling lights, trees and plants providing privacy in the completely open breezy restaurant. We can tell it is super busy (no tables) so we decide to see what else the island had to offer. We walk up and down the main strip and side streets - everything looks very good but we had such a draw to go back to Pasta Per Caso so we decided to go try our luck. We are standing in the doorway when we are greeted by Armundo, the co-owner of the restaurant with his wife Anna. He says he wants to seat us but he was not sure he will be able to. He goes to check on something and we are greeted by a nice gentleman who says, "ladies, this is crazy. We actually had 3 people from our party of 8 cancel last minute and now have 3 open seats at our table. So you have two options, one, wait here for an hour to get a table, or two, join us." We exchange glances and at the same time all say, ok we will join you.

Armando brought out plate after plate of the two dishes on the menu that night and it was hands down, the best pasta of my life. We had lively conversations with this group of kind strangers, slung back wine, and indulged in the fabulous cuisine, followed by a scrumptious gelato dessert. Each day, Anna and Armando make the pasta fresh and pick two varieties to offer for dinner. They were so charming - they instantly brought smiles to our faces.

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With our new friends we learned about what brings them down to Belize, spoke about our hopes and dreams, current careers, life in Toronto, hobbies and interests, and yoga. Yoga was a huge topic because each of them there practice yoga and one even opened up a chain of yoga studios in India and Canada. We eventually move to the topic of tattoos and I go through each of mine, lingering to go into a little more depth about my tattoo for my aunt and my grandmother. This one reads, Believe with the L being a breast cancer ribbon. I explain the story of the missing mammogram results that ended in tragedy, the bizarre coincidence that led my grandmother to be checked again, and I explain that the reason it spoke to me was because I truly Believe my tia Lucy, who had passed away from cancer a few years prior, was watching over and protecting my grandmother during her spell with the terrible disease, and is the reason she is alive and well today.  

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After our meal finished and we were parting ways with our new kind friends, they asked us if we wanted to go to a wedding the next day. We all laughed at the thought of us attending a wedding in Belize but they seemed serious. We said our goodbyes and scampered off to the local bar where the back packers on the island had gathered to exchange drinks and stories.

Day 7: The wedding and the secret  

We woke in the morning and hopped on some bikes to get to our yoga class in time. We went to RandOM Yoga
where they offer classes by donation. It was so incredible to be led through a class (having been leading my own practice all week long) and just inhale the surroundings. The studio was upstairs, completely open, and had a stunning view of the ocean and village below. The breeze in my hair and sun warming my skin, I let everything that had happened on the trip so far sink in. I started making the connections between how everything had worked out and was in awe with the euphoric energy that remained throughout every experience and interaction. After class was done, we grabbed breakfast at Namaste Cafe located directly down stairs. As the refreshing ginger pineapple smoothie awakened my soul, we chatted with a backpacker and discussed where they were off to next, and just sat listening to the birds chirping and kids laughing. We then biked around the island and saw the tremendous beauty it had to offer. 

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When we returned, Paula had a message from one of the nice new friends we met the night before saying take the 2:00 ferry to San Pedro and we will pick you up at the dock. Are we actually doing this? we thought. What an incredible way it would be to end such a spontaneous trip. But logistically it didn't seem like it would work out because our ferry the next morning back to BZE to catch our flight was at 8am and the last ferry back to Caye Caulker from San Pedro was at 6pm. That would have been fun but it did not seem to be in the cards. We get ready for the beach when we receive another message, Bring all of your luggage, we have a guest house you can stay in and you can take the plane from San Pedro to BZE tomorrow morning. Going with the flow of say yes to everything, we packed up our belongings, changed our plans, and got ready for a wedding. We told our new friends we would be there and we'll do our best to dress appropriately, but we didn't pack anything to wear to a wedding. And their response back was everything, No one will care what you're wearing, it's all about the energy you bring

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We met the most remarkable people at this wedding, and even had the absolute pleasure of meeting and talking with Susan Morrice who took us through her spiritual journey of discovering oil in Belize and how it led to her being featured in the book The Secret. Speaking with such a powerful business woman was truly inspiring. And her passion for the connection of energy and power of positive thinking was remarkably impactful on me. I began thinking about how the three of us, our energy, the connections we made, our positive thoughts, our openness to adventure, and our spontaneity, shaped and created our journey throughout the week and what we had considered to be coincidence and 'luck'. Maybe it was not luck or coincidence after all... Everything fell into place so greatly, maybe it was the universal energy creating this euphoric path and guiding us through the opportunities that our positive thoughts had created.  

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We made our way to our seats for the ceremony and as each member of the wedding party walked down the isle I began to feel the tears well up, weddings always make me emotional. But as the bridesmaids began to walk down the isle a familiar song begins to play over the speakers and my heart stops. Somewhere over the rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, the song used in my Aunt's memorial video at her funeral. The song that when played can bring my entire family to tears, the song the rings in our minds as we watch a sunset or see a rainbow and think of my Aunt's energy and feel her presence. I know it's a popular song so you can call it a coincidence but I now refuse to. There is no way this was all a coincidence, no way that everything fell together so perfectly. The universe works in mysterious ways and I truly believe your mindset and mentality can shape the experiences you have.

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As I leave Belize in that little plane, flying just low enough to see the details of the pristine waters below, I think of my parting words and reflect back on what I had learned: embrace happiness - feel it in your entire body, live determinedly - ask for what you want, think positively - and you will attract the right opportunities/experiences, energy connects everyone and everything - there is no such thing as a coincidence, and most importantly, say yes to everything. 

Kaitlyn Sydney