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Belize

Adventures in Belize


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Still trying to catch up with the blog as I am almost a month behind now, so I'll make a condensed one for a change with mainly pictures... :)

Caye Caulker was then the next destination, a small island located East of the Belize coast, not far from the coral reef. The first thing which strikes you when you arrive in Belize, is the difference in price compared to Mexico. Indeed here the currency is almost fixed on the US dollar (1 US$ = 2 Bz $) and this means that the prices are high. For example, a day trip on a boat to do some snorkelling costs around 65 US$, and other tours can easily reach 90-100 US$... Anyway, my aim by coming to Belize was not to stay here forever, but to see the reef and its wildlife, a few ruins across the country and then head off to Guatemala.

English is the main language of this country (all the other countries in Central America are Spanish-speaking countries), and it was therefore easier for me to deal and communicate with the locals than in Spanish, but I still felt that one week was enough to explore a few chosen places in the country. I am sure my bank account will thank me later on...

The first days then in Caye Caulker were therefore dedicated to snorkelling and I managed to see manatees (impressive!), nurse-sharks, sting-rays, barracudas and tons of other fishes and corals. Really an amazing experience. It would even have probably be better to do some scuba-diving but the high prices just discouraged me. However for those who like to dive (and have a bit of money to spend), you can easily arrange a day trip to the blue hole, one of the deepest in the world. Apparently those who did so warmly recommend it.

Among my group some people had waterproof cameras and I really wanted to show you some pictures taken "under" but I didn't manage to get the pictures yet. I will probably update this post at a later date then once I can get hold of them. In the meantime here are a few shots I took during these few days on the island.

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My tour agency... Easy boys!

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The streets of Caye Caulker

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On the right side you can see the waves created by the presence of the reef underneath. We are at about 1km from the island already.

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Let's jump!

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Our guide feeding the several nurse-sharks and sting-rays populating the area to attract them near our boat. Fierce battle! A few minutes later, we would be swimming in the middle of these totally inoffensive yet impressive creatures...

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The second stop (and last one) in Belize would then be San Ignacio, a town located near the Guatemalan border. From there there are several tours you can do, including visiting Mayan ruins (Caracol), swim near waterfalls, go to some caves adventures, well it's not easy to get bored. However as I said before your wallet will suffer a little...

As I am mainly interested in the Mayan culture and architecture, I decided to opt for visiting the ruins of Caracol instead of the popular ATM tour (caves adventures) and on the way our group also stopped to see a few natural caves and waterfalls.

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The streets of San Ignacio

And one week is a short time but I felt it was enough and that time had now come to pass the border of Guatemala, as Tikal and El Mirador were already calling me in the distance...

Posted by manolo84 13:38 Archived in Belize Tagged waterfalls islands snorkelling ruins mayas Comments (3)

Adios Mexico, Hello Belize!


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Here we are, it has been so far more than a month and a half since I have set foot on the Mexican soil. I was originally only planning to spend a few weeks in this amazing country but there were so many things to visit and experience, met so many people along the way that it would have been really hard to go faster. But time is also running fast and if I want to stick to my original plan (September in South America, December in New-Zealand), I now have to go faster and will also probably end up skipping or just crossing some countries like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. And to be honest, going to one place after an other is quite exhausting, I always prefer staying a few more days in a place if I like it, rather than trying to travel with a checklist and just crossing off names for the sake of it. I am pretty sure already that I will come back one day in this area, so it is probably best to leave some "mysteries" for later.

But still, I had an amazing time in Mexico and was really far to expect that much when I first arrived. I definitely recommend this country to whoever wants to visit it but weren't too sure about safety or language issues. There are true wonders in Mexico and I just only scrapped the surface. Local people are extremely nice and love to talk with foreigners if you have the advantage of speaking a bit of spanish.

That is what I was thinking in the bus which took me from Tulum to Chetumal, the last town before the Mexican border on the east coast. My plan was then to take directly a boat to Caye Caulker in Belize, where new snorkelling adventures were awaiting along the reef. Coming from Mexico, you have to pay the exit fee (about 300 pesos - 18 euros) and also the boat which is not that cheap, but saves you the cost and time to go to Belize City first and then take a boat for one of the islands (islands which are called Cayes - pronounced "keys").

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And although the Mexican authorities will check your bag before you leave the country to make sure you are not taking any drugs with you, the Belize immigration in San Pedro is the best (understand: relax and cool) I have seen so far. They are located on a beach so you just have to go through a little deck to get your passport stamped and at the other end of this deck, there was a little bar with live music... I invite you to check the video below to get an idea.... :)

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The immigration checkpoint in San Pedro

Posted by manolo84 23:01 Archived in Belize Tagged music immigration Comments (0)

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