Sunday, September 1, 2013

Come Visit!

     Many of you have asked where we are now after a year and a half!  We have a beautiful house on the beach called the Plantation House.  It is actually the original house built in the Plantation area (hence the name) and is by far still the prettiest house around!  It still amazes me that with all the new houses being built people stop by and say, "your house is our favorite!"  Makes me wonder why more coastal style homes aren't being built!?  Please come visit! We would love to have you!  If we are not there our home is available for your stay!  Here are some pictures since I've remodeled the inside . . .

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sometime even paradise could use some action!

     One of the perks of being in a beautiful location is that it attracts a lot of intriguing people! Most of the time I'm taking them snorkeling or ziplining. But when that's not enough . . . some of my guests decide to make movies seen by millions. Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch make action shorts on their very popular Freddiew Youtube site and official site They brought their friends and often partners in crime, CorridorDigital made up of Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer.

     Besides exploring Belize, eating at all the local joints, swimming, and taking Sea Doo's out to Hatchet Caye, Our mission was to make cool action flicks with lots of VFX.  CorridorDigital filmed at Mayan Ruins and will release their epic film soon and the link will be available here on my blog.  Freddiew filmed an action sequence based on the new Far Cry video game just released.  I got to play a small role in the film getting shot into the pool!  I then resurrected and helped Freddie understand his bill at the end of his Far Cry vacation.

     They were a blast to hang out with too!  They work hard and play hard!  So that's a day in the life of living in paradise . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Sailing Club In Placencia Belize!

Wow, it's finally here! David has his first lesson today and, man, did they cover a lot of information. I thought it would be pretty simple but by the end they will be professionals. In fact, the goal is to compete!

They use Optimus sail boats for training. I like them so much we might get one! The nice thing is even though david is the only one technically in the class, glen, Windsor, and I got to listen and learn too! Four for the price of one! Did I mention lessons are every Saturday from 10am to 2pm and for the year we paid $20BZ? Almost too good to be true . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls and Noni Juice on the Placencia Sidewalk

Cinnamon Rolls and Noni Juice in Belize with McKinley Pritchard
     This morning my Iphone died.  That's not good seeing as it is the main tool I use through out the day to connect!  So I took the kids on the motorbike, dropped the boys at school, and rode down to Placencia with Windsor.  At the Placencia Office Supply I found out that D Lab Technician didn't get in until 9:30 AM or so.  So Windsor and I took a fun little stroll down the Placencia Sidewalk.  First we passed the new community pier being constructed at one end and then headed up the sidewalk to find a cinnamon roll to split between us.  One of our favorite spots is Cinnamon Rolls and More.  She not only had fresh cinnamon rolls but she tempted me with coffee cake that was still warm from the oven!  Needless to say, Windsor and I enjoyed splitting both delicacies with a nice breeze and view of the Caribbean Sea.
     The owner is quite entrepreneurial!  She is starting to bottle local Noni Juice!  She showed us a tree and its fruit.  Until now she has been purchasing fruit from individuals all over southern Belize.  It only grows in the tropics like Hawaii or Central America.  She has leased land to start growing her own trees in Belize and is excited about the opportunity.  Although the fruit itself isn't much to write home about, once it's aged a number of weeks and then juiced, it provides a medicinal juice used for years by locals in Belize.  Only a couple ounces a day is recommended for its maximum benefit as too much can cause a little more than a mere tummy ache.  Anyways, fascinating stuff!  I may just have to plant a Noni tree . . .

A Daddy Date - McKinley Pritchard and Windsor having a Cinnamon Roll in Belize
A Daddy Date - McKinley Pritchard and Windsor having a Cinnamon Roll 
Noni Tree grows well in Belize's Tropical Climate - McKinley Pritchard
Noni Tree grows well in Belize's Tropical Climate
Noni Fruit ripe for the pickin', age'n, and juice'n !! - McKinley Pritchard
Noni Fruit ripe for the pickin', age'n, and juice'n !!
Showing off her Noni Juice and Coconut shavings in Belize with McKinley Pritchard
Showing off her Noni Juice and coconut shavings

Monday, May 7, 2012

Glenny And The Chocolate Factory in Punta Gorda, Belize

Cocoa beans cut open fruit of the chocolate tree - McKinley Pritchard Placencia Belize

     Glen, our middle son, turns five years old soon and as is tradition in our family he gets an airplane adventure with his Pawpaw on this milestone birthday. Many have gone before him to carry on this tradition deep into our family tree . . . well, at least David flew when he turned five . . .  Glen chose to fly down to Punta Gorda and explore a local chocolate factory, hoping to taste-test some of Belize's finest!  They woke up early anticipating the adventure and took off from Placencia Airport on Maya Island Air and arrived 25 minutes later in PG as the locals call it.

