Belize and Guatemala. 1/1-1/7

Belize City  》》》Caye Caulker  》》》San Ignacio  》》》 Flores, Guatemala


+Louis,the owner of Red Hut Inn, drove us to the water taxi
+Took water taxi to Caye Caulker
+found the last 2 beds in Dirty McNasty hostel. (our room is very cluttered, messy with condoms in shower. Yuck. From what we hear, other rooms are actually nice)
+ Went walking looking for a tour for Blue Hole. Most businesses are closed due to the holiday.
+Found the very last reservations at Blue Sea for diving/snorkeling tomorrow!
+ Walked more of the island. watched sunset at “The Split”.
+ Went back to hostel and socialized with people thanks to the nightly free rum punch.
+Left and went to restaurant. Split yummy jerk chicken. Shared table with Jake- fashion designer from NY.
+ went back to the  hostel to post on blog

+ Met at Blue Seas at 530am for breakfast (Forgot our mask and snorkels, rashguard, and go pro! Ugh!) (Packing up for the day in a completely dark hostel dorm makes it very easy to forget things!)
+ Left for 3 dives by 630am: blue hole, half moon caye, long caye (Corey dove, Liz snorkeled)
+ Got soaked in the back of the boat. But at least not sea sick!
+ Blue Hole snorkel: AWESOME! Cuttlefish, 2 stingrays, TONS of fish, healthy brain coral, airplanes flying low overhead.
+ Blue Hole dive: ~150ft deep, Super awesome! 3 sharks, stalactites, grouper, tons of fish
+ Half Moon Caye dive: ~90ft deep, 3 sea turtles, lots of sharks, starfish, unique fish, big coral reef wall
+ Half Moon Caye snorkel: super shallow, right up close with fish! Tiny little lionfish, sea cucumbers, HUGE nurseshark ~9ft long, tons of Queen conch, beautiful sea anemones of all different colors
+ Delicious lunch of rice, chicken, coleslaw on  Half Moon beach. All the water+coke we can drink.
+ Water came in little bags! Like a juice box but with no form! Had to bite it open with your teeth
+ Bird tower on Half Moon Caye. Nesting grounds for great frigate birds and red footed boobies! (We were told this is the only place to see them besides the Galapagos)
+ Met nice mom and daughter from San Diego area. Will need to email them pictures
+ Long caye dive: coreys favorite, 2 turtles, 2 moray eels swimming, maybe octopus?,  huge tarpon, stonefish, big lionfish
+ Long caye dive: too deep for really great snorkeling visibility . But still lovely to roll about in the water!
+ Talked with nice Australian couple on way back to land
+ Made it back to hostel around 5pm and showered successfully despite yucky shower.
+ Ate dinner at hostel. Fresh lobster tails and rice and beans for  $7.50 us!

+ Ate breakfast and checked out of hostel
+  Said goodbye to my bunkmate, Frankie  from UK. Will probably see her in San Ignacio in a few days.
+  All Atms out of money on the island!
+ Caught 12pm water taxi back to Belize city.
+ Briefly walked through Belize City to find ATM after getting off water taxi. Everything was closed as it was a Sunday. Lots of unsavory characters out and about.
+ Caught taxi from water taxi to bus station.
+ Found chicken bus to Benque and hopped on.
+ Jumped off at Belize Zoo. Zoo was small and quaint. Filled with native Belize species. Most were rescues from the pet trade. (see facebook for pictures)
+ The onward bus to San Ignacio comes by the zoo every hour. When we got to the bus stop, we were informed we had JUST missed the bus by a few minutes. Waited at the bus stop for another hour as it was getting dark for the next bus to come by. Don’t worry, we had our bug spray!
+ Hopped on the bus to San Ignacio and continued our journey for the next ~2hrs.
+ Arrived in San Ignacio and found Bella Backpackers hostel. Rooms got a bit mixed up so we were assigned a loft.
+ Split a quick dinner at Han-Nah’s of quesadillas and chamomile tea for Liz. (Liz caught a cold in Caye Caulker. ugh)
+ Talked the evening away with a nice guy named Brady from Arkansas with similar camping interests as Corey.

