Cayo, Belize, Is The World’s Best Place To Disappear
In my office in Panama City, hanging on the wall opposite my desk in a place I see every time I glance up from my laptop, is a photograph of the entrance to Eva’s Restaurant in San Ignacio, Belize. I came upon the photo three years ago in a café in Boquete, Panama, where I was having breakfast one morning. I looked up from my fried eggs and noticed, across the room, what looked to me to be the front door to a place I’d been frequenting for more than two decades. I got up, walked over, and confirmed that, indeed, it was Eva’s.
“Is that photograph for sale?” I asked the waitress.
“In fact, it is,” she replied. “All the art on the walls is for sale…”
I discovered Eva’s Restaurant 28 years ago during what was not only my first trip to Belize but also my first press trip. I traveled from Baltimore, Maryland, my home at the time, to Belize City and then onward to Ambergris Caye, Placencia, and, finally, inland, to Belize’s Cayo District, all courtesy of the Belize Tourist Authority. I spent three days in each region and enjoyed them all, but it was Cayo that got under my skin. Cayo, Belize, I realized, was a place for disappearing.
One afternoon I broke away from my guide and wandered through the jungle to the river, where I sat down on a giant fallen tree. I listened to the birds and the monkeys, watched the women doing their laundry on the rocks downstream from me, and wondered how long I could get away with hiding out in this glorious spot. I’ve thought of that afternoon often in the years since. Sitting on that log in the middle of nowhere Cayo, Belize, I felt as free as I’ve ever felt.