     The tour guides joined forces with Juan Cho who runs Cyrilas Chocolate in shared a lot of Mayan history as they demonstrated their craft.  Then after a wonderful Belizean meal of rice and beans and chicken they took a quick dip in the river before flying home.  Glen was eager to tell us everything about his trip and told us each step of the process: "first they chop it with a machete and they let me taste the sweet jelly that the cocoa beans swim in.  The jelly isn't used for anything." he said.  "Then they roast the beans and crush them up and put sugar in it sometimes."  And of course they brought home samples.  Both the unsweetened chocolate, which was tart, and very tasty dark and milk chocolate bars!  Belize also has another well known chocolate company called Goss Chocolate.  The rest of the day was spent swimming, watching the hundreds of pelicans in the marina, and of course eating Western Dairies ice cream and cake.

Glen flies Maya Island Air to Punta Gorda Belize with ten percent discount mckinley pritchard placencia
Glen (and Glen) fly Maya Island Air to PG
Grinding cocoa beans in Punta Gorda Belize - mckinley pritchard placencia
Glen demonstrating the process of making chocolate
Glen shows us the cocoa beans from the chocolate tree - mckinley pritchard placencia belize
Glen shows us the coco beans
Cyrilas Chocolate Punta Gorda Belize McKinley Pritchard
Cyrilas Chocolate Punta Gorda Belize

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Waterfalls and Ice Cream. What More Could You Ask For?

Ben's Bluff Waterfall Belize mckinley natalie pritchard in placencia
     One of the natural beauties of Belize that draws so many to visit is their numerous waterfalls.  I must say, they were definitely on the top of our list when we decided to move to Belize.  They range from beautiful brooks flowing over rock that you can sit under for hours to breath-taking 1600 foot falls that seem to drop out of the sky in a continuous downpour.  It's become a favorite pastime of our family to take a morning and drive over to a nearby a waterfall basin or take a short hike with a refreshing swim on our minds.
     While Tiger Fern Trail had a beautiful double waterfall at the end, it was a decent hike to get to it.  Another spot that is a shorter hike is Ben's Bluff.  Fifteen minutes of moderate hiking and we arrived at a picture-perfect swimming hole being fed by Ben's (I guess, if it's his bluff) waterfall.  The water was refreshingly chilly and the falls had just enough punch to give a great massage!  We then hiked another 45 minutes to Ben's Bluff which over looks Victoria Peak and the Cockscomb Range.
     Then we thought we would take our new motorized bicycle out for a spin!  Natalie brought back from the States one of our kid's bike trailers and Eric Brown (who put the bikes together with his brother, Brian) was kind enough to hook everything up for us!  We rode down to Placencia and got some ice cream at the famous Tutti Frutti ice cream parlor.  Italian gelato at it's best!  I personally liked the chocolate peanut butter the best . . . then again, I like chocolate peanut butter anything . . .

** Be sure to catch the airing of our move to Belize on HGTV House Hunters International!**
Friday, April 27 at 10pm EST on HGTV

waterfall swimming at its best in belize with mckinley and natalie pritchard in placencia
waterfall swimming at its best in belize
motorized bike heading to tutti frutti in placencia, mckinley natalie pritchard belize
motorized bike heading to tutti frutti in placencia
italian gelato ice cream at tutti fruitti in placencia pritchard family belize
italian gelato ice cream at tutti fruitti in placencia

my next adventure maybe?
robert combs with his ultralight in placencia with mckinley pritchard
robert combs with his ultralight in belize

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Best Place(s) In The World For A Campfire

