Belize was a bit of another budget buster for us. As a result of which we only spent six days there and we did not get to the Cayes which is where it seems everyone else heads to. Next time! There was a certain amount of trepidation for us with regards to getting to Belize. Our plan was to take the boat from Livingston, Guatemala to Punta Gorda, Belize. Rumour had it that evidence of onward passage out of Belize was requested at the point of entry by immigration. Since our encounter in Panama, our sense of caution was heightened. There was an 80Q ($10) “exit by boat” tax and the 200Q ($26) fare for the boat to Punta Gorda each . This could have been an expensive gamble for us. We allayed our concerns by talking with the immigration officials in Livingston.
This was to be our final Central American country to visit and one we had never been to before. One of the most noticeable differences was how peaceful it was travelling by bus. There was nobody clambering on board to sell snacks or hawk the latest “miracle cure”. There was no blaring music or flashing christmas lights, no “Winnie the Pooh” decals. It seemed they adhered to the capacity level as well, as there were only ever two people to a seat. Maybe we just never travelled a very busy route in Belize!
Our swift route saw us devour yummy food in sweltering Dangriga, devour more yummy food in San Ignacio (Cayo) and you guessed it, indulge in yet more delicious fare in Orange Walk. I equate Belize with happy grazing. Belizean stew chicken is manna on a budget.
Belize also came to represent something I resented. It was “the final frontier”! Essentially it was the last border we would cross where our care-free days of adventure would enter their twilight, before they were snuffed out with our final border crossing back into the States. We crossed into the “Free Zone”, though still on Belizean soil you are officially stamped out of Belize having paid your exit tax. Here we went to the “Las Vegas” casino before moving on to the Mexico border. I’m too cheap to play but I was very grateful to be included in the complimentary beers, this was perhaps not the best time to be taking advantage of free “Belikins”. Many hours and beers later we attempted to walk over the bridge into Mexico, only to be stopped by soldiers informing us we cannot walk across the border. So in the pitch dark we turned around and began hitch-hiking. As luck would have it we got a lift rather quickly and in no time a couple of drunk drifters were filling out their paper-work and getting stamped into Mexico.
_____ Route South, _____ Route North, _____ Water Route