Panama City, Panama

Belize

30 december 2014 - Panama City, Panama

                                                                    A new country; Belize!

The reason we took the bus to Chetumal, was the winning time to cycle through Belize.

When you look on the Internet about cycling in Belize you won’t find much.

This is due to the “off route” location of the Pan-American Route (not really a route but a general direction to go from Alaska to Argentina).

It is an English spoken country and it being fairly flat, made it very attractive for us to cycle through after the, sometimes, tough hills in the Baja California.

Belize was named British Honduras from 1840. In 1973 this name was changed in Belize and the country became an independent country.

 

We started cycling from Chetumal, Mexico, towards the border of Belize.

Tanja was in a bit of a stress, due to the fact that she missed the stamp in her passport and didn’t pay the fee that comes with it.

We were always in a bit in a stress, crossing the border. there are always little or bigger problems and people that are not willing to really help you.

Also finding a way to change the money can be a problem.

In one country they allow you to pay with the currency of the previous country and in other countries they don’t allow it!

Most of the Central American countries do not have official changing offices.

There are men hanging around the borders that have big bundles of cash wanting to change the money you have of the country you leave into the new country you are entering.

They use ways to the rate and are very fast in the math around the change. Most of the time you don't have not enough time to check it!

 

                                                                    Border   

The border official at the window, leaving Mexico was very relaxed to Tanja, he had no problem with the stamp that she missed.

Tanja had to pay the $22 and he stamped the passport for leaving Mexico!

She was lucky this official didn’t make any problems.

I did read about stories of cyclists that had big problems after this missing stamp!

 

                                                                     Roads

We entered the Northern Highway of Belize. At the start of this Highway, the road was fairly good.

After a while we had to leave this good road and continued on the same road, however the road became fairly bad, potholes and big breaking pads of tarmac.

Not much traffic though.

The cars had more problems with the condition of the road than the cyclists.

Cyclists are slow and can evade the potholes and the bad stretches better.

 

                                                                       Time

There was a problem with the timing though.

The time was one hour ahead of that in Mexico; also we traveled much closer to the equator so darkness was so rapidly.

The last stretch of our route we had to ride in the dark.

I hated that on this, sometimes very bad road, it became more dangerous.

We arrived at Orange Walk just ¾ hour after dark and were lucky to find a hotel fast.

The atmosphere was a bit like the Caribbean relaxed and a lot of reggae music.

 

                                                                         Belize City

We cycled to Belize City, which was about half way of the length of the island. It was no longer the capital of Belize.

This was due to the frequently occurring hurricanes that destroyed the city and flooded it every time.

In 1961 Belize City was struck by a major hurricane.

Belmopan was designed and in the 1970 they started to build Belmopan and become their new capital.

 

                                                                    The Banana Bank Inn 

Near Belmopan there was a hotel we stayed, “The Banana Bank Inn”.

It was called after the place where ships (hardly any roads then) shipped bananas to the cities.

The Banana Bank Inn was a true paradise.

Build in over 30 years by the owner’s john and Carolyn Carr.

They build the houses and planted all the trees. They are still building new parts and maintaining the houses that are there.

The atmosphere is stunning, relaxed and the jungle is breathtaking.

All types of birds fly around and you hear the monkeys howl early at night and in the morning.

The food is fantastic and they don’t have a menu, so they serve one type of meal all guests are eating. So fresh and delicious!

The woman of the couple is also an artist so there are paintings hanging all around the property.

She uses the Indians and the animals and the festivities where they live in Belize and Guatemala to paint this.

She doesn’t sell any originals and just sells the replicas, which are printed in Florida.

A remarkable couple that made us decide to spend a resting day there, to enjoy the atmosphere a little longer.

During the stay my laptop refused to respond on the keyboard and the touch pad.

So John took the bicycles the next day and brought us to Belmopan.

Here he already made a call to a computer shop that had a (wireless) Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

The computer responded and I was very happy with the help John Carr offered us! I could work on my computer again.

 

                                                                    Hummingbird Highway

We had decided to go to Guatemala by boat (you already did read about this) so we did cycle the Hummingbird Highway.

This is a famous and wonderful road with dense (Rain-) forest and big orange trees plantations, which (they say) had the juiciest oranges in the world!

They were right; it was great the road meandered over and through the hills of this wonderful highway.

We did see some hummingbirds but also the oranges were very big and juicy!

The hills were sometimes demanding and steep, especially due to the high humidity and heat of the sun.

 

                                                                    Southern Highway

After the hummingbird highway the Southern Highway started and this was again fairly flat with mild rolling hills.

In this road we decided to visit one of the Mayan temples that were excavated.

It was up the hill (walked up) and the view of the rainforest was fantastic.

Also a lot of birds and the view to the coastal plains were impressive.

The Mayan temple was very interesting a nice walk around the ruins was planned and I did take several pictures of it.

Also my GoPro was working so there are some film clips of it too.

 

 

We stayed in a hostel in the port where we departed Belize.

I would advise everybody to consider a visit to this wonderful country!