We stayed in Orange Walk at a hostel called Casa Ricky’s. The best part of Ricky’s was Ricky himself! He was super friendly and kindly brought us up hot water every morning for our coffees. On arrival he gifted us some locally made cashew wine, which though tasted utterly foul was still half drunk. The hostel garden was especially charming. Ricky had made a huge effort with it and we spent a good couple of hours every day lying in hammocks watching hummingbirds visit the nearby bushes. One night as we were sitting out onthe roof terrace, watching a lightning storm with Ricky, a barn owl silently swooped on by. It was a serenly beautiful moment to have happened amongst the rumble and crackle of thunder and lightning.
Ricky had two dogs (Rex and Ashme) who were very sweet, but our favourite was the stray cat who fed off the bins from the bar downstairs. Because of his striped tail Matt named him Lemar. He became our best friend for the week and would come upstairs to play with us daily.
The town itself was incredibly friendly. The streets were always filled with a gentle bustle with everything a short walk from its central square. People would run across the road to tell us all about that one time they went to London for a connecting flight! One town member, Clifford Andi Peters whose dad was “the Belizean Bob Marley”, was particularly brimming with town pride and gave us recommendatioms for local dishes, cafes and ice cream. Apparently pigs tail soup is much nicer than cows tail, though sadly I never put this to the test.
One thing we ate plenty of was fry jacks. Each establishment makes them differently but essentially they are a fried batter that can be stuffed with beans, eggs, cheese, meat… anything you want really. They can be folded, puffy parcels or deep fried bundles. Any which way they are delicious!
One of the few local sights to see is found just on the outskirts of town. The Carribean Rum Distillery is a mixed bag to be sure. If you’re lucky you’ll get a full tour of a major working distillery. If you’re unlucky you’ll have to sit through a 2hr rant from a hideous old racist guy who flits between tales of London strip clubs, to the process of sugar making, back to details of his exmarital affairs. But at least we got 2 bottles of free rum out of it so hey, swings and roundabouts!
PS That night ended with us going out to a local bar with Ricky and his friends where I spent half the night discussing the rise of feminism in Belize with a lovely gay man.
Saturday the town was taken over by a fair held by the tourist board. The square was filled with stalls selling local arts and crafts, there were live bands on all day, I got a massage and we spoke to a bird watching assosciation about the countries best treks. Afterwards we found a local pub that had a pool table and let you play your own music. So while Matt learnt “local game rules” I got super nostalgic and played a lot of 90s-00s indie!
On the whole Orange Walk was a charming town which a variety of vibrant inhabitants. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to kick back an relax for a few days. It’s also a great starting point for a trip to Lamanai (see next post)
Rufous tailed hummingbird
Virginian Tiger Moth Caterpillar
Juvenile little blue heron
Rex, Ashme and Lemar!!