Bonfire on the beach in Placencia Belize with McKinley Pritchard
     So Natalie had another 10 day stint in the States, and the moment she flew out on Tropic Air I was looking forward to the day she would return on that same plane.  Life is more fun with your best friend around to share it.  She did finally come home and had a beautiful "welcome home" surprise from Ana.  Needless to say, we jumped right into family fun.  We couldn't get enough of the pool, walks on the beach, and Frank Sinatra at dinner.  We even went bowling one evening at Jaguar Lanes with our weekend guest, Megan, who is thinking of teaching at the small school our kids attend.
     Of course, on our morning walks, Natalie starts brainstorming about all the fun stuff to do as a family in Belize.  Piggybacking off the waterfall hike from a couple weeks ago, we talked about the three day Victoria Peak Hike.  Windsor and Rutledge are too young and will stay at home with Ana, and we will camp the couple nights along the hike.
     So to prepare, we thought we'd "camp out" on our beach and roast marshmallows!  As we took our afternoon walk down the beach we came across a large block of wood that David said would be perfect for a bench near the fire.  "But how will we get it back?" I asked.  Quickly David replied, "Let's push it in the water!  It floated here, it'll float back to our house!"  Genius.  Pure Genius.  We placed the new bench next to the fire pit we made on the beach and gathered firewood.  Natalie claimed to be the "one match wonder" at the Cove Camp back in the day, but the Caribbean breeze here made it difficult.  I finally took out the trusty grill lighter fluid and we had fire!  Don't know how prepared this family activity made us for our upcoming trip, but it sure was fun!

hotel vacation home placencia belize
Natalie came home to Ana's "vacation home" decorations
bonfire on the barefoot perfect beach in Belize
Just Right For Marshmallows
Lighter Fluid Assistance

Friday, March 9, 2012

World's First Jaguar Reserve And A Double Waterfall

McKinley Pritchard hikes Tiger Fern Trail to the double waterfall in Placencia Belize
     In my research, it's fun to run across interesting facts about Belize like Placencia having the world record for the "narrowest main street in the world."  I just found another renown fact about Belize and had to see it for myself!  Belize established the world's first Jaguar Reserve in 1986.  Even though I figured (and secretly hoped) I wouldn't see any jaguars on the 128,000 acres of the reserve other hikes and sites drew me in.  So last Wednesday my family and my visiting parents headed for the reserve.
     We headed up the Southern Highway looking for the landmarks of the left turn from the obscure directions we had received. NEW MAP LINK:  (I added the road and trail to Google Map Maker. Zoom in to see the actual trail. Email me if you have questions)  Once we turned off the paved highway onto the dirt road the adventure began!  It had just rained and the road was muddy with pot holes . . . which may be one of the reasons I liked the drive to and from as much as the hike itself!  Obviously if you go with a tour in their vans you don't have to think about the wear and tear you just put on your already-beat-up-Belizean-Volvo-stationwagon.  We made it to the office, paid our $10BZ fee per adult and $5BZ for a trail map, and used the restrooms one last time.  We took a minute to visit the visitor's center and then walked back down the road a bit to the Tiger Fern Trailhead.
     I don't know if it was the rain forest fresh air or what, but the hike was one of the most peaceful, enjoyable hikes I've done, and I've done a lot of hikes.  The first half was pretty much walking through the rain forest.  Then the trail gets pretty steep but there are benches every 15 minutes of walking (they claim, but we got to each bench faster than that).  The view at the peak of the hike was gorgeous, but it didn't compare to what we were about to see.  We hiked down a steep path which got pretty technical and then . . .
     Beautiful waterfall and wading pool!  Worth the hike!  The kids jumped right in (a little cold for me, and besides, I had a camera in my hands).  And then another surprise, a sign pointing to another waterfall.  And less than 100 feet up a hill was an even more spectacular 75 foot waterfall with another crystal pool!  I took some great videos and pictures of them before we headed out.  After you click on the picture album in the previous sentence, look at the map on the right and see where along the trail the pictures were taken!  The hike back went by quickly and back at the visitor's center we even found a faucet behind the restrooms to rinse off the bottom of our muddy shoes! There are at least fifteen more trails we want to hike but one that I am really looking forward to is the 42km "Victoria Peak Trail."  I can't wait to blog about that three day hike!

View from the peak of tiger fern trail with McKinley Pritchard in Belize
Beautiful View From The Peak

McKinley Pritchard Hikes The Last 500 Feet To The Waterfalls in Belize
Last 500 Feet To The Waterfalls

McKinley Pritchard rests at the 75 Foot Tall Waterfall in Belize
75 Foot Tall Waterfall
McKinley Pritchard studies the Tiger Fern Trail Map in Belize
Tiger Fern Trail Map - larger version
Resting at the double waterfall

