What a ride! It’s been almost two weeks in this amazing country, a truly stunning place in the caribbean. But wait, getting there wasn’t as easy as you might expect!
I was so excited. Or maybe I had too much of that delicious doubleshot Latte at KiBoh Coffeeshop in Tulum. Anyway, after my (last) extensive Breakfast in Mexico I made my way to the ADO Bus Station where the bus to the bordertown Chetumal was already waiting. People were about to purchase their tickets, get breakfast for the bus ride or take the opportunity to go to the restroom. There was a strong, tomatoey smell in the air which was caused by this cute little taco preparing grandmam. I regretfully rejected her offer as I was very close to burst because of that massive breakfast. As the bus finally arrived I got in and waited slept for four hours.
Next step: Buying tickets for the Speedboat to Caye Caulker – an island in Belize City. Sounds easier as it actually was. There was the biggest cue for the tickets and they were sold out in a few minutes. My attempt to get people together for chartering an airplane (which is a bit cheaper than by boat) failed as everybody was scared to get onto a small plane. LOL. Anyway, I didn’t want to wait another day so I crossed the border by land. Three german girls joined in and we took the Chicken Bus to Belize City. Chicken Bus? Yep! Cheapest and most time consuming option to travel around. At the same time THE choice for an adventure 😉 I saw a lot of the countryside, met some local people and got introduced to the Mennonites which reminded me of the Kelly Family.
We arrived in Belize City as darkness began to fall. Everything was so alien, everybody suddenly speaks english with an caribbean accent “Yaah Maaan!” As we rocked up at the bus station we realised we didn’t had a place to stay. The taxi driver was a bit concerned about our safety and brought us to a good place to stay. He advised us to stay at our place and to avoid to wander around. He didn’t answer my question “why?”, but the security fence which covered the whole hotel up to the third level was some sort of explanation. This is what a newspaper looks like…
After a surprisingly good rest at our hotel we took a cab to the ferry port and had breakfast. As I ordered a coffee the barista asked me if I would like some sugar in my coffee. Yes, please – just a bit. “A bit” was a whole spoonfull of sugar, with the excuse “it’s still more coffee than sugar”. Haha, not a lie! After drinking half of the sugar water and sitting on the boat for one hour we finally reached destination paradise: Caye Caulker! It was exactly how I pictured in my mind. Palms everywhere, the smell of delicious BBQ, Rastafaris walking around and of course the nice look of ocean blue and white sand.
I had a problem though – no reservation during high season. Some people were really friendly and shared their secret of a good place to stay. Best price and value for money. Not even one hour later I signed up for this full-day snorkeling/fishing/sunset watching trip on a boat. Yes please, that’s exactly what I want! Next day, 10am: The captain asked us to get ready and also proudly presented his pre-mixed 20L bottle of rum punch which was already waiting for the eleven of us. Before we started everyone had to do a shot of coconut rum – Captain said. After some fishing and snorkeling we had lunch and more of the rum punch (Spoiler: we finished it.) What we haven’t had was shade. Good mix! Rastaman, the captains friend, was our snorkel guide and showed us the best places to see stingrays and nursesharks.
Since we did so well during the snorkel trip he rewarded (?!) us with some joints which he already pre-rolled and lighted – ready for the half drunk crowd on board. I got a little upset by the fact the captain was also smoking and drinking. At some stage he told this girl to drive the boat since she was the only sober person!!! The cops also checked on us but they didn’t mind about our little boat party. I could tell you more details about this trip, but let’s not talk about how El Capitano offered us to try his catch of the day, the “White Lobster”… Anyway, we became to see an amazing sunset and also they served up some really delicious seafood dinner after the boat trip. We all felt a bit wobbly, a proper feed is what we needed!
