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Published: February 28th 2012
After an active 2 weeks in Guatemala, I decided to take it a bit easier in Belize. It turned out to be the perfect choice. My first destination was Caye Caulker, of which I heard a lot of positive things. Together with Steffi and Francesco we booked our stay in the dormitory of "Bella's". The hostel was a bit of a "party hostel"; every evening we were playing drinking games and a couple of times we went out afterwards. During the day I didn't do too much. The most active thing I did was a snorkelling trip, during which I got to swim amongst nurse sharks sting rays. Mostly we were laying the islands only and tiny beach spot. To be honest I was pretty disappointed about this. I was hoping to do some beaching on perfectly white long stretches of beach, but no, I had to do with a lousy one, which consisted of crushed shells instead of sand. Given the fact that the weather wasn't optimal either, I decided to leave 4 days later. Placencia
Originally I wanted to go to a small beach village called Hopkins, but on the ferry from Caye Caulker
I heard the place is very busy in the weekend and most places were fully booked. I didn't want to risk it, so I continued a bit further south. To get to Placencia from Belize City I had to switch from one local bus to another halfway. Travelling on buses in Belize is very amusing, since most of them play loud reggae music. In Placencia, located on a long peninsula) I met Rebecca from England. With her I stayed in Lydia’s Guesthouse, a very comfy hostel virtually on the beach, with a fully equipped shared kitchen. I stayed here for a week during which I even managed to do some cooking (mostly done by Rebecca ;-) ). Every day we spend our days pretty much the same. During the day lying on the beach and in the evening after dinner we went to Barefoot bar for lots of rum and cokes (the glasses were filled with a lot of rum and topped with a slash of coke).
One morning I had to cross by boat to mainland, to go to the immigration office to extend my visa. Upon entry they gave me 2 weeks, but since we decided to
go to Glovers Atoll for a week, I needed an extra week on my visa. Apparently, if I'd paid a bit more attention when I crossed the border and saw that they gave me 2 weeks only, I could have asked them for more and they would have given me that. Besides the trouble I had to go through, it cost me an additional 25 USD. Glover's Atol Reef
The highlight of my stay in Belize was the week we spend on Glovers Atoll. For a budget price we could stay on a paradise island. There were no big stretches perfect white sand beaches, but we knew about that. It was more the secludedness, remoteness and simplicity which made our visit so special. There is no electricity, internet and cell reception on the tiny island which you can walk around in 5 minutes. Once it gets dark, you light (part of) your accommodation by means of petroleum lamps and candles and you cook your own meal on a butane stove.
When we confirmed our reservation we first had to do some preparation. Since there is a possibility to cook yourself and the meals are twice as expensive
then the already expensive Belizean prices, we bought some supplies. We bought just enough for a whole week breakfast and lunch and a few dinners. The dinners we bought at the restaurant were all finger licking; we had fresh lobster, conch (the big shells) and fish. All the food ingredients we could keep cool in a big cool box filled with ice which lasted half a week. Of course we used the ice mostly for our rum and cokes.
The atoll can be reached from Sittee River. When the bus dropped us of at Sittee River junction, we hitch-hiked the last kilometres. We were lucky, because we only had to wait on the deserted junction for exactly 30 seconds to get a ride. When we arrived at the Glovers sister-hostel, we learned that our reservation for a private beach cabin didn't came through and that the best they could do was offer us a place in the dorm. That was a setback, but the good thing was that the dormitory is much cheaper and we also got an additional discount and free kayak use as compensation. During the afternoon we visited Hopkins village for lunch and to do our
last groceries, since in Sittee River was no proper shop.
The trip didn't start of well the next day, because we had another few setbacks: We arrived around sunset instead of noon and the weather was bad. Luckily the weather changed to good from the next day on. So when we woke up the following day we camped ourselves on the beach with our rum and cokes. Much more then that we didn't do that week. We snorkelled and kayaked a couple of times in the immense lagoon and I even tried to fish with myself made equipment. I didn't catch anything since I couldn't crack the snails for the bait I collected earlier. San Ignacio
When we arrived to main land at noon, we took a shared taxi to Dangriga, from where we took a local bus to Belmopan and continued on another bus to San Ignacio near the Guatemalan border. For me this was a logical stop on my three-day-journey to Nicaragua. We stayed there 2 nights to recover from our long journey the day before. During the day we only visited the interesting Rainforest Medicine Trail, setup by a traditional Mayan healer, who died
at 103. The self guided tour lead us past many trees and explained for which healing purposes they can be used.
All together Belize and especially Glovers was very tranquil. Downside is, that it is much more expensive than other Central American counties, but the friendly people, the fact that it is easy to get around and the relaxing atmosphere makes it all up for it.
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