Monday, March 5, 2012

Celebrating Our Eighth Anniversary On Sea-Doo's And A Couple's Massage

McKinley and Natalie Pritchard Sea Doo in Placencia Belize
     Ok, I have found the most fun activity ever.  Sea-Dooing.  I surprised Natalie with a fun-filled day of activities to celebrate eight years of marriage together.  Well, as much as you can surprise a 1. Wife with plans, 2. a Mother of four, and 3. a Daughter-In-Law with entertaining in-laws for a couple weeks.  But at least she acted surprised which made me feel good!
     To prepare, I called Sean at Phoenix Water Sports and booked his Sea-Doo jet ski's for three hours starting at 9:30 AM and then called Nina at Bodywork And Massage and booked a couple's massage at 11:00 AM.  So Saturday morning we made some fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast and waited as Sean brought the Sea-Doo's right up to our beach!  After a couple-minute tutorial (no pun intended), we were off.  I can't tell you how much fun those machines are!  We went over 50 mph!  Sean said they brought the best machines so the Sea-Doo's would be powerful enough to have fun with, but still be quiet and eco-friendly enough not to bother people or wildlife.   He said they even have enough power to pull a wake board or inner tube!  I may have to verify that . . .  There are no exposed blades that could harm wildlife or coral reef which makes them marine-friendly, and they are quiet as a dream!  They even have reverse with an "intelligent braking system."
     So then we pull right up to the beach where Nina's massage tables were set up on her veranda overlooking the lagoon.  That hour was to die for.  And it was very reasonable!  She charges $75 BZ for an hour massage.  We played a little more on the Sea-Doo ride back.  Heading home we saw a manatee surface for air and a large yacht, named Axioma, sleeping in Placencia's harbor, which arrived shortly after the Vango luxury yacht left just to name a few sights along the way.  We had a fresh salad that Ana prepared for us and then took a wonderful nap.  A walk on the beach and a Netflix movie made for a perfect end to a perfect Anniversary Day!

McKinley Pritchard gets a Quick Tutorial Before Heading Out in Placencia Belize
Quick Tutorial Before Heading Out
McKinley and Natalie Pritchard take Sea Doo's on the Caribbean Ocean in Placencia Belize
The Most Fun I've Ever Had
McKinley Pritchard Rode Sea Doo's on Caribbean sea to Nina's Massage on the Lagoon in Placencia Belize
Fun Ride To And From Nina's Massage
McKinley and Natalie Pritchard get a Massage Overlooking The Lagoon in Maya Beach Belize
Massage Overlooking The Lagoon
Natalie handles a Sea Doo well!

If a picture is worth a thousand words . . . 
          Check out these other videos of us on Sea Doo's!

McKinley Pritchard Youtube channel Sea Doo Playlist in Belize

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Motorized Bicycle Gets 140mpg In Placencia Belize

Popye On The Motorized Bike - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
     Someone asked me the other day, "How much is gas in Belize?"  I thought for a second and replied, "A better questions would be, 'How much do you have to spend on gas in Belize?' "  I filled up our "belizemobile" the red volvo the other day and posted a picture on Facebook with the caption: getting gas at one of only two gas stations in placencia 11.79/gal BZ.  But I should have added that we hardly ever use our car and only fill up every couple of weeks.  Even that may change soon . . .

     Yesterday I hopped on one of the coolest bikes I've ever seen.  It has an 48cc engine so you can cruise along  if you get tired of pedaling!  With a top speed of 30mph or so, it's great for the roads around Placencia with those nasty speed bumps (or "Pedestrian Crossings" as some are called).  Brian Brown custom builds these simple machines and sells them for a reasonable $1350BZ.  The kicker?  They get 140 miles per gallon of gas!  You pedal a few seconds to get started and then throttle it up and you're off!  He even fabricates baskets and small trailers for hauling goods (or kids).  Needless to say it was fun test driving and it's definitely on my "to buy" list.

Motorized Bike Made In Placencia - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Motorized Bike Made In Placencia
Bikes have Small 48cc Engine with 1/2 gallon tank - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Small 48cc Engine with 1/2 gallon tank

Popye riding the motorized bike

Oh, and an update from a previous post.  When we got the duplicate car keys made we couldn't test the new keys right there since we traveled by water taxi.  We we got back to the car we found the keys didn't work.  But I noticed they used BMW blanks to make my Volvo keys and so with a little modification they work now!  The one on the right now works great!