+ Slept in and found lunch at Eva’s
+Booked Tour of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) for tomorrow
+ Rainy day in San Ignacio so we relaxed and researched. Talked with some fellow travelers we had previously met in Caye Caulker.
+ Ate dinner at same place and had delicious pork tacos this time!

+ Woke up and checked out to meet at tour at 7am.
+ Toured ATM caves. Our group had 8 people and 1 guide. It was a fantastic tour! Swimming through the cave, scrambling up rocks, under formations and through seemingly impossible gaps. Really interesting artifacts and skeletal remains (!) from 600-950 AD.
+ The tour included a traditional Belizean lunch where we met 2 Americans, Sarah and Cliff, following a very similar itinerary as us.
+ Traveled the 1hr ride back to San Ignacio. Checked into the Old House Hostel. Complete with dog and kitten.
+ Ate dinner at local pizza stand.

+ Checked out of the hostel and went to Pop’s for lunch to try to fry Jacks we had been hearing so much about. Fry jacks are like airy, fried croissants. Yum!
+ Took a taxi to the border. Crossed into Guatemala but had trouble finding the bus.
We ended up on a sketchy collectivo but arrived in Flores safely.
+ Rode in our first Tuk Tuk! The collectivo dropped us off in the city of Flores. The tuk tuk took us across the bridge to our hotel Villa Del Lago on Isle de Flores.
+ Walked around the island and had a few beers at local happy hours. Ate dinner at roadside stands: empanada, plantains?, huge piece of chocolate cake!
+ Met up with Sarah and Cliff again. Chatted about their adventure getting into Flores as well.
+ Before headed back to hotel, we stopped by the city square. There was a very rowdy rock concert just starting. Guatemalan group singing mostly 80s American songs all in English. Very odd. But everyone seemed to love it!
+ Did “laundry” in our bathroom sink for the 1st time!

+ Spent the morning finalizing plans for our homestay with San Pedro Spanish school.
+ Our shuttle to Tikal picked us up at 1pm from our hotel.
+ Guided tour of Tikal! This complex was much larger than any of the other ruins we had visited in Mexico. Lots of turkeys and spider monkeys. Enjoyed sunset views from Temple IV. That’s the same viewpoint used in Star Wars episode IV!! (It’s the scene where the Millennium Falcon is approaching the rebel base.)
+ Ate dinner at Cool Beans Cafe. Chupo, the owner, is super accomodating and friendly ( and spoke good English). Cool Beans had a lot of coffee and beer varieties to choose from.
+ Went home to get ready for our long day of travel to Semuc Champey tomorrow.

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Mexico and Belize: Daily Itinerary: 12/25/15 to 12/31/15

Hello everyone! I’ll also be posting our daily itineraries here. We’ve made a habit of keeping these logs on our trips to remind us of all the little things that are often forgotten. Feel free to only read our summary posts or dive right in and read the nitty gritty too!

***WordPress is giving me problems uploading our pictures so we will  be adding the majority of pictures to facebook.

Cancun 》》》Play Del Carmen》》》 Tulum 》》》 Chetumal 》》》 Belize City

December 25th:
+ Arrived in cancun.
+Found shuttle to take us to suites costa blanca
+Walk to public beaches
+walk around touristy area
+used atm for 1st time
+ate at small taco place next door to Mextreme  (waiters carried the margaritas stacked on their head at Mextreme!)
+research at Starbucks (wifi at our hotel was unreliable)

+research and breakfast at Starbucks
+rode city bus to ado station with mexican singer
+jumped on bus to playa!
+checked in to enjoy playa hostel
+walked around 5th Avenue ( just like Duval street)
+ate at El pirate — — we asked local what caramon meant- she said (with accent) “shrimp”and corey said “sheep? baaaa” and the lady said si!  Lolololol—–
+researched until 3am. Then both climbed ladders to top bunks.  Felt like ninja warrior lololol

+bought new daypack. The one we have was two small for gear for 2 people.
+caught bus to Tulum
+ found secret garden hostel (next night’s accomodation). Met Medi- very helpful with tips for getting around
+ got caught in light rain as we walked to Hostel Che for the night. dug out rain covers for bags. walked a block and realized we matched our rain covers! corey was wearing blue shirt and carrying two blue bags. I was wearing pink shirt and had my giant pink rain cover!
+ ate at papaya pizza for dinner

