A Travellerspoint blog

Placencia, Belize

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Spent the last 4 days here in Placencia. It's a small resort at the tip of a peninsula in southern Belize. Got some pretty crap accommodation for the first night. Looked nice enough at first and was pretty cheap, nice old rickety wooden house, with private bathroom. Shower didn't work though, and when I asked the guy what he was going to do about it he said it couldn't be fixed, but helpfully provided us with a bucket and a bowl, and demonstrated how to scoop water from the bucket and pour it over my head with the bowl. Also, there was a power cut during the night and so we woke up with the fan not working and literally swimming in sweat. So we moved into a much better place, more expensive but has its own fridge, so making lunches.

Not done much other than sit on the beach whilst we've been here, lying under palm trees which line it, and drinking the local rum at night. Food is really good, all fresh fish which is nice, not tried the local delicacies of Conch or Gibnut (small rodent-like creature - Jenny says they're endangered). Bought some fishing line and went fishing off the peir at the port yesterday. It was amazing. Whilst we were there, we saw giant sting rays and dolphins swimming literally just below our feet. Also, we were both successful with the fishing. Catching tropical fish. Felt a bit bad for them because we weren't very good at getting the hooks out, and I got a bit excited on the first catch and yanked the line and just about took it's face off. Hook was through it's eye. Managed to get it out eventually and throw it back in, but no sooner had it hit the water than a massive baracuda swam past and ate it. Was good fun though.

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Leaving here tomorrow, by boat, which I'm not particularly looking forward to. Heading for Honduras.

Posted by calumfife 11:29 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Caye Caulker - Dangriga - Placencia

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Caye Caulker was extremely nice. Did very little in the time that we were there. Accommodation was nice, but literally just a wooden room with a bed in it....and a cockroach, which I wanted to kill and Jenny wanted to save, so we agreed to stun it with the repellent and she could catch it, which she managed after about 1/2 an hour of crawling about on the floor. We left there by water taxi and caught our first chicken bus in Belize city. So called cos sometimes people bring livestock on. Not on this one though. You do see a lot of locals carrying machetes though, the length of my arm, which is a bit concerning. Having said that, we saw a lot of locals in Guatemala wearing the whole cowboy gear with guns stuck down their belts strolling about the place, so not too bothered about the odd machete. The buses are old American School buses - blue birds. Not the most comfortable, but we weren't on for that long. Also they just stop anywhere that you tell them to along the way, and pick up people who wave them down anywhere along the route, which doubled the journey time. Travelled south to Dangriga.

Dangriga was a bit of a dump. We were intending just to stop there overnight and get a boat out to another island where there is a reef within snorkelling distance - Tobacco Caye - but the island was full (of Americans probably), or anything they could offer was too pricey. Dangriga is a port town, beach was a bit manky. Felt like a total tourist. The majority of the population being Garifuna black carribeans who speak their own dialect of English. The rest of the population seem to be Chinese. The Chinese restaurants outnumber the local ones and all the locals eat there, so I've been trying out different versions of chicken fried rice over here. Unfortunately they put pees in it and carrots. Not impressed. Anyway, there wasn't a lot to see in Dangriga, although I thought the people were all quite interesting, friendly and very laid back (or very unemployed, not sure). Stayed in a nice place here, shame the town wasn't up to much. Left there this morning and got another chicken bus to Placencia, with the most annoying woman in Belize, maybe the world. She talked non-stop to the rasta next to her at the top of her voice the whole way here, and at every stop was shouting out the window at random people in the street. Placencia is right in the south of Belize, planning to spend a few days here then get a boat across to Honduras. Nice and hot today, probably about 30 degrees.

Posted by calumfife 13:29 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Flores - Tikal - Belize

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Flores was great wee place, very pretty. Went out on a canoe round the lake so that Jenny could look for animals. Didn't find anything other than coots and a heron. Jenny convinced herself that a coconut was a turtle and got very excited about a black bag as well thinking it was a crocodile. Was good fun though.

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Tikal

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Went to Tikal on 19th Feburary, another Mayan ruins site. Was absolutely amazing. I'm not that interested in ruins but this place was incredible. It's a huge national park deep in the guatemalan jungle. We went at about 9.30 in the morning and didn't leave til 4pm. The temples are all massive and overgrown with the jungle. To get between them we would sometimes have to walk for 20-30 mins through the jungle, and a lot of the time we didn't see anybody else. Saw lots of widlife which kept Jenny happy - spider monkeys, strange turkey-like things, a fox-type creature, and lots of big fat americans being herded about the place. Was really impressed with the place as a whole though. You could climb to the top of most of the temples and I managed up one of them, Jenny went up two. The one that I didn't go up was an absolute joke, there were rickety wooden ladders that you had to climb up and you had to come back down backwards they were so steep.'