McKinley Pritchard holds Keys Modified in Placencia (well, by me) Belize
Keys Modified in Placencia (well, by me)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sea Kayaking From The Placencia to an Island

Sea Kayak's On The Caribbean - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize

     Sea kayaking is a very popular past time in Placencia, Belize.  The calm waters and nice breeze account for a fun activity for anyone old enough to paddle, or in our case even those without a paddle in hand.  Yesterday morning we decided to get up early, put on the sunscreen and kayak out to the closest island and back, all before lunch.  It is about two and a half miles out and took us an hour paddling with the current but was a relaxing trip!  I even played music on my Iphone to add to the experience.

McKinley and Glen getting close to the island - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
McKinley and Glen getting close to the island

     This island doesn't have beach front to sunbathe on but we still got out of the boats to cool off and explore a little of the island.  Minimal signs of human interaction with nature gave us the feeling we were discovering an uncharted world!  As we paddled around the rest of the island we passed a couple other kayakers who were out a hundred feet off the island standing on a sand bar fishing.  The two and a half mile trip back seemed longer as we paddled against the wind and waves.  We were glad we left early in the morning and will probably start at sunrise next time around 6:30am!  We still made it back by lunch but I heard we would have fought the wind less the earlier we did the return trip.  Sunscreen was critical as we didn't feel hot at all with the breeze but still got burned a little from the Caribbean sun.

Cooling off - that is not a blue buoy - its David - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Cooling off - that is not a blue buoy - its David
Sea kayak from the placencia to a mangrove island - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Sea kayak from the placencia to a mangrove island

 . . . and a little video bonus . . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rendezvous Island and Barefoot Perfect Beaches

Ringo Starr's house on Rendezvous Island - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
     Could you ask for better weather to boat on the Caribbean?  We boated twelve miles off the Belize shores to visit Rendezvous Island.  The Placencia Resort and Residences purchase this fifteen acre island from former Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, a few years ago and have big plans for it!  In fact Starr's original house is still out there!  It may become "Ringo's Bar" in the future.  After a beautiful ride out, we took a short tour of the three million dollar homes being built, the beach front, marina, helipad location, and activity area with a salt water pool.

Ringo Starr's House still on Rendezvous Island, Placencia Belize - McKinley Pritchard
Ringo Starr's House still on Rendezvous Island, Placencia Belize

3 million dollar homes being built on Rendezvous Island, Placencia Belize - McKinley Pritchard
3 million dollar homes being built on Rendezvous Island, Placencia Belize
Beautiful Barefoot Perfect Beach On Rendezvous Island - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Beautiful Barefoot Perfect Beach On Rendezvous Island

Rendezvous Island will even have vacation rentals over the water with glass floors like you see in Bora Bora!  The clear water out at the island is phenomenal!  I could have stayed out there . . . forever.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Water Taxi From Placencia to Independence in Belize

Hokey Pokey Water Taxi - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
     If any of you knows our family, you know we love Charleston, South Carolina.  We are from Columbia so in less than two hours we would be strolling down the streets of one of America's oldest cities.  One of our favorite activities to do there is the Charleston Water Taxi.  It is about the funnest thing to do with kids for the price and also doesn't last so long the people get antsy, whether our kids or the passengers around our kids.  There are few things we miss since we moved to Belize but the Charleston Water Taxi is certainly one of them.

Charleston Water Taxi is our favorite activity - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Charleston Water Taxi is our favorite activity

Well, we got a taste of our past this weekend when we got to experience Placencia's famous "Hokey Pockey Water Taxi."  We needed to go into the town of Independence to get some duplicate car keys made and were told the closest place was across the lagoon.  It would take an hour to drive around or only fifteen minutes to ride on the boat.  Come to find out, some children even take the water taxi each day to attend school in Independence!  How cool!  We caught the boat behind "M and M Hardware" store and it only cost $6/adult and $3/children-over-six-years-old.  That's Belize dollars!  What fun!

Drive for an hour or boat for 15 minutes - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Drive for an hour or boat for 15 minutes - click to view in maps
Hokey Pokey Water Taxi from Placencia to Independence Belize - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Hokey Pokey Water Taxi from Placencia to Independence Belize
Boating on the lagoon in Placencia Belize - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
Boating on the lagoon in Placencia Belize

Getting the keys made was another adventure.  We walked ten minutes down the road and came to a small store front where, it seemed to us, all they offered was liquor, video poker, and duplicate keys.  They used BMW blanks to make two copies of our Volvo key.  When we got back home they didn't work until I did some adjusting  myself.  Thank goodness they were only $7BZ!  But fun anyway.

An Experience at the key shop - McKinley Pritchard in Placencia Belize
An Experience at the key shop