Whenever someone asks me how I like Belize I answer with a variation of: “Love it – great people, great weather, great trips into nature”. On the last weekend of November, we were able to enjoy a combination of all of the above.
This is a long overdue post, largely due to the large amount of photos I took on this trip and the cumbersome interface of our blogging software. But now – with a new and efficient way of posting, here’s some catching up.
Our friend Cyndi de la Fuente invited us up to Orange Walk to spend the weekend with her. So we figured that we’d catch a chicken bus on the Northern Highway and we’d be in Orange Walk Town in no time.
Think again. We stood by the side of the highway for almost two hours and every bus that came from the city headed towards OW was so full that it didn’t stop. So we actually had to take a taxi into town, brawl our way into a bus and then head out to OW – passing our apartment again about 20 minutes after leaving the bus terminal.
We got to OW around 10 am and hung out with Cyndi on the side of the “New River” – where a friend of hers who runs a tour boat along the river picked us up for a little cruise. We saw a lot of birds and other animals. This is one way to go to the Maya temple of Lamanai – and the best in my opinion.
Grey Herron taking off.
One of the many many crocs we found sunning on the river side
Iguana mating season turns the big lizards orange.
A family of bats chilling in the sun.
A bird. (Really, I’m not a bird watcher … No idea what it’s called.)
A bunny enjoying the speed boat ride!
For lunch we picked up one of Belize’s favorite street food: Barbeque chicken! And it was good!
Typical roadside barbeque.
Lunch up close.
In the afternoon we attended the first ever Belize Tattoo Expo. As I walked in there, the organizer even asked me if I wanted to be a judge for the competitions – they needed someone impartial. The competitions didn’t happen unfortunately – but I felt flattered none the less. Hoping to write an article about the organizer, Steve Mossiah some time in the future.
Steve Mossiah of Stinging Scorpio Tattoo, Belize City
Side note: drinking while being tattooed thins your blood and prevents the ink from settling in. Gio doesn’t care though. :-)
We had dinner at Nahil Mayab in Orange Walk Town and went to bed early – there was a big trip coming up the next day!
We left at the crack of dawn in Cyndi’s huge pickup truck with a cooler full of sodas and her son nate, headed for the parts of the country where concrete streets are unheard of.
A vulture looking for breakfast on the last bit of tarmac.
One of the better streets of our roadtrip. See the mountains all the way at the end? That’s Guatemala.
Crossing a river close to the Guatemalan border.
Brahman cattle – the only kind that can stand the Belizean weather.
We saw a lot of oscelated turkeys on the side of the road.
Kerstin likes big trucks!
La Milpa is a jungle lodge / research station that sits in a beautiful stretch of forrest that is designated a nature reserve. We had a nice lunch at the lodge and then we went to explore their own Mayan site.
It’s a big one – and excavation is taking place there right now.
We were welcomed by spider monkeys.
Hiking through the jungle to the Mayan site.
Our guide explaining the temple and the fallen stalae in front of it.
A little tiger snake moving from her breakfast to her lunch spot.
A small boy with a big spider next to him for size reference.
There’s countless of these tarantulas in Belize. They’re mostly harmless, very shy and if they do bite you it feels like a wasp stung you – unless you’re allergic.
Cruising through the privately owned Gallon Jug estate, owned by the Bowens, Belize’s biggest brewery and only Coca Cola distributor.
The big truck on a small bridge.
Our last stop was Chan Chich – a very exclusive jungle lodge in the middle of the forrest.
We hung out at the pool and had a bite to eat before we had to head back – it was long drive back (2h? 4h? My memory fails me). We made it back to Orange Walk just in time to have missed our last bus by hours. So we got to stay another night at the Hotel de la Fuente (thanks Cyndi!) and took the first bus into Belize City on monday morning.
I hope the pictures speak for themselves – it was a breathtaking weekend in a part of Belize where we don’t get very often at all.
Orange Walk rocked and Cyndi was a great host and guide and driver and cook and tour operator!