I watched her expressions as she dipped a toe in the ocean for the first time in her life. As an aunt I may not get to see their first steps or hear their first words, but this was one first that I was there for – and I soaked in every delicious moment of it.
Placencia isn’t exactly off the tourist trail, but it’s the less-touristed trail for sure. As everyone heads to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, Allie and I went south to Placencia, a peninsula where they have 16 miles of sandy beach to relax on. As we turned onto the road to the peninsula Allie’s eyes were focused on the horizon, as this would be the first time she would see the ocean. And strangely, we were both excited about it.
Staying Beachside in Belize
Upon arriving at Chabil Mar resort located directly on the beach, Allie was ecstatic…well, as ecstatic as Allie will ever get with me. “I don’t know why my parents go to Mexico when they could come here,” she exclaimed. As we walked around the 2 pool areas, outdoor bars, and the beach chairs lined up on the white sand, I think we were both pretty excited to be out of the humid buggy jungle and onto the beach. This was the nicest place Allie had probably stayed in her life so far, and it was really rewarding to see her expression of excitement.
The first thing we did was put on our swimming suits and wade into the warm turquoise water. As I watched her, I was transported back to the first time in my life I swam in, and subsequently gulped, salt water in the Gulf of Mexico.
The first taste of salty seawater is something we never forget. It’s exciting and sort of gross at the same time. I felt like 17 again for a while as we swam out to the shelter on the pier and jumped off into the waves. We came back ashore, toweled off and celebrated this ‘first’ with Happy Hour drinks.
One of the things I love to do with my nieces is expose them to ‘adult life’ on the Niece Project trips – so that means drinks if they want them. Even though they are 17 or 18 years old, most countries allow teenagers to drink with adults. We ordered beachy drinks and proceeded to Snapchat and Instagram our new Chabil Mar diggs all over the internet as we lay in our beach chairs. Allie felt mature, I felt young. Now this was the life.
Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of Briefcasetobackpack.com, a website offering career break travel inspiration and advice.
Additionally, she runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat adventures at Ottsworld.com.com.