My Island Expeditions Trip – Glover’s Getaway & Kayak Rental
I feel like in writing this review I have multiple things to cover, and I’ll break up the review as follows: Dangriga/Pal’s Guesthouse/Island Expeditions office, the Glover’s Getaway portion of the trip, the self-guided portion of the trip in terms of planning and logistics, and the self-guided portion of the trip in terms of Belize, as a whole.
First, you start in Dangriga…well, I guess I really ought to start at the very beginning. You have to fly into Belize City airport, which is the international airport. Then it is up to you to get to Dangriga however you want. You can take a bus, rent a car, etc. Or you can have Island Expeditions arrange a domestic flight for you, which is what we did, and which worked out very well. Actually, better than that. When we got through customs at the Belize City airport and were getting ready to check in for our domestic flight to Dangriga, we encountered a representative from Island Expeditions who set us up on an earlier domestic flight so we wouldn’t have to wait. Hopped on and – this really belongs more in the Belize as a whole section – was asked if I’d like to sit co-pilot. Call me American, but I’ve never been asked to co-pilot a plane on American Airlines, so I was stoked. Generally, awesome start to the trip. So you arrive in Dangriga, and if you are flying in domestically you can ask the staff at the very small Dangriga airport for a taxi and they will likely direct you to a car outside or call someone for you. Dangriga is fairly small and most of the taxi rides seem to come out to $5-10 BZ (or $2.50-5 USD). When you arrive at Pal’s Guesthouse, you can check in at the office and they’ll direct you to your room. The rooms are very standard. Nothing fancy, and the beds could be more comfortable, but on the whole very clean and functional, and if you’re lucky you might have an awesome ocean view. Island Expeditions is right next door. There is a sandy/gravely driveway immediately next to the main building of Pal’s Guesthouse (or across the street from the office building) and it is the second building on the left (to the right there’s just ocean and on the other side of Pal’s Guesthouse is the river, so it’s very easy to find). They are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and there are always people running around downstairs. From my limited experience, the main office people are Alex and Wasani, who are both very helpful. We met up with Alex when we got there and he looked over our map with us and gave us the rundown of the islands we were going to see and all that jazz. This was immensely relieving, because up until this point we weren’t entirely sure what we were in for, and Alex told us about the islands and the people there and where we could camp and clarified that all of the navigation is line-of-sight, etc. So, in general, the office and the people in it are helpful and accessible and conveniently located. Pal’s is also a very short walk from the main drag in Dangriga, where you can buy your supplies and shop and grab some food. We had good experiences everywhere we ate, but I think I would most highly recommend the Riverside Café or one of the tinier vendor-type establishments. And then you rendezvous with Island Expeditions early to…
Boat out to Southwest Caye, Glover’s Atoll! First, beware, the boat ride is long and it gets wet, so bring a rain coat, and pee before you go! And then stop bewaring, because your stay at Glover’s will be amazing. I’m not traveler 10.0 or anything, but I’ve done my fair share, I’ve been to quite a few countries and had interactions with quite a few tour companies spanning all ranges of cost and location and I have truly never, ever encountered guides and staff who are so helpful, kind, fun, and willing to go above and beyond for every single guest. Bernaldo, Codi and Capi were our main guides and they complimented each other extremely well. Capi is extremely knowledgeable about flora and fauna, Codi is paddler extraordinaire, and Bernaldo is just…friggin amazing! His knowledge about all things history and natural environment of Belize is kind of insane. And all of them were so willing to share their knowledge and go out of their way to help and enrich the experiences of the kayakers on the trip. And that’s just the guides! That’s just the tip of the iceberg, because then you have Lady Di and her cooking, and Jason, Haggler, Rocky, and all of the other people on the island who were welcoming, kind, and never hesitated to go out of their way to share their insights, interests, stories, etc. to infinity. I really can’t speak highly enough of the people at Glover’s…and here’s the kicker, it’s logistically awesome, too! The tents are beautiful and comfortable and the setting is picturesque and the trips (even plan B trips, which do happen because of weather or other unforeseeable circumstances) are amazing and exciting! And this belongs in the Belize in general section, but the snorkeling is amazing. The marine life here is stellar. Rightfully warranting the interest and conservation it has garnered (and more). All in all, five stars is simply not enough to express how amazing this portion of the trip was.
And then, for the self-guided portion of the trip, you have a couple islands you can choose from on the boat route back that you can be dropped off on, where the boat will leave you to rendezvous with your rental kayak and vegetable order and gear rental, etc. Here we had a bit of an issue finding out which kayak was ours and, once we got our kayak packed, paddled to the island we could camp on, and set up the tent, we then realized our stove didn’t have directions and was dismantled in such a way that we couldn’t put it together. Fortunately, most of the islands are inhabited and pretty well connected with each other and the mainland. This is one point we were unclear on before the start of our trip, so let me clarify for future travelers that the survivalist, isolated aspect of the “self-guided” portion is not that intense. It is self-guided, but you are not alone out there. Obviously, you’re doing things on your own and ought to be able to do for yourself and deal with your own shelter, food, and the ocean and all that. However, there is not really a point at which you are so separated from communication, etc. that you are incapable of contacting the office or the mainland if you are having a problem. It was very easy for us to use a phone on the island and place a call to the office and arrange to get another stove brought on a boat the next day. So, really, this is the only part of the trip that I have any complaint about, and of course, mistakes happen.
And what is truly the most amazing about the self-guided portion is…Belize! As I said above, I’ve traveled a little bit, and not really enough to qualify this statement, but I feel like if I had to pick one place to visit in my life it would be Belize. The culture…amazing and diverse and vibrant. The people…incredibly friendly and kind and interesting. The food…amazing, and I don’t know how I’ve lived my life until this point without Marie Sharp’s hot sauces and jams. The nature…incomparable. Truly an incredibly unique place. And I haven’t even spent any time in the interior of the country (yet)!
I’m just so stoked about the amazing trip I just had and I hope I have the opportunity to go back. The place was perfect, the people were great, the company was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.