Belize Caye Caulker

We travelled to Belize yesterday. Another long bus ride in an ''air conditioned 1st Class bus''. Got to Belize city, spent about 15 minutes there as it seemed a bit of a dump - on the way in on the bus we went past a rubbish tip that absolutely stank and drove through the middle of a massive graveyard. We got straight on a water taxi and are on a little island called Caye Caulkere, in the carribean. Very Very nice. Probably going to go snorkelling on the reef just off the coast tomorrow. Weather is beautiful, palm trees and pelicans flying about, and drinking plenty of the local rum. All good.

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Posted by calumfife 12:01 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Guatemala

Border crossing - Fores

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Left Palenque yesterday, getting up at 5.30 to get a bus to the border at Guatemala. Was awake anyway, cos the hostel that we were staying at was right next to a road. Everyone seems to get up at about 3am and start shouting, driving about with music blaring beeping their horns, shouting electoral campains through megaphones or strangling cockrels. Is the noisiest place I have ever been. We paid for an organised tour to cross the border as it was going to cost roughly the same to do it ourselves. We travelled in a little nissan van full of all different nationalities. Wasn´t very comfortable. Spent a couple of hours doing this and arrived at a river where we transferred to a boat. Bit of confusion between times about tickets and who had paid for what. Travelled for about 1/2 hour on a sort of canoe-like boat down the river to another bus. We then had to wait for an hour, for no reason. The guy we bought the tour from said that there would be a 1st class air conditioned bus to pick us up at the other side of the river, but instead it was a clapped out old van-like machine held together by string and elastic bands and seemed to be clockwork and the air conditioning was windows that just about opened. The driver had to open a hatch in the floor and fiddle about with some wire to get it started.

We were then taken to the immigration office where we had our passports stamped and were relieved of some money. We then returned to the river to cram some more people into the bus and repeated the process. All fun and games, but we made it to Guatemala eventually.

We crept along a road made from boulders about the size of my head for another 3 hours. In the meantime we picked up another tour guide about an hour from Flores our final destination. He proceeded to shout his pitch about trips to the ruins at Tikal for the next hour or so. Hard Sell. We were even helpfully taken to two different ATM's to ensure that people bought the trips. Most people did. We didn't. Going to do that in our own time, maybe tomorrow.

Flores

Flores is a little island on a lake, and is really nice. Staying in a very cheap and slightly nasty hotel, and making ful use of the sleeping bag and midge net. There is a large gap between the roof and the wall where insects can get in. Got Geckos and spiders sharing the room with us too. Get what you pay for though, and there is a veranda that looks out onto the lake which is really nice. Getting stuck into more litre bottles of the local bevvy - Gallo, it{s very nice too. Thinking of hiring a boat and trying to catch some fish.

Posted by calumfife 13:11 Archived in Guatemala Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Travelling through Mexico

Puerto Escondido - San Chrisotobal de las Casas - Palenque

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Puerto Escodido

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We eventually arrived at the Pacific Coast of Meico, at Puerto Escondido, after a 17 hour bus journey. It was adviertised as 7 hours but took us round half of mexico before finally dropping us off. Stayed in a really nice hostel and basically spend two days lying on the beach. Both of us got burnt. Did a bit of bodyboarding. Getting into the whole Mexican spirit of things, eating tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchilladas, all with plenty jalapeños, all washed down with litres of cerveza.

San Cristobal de las Casas

Another lengthy bus journey up into the mountains to this place This time the bus broke down and the driver and his pal spent about 3 hours fannying about banning the side of the bus while we all sat in the road in the middle of the night. Eventually got to Sn Cristobal, which is a colonil town, and realy just a stop off before the next place. We stayed in another nice hostel, where a bunch of old American hippies were hanging about. Atmosphere was nice and relaxed....until me and Jeny pitched up after a nice meal for valentines day and a few refreshments, at about 1am. Seems there was a curfew that we didn´t know about and had to ring the bell a few times to get in, then one of the other residents stormed off to another dorm when Jenny´s phone went off. Got a bit of a cold goodbye and don´t think we're welcome back. Anywho....

Palenque

In Palenque at the moment. This is further North and right in the thick of the jungle. There are amazing Mayan Ruins that we went to see today. Palenque the town is not up to much but the ruins are great. It was chucking it down with rain but was probably better that way as it added to the experience. The ruins are surrounded by jungle and the clouds were really low and we had our ponchos on looking like numpties.

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Trying to decide now whether to head down south into Guatemala, or carry on in the direction that we are headed inot Norther Guatemala and onto Belize.....Decisions, decisions........

Posted by calumfife 15:26 Archived in Mexico Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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