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Published: October 28th 2011
19th Oct ’11 Caye Caulker to San Ignacio, Belize
Left Caye Caulker at lunchtime to get the boat across to Belize ‘city’ – which is more like a collection of ramshackle huts! I volunteered to go with the bags to the bus station and Aaron (young aussie lad with dreadlocks) offered to stay with me and help guard the bags. We took 2 separate taxis and my driver gave one of his lady friends a lift and dropped her off first. He told me he has lots of lady friends!!!! We piled all the bags up by the bus station gates and waited for the rest of the group who were walking over. While we were waiting this rasta man comes up to Aaron and I and offers him a ball of dope for $2, he then tells me I can have it for $1 if he can smoke it with me!! He kept saying I can tell you like a smoke and this is soooo sweet, I gently declined.
Once the others arrived we all piled on to the chicken bus, fortunately in Belize the rule is only 2 to a seat so it was fine. We
drove out of the city and the main road had a cemetery running along both sides of it which was a bit bizzare! We wound through lots of small villages until we eventually reached the border town of San Ignacio.
This is a real bustling wild west style town, a real hotch potch of roads, bars, small hotels, shops and markets. We walked up to our hotel, the room is ok, no air con but it does have a rickety old ceiling fan/light fitting with 2 out of 3 bulbs, when you switch it on the it rattles from side to side and looks like it is going to shake itself off the ceiling so we had to give that a miss. There is a bathroom with saloon style doors and a good few years worth of grime on them, no handles though so you can’t shut them!! Our room is an internal one but it does have a window which looks onto the corridor!
We were all taken to a travel agency to be given a presentation on the trips you could do from San Ignacio – this is some company that Intrepid obviously have a deal
going on with. We did get a free very strong rum and coke which was delicious though! All the trips were ridiculously expensive (Belize is a pricey country), there were 4 of us who wanted to visit Caracol (Mayan site) but they would only drop the price by $5 each to $85 which is mega bucks, so Howard went into haggling mode and then walked up the road and found another company doing exactly the same trip for $65 came back and told them and they still wouldn’t budge and a heated ‘debate’ ensued. Our tour leader would only say ‘ I can’t vouch for the other company’, so the 4 of us buggered off up the road and booked the cheaper one! Yet another black mark for us!!
We all went out for dinner, I ordered the pork chop which was actually 2 of the most enormous thickest pork chops I have ever seen and really delicious.
20th Oct ’11 Trip to Caracol
Up and out for 7.30pm, John – the guide was ready and waiting so off we set. I sat in the front as the previous day my foot had ballooned and looked like it belonged
to the Elephant Man! We had been warned that the road was very rough and bumpy and it certainly was! We rattled along dodging pot holes, past small villages getting deeper into the jungle. After 2 hours we arrived at the site. Caracol is one of the largest Mayan sites and the largest in Belize. It also has the tallest structure (pyramid) in the whole of Belize even to this day!
The site is only 4% excavated and every year teams of American arachaeologists and students pay to go there for 3 months to work on it. They are aiming at preservation rather than restoration so a lot of tombs have been excavated and then sealed again. Our guide was excellent and told us all about the medicinial properties of the jungle plants and explained the site in detail.
The most amazing thing was for a lot of the time we were the only people there –in fact there were only 3 jeeps at the site in total! You were able to climb up and explore all the structures. The others climbed the tallest pyramid while I guarded the bags. I was glad I had taken my trusty stick as
it was very uneven ground. After lunch we headed off to visit an easily accessible cave which was pretty and then we went on to some natural swimming pools with small waterfalls, none of us went in though as there was no sun and I was worried about my incredible expanding ankle! A 2 hour bumpy ride back during which we heard all about John’s 2 daughters – he is a very proud single dad, his wife took off to America when the girls were only 1 & 3. This is very unusual for latin America where family is incredibly important. It was a great trip made all the better for having saved $20 US.
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