Departure at IAH was 30 min before ETA. Cleared immigration and customs fast but it took 30 min to get the rental car. AirBnB shelter was great, the host was really nice and everything way well arranged. We started early morning with a breakfast at Dunlavys , closed to Buffalo Bayon park. Pretty location, coffee similar to an Italian cappuccino :)
Because Mandy has never been before into an american shopping mall we did this Houston downtown @ TheGalleria mall. Spent almost 2 hrs :)
Next stop was the Museum district, unfortunately the Museum of Contemporary Art is closed on Mondays. But the Jung center was open , a small exhibition in the Main Hall and a small bookshop with a lot of psychology literature and books. We were unable to find the Roktoh Chapel but had a nice quick lunch at a shop that sells Texas food like pulled pork and brisket. Tasty. After a rest we entered a Wal-Mart supermarket. Just for shower gel and a bag. Check. Dinner at BB’s a local chain which serves Cajun food and burger. The South Texas spicy burger … wow ;)
Had a chat with our host and some beers and we were talking about everything and anything. I found out that the power outlet doesn’t work , which means I was unable to recharge the GPS. Hertz staff in Houston was not helpful so we started by using Google maps heading towards New Orleans. I 10 was ok so far and it took us 6 hrs for 350 miles. We switched the car at the airport Hertz subsidiary, no probs at all and we got a Jeep instead of the Nissan. And power outlet works like a charm :)
Seems we are unable to arrive with daylight and so we checked in after 6pm at the hotel. Parked the car in a public garage which is half the price than the valet parking, 20$ /24 hrs. Fair. For sure we were a kind of hungry and found a restaurant which is called The Butcher. This in combination with Star Wars is an awesome place , see the pics. And food is Cajun and great.
So even it’s late we need to do laundry and first time that we use a machine at a hotel. Works. For tomorrow we booked a 4 hrs swamp tour, don’t have enough time to discover it by ourselves.
Last station in Belize. Arrived afternoon and had a walk around the village. Ok only one dusty road :) But anyway the tipple tree guesthouse is awesome. And finally we found the caribbean feeling :) Here is the view from the porch
And we got up early this morning for the Garifuna settlement celebration. It’s a re-enactment of the arrival of the Garifuna people on the southern shores of Belize. People sing old folk songs and drums are playing . Just the keep the cultural identity alive. It was cool to be with the crowd.
Our small rental motorbike made. 100 km roundtrip to the Cockscomb area. And it was fun at all. Mandy felt safe while we were cruising. Hike trail was about 60 mins but they have even longer ones in place. And we didn’t see any Jaguars…. may be an urban legend :) Anyway the trail was nice.
On the way was an abounded bamboo hut at the shores and it looked nice even without the sun.
Now heading towards Hopkins… cu you there for Garifuna settlement celebration.
Took the bus in the morning and arrived just in time. Entrance fee is 10 $BZ. But… it’s 6 miles to reach a starting point for the trails. And for this distance the taxi is 40$US !!! This is ridiculous!!! We skipped the hiking for today, went back by bus and hitchhiking and rented a motorbike for 24 hrs. Cost: 25 $US. Will go tomorrow morning and drive directly to the entrance. I forgot how nice a motorbike ride is. :)
and now let’s go for a cocktail:)
A little bit of overcast today. anyway we spent a couple of hours at the beach. It’s a huge bay and because of off season it’s almost empty :)
Mandy gets a little tipsy from the original rum punch at Barefoot Bar ;) was a real strong cocktail. And we bought local food (as most of the time) and had our dinner on the balkons. Rice and beans and chicken.
Weather forecast is not that sunny for tomorrow so we’ll do a hiking trail at the Cockscomb Jaguar sanctuary. May be we’ll see one of them or may be, better not.
*sigh* wrong decision made. We tried to share a taxi with a lady. she wants to go to Hopkins and we said ok, saves us time when we will go off at the junction to Placencia. 100 $BZ. ok let’s go. The driver was in a hurry and we reached the junction after 90 mins. usually it’s a 2.5 hrs drive. He offered various possibilities and we decided to go out at the entrance to Cockscomb basin sanctuary. He said then 150 and seems to be pissed and so was I as well. We spent 1.5 hrs waiting for the bus and we had won… nothing ! just paid too much. shit. lessons learned. But we arrived finally around noon at Placencia, Manatee Inn. operated by a czech couple and we are the only guests coz it’s still off season. nice room and just few meters till the beach. this is my view from the hammock right now
we’ll go later to ask for a snorkeling trip. much more expensive than at Caulker but we may have the chance to swim with sea turtles…
Spent the afternoon poolside at the Midas hotel (15$ BZ each) and after 6 weeks I started exercises again. looking for food on the streets but the guys disappeared :( So we had some small tacos as a starter.
6 of them for 1$ US. nice.
Went to Serendib restaurant for dinner. Interested in what we had? Look here…
Nachos with jalapeños and cheese and a sandwiche plus rum punch :)
Tomorrow 7:30 goes the express bus to Belmopan and then heading towards Placencia.
Drawback of the last days: Mosquitoes!!! Bites over and over. :(
As offered by Renato we went with him and his wife and little daughter to Coracol. 45 miles south direction of San Ignacio. It was a terrible ride in an old Toyota taxi…. to call the road bumpy would be a praise. But finally after 3 hrs we made it. Benefit of this road the ancient place was less crowded with tourists. And it was worth to go there. Built between 5th and 9th centuries it’s still impressive. Highest building is about 150 ft and we climbed it up. My hamstrings were greeting me :)
We were discussing the purpose of the ancient city as well as the situation close to the border of Guatemala. Robertos wife brought delicious lunch, rice and beans and potato salat. Yummy. Next step was the Rio Frio cave, a huge cave with a beach inside. And we met 4 other germans at this place. Unbelizable. :)
For our refreshing the last stop on this journey was the Big Rock waterfall. I don’t know why people always like waterfalls but even I do.
Back at the camping ground it was 6pm (we started at 7 am) and our backs hurt a little bit. Went out for dinner to the local street food place and had burritos and chicken wings for 20$ BZ. Great food.
As we said we took a public bus to Belmopan which is Belizes capital after a hurricane crashed Belize City. Public busses in Belize are the old school busses from US. Got some food for the trip and told them we would like to get out at Belize Zoo. This zoo shows only local animals from Belize in their natural habitats. And it’s definitely worth to stop there. I have never been so close to a puma ( you may call it cougar…) and to the Belize national animal , the tapir.
It took an hour for the zoo and while we were waiting for the next bus to Belmopan a taxi stopped by. The driver offered a ride for 25 $BZ. Deal. Had a stop for lunch (tasty local food and much more cheaper than on the islands). He said he can give us a tour to Coracol with is the largest Maya site in Belize for 150 $US. Private car incl drinks and food, saves us 40 $US compared to the official tour offices. Deal as well and we’ll do it tomorrow.
San Ignacio is a small town and sounds more interesting as it might be. But we got a wonderful cabana at Mana Kia camping ground for 35$US per night. Everything is close by, supermarket and restaurants. Only the internet connection is so narrow I can’t upload pictures…..
Time to leave the island. Definitely the better option than Ambergris… we had a good time and some nice experiences. Snorkeling, food. Last picture from the split
A hurricane divided the island in the 60’s. That’s why it’s called The split.
And now we’ll go by boat and bus to San Ignacio….