You Better “Belize” It

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“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves — in finding themselves.” – Andre Gide

After we spend 2 nights at the beautiful Yax-Ha Resort in Chetumal, it was time for another border crossing. We were sad to leave Mexico but curious to explore another unknown country. Everything went really well at the border, easy & fast on the Mexican side as well as on the Belize side. A new step in the process was to have the vehicle fumigated (actually just the wheels). After we bought the mandatory car insurance just after the border we were free to go. Our first stop in Belize was at the campground Caribbean Village in Corozal. A short stroll to the town and while sipping a Belikin (the Beer of Belize) & watching the locals, we realized that we are in complete different country.

Belize is the only English language-speaking country in Central America. While English is the official language of Belize, Kriol is the language that they all speak. In Belize, their language is a diverse adventure. Spanish, African-based Garifuna, Maya-Kekchi, Maya Mopan, Mandarin, German are just a few of the languages that form the unique dialects they speak throughout the country. Here are a few different ways you’ll hear “good morning”
• “Gud Mawnin” – Kriol
• “Buiti Binafi” – Garifuna
• “Buenos dias” – Spanish

Sarteneja – a fishing village in the Northeastern Sea point of Belize

We left our campgound in Corozal early without breakfast because we heard that Nathalie at the Backpackers Paradise in Sarteneja is serving amazing breakfast. To get there you cross the river twice with a hand-crank cable ferries – it sure added a little excitement to the trip! About an hour on the potholed and dusty road you get to Sarteneja. Nathalie the owner of the Backpackers Paradise welcomed us on her paradise. Time for breakfast:-). While we enjoyed the delicious cinnamon pancakes with local honey and french toast with organic coffee, Nathalie shared her story with us. She and her partner are from Switzerland and together they started to build this paradise 10 years ago. They are offering camping, cabanas, restaurant and organic farming.

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1st ferry – there is room for 3-4 vehicles – no transportation fees

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keep on turning Mister ferry man….

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a passenger told us: Just don’t fall in the river, there are crocs!

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on the hand-crank cable ferry. We asked this operator how many times he’s going back and forth in a day. His answer was: many times in a 8-hour shift

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we crossed the river

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Belize City & Cucumber Beach Marina

We drove through Belize City and were not impressed. We needed an ATM machine, at the parking lot our car got a much needed wash, we found fuel for our camping stove, crossed the Belize City’s Swing Bridge, drove out to the lighthouse and left.

Belize City is also the gateway to the cayes (famous are the islands San Pedro Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker). Tour operators are offering boat rides to these cayes. Hmmmm…. it was really tempting as we just started to explore the underwater world as a snorkeler. The Belize Barrier Reef stretches for 185 miles along the entire length of the country  and home to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world. But NO we decided to save the money for other adventures.

We camped at the Cucumber Beach Marina. When we went to bed it was very windy & cooled down enough but early in the morning was calm, we woke up and realized that the inside of the car was full of sandflies and we had red dots allover us – Horrible. We immediately packed and headed for the Belize Zoo. Hopefully they have animals and not insects?!

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The Baron Bliss Lighthouse in Belize City

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some great looking yacht at the Cucumber Beach Marina

Belize Zoo

We had a great time at the Belize Zoo. The Zoo and Tropical Education Center is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.

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Belize’s National Bird- The Keel-billed Toucan

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Howler monkey

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Howler Monkey

These monkeys are famous for their loud howls, which can travel three miles through dense forest – watch the video below…

Some shots of spider monkeys – they are so much fun to watch

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San Ignacio

On our way to San Ignacio we stopped in the nearby Mennonite town of Spanish Lookout to get groceries. We found very large modern farms with lots of different industries. We bought good cheese as well as fruits and veggies and headed to San Ignacio. There is a scenic old suspension bridge that we crossed from the wrong side. ups, but there were no signs. We wanted to camp at Inglewood Camping Grounds but the owner was not there. A few meters down the road we saw a sign for Log Cab-Inn Resort with swimming pool. It was brutally hot so we were hoping they let us stay there. Sure enough we could camp on their property with the use of the pool, bathroom and wifi. In the evening we even had entertainment by local drummers and joined in with some dancing.

We only stayed 4 days in Belize and were not really fascinated. We definitely did not spend enough time to get the full potential of this country. Maybe it was because we were sooooo eager to explore Guatemala and because it was so different from Mexico…..

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