Archive for May, 2014

Thanks Chef Bourque

Posted: May 28, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
Tags: ,

We’d like to thank Chef Bourque and his wonderful wife Shirley for having us over while we were on our way to Belize. We had a great time and hope to see you all again soon. CAOE team.


Yeah we get a little excited when we see these old Landy’s still trudging alone down here in Belize. As an old Military outpost the country of Belize was full of  them many years ago, now they are getting harder to find and prices for a good used one have been going up. The old Land Rovers were required if you were planning to get anywhere in the country as the road conditions here in Belize are very rough. Even in the present day, there are only four major roads, considered highways to get around. One road in particular we really love is the Coastal Highway. It’s neither a highway and does not run along the coast. It’s just bemusing to us that it’s even on Belize maps.

highways-belize

Anyway back to the story. As Land Rover enthusiast, we’re always on the look out to see if we can find some of the old British Military Land Rovers, as luck would have it we did. Not only did we hear about some old Land Rovers being spotted, but that they were in fact close by. So with enthusiasm we  took to the road heading north of Placencia to Sittee River. Once we were in the area, we asked around again and were told we should go to the Sitte River Marina.

Just around the next bend and wow, it was like coming to Mecca! Not only were there 1 or 2 but we saw 4 and were told there were seven. Various models and years were represented and they all were running. We enjoyed spending our time talking to the guides at Sittee River Marina about all things Land Rover. Cool places to drive and explore via Land Rover in Belize were the topic of the afternoon. We also talked about some of the important ecology work that they are doing, cleaning up the trail to Davis Falls and Manatee conservation efforts.  We were also told that soon they will have old Landy’s for rent should you challenge to take one into the bush. We know we’d love to. Even though we have late-model Discovery’s with A/C, Roof Top Tents, electrical power, and so forth, it’s just something about driving an old Landy through the bush.

001 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011

We would like to thanks Bryan and the crew for showing us around. We’ll be back! Maybe next time we can have a Land Rover Parade.

Giving back! “The Power”

Posted: May 25, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

We at CAOE are always looking for an opportunity to give back. Trust us, not a one of us grew up with a silver spoon in our mouths, we’re not trust fund babies or inherited anything. We’re all graduates of hard knock university. Each of us have known hard work from any early age. Two of us had been evicted from our homes when we were kids and one of us was homeless at one point sleeping in a car. I am saying all this to point out that much of what we see when it comes to poverty, suffering, going without and being impoverished we’ve had more than our fair share of opportunity. However, after years of having had the opportunity to go to school, serve in the military, have great people and mentors around us that looked out for us and got us on a good path to success, we now want to share that same opportunity.  To encourage, mentor, guide and give other much less fortunate  an opportunity to step up . It’s our mantra. We feel, know and will do the right thing, it’s in our hearts.

Recently, we heard there was a family in need, we evaluated the situation, analysed  the need and decided this was something that we could do.  So with a resounding vote yes we sprang into action. Here’s the story:

159

We recently had a request for a small loan from a Mayan Family to get their electric back on. Clementita approached us and asked if there was anything we could do or if she could work ( house cleaning, cooking etc.) until she could pay off a small loan to turn their power back on. It has been off since November 2013 ( 6 months now). She asked if she could borrow $250.00 ($500.00 Belize). After further investigation we found out that their power was cut off because the old pole that the meter was attached to had become very unstable, was falling apart, and the power company demanded that if they wanted to continue to have service they would have to get a new metal pole, cemented into the ground with new breaker switches and more. Additionally this is your responsibility in Belize if you want power. Clementita and her husband Gregorio had a big problem now. How were two adults that barely make $500. USD a month with 5 kids at home going to come up with this enormous amount of money. So their power was cut off. One son in high school soon found out when he got home from school that he had no way to charge his laptop and to do his home work. Others around their dirt floored home would just grab a candle and survive with no lights night after night while they tried to save the money. Before they knew it, Christmas, New Years, Mother’s Day and many other holidays and events came and went with no power. Until we heard about their plight, it didn’t look like any power was going to be coming back on anytime soon either.

125 128 131 137 140

Once we heard their heartbreaking story we took immediate action and so did many of you. We are happy to report that we raised the exact amount needed to purchase the materials. Gregorio has  poured the concrete, an electrician is on the way to get everything ready for Belize Electricity Limited, and they will have lights on this week.

