Tag Archives: Mariposa Lodge

Last weekend in Roatan

Mike and Sue, the owners of Mariposa Lodge, came back yesterday. We spent some time visiting and turning the place over (we’d moved out of their top-floor apartment into one of the lower rooms earlier), then headed out for our last Saturday night on-island.

As usual, we got stopped on the way to Foster’s by JC at Nova Bar who always insists we have a starter beer there. He’s one of the first people we met here and so much fun, always in a good mood.

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Eventually on to Foster’s, which had been hosting a charter on the boat, so most of the crew was around but busy. I took a few photos of some of ‘the boys’ for posterity, though. Here’s Joseph in the kitchen.

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Burt Reynolds and David behind the bar.

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Ray, who has been sick for the last few days (heavily congested), was feeling better so he wanted to hang around and enjoy the bachata playlist that Wesley (Snipes) had lined up; but since he’d been kind enough to share his crud with me, I was feeling less inclined and eventually we decided we’d just head home.

I like this photo of Christmas lights on the pier and the shoreline behind it. We took many pictures of the evening but most didn’t turn out – not enough light (must have Go Pro before next trip).

xmas-lights-at-fostersDespite ourselves, when JC saw us on our return trip we allowed ourselves to be roped back in for “just one more beer.” More pics of us with JC and the barback, Mario. Nice kid.

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They always have some good dance music going, and JC never stands still, so I started following his lead salsa dancing which was way fun. Ray meanwhile was off in deep conversation with Peter, who owns the place. Anyway, I felt much better once I started dancing, and pretty soon one beer led to another… but the good thing is, if you start getting too drunk, this guy next door always has something good on the grill.

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Then the bar’s managers Joaquin and Jennifer showed up and they started playing some percussion instruments while Jorge here manned the drums.

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And then Jorge’s friend Leonardo decided to teach me how to really salsa and THAT was a blast. He’s one of those guys that knows how to lead well enough that even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can do okay. Oh my God. I have seriously not had so much fun in a long time.

Well. We left at (gasp) 2:30?! We have not closed a bar in many, many years. And if the way we felt this morning is any indication, there is a good reason for that.

It was lunchtime by the time I got up and we went after breakfast and caffeine – a Bloody Mary for Ray, straight-up Coke for me. That helped some but we still felt awful enough that we walked to Sundowner’s, hoping the exercise would help. However, all that did was convince us not to move for awhile: We got a drink, found a spot on the beach, and enjoyed the great music they were playing.

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Eventually  we made it back to Mariposa Lodge for a long nap. Sigh. We really, really don’t want to leave this place. 😦

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Random West End Photos

The Beach House dock took this direct hit from all the wave action with the recent bad weather.

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Near and far views of Dix Half Way Inn on Half Moon Bay. Looks like a cool place but haven’t made it there yet, mostly because we keep getting waylaid by the ice cream shop nearby.

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Eagle Ray’s over-water bar from the West End Diver‘s dock, with water enthusiasts.

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On cruise ship days we can usually hear the Garifuna performances from E.R.’s deck (turtle shells and drums for percussion, conch shells for horns, and much spirited singing). We finally made it down one day to watch some crazy hips-don’t-lie dancing by these women.

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Speaking of music drifting our way, the Roatan Oasis, just up the hill from our parrot perch, has been featuring live acoustic music the last few Monday nights. This week we finally trekked along the muddy shortcut to the paved road leading that way and met one of the owners (Loren) as we enjoyed some good tunes with their friendly staff and a group of mostly local patrons – not to mention a few beers, two delicious appetizers, and some incredibly awesome desserts (homemade Snickers bar with ice cream). Ray is already plotting how to make these himself.

Our favorite place in West End by far, though, has been Foster’s, pictured here between Eagle Ray’s deck posts and in a following Facebook page photo. The staff – bartender and manager Mark, “PR Guy” Roland, “Future Manager” David, Wesley (Snipes), Burt (Reynolds), cook Joseph, and boat captain Greg – are all so much fun. We’ve had many a good time there in our six short weeks. Too bad we aren’t able to transport the Pier-ettes and Pier-verts here when the music gets going. Miss you guys!

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Here’s one of many gift shops along West End road, typically selling tropical attire, woven bags, brightly colored hammocks and swings, and all kinds of jewelry and trinkets.

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This is the intersection of the main road and the dirt track that leads to Mariposa Lodge. Behind this little fence is Splash Inn Dive Center; I was standing in front of their restaurant, see second pic, which makes really good pizza.

west-end-5007Lastly, one night when I was making the rounds of the property and switching on lights, I liked this view and thought I’d experiment. My iPhone camera has definitely been trusty but we must get a GoPro before our next travels. Even so, I kind of like the way this one turned out. 🙂

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Mariposa Lodge

I went on a photo tour around the grounds the other day while Ray was doing a little maintenance on the front walkway.

