Belize was waiting for us 🙂 .
Day 12: Chetumal – San Ignacio
The minute we crossed the border, we felt different energy. From colorful, lively, passionate Mexican, to easygoing, spontaneous, slow Caribbean mood. Flora and fauna changed, villages looked different, and people were different. Those were great first feelings. People in villages live in simple shacks. But have neat surroundings, palm trees, greenery… really nice. Simple, poor, but neat.
The first day we went to mountainous part of Belize, to little town by Guatemala border – San Ignacio.
On our way to San Ignacio we stopped in Community Baboon Sanctuary, which is nature reserve for famous wild Howler monkeys, those are the loudest of all sorts of monkeys (their sounds were used in some movies, King Kong for example), they live in the trees and rarely come in touch with humans. Workers of nature reserve managed to make a contact with one monkey family after seven years of trying and they respectfully escorted us to them in their natural habitat. The experience was authentic. Again – no other tourists were there, nature, wilderness, us and locals and monkeys and birds and iguanas 🙂 .
We arrived to San Ignacio at the evening, tired but happy. We felt as we were in the right place at the right time. Everything fell into its place. We accepted new country and it accepted us.
Day 13 and 14: San Ignacio
We had time to explore mountainous part of Belize. San Igancio is barely a town, more like a big village with some tourist capacities, but there were not a lot of tourists. You can be in San Ignacio whole week and you won´t run out of places to explore. Nearby is well known ATM (Actum Tunichil Muknal) but because of level of difficulty of the path and downgrade to the caves is high, we decided not to go, because of children. But as I read on forums the experience is worth the effort and it can be phenomenal.
We were exploring San Ignacio, its surroundings, market, small chocolate workshop and with local people, descendants of Maya, got to know cocoa tree and traditional procedure of chocolate production. Of course, we ate it at the end and it was excellent and full of flavor 🙂 .
We saw the most beautiful Mayan pyramids on our journey in Xunantunich, near San Ignacio, where we were almost alone again, rambling around jungle, climbing on pyramids and exploring wilderness of Belize and Guatemala as pyramids are just by the Guatemala border.
In the morning, before dawn, we went on bird watching – mostly toucans – and visited Iguana project, which is project of protecting iguanas as they are endangered in this part of Belize due to trading with their meat and eggs.
San Ignacio charmed us and we could go on exploring it. But more in another article just about this special place.
Day 15: San Ignacio – Geoffs Caye – Caye Caulker
It was time for sea again. Not any kind of sea but the second biggest coral reef on the world and its most beautiful part – Belize Barrier Reef. First day we went on a trip with a boat to an idyllic island named Geoffs Caye. We made a mistake because we went to it from Belize City, but it would be better to go from Caye Caulker. You will be able to read more about that in another article about Belize Barrier Reef that will be posted soon.
The island is beautiful, coral; it reminds on Maldives islands and is definitely worth visiting it.
At the evening, we arrived to Caye Caulker. Again, an island without cars, with roads made of white sand, surrounded by palm trees and hammocks. Ah.
Day 16 and 17: Caye Caulker – Belize Barrier Reef
I hardly wait to write an article about Belize Barrier Reef and share it with you. With photos. But everything on its own time. That was a peak of our travel, special, wonderful world – not just world – space under water and around it. More in another article, soon, these time just some photos.
Day 18: Caye Caulker – Belize Barrier Reef
From Caye Caulker we went back to the mainland, to Belize City and towards Mexico. When we already thought that our journey is ending, we found another surprise. Real pearl of south part of Mexico – lake with a lagoon of seven colors – Bacalar. We met young Slovene family there, the only Slovenes on this trip. It was nice to talk about travel experiences, adventures and travel around the world.
Day 19: Bacalar
Lake of seven colors (really, at least seven) with unique stromatolites in them, that make it even more special. We were exploring surroundings, taking many photos, eating good food. We found small authentic Italian – Mexican restaurant in town Bacalar, near main square, with excellent food and real Italian ice cream. The name of the restaurant is Por que no (Why not) and we recommend it if you are going to be near. The most beautiful part of the lake Bacalar is on its southwest part, near cenote Azul. There you can observe live structures of stromatolites, swim among them and enjoy in many shades of blue color. You really don´t have a feeling to be by the lake, it feels like you are on crazy unearthly beautiful beach by the sea. Again we were almost alone, no crowd. The only thing to be careful about is not going there on weekends, as there will be more people, not tourists but locals. We like solitude in nature and its beauties, so we consider that when planning our trips.
Day 20: Bacalar – Sian Kaan
Our journey was ending and we had to move back north towards Cancun. We didn´t want to be in Cancun not a minute longer than necessary, so we went to another nature reserve that is under Unesco protection because of its flora and fauna, but is also quite unknown by tourists and not so well visited. Luckily for us. Sian Kaan, lagoons that are connected with canals, swimming among mangroves, sailing a boat and exploring hidden places. Beautiful. We went to see last Mayan pyramids on our way, near Sian Kaan, Muyil – simple but nice.
Day 21: Playa del Carmen – Puerto Morelos
We had to be near Cancun on our last day of exploring Mexico, as we had our plane home in the evening. We decided to go see Playa del Carmen and its white supposable beautiful beaches. Well, we turned after ten minutes. That is not for us, crowded, hotels by the beach and wavy sea. No, thank you. We drove to Puerto Morelos that is touristic town as well, but at least without big hotels near the beach, with some more peace and authentic feel.
Day 22: Cancun – London – Venice
It passed too quickly and we said goodbye of another travel with heavy hearts. See you soon 🙂 .
I hope that you find our story of this travel interesting and that it (with photos) convinced you that this part of the world is worth exploring.