We’ve spent the past two weeks zigzagging around mainland Belize and it is hard to sum up the experience concisely as each place we’ve stayed has been unique. Generally speaking, Belize is probably the most chilled out country we’ve been to (with the exception of the bus drivers) and while there is plenty to see and do on the mainland, the infrastructure isn’t quite set up to make it easy or affordable for backpackers on a budget.
After Caye Caulker we went north to a town called Sartaneja on the Shipstern Penninsula where we were the only guests at a place called Backpacker’s Paradise in the jungle. We arrived in the evening and weren’t able to get a good feel on the area before dark, so what could have been a romantic night was actually kind of creepy as mangos fell heavily on the tin roof of our bungalow and the resident dogs barked consistently throughout the night. It was beautiful to see the jungle, but we were looking for a bit more human interaction so we decided to move on the following evening.
We took another boat up to Corozal (8 miles from the border of Mexico) and were stoked to get a room at the Sea Breeze Hotel owned by a feisty Welsh gentleman by the name of Gwyn. Besides a small Mayan ruin there isn’t much to see in Corozal, but we liked the vibe of the guesthouse so much that we stayed for four days and enjoyed the beautiful view, the ability to cook for ourselves, and the good company.
We traveled south by bus from Corozal to Dangriga with stops in Orange Walk, Belize City and Belmopan (a good example of what I meant by infrastructure not really being figured out yet). It was beautiful getting to see the mountains and fertile farm land, although our driver was hell-bent on getting the bus onto two wheels. We were surprised to see a lot of trash in remote areas despite the government’s attempts to curb littering and also to roll over an insane amount of speed bumps. Maybe someday they’ll put them up in the mountains where the drivers get crazy. Dangriga was just an overnight pit stop for us, but cool to see.
Hopkins, a small Garifuna fishing village, was our next destination in search of other backpackers. As it turns out, we found them there along with an infestation of sand flies. Jordan and I both got eaten alive, but enjoyed our stay regardless. We met lots of other backpackers, were able to cook for ourselves and swim at a sandy beach. It’s the little things.
After four days we’d had enough of the bug bites and came to Placencia with a lovely couple from Denver, Brian and Karis. It’s a much cleaner beach and is a destination for vacationers looking for a good place to dive. We found a great place to stay called Deb and Dave’s Last Resort and have thoroughly enjoyed a nice bed and pillows. Both have been hard to come by so far.
While we’ve enjoyed the Belize experience, Jordan and I both agree it is a better country to visit for a vacation rather than to travel through as a backpacker. Mainly due to the fact that it isn’t cheap! We’re looking forward to heading to Honduras tomorrow where we will experience a new culture, different language and more confusion. 🙂 La vie est belle.
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