As you can imagine the rum punch was consumed in large quantities, so I had a bit of a headache the next day. How could someone possibly treat an hangover? Exactly! At a beach club, with lots of good food and coconuts. My pick was Koko King next to Caye Caulker – you have to take the free ferry and they will drop you there. The sunset was amazing, and the woodoven seafood pizza we had for dinner was the perfect way to end the day. Let’s not forget about the swings at the beach shack!
What else was on my list for Belize? Diving of course! The Blue Hole is one of the main drawpoints for vacation in Belize. So I thought about going diving there. The dive center advised me to think about it, but I also should consider to go to Turneffe Atoll which is home to healthy corals and a large number of different species of fish. Sounds good, so let’s go for that. Unfortunately we couldn’t spot that many fishes as in Asia for example, but on the second dive we saw a whaleshark. Not too bad! There’s a lot of crappy diveshops around, so if you go there make sure you pay a little extra for good equipment and safety – it’s worth it!
As I mentioned above, you have to experience the Blue Hole somehow if you’re in Belize. The easiest and also most unrealistic way to do so is chartering an airplane! I have to admit, it wasn’t that easy: As I went for breakfast (somehow this blogpost is all about breakfast?!) there were those two ladies which were talking about how awesome a scenic flight over the Blue Hole must be… And then we came to an arrangement 😉 not even two hours and a phone call later I found myself at the airstrip waiting for the pilot and the plane. From here i’ll let the pictures do the talk.
Time flies fast, unfortunately also on Caye Caulker – although there are signs everywhere saying “Go Slow”! The last evening I had there will be an everlasting memory. A few hours after sunset we heard sirens in the distance. Alarm! Suddenly people started to run, bags in their hands and children in their arms. Panic in their eyes. The soft sea breeze I was used to suddenly got a bit harsher. Something seemed to be wrong, there were negative and stressful vibes. This was reason enough to have a chat with the owner of the hostel. As I approached him to ask whats happening, he said there’s a Tsunami warning for Belize. There was an earthquake only 300 miles away. You could tell by his voice he was really concerned.
Damn. A Tsunami. Not cool. “This is serious” was my first thought. I checked the news and goverment issued warnings while sitting on the staircase of our hostel which faced the common area. Suddenly the police rocked up at our place and spoke to the owner and his girldfriend. And they brought life jackets. Oh damn. You’re on an island, a Tsunami is coming and you can’t escape. One more hour passed by, the sirens got louder and louder – more people started to run through the streets and shouted stuff in Creole, a local language. Only a few minutes after, Rastaman (Remember? The weed guy…) showed up with his massive soundsystem and asked us to help him to set it up on the rooftop. “Nuh panic maaaan!”, he said. “Nuh Tsunami in Caye Caulker! Git it tugetha and let’s partey!” So we listened to Reggae (louder than the sirens), had coconut rum and made the best out of it. In fact, we had a party on the 3rd floor means we’re pretty safe.
Next day: Nothing happened! I woke up in my bed and everything was ok. The Tsunami did not affect Caye Caulker. Puh, lucky me! Rastaman gave all of us a high-five and told us he is proud of us we survived the night 😉 Very grateful for that. I felt this was a good end of the laidback island life here in Belize. What was missing on my list was clearly hiking around the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Park near Hopkins, a little village eight hours from Caye Caulker (ferry – bus – bus – bus – taxi) You can find the worlds highest concentration of jaguars there. At night, not during daytime. Yep, I’ve been on the lookout and I couldn’t spot a single one.
It was 9am in the morning as I got on the bus with my two friends from America, which were my hiking buddies for the day. The question was: How do we get into the Park without walking the first 10km on a dirt road?! Yep, hitchhiking. We found a friendly family which took us straight into the park. Unfortunately we didn’t see any of those rare cats, but we saw an abandoned airplane wreck and had a great view onto the second highest mountain of Belize, the Victoria Peak.
Belize is a gorgeous country and I will come back as there’s still places to discover. But now I am in Guatemala! I’m going to bed early today, as my bus for the sunrise at Tikal departs at 3am tomorrow.
Have a great day and always remember to go slow!