 

119 120 129 134 138 141 142 144 152 154

 

We were invited to their home on Sunday and spent a wonderful time having fresh hot Tamales and touring their home and grounds. They are a hard-working, fun-loving and kind family. They asked us to tell all of you all they say ” Thank You”

We would like to thank:

Tracy Lawson

Chuck Tolbert

Susan Clark

Meredith McKnight

Deanna Johnson

Carmen Eichhorn

We are happy, pleased and thankful to our faithful followers, past and future clients for your donations. You all made the difference. Thank you for helping us “Give Back”

147 148 149 150 151 159

 

A special thanks to Tammy Barbour for spearheading the fund drive.

“Auction” Mennonite style in Belize

Posted: May 21, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

by Scott Woodhams

007 030 050 053

Mennonite auction ahead! We had heard about an auction going on this past Saturday on the Hummingbird highway, mile marker 31. We left Bocawina zipline around 7 am, plenty of time to make the 8:30 am auction. As we pulled up, my heart dropped (or my stomach as it may)! The auction was in the field directly beside one of my favorite stops, The Country Barn ice cream. Were they selling out and closing up the doors too? Nooo! There were several large tents set up. The largest covered many items, like hand tools, power tools, and household goods alike. There were beds, dressers, tables, chainsaw, refrigerators, and even a portable A/C unit. Outside was the larger equipment, tractors, vehicles, and a motorcycle. A little bit of everything seemed promising for a good auction find. Another tent was where the food was being served. Cinnamon rolls, whoopee cakes, and oatmeal cream pies, all made from scratch, were being offered with coffee or orange juice. I settled on the juicy cinnamon rolls and coffee. Looking around, I was reminded of the Amish auctions I have attended in Michigan. The men wore their traditional clothing with straw hats, and the women long flowing dresses. The children ran around playing tag, or hanging on their parents legs as they looked over the sale items. I am a self-proclaimed auction ‘junkie”, so it was quite a treat to find this sale going on in Belize.

046

I love to sort through piles of stuff, looking for the gem of a deal. or just the excitement of bidding and winning the highest bid (hopefully not overpaying in the end). I set a top price in mind and then bid feverishly, showing no sign of slowing down, until the top bid is reached. But this is Belize. The atmosphere is a little more laid back. The auctioneer did a good job, but it was at a slower pace than I was used to. I enjoyed being immersed in the local culture, performing normal tasks of daily life. I admired the respectfulness and peaceful demeanour of the Mennonite community as a whole. It is evident, family is a high priority in their culture. I enjoyed observing those around me, the men involved in buying tools for the farm, the women sitting together chatting, waiting for the household goods, and the children well-behaved, along for the ride. I attempted to get pictures of people at the auction, without harassing or making anyone uncomfortable. A candid shot is better in my opinion anyway. I asked around about the fate of the landmark Country Barn. Would there be no place for ice cream on the Hummingbird highway anymore? I heard several accounts, from the farm being sold and ice cream closed down, to an agricultural school purchasing the farm. I found out the Mennonite family that owned the farm and Country barn, were relocating back to the US, selling out lock stock, and barrel. I also found out from the new owners (a mission group) that they will in fact be keeping the Country Barn operating! Whew! What a relief. If you haven’t had their ice cream, you must try it. It is all made from fresh ingredients and the cows right there at the farm. I waited in the long line to get a raspberry/vanilla swirl cone. Well worth the wait.

015 026 038 040

With the captive audience that day, they were very busy. We purchased a few tools from the auction, just enjoying meeting and talking with people. The weather was cooler and overcast. A nice reprieve. We hopped back into the Land Rovers, with our treasures in hand, off to find the next great adventure! What have you experienced in Belize, that has allowed you to be immersed in its diverse culture? Please share we’d love to hear your un-Belize-able story. You can share them freely on our FB page “On the Road in Belize” thanks.

051 056

 

Enjoy our Ziplining Adventures

Posted: May 21, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Ziplining Mama Noots Bocawina

Here’s a small clip of our ziplining adventures at Mama Noots Bocawina Adventure & Eco Resort

Ziplining over the Jungle! Oh my!