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Here’s the view up to our “parrot perch” – this tree is slowly being decimated by termites, but the woodpeckers and grackles love to hang out there. I wish a few of the green parrots we have seen (and heard) would stop there but I guess they prefer trees with a little more camouflage. We saw a pair the other day that were GINORMOUS, at least compared to the small variety we know from Belize. Totally different squawks too.

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Speaking of squawking, an interesting phenomenon here is the regular roving of two varieties of gas trucks along our little unpaved neighborhood road. They each have loudspeakers that play music and a little message. The Cintas Gas version is very peppy (listen here) while Zeta Gas has more of a smooth jazz vibe (here). You’re welcome for the new earworms.

Some very bright red palm nuts. And some other red flora.

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Besides the parrots, the local wildlife is pretty tame. A huge albino bunny frequents the back yard; the occasional agouti skips across the road below; there’s lots of noisy roosters, hens and chicks; and a land crab or two hiding out in holes around the foundation (Ray originally mistook them for tarantulas – large tarantulas).

And here’s Ray and the cat obliging me for photo ops.

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West Bay: Repeat on a boat day with sun

We woke to our first sunny day on island yesterday and decided to head back to West Bay to try snorkeling those coral heads just offshore. West Bay on a sunny day with a cruise ship in is a different experience. There was a wedding being set up at Infinity Bay…

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…lots of boats in to shore, tourists and local vendors everywhere…

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…and a much bluer sea.

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So. We headed to Tabyana Beach where the reef meets a wall in a series of coral caverns. These two photos are from the Infinity Bay resort website which is adjacent.

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The day’s excursion off the cruise ship was already in full swing – many people claiming beach chairs and already in the water snorkeling (photo swipe from Carnival Cruise Lines website).

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Security on the beach was tight, including uniformed and sometimes armed guards. This place is a bit more like Mexico in that respect (there was even an armed security guard inside Bojangle’s the other day – which was probably warranted, since we might have jumped over the counter to swipe extra biscuits on our way out if he hadn’t been there).

Anyway, we got our gear on and headed into the water and learned something in pretty short order: I am not Jackie Cousteau. I hung in there long enough to do a pretty good explore, and it was pretty amazing – all kinds of different corals and sea fans, and so many colorful fish! – but I wasn’t feeling too good. I am not sure if it was seasickness exactly (from the current and the swaying stuff?) and/or that I was anxious, but I was finally queasy enough to tell Ray I needed to go in.

Poor Ray. Scuba Man is stuck with the Dramamine Queen. Over a beer and a quick snack at Infinity Bay’s Palapa Bar, we decided that must be the answer. Because the first snorkel in Belize where I had such a great time, I had taken Dramamine throughout. For the second, ill-fated kayak expedition, I hadn’t even thought about it. Or for this one.

Needless to say, we will be visiting the pharmacia before we go again, because I do not want to be the wuss that ruins the adventure every time. In some consolation, I Googled “seasick” and “snorkel” and apparently it’s not unusual for people of a certain finely tuned (yeah, that’s how I’m putting it) disposition. The consensus there was yes, Dramamine and also that ginger helps.

Anyway, in case we weren’t sure the first time around, yes, we do like the Palapa Bar – whether it’s cloudy or sunny out. We watched the wedding festivities and congratulated the groom while enjoying the banter among the bartenders and staff (must get to know these guys. Perhaps there is local pricing?)

palapa-bar-rayview-to-beach-from-palapa-barpalapa-barAnyway, I was still not feeling 100% so I slipped into the resort pool for a cool swim and that seemed to do the trick. Onward, down the beach to see what else was happening. A little duo – a singer on keyboards and a pirate-garbed percussionist of  indeterminate sex? – was playing music at Bananarama’s so we stopped there.

Or it may have been those girls in the bikinis that got Ray’s attention…Hey, don’t be feeling bad for me, there was also an eighty year old guy in a Speedo strutting around (Ray just wishes he could have rocked that look, ha ha).

ray-at-bananaramaI liked this orange fish made out of junk hanging over the bar.

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Here’s Ray looking all Pole Caddy Daddy.

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And an interior shot.

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Okay, time to stroll back down the beach. So pretty!

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And find the water taxi back to West End.

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Not sure why I was making this face, but I am pretty sure I didn’t know I was on camera.

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Nice day! And next time should be better if we can get a pharmaceutical assist for me…

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Roatan explore 1 (Coxen Hole/West Bay)

Since someone asked where in the hell we are, here is a helpful map.