+saw an agouti???
+ rode 2nd class bus to Coba. Standing room only for 1hr ride
+ met Wisconsin friend (“Deepo?”) Who lives in Thornton park! Gave out our first contact card!
+explored Coba by bike ( liz enjoyed tiny child’s bike)
+ chatted with family from Winston Salem usa. I noted the Mayan engraving looked like a tea kettle NC family laughed
+checked in to secret garden hotel
+rented bikes.
+ rode bikes to beach side of tulum.— lots of stars at night , we were happy we had our headlamps! Very dark. Fireflies??
+ stopped at giant mega supermarket for groceries
+rode back to hotel , then ate at small taco restaurant with meat and pineapple on a spit

+rode bikes and took collectivo to tulum ruins.
+saw 2 coatimundi as we walked into ruins!
+entered tulum ruins by 8 to beat crazy crowds! Saw giant white iguana
+caught collectivo  to dos ojos. Snorkeled Dos ojos. Bats flying overhead! Tiny fish in the water lots of cave diving!
+ caught ride back to dos Ojos base with nice couple from Mexico City
+rode collectivo back to bikes. (Lots of women in fancy white clothes with tons of makeup- going to a party?)
+rode bikes back to shop and returned.
+ate at roadside quesadilla and sopa shop
+made it to bus station just in time
+arrived in chetumal. Got crazy bread from little Ceasars.
+taxi to Hostel Paakal. Fell asleep by 9!

+ slept in
+ walked to bus station to find out about Belize tickets
+ took a taxi to Lago bacalar
+swam in Lago bacalar. Directed taxi how to get back to hostel
+ate dinner at Foresteros. They took our picture and put it up on screen. Silly.
+ researched

+ met Amy from NC at Paakal hostel. Also headed to caye caulker
+ caught chicken bus to Belize city
+ crossed Mexican border and paid exit tax.
+ went through customs at Belize border
+ jumped off bus at right moment to walk across the street to hotel “Red Hut Inn”
+ owner Luis, made us dinner. Delicious fish, potatoes and cilantro salad
+met and ate dinner with nice french woman traveling alone. Discussed her past travels: costa rica, laos, etc
+celebrated the new year with a nice couple from DC area! Shared some champagne and Belizean Rum made down the road from our Inn.


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Casa Sweet Casa

UPDATE: Posting this from the water taxi station in Belize City! More pictures to come! Happy New Year everyone!

Alright! I finally found time to update the blog! I’m stealing a few minutes here in Chetumal, Mexico to get you a quick update (while also keeping an eye on the FSU bowl game on our tablet here. Go Noles!)

Being as we are still in the holiday season (the high season), all of Mexico has been incredibly busy. We have only been able to book one night at a time, up until our 2 night stay here in Chetumal. This does not make it easy to relax and “travel slowly” as we are packing up and moving every day.

That being said, I’ll share some pictures below of our accomodations in Mexico! (Click the tile for a bigger view) We’ve stayed in suites, hotels, hostels and an inn. Each place has been completely different. Some surpassing expectations and some not quite meeting them… All part of the adventure!

Cities Visited:

  • Cancun
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Tulum (our favorite)
  • Chetumal
  • Belize City

Sites Seen: (pictures coming soon! I promise)

  •  Cancun tourist hub
  •  Playa Del Carmen tourist hub (very similar to Duval Street in Key West)
  • Tulum: Beach
  • 2 coatimundi ran across our path at the Tulum ruins! (monkey+racoon like animals) Click here to see what I’m talking about.
  • Coba ruins
  • Tulum ruins
  • Dos Ojos Cenote
  • Lago Bacalar
  • Mexican life!

Poor Corey bumps his head A LOT due to his height.
We need to work on our Spanish. (spanish school in Guatemala here we come!)
Mexico is full of friendly people.
No two hostels/hotels/inns are EVER the same.

In a few minutes, we are leaving to grab a “chicken bus” and cross the border to Belize!”

Adios Mexico!