Posted: May 21, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Scary, fun, exhilarating, breathless ! We could use many of these words to sum up the awesome time we had ziplining on Central America’s longest zipline, but not just one word could express or convey what ziplining is like here. Just north of Placencia, about 45 minutes heading up the Southern Highway you’ll find this treasured paradise, not only is there ziplining  but a true Adventure & Eco-Resort, totally off the grid. http://www.mamanootsbocawina.com/#!home/mainPage

010 011 014 017 018 022 023

Located in the southern district of Stann Creek, Mayflower Bocawina National Park consist of over 7100 acres of lush jungle, refreshing waterfalls and ancient Mayan sites. In the heart of this beautiful National Park is Mama Noots Bocawina Adventures & Eco-Resort, a spacious jungle resort that runs on alternative energy and offers a wide range of adventure, cultural & wildlife tours. We spent two days here and are sad to tell you that two days was not enough.

At the restaurant, The Wild Fig, with an unobstructed view of the surrounding canopied hills and grounds, we spent a good portion of our time between ziplining and exploring. The staff was very friendly, knowledge and gave us additional information about local things to do. We enjoyed  some great meals with friendly smiles and attentive care and it’s also a great place to hang out and meet other guest and share your un-Belize-able experiences. The Wild Fig also deals directly with the local farmers and uses only the freshest ingredients available, using Belizean fruits grown on the property.  “Farm to table” you better Belize it!  They offer International, Central American cuisine, Creole dishes and more. From the restaurant you can also book additional tours and see a daily list of planned activities. There are also guides available for birding, flora and fauna. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner, has a full bar, seating for 24, board games and cards, music and free wifi so you can share all your adventures with your friends back home.

  • 040 041 044

 

 

So what’s to do after a hard day of ziplining, rappelling waterfalls and exploring Mayan ruins? Get some rest a one of the many beautiful cabanas. Some are attached, single and then there are the suites. Once you entire one of the suites you’ll swear you’ve just walked into a 5 star hotel and easily forget you’re surrounded by jungle. You’ll completely forget your power is derived from solar, your water from underground springs and food fresh from local farmers. Could I live here indefinitely, Yes!

141 146 151 152 136 137

So Lets talk about Ziplining. It really doesn’t hit you until you’re standing on a platform over three stories high and the guide is explaining to you how to slow yourself down. All I could hear was blah blah blah while I looked down and thought to myself how did I get here. Our guides Rene and Oscar kept safety to the utmost importance. They’re professional, experienced and explained everything that was going to happen. They also made sure that we felt safe and confident enough to get through the course. We soared with the birds through the pristine canopy, sometimes as fast as 40 mph, sometimes screaming. There are 12 platforms through the pristine jungle with wonderful views out over the jungle at each stop. The longest zip line run is 2,300 feet long and is considered the longest in Belize. Night zip lining is available, but we didn’t try that. I can only imagine hearing the noises of the jungle as you zip line across during a full moon! We’ll be back for that!

Ziplining can be done with a variety of ages and  takes about 1:30 hour to complete.

054 063 070 092 095 104 106

If you’re coming to Belize on a limited time schedule make Mama Noots Bocawina Adventures & Eco Resort you only stop. ( http://www.mamanootsbocawina.com/#!home/mainPage, )You can book all your tours (Xunantunich, the reefs, diving and snorkeling and more) right from here. You’ll have all the fun and adventure you could want and not harm Belize’s precious eco environment staying in a true Eco Resort. And hey you might see us there, as Mama Noots has become our favorite place to hang out.

A special thanks to Don Troutman, Duarte Dellarole and all the staff.

Land Rover Curiosity ? Here’s how we do it.

Posted: May 15, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

1797541_765647796779492_932329463_n

 


We are happy to announce that “On the Road in Belize”  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1437417786494137/, and CAOE are collaborating to bring you up to the minute and timely information about happenings in and around Belize. If you’re interested in knowing what’s happening in Belize then “On the Road in Belize” is just for you. We’ll bring you feature articles, news events, festivals, travel tips, restaurant reviews, excursions and much more. You’ll also learn and hear about off the beaten path and other out of  the way gems we discover that many tour books and guides don’t mention.  In addition to Facebook, you can find us on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and more social media sites are soon to follow. On the Road in Belize is not only edited and written by the staff, but is a community page written by and contributed to by many of you that are out there “On the Road in Belize”. On the Road in Belize is a great place to discuss your experiences traveling on the roads throughout Belize, Central America. Share gps coordinates, camping, lodging, restaurants, road conditions, sites of interest, anything related to traveling in Belize! Did you know “On the Road in Belize” is currently one of the fastest growing FB community pages about Belize, so join in on the conversation. Whether you’re currently in Belize, looking to vacation or move to Belize, or just doing some fact finding and research, On the Road in Belize is the place. It’s the journey, not the destination….enjoy.

