Oh, Central America, how we’ve missed you. Tonight we’re sitting at the side of Lago de Izabel watching lightening in the distance. In just two days we’ve gone through Belize and most of Guatemala. As they say (or the tshirts do), you better belize it.
Crossing into Belize from Chetumal was very uneventful. We stamped ourselves and the bikes out of Mexico and proceeded to Belize customs (aduana). The only real surprise, at least for me, was everyone speaks English! Rick already knew this and gave me a crash course on the countries history, which has a massive West Indian influence.
We stopped for lunch in the first town, Corozal, which was delicious (guess who had chicken), then started the journey to San Ignacio. The roads at first were kinda crap and we felt like we were riding in the middle of nowhere – just sugar cane trucks, lots of industry and potholes for days.
Eventually the landscape changed into more lush farmland and jungle and out came the people! This part of the country felt incredibly friendly and green. The roads were gentle and winding until we reached our destination.
Rick had stayed in San Ignacio years ago when backpacking with his friend Ty. The small town has a tourist draw which relies heavily on the surrounding jungle. If you fancy a trek along a river with jungle hikes and seeing big cats in an animal corridor, this is the place for you. We stayed in the Martha Guest House, which was incredibly clean and homey. The whole place was filled with original art and the people, down to the security guard, were lovely. We ventured out into the town and found the one strip with restaurants and sat down to enjoy the local favourite, Belikin.
The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and had a walk through the traditional Saturday market. If you need fruit, pants or fruit pants, you’re in the right place. We grabbed a couple of bananas, some stares, then hit the road.
The border was only 9 miles, so we were crossing into Guatemala in no time. Again, not much hassle. Stamp out of Belize, stamp into Guatemala. Everything in these parts are split into different desks and trying time things out is the only annoyance – efficient, they are not. There was a big cue at one point to pay the vehicle permit, but otherwise things went fast.
Once we got on the road we were pleasantly surprised by how newly paved it was, then out of nowhere, loose gravel bits without a sign of construction. Interesting. This is the story of our lives right now. A lot of the road conditions seemed to be outright random. Overall riding through Guatemala has been fantastic. The countryside is gorgeous with jungle, farmland and mountains. There are towns all along the way with people who smile and wave at us. They also stare, but I didn’t really notice – much.
We only clicked through 300km today, which is a light day, so we took our time and snapped lots of photos. Like dead snakes, fire, large bulls in small trucks and horses that mow your lawn. Guatemala is awesome! In all seriousness the country is worth spending weeks, if not months, exploring, but alas we are onward to Honduras tomorrow.
So tonight we’ll listen to a thunderstorm that’s rolling through and enjoy our Cuba Libres.
Sarah & Ricardo