BELIZE

APRIL, 2017

 

First 4 nights: San Ignacio

http://www.sanignaciotown.com/

Maya Mountain Lodge:

http://www.mayamountain.com/

Elmer: jungle@mayamountain.com

Our trip to Belize was somewhat by accident, in that I was talking to a friend who had been to Mayan ruins, and I mistakingly thought he had been to ruins in Belize. So, instead of changing plans, we decided to run with it and head down to Belize for an adventurous vacation. Little did we know what was in store for us!

FIRST 4 NIGHTS:

The first 4 nights we stayed in San Ignacio at a nice place called Maya Mountain Lodge. These are comfortable little lodges that are tucked in the Maya Mountains. The sounds of birds and bugs were a welcome change, and the sights of geckos were fun and frequent.

A caption of the cool and fascinating image above

DAY 1 – Getting There:

We left Grand Rapids at 6am and arrived in Belize City at about noon local time. We had reserved a car with Hertz online but after realizing that if anything happened to the car it would be our responsibility, we went to find another car rental place which didn’t hold us responsible for anything which might happen to the car. We quickly found a car at Budget, who is conveniently located 3 doors down from Hertz at the airport.

Driving in Belize:

I did a fair bit of research before we went to Belize, and thankfully for several people who posted video on youtube of their travels, I was pretty prepared for driving there. However, the most important thing you need to remember are the speed bumps, which are sudden and can ruin a day if you’re not aware of them and you blow a tire or something.

Getting out of Belize City proved to be a tester of nerves as there was a lot of construction, and their manner of directing people isn’t very precise, or noticeable as you’re driving. After we finally got out of Belize City and on the Highway it was smooth driving.

Before we left home I had printed several maps of San Ignacio because there aren’t street signs, and few stop signs, so you need to be alert and ready at every intersection, because it’s a bit of a first come first go situation.

San Ignacio:

On our way to San Ignacio it was nice to see the terrain change from flat lands to step mountains. The mountains are the Maya Mountains, and it’s in those that we’ll be staying for the next 4 nights.

As we were nearing San Ignacio we were seeing more and more people on the sides of the highway selling fresh fruits and other local goods, so when we found someone selling fresh pineapple we stopped and picked up pineapple, kiwi, some banana chip things, and a few other items. I suggest you stop at a shop at the edge of San Ignacio for water, beer, and other items you’d need as you won’t find a shop in town.

Getting around town the first time was an adventure, but after that, getting around is pretty easy and fast.

When we arrived at the Maya Mountain Lodge we were greeted by Elmer, and given some fresh watermelon juice. After dropping our stuff off in our rooms, organizing things, and such, we headed into town and across the river to check out some local flavor. We found a restaurant and we each had the Red Snapper dinner. After about 1.5 hour wait, we finally got our food and decided then that we needed to find another means for food.

Roadside BBQ.

Best food around.The best food you’ll find is at a roadside place which sells Jerk Chicken BBQ, our favorite place was by a guy named Rodriguez. I’m telling you, the BEST BBQ chicken you’ll ever have! He makes it with a special sauce, and wraps it in a HUGE home made –  fluffy flour tortilla shell. Amazing, and only costs you $2.50! I felt guilty paying so little for something so good. So this is what we ate almost every dinner while we were in San Ignacio.

After our lack luster dinner in town we headed back to our lodge, put on our swimming suits and went swimming in the pool, and then to bed…..

POINTS:

Get water! When you think you have enough, get more. You’ll want it!

Do research online before you go. Youtube was great!

Rent a car, it’s very easy and allows you the freedom to go when and where you want.

Go to a shop at the edge of San Ignacio for water, beer, etc…

Go across the river and experience the town culture.

Eat Rodriguez’s Jerk BBQ Chicken!

Day 2: A trip back in time

This morning started our first full day in Belize, and for this day we have planned a tour of of Xunantunich, which is less than 1/2 mile from the Guatemala boarder. We were going to tour another ruin site called El Pilar, but when I asked a few people about it they cautioned me about going, apparently some tourists were kidnapped not long ago…. so we just decided to stick with Xunantunich, and to be honest that was enough for one day.

XUNANTUNICH (SHOO-NAN-TWO-NICH)

Xunantunich’s name means “Stone Woman” in the Maya language, and like many names given to Maya archaeological sites, is a modern name; the ancient name is currently unknown. The “Stone Woman” refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of “El Castillo”, ascends the stone stairs, and disappears into a stone wall.

The Mopan River

Xunantunich was only about 20 minutes from the lodge, and we left early so we’d be the first ones in. I’ve read many places that if you don’t want to deal with bus loads of tourists, be at the ruins before 10am because that’s when the buses start to arrive in full force.

We reached the hand cranked ferry early and had to wait for the security to arrive. This was nice as it allowed us to see what the street vendors had to offer, and in hindsight, I wish that I would have purchased a few things…. the prices are good, and the quality is great, so do yourself a favor and buy a few things…

Because we were so close to Guatemala there are fully armed Belize military inside the Xunantunich site. After the security showed up we were ready to cross the Mopan River.

The largest pyramid, El Castillo, rises 130 feet above the main plaza and offers an impressive panoramic views of the Cayo District and Guatemala.

One of the many glyphs

El Castillo, is known for its frieze, a banded stucco decoration which at one time extended around the entire pyramid.

We were heading back to the car when we noticed a noise we’ve never heard before, which turned out to be a pack of Howler Monkeys making a racket. It was amazing to see, and hear. The only word I can think of to explain it is “primitive”.

POINTS:

For more info on this site: Link / Link

Get there at opening

Buy stuff from the street vendors

Watch for Howler Monkeys, but don’t go under them

SEDONA

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During dinner I was taking a picture of the gentleman behind the bar… he didn’t seem to keen on his picture being taken, but his co-worker enjoyed the attention.

CONTACT

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