Belize

San Ignacio and Belize overall


We came back from Caye Caulker Island, and went to pick up the bikes at the Harley Davidson dealership. The bikes were still there, just as we left them. The deal was that we would buy two T-shirts in exchange for the storage. So when we looked for T-shirts, they were all well over $50 CAD each!  But we had a deal, and they kept their promise, so we had to keep ours. It just turned out to be a pretty expensive storage for our bikes for 3 days. But it was well worth it, the Belizean Islands are beautiful!

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We drove toward the border with Guatemala, and we stopped for the night in San Ignacio, about 10 min from the border.

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We found a decent hotel right in the center, Mallorca, where two very friendly ladies (the owner and the receptionist/manager/etc) took care of us.

We went to see a local archeological site, Cahal Pech, at walking distance from our hotel. Just that it was steep uphill walking.  But it was worth it, we found it quite impressive.

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We went to eat and we tried some local food, very tasty, and a lot cheaper. We noticed that it is a trend for women to wear one hand’s nails very, very long. I have never seen such long nails in my life! (they were fake I guess).

The next day we woke up early, had some good breakfast and headed toward the Guatemala border. The border crossing was pretty straight forward: cancel temporary import permit for the bikes in Belize, exit stamp in the passport, and fumigate the bikes when entering Guatemala, stamp the passport, and get temporary import permit for the bikes (160 gqt each). No mandatory insurance for the vehicles here. We kind of got into the routine of it by now, and at this border everything went pretty smoothly.

Overall thoughts about Belize:

First off, we were very relieved that they were speaking English (mostly Vasile). It felt like a totally different world in the middle of Central America just for that.

We found the people very friendly and laid back, including cops. All they wanted when they stopped us at the check points was to chat with us. (kind of like “wassup dude, where are you going?”)

The roads were quite poor, not signalized at all. It was hard to know where it was one way road (people on the side of the road would make signs to us which way we should go), who has the right of way etc. They actually only have three paved highways in the whole country, even those ones, I would not really call them highways. No dividing lines on them, no shoulders and quite narrow. But considering it was a small country, it was not too big of an inconvenient to us.

As landscape, inland Belize it’s probably not the best destination for a vacation, but the Islands are a tropical paradise!!!

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Belize City and Caye Caulker Island


We crossed the border into Belize and we stopped in the first town, Corozal, just to get some Belizean currency at the bank and to eat something. We did not see any restaurants in our way, so we thought we would get out of town and stop at the first one we see. But we were surprised to realize that there were no more restaurants outside of town. We got spoiled in Mexico, where there  were restaurants or loncherias everywhere. In Belize we could not see anything, not even in the coming villages. I guess people don’t eat out here. We were lucky we had some crisp tortillas with us, so that was our lunch. Then we kept going, while it started to rain. Rain! We haven’t seen it in the past two months!

Belize looks quite different. The houses are bigger and seem to be more solid. But the vegetation is the same.

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A couple of hours later we got to Belize City. I have to admit we have been a bit disappointed. The city was not exactly what we were expecting.It could have been that we set too high expectations, since we heard incredible things about Belize before we got here, so I guess we set the standards high.

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We drove around to find a decent place to eat, but all the restaurants we’ve seen on the way were closed. We managed to find a reasonable hotel and a Chinese restaurant right next to it, so we checked in and went for dinner. Didn’t have Chinese food in a while!  And it was actually pretty good. In Belize there is a mix of Spanish, Caucasian, Black, indigenous (Mayan) and Asian people. Overall people seemed to be very friendly and laid back, Rasta style:) (especially on the islands).

Now the next challenge was to find a safe place for us to leave the bikes so we can go to the Islands. A local guy we met at the Chinese restaurant recommended us not to leave them anywhere else but maybe at a Motorcycle dealership. According to him that would have been the only safe place to leave them. He told us there was a Harley Davidson dealership in town, “Black Pearl”, so Vasile went and talked to them. They were incredibly nice and they promised to keep the bikes for us in the showroom until we get back from the islands.  And here are our dirty bikes in the nice Harley Davidson show room. Hey, I didn’t know they sell BMWs and KTMs:)

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We took the Water Taxi to Caye Caulker Island, a small limestone coral island about 45 min (30 km) away from Belize City in the Caribbean Sea. This Island is awesome! It is about 8 km long and only 1.5 wide. There are no paved roads, just some sandy rustic roads, no cars, just some carts used for transportation. And people are fabulous here: happy, smiley, laid back and friendly! I understand now why the motto of the island is “Go slow”. I could totally live here for a while.

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We checked in at a hotel, and then we went for a swim by “the split”. The locals say that this island has been split in two by Hurricane Hattie which devastated the island in 1961.

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The water is clear turquoise, perfect for swimming. I guess that’s why the Caribbean is so famous.

In the evening we walked around the island and we ended up in the Pizzeria Caulker. The owner, Greg, a Canadian who lives in Belize now, was making a great atmosphere there, so we stopped for a couple of drinks and we met some great people.

The next day we went on a snorkel tour. We had to go on a speed boat for about 25 min.The weather didn’t seem to be on our side,since it started pouring at some point and we were all worried that our snorkeling for the day wouldn’t be too good in the cold and big waves.

The first stop was by the reef barrier, which is the second largest in the world, after the Australian one. We’ve seen huge eels, over 2 m long with big teeth; marine turtles eating and swimming around us, beautiful spotted eagle rays, all kinds of colourful exotic fish and lots of corals.It was amazing to see all these fish so close to me, I could almost touch them!

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The next stop was on the Sharks and Rays avenue, so we had a chance to swim with the sharks! And in the meantime the sun has come out. The nurse sharks don’t seem to be too aggressive animals.When Vasile jumped from the boat in the water, the wave actually pushed him right into a shark. And he still has all limbs intact, I checked:)

Southern Stingray

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Note the shark in the background:)DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO

I even had the chance to hold a stingray in my arms. Incredible sensation, they are such beautiful animals!

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It was a great day and a great experience. It will be hard to leave the island.But we have to, since we cannot inconvenience the guys at Harley Davidson too much. They were so nice to us, but we don’t want to exaggerate now.

Categories: Belize | Leave a comment

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