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Published: June 26th 2011
The journey from Cancun to Caye Caulker, Belize went pretty smoothly but still had a few exciting points. We started with an hour bus from the airport to Playa del Carmen, then a 15 min walk to the other bus station, followed by another bus to Chautumal Mexico that was about 4 hours, and we arrived in the rain and dark at about 8pm, where no one spoke a word of English, we had figure out how to buy our ticket onto Belize the next day, and find a place to sleep! There was a bit of confusion as what I had read online said the bus departed at 5 in the morning, but everyone at the station was saying siete! (7) as we got the same answer from 3 different people we decided to trust and go find a place to sleep, with the help of a police officer we ran into on the otherwise pedestrian free street, we ended up finding a cheap and simple hotel across the road. All that was left to do was get some food, which pretty much our only option was a dominos pizza I was a bit disappointed about since I love Mexican
food so much I wanted to eat as much of it as I could while I was there, but we selected a Mexican pizza which wasn't quite the same but I guess counts. The next morning back at the bus station the ticket counter was open again, and thankfully the guy spoke a bit of English so we were certain we were going to the right place. The bus the next day took us over the boarder into Belize and onto Belize City, from there we caught a hour ferry to Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker is a tinny island with no cars, and if you stand in the middle of the island you can see the water on both sides of the island. The island is so chilled out, and it almost has a homely feeling, we liked it here so much we would come back later to spend a few more nights here but more about that later. Our first night on the island we stayed at a Backpackers that was on front street, and by front street I mean the gate is right on the water because their roads are all sand. They had hammocks in the
quart yard in front, and on the dock. The island had seaweed right off the beach everywhere except for the split which is the area between the north and south island that was taken out in a hurricane a few years ago. You can swim at the split seaweed free and the best part about it is there is a bar right on the water that blasts reggae music and serves nachos and drinks of course! We spent the first day at the split and then had dinner at a fantastic bbq place on the water. The next morning we were going to head off of a 3 day adventure down the coast on a tinny boat with about 20 people!
Ragamuffin Cruise ~
The next three days we spent sailing is crystal clear water along the reef, we would stop about 2 times a day to snorkel, and grant found a new passion in spear fishing. I tried fishing with the poll a few times when we were on the move but no on actually caught anything this way. On the first snorkel stop on the first day, I was on of the first people in the water,
about to put on my mask and one of the guides started yelling there was a manatee right next to us! I quickly put on my mask and there it was about 15 feet away from me, it turned at I swear looked right at me, then started swimming away, pretty cool they are such gentile looking creatures and the way they swim is so slow. Luckily during the night time we didn't have to sleep on the ship, the first night we slept on Rendezvous island, which is a little tinny island with about 5 trees, a covered area, a dock, and luckily a pump toilet. The island was just about big enough for us to set up our tents, about 10 of them, and have a camp fire. It was pretty amazing sleeping on a deserted island for a night. The next day after another fun filled day of sun, snorkelling, sting rays, seahorses, and big fish, we spent the next night on Tobacco Caye which was considerably larger than the first island but still very tiny! This one had a few places to stay and a bar so there were other people on the island as well
as the people who run the place. We set our tents up here again, and this place had a shower! Which was amazing. We had dinner on the dock with the sun setting pretty special, there were some pretty cool people on board with us, along with the crew we had some great company. The next day was our last day on board, we landed in Palcencia about 5pm. I had booked a place to stay in a room with a balcony over the water before we had left as a special treat at the end of roughing it for a few days, that night we went to dinner with the people we had meet on the boat, and went out to a club that had a dance floor on the beach, and after that closed everyone headed next door to the Karaoke joint in town, lets just say our groups rendition of Regulators did not meet up to anyone's standards, but we had fun which is all that matters. We spent one more night in Palcencia and the next morning we all parted ways, Grant and I headed inland to San Ignacio the adventure capital of Belize.
leaving at 6 in the morning and 2 long bus rides we arrived in San Ignacio just after mid day, it was soooo hot all I wanted to do was go for a swim or take a tour to a river to go tubing or something, but unfortunately all the tours had left for the day so instead we went and walked around the market and ate ice cream on the river bank. The next day we had booked a tour to the ATM cave, this was probably one of the more adventurest things I have done, they definitely would not let you do this is the states parts were pretty dangerous. Its about a 45 min hike to the cave entrance, then you have to climb down some rocks and SWIM into the cave entrance! You are actually swimming or wading through water through most of the trip, you are in the cave for about 3 hours total. They give you a helmet, which is good I would have had about 10 concussions if I didn’t have it, and a head light. There are parts in the cave where you literally have to duck your head just above water
level to get under the rocks, and parts you have to turn sideways to make it through, it was amazing. Then you get to a point where you go up, and by go up I mean you have to climb up this 10 foot rock, then there is about 3 feet between the top of the rock and the ledge you have to climb up on (and you have to go back this way too!) But no one fell so it was all good. In this upper part here there is pottery shards and skeletons everywhere, and at the end you climb up this sketchy ladder and enter a side cavern that has a fully intact skeleton of a young girl, all of the skeletons are young children that had been sacrificed. This was definitely a highlight of the trip, I was glad to be out of the cave though and back in the warm sun, I was getting pretty cold in the cave in the water after three hours. When we got back we booked a trip with a guide to take us to Tikal in Guatemala the next day (see Guatemala blog) Dinner that night we had at
The Rega King!
The tinny boat we sailed on for three days
Hanna’s which the guide book said was the best food in the country and I would not disagree at least it was the best we had, and it would fit right in at the best restaurants in the States or OZ. It had great presentation, and the flavour was amazing! I had prawns and grant had a beef stew with mashed potatoes (I of course stole most of his mashed potatoes as well!)
After returning from Guatemala we had three more nights left before our flight and we decided we wanted to spend the last nights back on an island relaxing! We arrived early enough back into San Ignacio to catch the last but to Belize City, from there we decided to try something different and caught a water taxi to San Pedro which is a larger island a little further north of Caye Caulker. There is actually a Madonna song about San Pedro
"Last night I dreamt of San Pedro...
Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La isla bonita"
Unfortunately we were not as taken with San Pedro as Madonna was, it was just to big
and to touristy, and two expensive. We paid twice the price as Caye caulker for a sketchy hotel room not on the water. We decided the next morning to go back to CAye Caulker for our last two nights, this was the best decision. We found a cabana right off the water with a balcony and hammock a bit south of town. Because or residence was about a 15 min walk from the main part of town, we decided to rent some bicycles which was the BEST idea. We spent the next two days just cruising around the island on our bikes and hanging out at the split. A few of the people we had done the Ragamuffin trip with had also made it back to Caye Caulker so we hung out with them and one of the crew from the ship as well. The last day I got to claim part of my birthday present from grant which was a spa day, so I got a facial, massage, and pedicure all for 90 US! I am always going to do this from now on the last day of a holiday in the sun, because I was pretty brown, but
Chillin on the dock before dinner
I haven't peeled yet at all after coming back to the dry Australian winter, and I really think it has to do with the massage and facial stuff. The next morning we left after breakfast about 11 and started are very long journey back to Sydney.
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