10257329_10202955252654934_9136378940074331232_o Belize Flag of Belize (2) 033

 

Additionally if you’re a business owner and  feel your establishment would be of interest and  beneficial to our followers, please contact us for advertising opportunities.


We are proud to announce our own Tammy Barbour has been published in Banderas News. Congrats Tammy

Puerto Vallarta News Network 

An American Traveler Shares Her Thoughts on Mexico


May 12, 2014
Mexico is a beautiful and geographically diverse country. We have seen gorgeous beaches, breathtaking mountains, farmland, arid areas, lush tropical areas, jungles, small villages and huge cities.

Cleveland, Tennessee, USA – I have been to Mexico four times now (once on cruise ship, twice flying in and then taking a bus from Cancun to Belize City, and finally, this drive all the way down Mexico.) Here are some things I think about this country. Please note this is only MY opinion and not necessarily the opinion of my travel companions…

1. Mexico is a beautiful and geographically diverse country. We have seen gorgeous beaches, breathtaking mountains, farmland, arid areas, lush tropical areas, jungles, small villages and ginormous cities.

2. Mexicans are resourceful and self reliant folks. There is no sense of entitlement here. You have to try and make a living by selling something or providing a service. As a foreigner, you will be asked a million times if you would like to purchase something. You just have to say “No, gracias.” This is how they support their families.

3. Federales are everywhere especially in the northern part of the country. They look quite intimidating. They just waved at us as we passed through wherever we were.

4. Spanish is not the only language spoken here. The government of Mexico recognizes 68 distinct indigenous Amerindian languages.

5. We passed a great many elaborate descansos (roadside memorials) – especially up in the mountains where someone had died in an accident. I could not believe the size and beauty of some of them.

6. Mexicans will try their best to communicate with you. They are kind and helpful people. I took four years of Spanish in high school. I am surprised what I remember at times. We are usually able to get our point across with broken Spanish and hand gestures.

7. IF (and I said “if”) you want to see the REAL authentic Mexico, you have to venture away from the resorts. You see watered down, “Americanized Mexico” at those places.

8. Do not drive at night in this country. It is not safe because there are no street lights or guard rails. There are animals and people on the road. There are numerous speed bumps that are barely visible even during the day. We are always off the road by early evening to rest and plan our next day. Editor’s Note: Check out Tammy’s other Mexico driving tips.

9. Please be respectful. Don’t disparage a country as a whole especially if you have never been there. I ask you what area of the US is representative of the entire country: is it Detroit, NYC, Appalachia, California. What is America? The same can be said about Mexico. This is a culturally and visually rich country that you should consider visiting. I would love to help you if you decide to be adventurous.


Tammy Barbour is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida in Materials Engineering. Her first career immediately out of graduate school was in the aerospace industry in research and development. With her desire for more freedom she left the engineering field after a few years and became a successful Realtor first in Michigan and then in Georgia and South Carolina. And now after almost 15 years as a Realtor, the desire for the outdoors and adventure led her to her final career change: overlanding expeditions. She has joined the experienced team of Central America Overland Expeditions who drove Land Rovers from GA, USA all through Mexico, over 3,000 miles for this journey alone. After enjoying four trips to the beautiful country of Mexico, her goal is to explore all over Mexico and every country in Central America over the next few years and to meet lots of like-minded adventurous folks along the way. You can follow her adventures atcaoexpeditions.com.

Need a Lift? Trust Ironman 4×4 Belize

Posted: May 12, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Need a lift? We’re the official Belize distributor for Ironman 4X4. We specialize in getting you the parts you need, suspension, off-road lights, bumpers, and more. Call or email us for your needs 501-627-1276 Belize.

For over 50 years, customers have put their trust in Ironman 4×4 suspension and accessory products. 

Many fleet, military, recreational users and armored vehicle manufacturers throughout the world in more than 120 countries have acknowledged the quality design, manufacture and prompt service from Ironman 4×4

With a fleet of more than 20 current model 4×4’s, Ironman engineers its products through rigorous on and off-road testing to make sure products are Safer, Stronger, Smarter.

 

http://www.ironman4x4northamerica.com/

065 - Copy 084 - Copy 194 200 179 188 192 193 198 200