Friday, June 19, 2009
Driving from Rio Dulce Guatemala to Belize City Belize June 16th
We were originally planning to take a boat from Puerto Barrios to Punta Gorda and then take a bus or a plane up to Placencia, Belize, but we heard that you could drive to Belize City in 7-8 hours.
We started researching it and figured that we could do it because tourists on line mentioned that they had driven from Belize City to Tikal and we have driven from Rio Dulce to Tikal so we decided to give it a try and save the money it would take for transporting all six of us to Placencia.
While we were researching all this we found two interesting things. 1. People asking about RV parks in Guatemala and Belize. This was super funny to us because we had never seen an RV in Guatemala. We did however see 3 on our drive to the border. We think they may have been part of a traveling circus we saw later on. 2. People that drove from Belize City to Tikal kept mentioning how they knew they were in Guatemala when they crossed the border because of the poor conditions. This confused us because Belize was Guatemala 30 years ago. So we couldn't see how it could be but so different. When we got to the turn off to head to the border we realized why they had that perception. The road conditions for the last 90 km were not that good. The road was paved most of the way but in need of repairs. They are infact starting to repave it. The last 15 km though is a dirt road which does give the impression of poverty. We even had a couple of pig crossings while on this road. I just have to say to all who have made this drive to Tikal that all of Guatemala is not this way. The roads in fact are very good.
We were however wrong about Belize and Guatemala being similiar. They are so different and this is apparant as right when you cross the border. The people appear to have similiar if not worse living conditions in my opinion than Guatemalans because they build their small homes out of wood instead of block and the wood does not hold up well in the wet climate of Belize. The houses look like they are going to fall apart. There are some made of block but the majority are of wood.
The people are a hodge podge of races, which was nice for me because we blended in a little better than we do in Guatemala. There were alot of Chinese, mayan, garifuna (sp?), (Nathan please correct that one I can't remember the name)and mennonite and some americans. The main language is English but Spanish is spoken and chinese of course. You see signs in all three languages. I was told by a man at the border that if they don't speak fluent English you know they are not from Belize.
The border crossing went really smoothly and didn't take long. The time it took from home to the other side of the border was 5 hours including the crossing. We were starving when we got across so we stopped at a really yummy mexican restaurant I will add the name when I find the brochure so if you ever cross into Belize you know to stop there. The food was sooo good. The steak was perfectly cooked and the Belizian rice and beans was delicious! The pics above are taken at the restaurant. It is in San Ignacio.
We were even greeted with a beautiful rainbow! You can barely see it in the last picture but it was very bright that day.