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More precisely:

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Even more precisely:

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Yesterday we went two places: First, we took the collectivo (shuttle bus) from West End to Coxen Hole, Roatan’s capital and the largest city on the island. Beyond being home to one of the island’s two cruise ship piers, it’s very similar to some of the Belizean towns we’ve experienced and looks like this (top photo credit to Richard Hulhorn; bottom photo credit to someone on Flickr, sorry I can’t ID better than that):

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We were in search of two things: A breakfast stop at Bojangle’s, which we’d been very surprised to see on our taxi ride in from the airport, especially since I had just said wistfully to Ray the other day that I could really go for a Bojangle’s biscuit…

018IMG_0559…and to find a new computer mouse for Ray, since he’d had a bad electronics moment and came up (in one day!) with not only a malfunctioning mouse, but also a broken camera and a fried Roku box. Usually I play the Death to Electronics character, so that was a little refreshing (well, for me – he was a little ticked off, but Bojangle’s helped).

After stumbling about the area on foot for awhile – a dangerous proposition in this heavy two lane traffic – and getting wildly divergent directions to “a computer place in Mango Tree Center” from our attempts to communicate in English with locals, we hailed a cab whose driver, Rafael, took us directly there. He also agreed to wait for us to shop (voila! they had a mouse) and then drive us to West Bay.

From Coxen Hole, we drove downhill and past the Town Center (home to government buildings and also one of the two the cruise ship ports on island)…

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…and then along Flowers Bay, a fairly nondescript village (see area on the back side of the photo below) where hordes of uniformed kids (girls: white shirt, blue pleated skirts, white sox, black shoes; the boys similarly attired in white shirts and dark pants – very like Belize) had just been released from class.

As expected, it is rainy season here and the day was a bit gray, so our pictures of West Bay are not half as stunning as many on the web like this aerial view of the reef.

west bay roatanWe came out on the beach just to the right of the two columns of red roofs in the above pic at Infinity Bay Resort which apparently looks like the below pic on a sunny day. I’m not complaining, mind you, this cool weather here is a huge relief from Belize’s hot summer. I’m just ‘splaining.

RTBINF_Lg01We stopped for a beer at their La Palapa beach bar. It was not a cruise ship day so it was just us and these guys.

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With a Salva Vida in hand, this view, and excellent music on their surround sound speakers, we did not care.

IMG_0565After a certain amount of time wasting there, we walked down the beach a stretch.

IMG_0567BananaRama’s looks like it would be a hot spot on a boat day. Love these swings.

002Of course, since we had left the dock area, a returning water taxi came into view. We hailed from the beach and they waited for us, though, for the quick zip back to West End.

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Which pretty much looks like this if you fly over it:

west endOr, if you prefer, this (the Mariposa Lodge is just up the road from Splash Inn):

WestEndRoatanHondurasIn my opinion, as beautiful as the beach at West Bay is, we landed in exactly the right spot right here in West End. More to come!

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Bye-Bye Belize / Hello Honduras!

We spent our last rainy overnight at the Ramada Princess Casino hotel in Belize City, then headed to the airport for Tourist Watch (we can say that now after 7 months in Belize) as we waited on our own flight to Roatan.

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Finally we were strapped into a Tropic Air 12-seater with the flight crew and ready to go.

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The weather was still overcast but clearing. Some pretty views just off the coast…

off-the-shore-of-belize2off-the-shore-of-belizeoff-the-shore-of-belize3Forty-five minutes later, we rounded the end of Roatan and flew over this  cruise ship in the harbor. We were pleasantly surprised by the lush green hills.

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The airport was bigger and more sophisticated than expected, too. Customs even had a fingerprint screen to check if we were on anyone’s watch list. We had been half-expecting the two machetes and Ray’s Bowie knife in our luggage to raise an eyebrow, but we got the all-clear.

It was dusk by now, and a fifteen minute cab ride took us into that hilly terrain we’d seen from above. Our driver Caesar did his best with limited sunlight (and limited English) to point out the particulars along the winding road (did I mention it was a winding paved road?!).

Mike, the proprietor of Mariposa Lodge and our host for the next two days, met us in the driveway, and he and Caesar graciously helped us carry all our stuff upstairs to the 3rd floor apartment. Yup, we know how to put the lug in luggage. Next time we will be heading out much, much lighter.

Anyway, we chatted with Mike for awhile and met the resident cat Doby (she’s a sweetie) and eventually called it a night. Today it’s still overcast, on and off raining, but we did a short explore of West End Village. Some quick snapshots:

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Lots of little funky bars, restaurants, and gift shops, interspersed with dive shops and convenience stores. People! Music! Food! Shopping! Without driving 40 minutes on awful roads! Oh yeah, we’ve been in the Belizean bush way too long. This is gonna be so great.

The lodge is set back from the main commotion on the beach, but we can get there in about in a minute. Just turn up this little alley from the street…

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…and there it is. We’re staying on the top level, which feels like a treehouse.

mariposa-lodgeThis is the view from up there.

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And here’s Ray in his new office.

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I’m thinking, good move on the trip to Roatan. 🙂

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Two Expats Living in Mexico

Q-Roo Paul and Linda