As soon as we arrived at the Mexico-Belize border we could tell we'd reached the Carribean.
Rather than the usual stony give-nothing-away expression perfected by immigration officials the world over, we were greeted by a huge grin and a Creole accented "Alright guy´s, ow long you stayin' in Belize then?" and with little more than an absent glance at our passports we were stamped in.
It was like an instant dose of relaxation after a fairly tense morning involving a myriad of transport connections, of which the failure of any one would almost certainly have resulted in the minor disaster of us missing the last boat of the day to our Christmas getaway of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye - famed for being the "La Isla Bonita" of the Madonna song.
No sooner had we stepped of the boat than Mel cried out "Look - it´s SC!" and pointed to the Toyota waiting at the jetty - it was the spitting image of our much loved van from New Zealand. We felt instantly at home. In fact we would soon discover that 95% of the vehicles on Ambergris fall into one of two categories - the Toyota Liteace vans that form the islands taxi fleet, or the electric golf carts that are available to rent everywhere.
Of course we couldn't resist the temptation to take one for a spin round town on Boxing Day (above) - but in the main on the rare occasions when we felt inclined to leave our sun loungers beside the pool we generally favoured the leisurely stroll into town.
It would be hard to say whether our transport decision was born out of our desire to avoid looking like lazy American tourists, save ourselves the (seemingly excessive) $65 daily rental fee or simply out of dedication to researching new candidates for the beer league.
One thing is for certain though - when you throw in a ride in a classic Toyota Liteace van at the end of the evening it all makes for a pretty compelling package ...
In fact during our time on Ambergris I was only able to add a couple of new entrants to the league - Belikin and Lighthouse Lager. Both perfectly drinkable albeit nothing special.
I've posted a few photos from San Pedro - just click through on the flickr badge on the right hand side. I´ve also added a new Youtube badge for anyone who wants to see the videos that haven't made the blog - including my attempt at simulated skydiving in New Zealand if anyone fancies a laugh at my expense.