I thought long about where to go next after Río Dulce. The way was long to Antigua and I wanted to visit some place in-between. But which? The only interesting spot seemed to be Quiringua, where there are some other Maya ruins, but did I really want to see more of them? I ended up listening to myself and I recognized the strong call … the call from the mountains. And so I went to Antigua.
With a Tuk-Tuk, Josie and I went to Poptún to take a bus. As soon as we arrived in the center I was shown my departing bus and someone asked for my backpack to put it into the bus. Everything happened quick again and I quickly said good-bye to Josie, who went the other direction. I jumped on the bus and found myself two hours later and 40Q less in my pockets, in Río Dulce. This time I didn’t feel ripped off and I was the only tourist in the bus where the seats returned a smell of oil.
In Santa Elena I jumped into a mini bus and was ripped of. Everthing was happening fast and quickly I found myself inside a little bus still thinking if the price was okay or not. 75Q is not that much for me for a 2h ride, but it should have been between 30Q and 40Q actually. I was more concerned however if my big backpack really had been put in the back of the bus, since I wasn’t watching the guy who took the backpack from me.
From San Ignacio I took a collectivo taxi, which pass in front of the Hi-Et and paid 5 BZD to get to the border. Don’t take a bus since this only takes you to the last town before the border. The exit fee from Belize is 37,50 BZD and will be used for maintaining National Parks, so it feels at least not so bad to loose this money.
My last stop in Belize was a little town close to the border of Guatemala. To San Ignacio I took a bus from Dangriga to the capital Belmopan (6 BZD, 1:30h) and took another bus for an hour until I arrived at my destination. I decided to stay at the Hi-Et, where I had a room for myself for 25 BZD which had a nice balcony, where I spent some time reading. The bathroom was shared but just right next door.
I was recommended to go to more village like places where the Garifuna are the mayority. This combined with the Carribean coast sounded like a good combination. So Dangriga was the place to go. Just south of it is an even smaller village called Hopkins. I heard some contrary stories about it and skipped it in the end. I think for a day trip it’s not enough and it’s important to stay there and are willing to make contact to the people. Otherwise it might get boring.
Belize was calling! I had mixed feelings about this country due to different opinions of people I met. Most were positive however and described an african type experience, which is so different from the rest of central and south america. But maybe my own lack of knowing the african culture made me a bit nervous. Sooner or later I would pay a visit to some country in Africa and Belize would be a little preparation.
After some very nice days in Tulum I moved on south towards the border of Belize. All the places I have been to since I left Mexico City were full of tourists and busy. If you don’t spend your time on the beach it’s hard to find some time on your own. In Tulum it wasn’t easy to find a spot to read since the hostel area was crowded and loud especially in the evening. That probably would change when I’d be in Bacalar, a small city close to Chetumal, which is next to the border to Belize.
I was lucky when I left my hotel right next to Chichen Itza and waited for my bus to Valladolid. I only waited for 5 minutes when the hourly bus was coming. From Valladolid (40 minutes later and 20 pesos less in my pocket) I bought a ticket to Tulum (around 100 pesos), but the next one left in two hours time. So I hoped to find some cafe to spend my time. I followed two guys who seemed to know where to go. They entered a juice store and I also thought that a good idea.
When my friends left for the Cancún airport, I hopped onto a second class bus towards Merida. The second class buses would not go on toll roads, which was good in my case, because my hotel I wanted to go to was on another road, where my bus could drop me off. Just 2.5km before the site of Chichen Itza lay my hotel Alba, which had nice rooms and a swimming pool.