Gone Bike About

April 2 – April 9, 2007

 

Benque – Belmopan – Belize City – Caye Caulker – Corozal – Santa Elena

You know you’re in Belize when distances are given in miles, no one understands Spanish and you don’t understand their English! Once sausages, and beans in tomato sauce were served for breakfast it was clear that the British had been there. Settled by English and Scottish pirates in the mid 17th century, the Spanish were officially driven away with a battle at St George’s Caye in 1798. It was only in 1981 that the British finally agreed to independence for this tiny state, sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean Sea.
On the first 70km from Guatemala to the capital, Belmopan, we passed through citrus plantations and neat villages with colourful wooden houses on stilts.

Typical house

Paddy was here! A few familiar names graced stores and businesses en route.
A population of ¼ of a million in a country half the size of Switzerland explains village names like… “More Tomorrow”.

What a name!

Camping in the banana plantation The characterless capital Belmopan had little to impress the visitor and hotel prices were astronomical to say the least. We rolled out of town and camped in a banana plantation, along a creek, behind an excellent restaurant.
From there, the western highway flattened out and 30km of uncultivated land gave way to mangrove swamps. Fast traffic and no hard shoulder meant unpleasant cycling.

Grim reminder

Right through the cemetary! Just before Belize City the main road took a short cut right through the centre of the city’s cemetery!
From Belize City, we had a good ferry connection to Caye Caulker on Belize’s Barrier Reef, where we spent the next few days in our rented apartment enjoying home-cooked meals.

M & N’s on Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker Caye Caulker is a great place for a relaxing holiday. Bicycles and electric golf carts dodge pedestrians on the sandy streets of this laid-back Caribbean isle.
Rasta is the look and Creole is da lingo. Clear turquoise water laps the shore and mangroves and coconut palms account for the vegetation.

Ya mon!

Figure that! … and that!
  Mangroves

On the Caribbean

Sunset at Caye Caulker
The Barrier reef here is definitely our snorkelling/diving highlight of this trip. Swimming with huge sting rays and nurse sharks was quite amazing, not to mention the numerous varieties of reef dwellers and corals, all enjoyed with excellent visibility.

Underwater delights

Chatty, friendly local girl

San Pedro While in the area we checked out San Pedro, made famous by Madonna’s song “Isla Bonita”, but we found it way too busy and resort-orientated for our liking.
Another ferry whizzed us off to Corozal and we were pretty much on the Mexican border.

Ready for the ferry on Caye Caulker

Belize flag After 21 months on the road, it was weird to speak English again! Although Belize was our most expensive country in Latin America, the Barrier Reef was worth every cent. Belize was also a great place to recharge our batteries.

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