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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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We woke up early to catch the 8am San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi to Chetumal. You need to be there by 7:30am to buy your ticket ($85bzd for locals/residents and $130bzd for all others, roundtrip). The management at SPBE is super nice and they have a great rate. I always use these guys.

The boat got going after we all got our passport was pretty full. They have a guy exchanging Belize dollars for pesos on the boat. The rate was $6 peso/BZD...not too bad. Particularly if you want to get rid of your Belize change or get a few pesos for the taxi ride when you arrive.

We arrived at the Port of Chetumal about an hour and a half about 10am. (Keep in mind, that since Belize does not "spring ahead"/celebrate daylight savings, it was 11am in Chetumal.) It's really not a bad ride.

You line up your bags, a drug dog sniffs them, you go through immigration, you watch the taxi guys at the end of the dock go APE SHIT because Mexico beat Brazil to win the gold in soccer in the 2012 Olympics (awesome I'll admit...high fives all around) and you get a taxi to your next destination.

$30 pesos (less than $3USD!!!) takes me on the 10 minute ride to the mall and Chedraui. Pronounced shed-ROU-ee, "da Shed" is the original Lebanese-Mexican Walmart. A super store with tons of clothes, food...tons of everything...and now I can pick up my contact lenses there. VIVA la Chedraui!

While you are here, get your bus ticket. (The terminal is about 5-10 minutes away by taxi and cost us $25 pesos.) We had a bit of shopping to do at Chedraui.

The 12:30 bus was ADO GL (some sort of delux model) and $362 pesos to Cancun. A bit less than $30usd for 5.5 hours of bus luxury. Perfecto.

Here is what differentiates regular ADO buses from GL or Platino. Let me first say that all ADO vehicles are the nicest buses I've ever been on. Huge, turbo ACed with plenty of space. ADO GL also has: headphones for the movies (the regular buses just blast the sounds making it tough to sleep), a porter passing out waters and sodas as your board...

HUGE amount of leg space...the chair went into almost full recline, a hombre and mujeres bathroom and a "cafe" in the back.

and you skip the normal first two stops in Puerto Carillo and Tulum. You motor straight to Playa Del Carmen and then to Cancun.

Ahhhh...Cancun. So here is the price and timing of the entire trip (one way for non-Belize citizens). Let's do it in USD ($1USD = $2BZD = $13 pesos).

San Pedro Belize Express from San Pedro, Belize to Chetumal: $37.50USD 1.5 hours (or 2 hours with immigration)
Taxi from Port to ADO bus terminal: $40 pesos or $3USD 10 minutes
ADO GL bus from Chetumal to Cancun: $362 pesos or $28 USD 5.5 hours

Total cost: $68.50 USD

There is also a night bus straight from Belize City to Cancun for convenience..

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Mystery Fruit: Rambutan (Or Eye Ball Fruit), Tasting Strange Things and Some Pictures of Cancun

One of the best things about travelling or relocating to a new country is eating and drinking. Trying every new thing that you can. Honestly, is there a better way to get to know a different culture?

As you may know, I'm in Cancun. More "Bubba Gump's All You Can Eat Shrimp Buffet" and McDonald's than exotic cuisine. But we are still in Mexico. If you can't find the local food in the hotel zone, a short bus ride away is the city of Cancun. 500,000 people, many who have moved to the area to work in this huge tourist destination, tons of shops and lots of street food & fruit and veggie carts.

I've worked tirelessly (pause for sympathetic sighs...) over the past few years to try all the new fruits in Belize. Some I've never seen before, mystery fruits like cashew fruit and waxy apples, sour sop, craboo & seagrapes and more (all are listed under the label: Mystery Fruits to the right.)

Here is one that I have tasted before (in Vietnam) but is probably new to lots of people. It is sometimes available in Belize but widely available this time of year in most of Central America.

Hello, Rambutan.

A hairy pretty fruit that grows on a tropical tree. It is native to southeast Asia and closely related to the lychee (often served from a can in sickly sweet syrup at your local Chinese place...that along with green tea ice cream and fortune cookies on their woefully short dessert list). It's rather unfruit-like in that it only ripens on the tree. Once picked, it is what it is.

Slice around the outer husk or use your finger nail to slice around it and inside is a fruit very similar in size and texture to an eyeball. (And before you ask, YES, I have held a cow's eyeball.)

Pop it into your mouth and eat around the pit.

Another day in Cancun...and tomorrow, I have a trip to Isla Holbox to swim with 40 foot long WHALE SHARKS!

Does this whale shark make me look fat?

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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The Bus From Cancun and a Few Hours in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico...Baby Lions? Really?

After an unexpectedly AWESOME time in Cancun (swimming with whale sharks, releasing baby turtles and 25 cent Hass avocados set a new high bar for me), our week at the Royal Sands Cancun was over. Good bye view from my balcony...

Good-bye mega-hotel with the insane army of ever friendly employees...(here they are mobilized to clean the already pristine beach in the morning...50 guys probably picking up dead baby turtles before the kids get up)

good-bye gym heavenly enough for me to go 7 days in a row. That beats my old record by about 4 days.

Anyway, it's time to catch the bus south. And since we are in one of the world's greatest areas (Yucatan/Belize), why not make a few stops on the way down home.

We took the city bus (still only $8.50 pesos ANYWHERE in Cancun) from the hotel to the ADO bus station. Once there, they have buses running to Playa Del Carmen every 15 minutes pretty much all day.

The ride is easy...just about an hour and only $48 pesos or $3 USD. Mexico's bus service is incredible in every way...a machine.

Playa del Carmen was a tiny fishing village not so long ago but due to its gorgeous beach and international restaurants and shops and amazing location, it has really exploded. The population is now listed at 150,000! Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian street that is certainly touristy but in many ways maintains a bunch of local and European charm. A good place to stop for a few hours.

Oh! Let me throw in a Yucatan map again so you can see what an easy trip this all is. Home base, San Pedro, Belize, is just below Xcalak, Mexico. (Gracias Lonely Planet for the map.)

On the second floor of the Playa bus station is a storage area for your bags. It's not incredibly cheap...but it sure is convenient.

The port where the turbo-ferries to Cozumel dock...

Some pharmacies are right in souvenir & tequila mega stores. Everything you need in one place! Though be careful with the Jose Cuervo and the mass relax.

There are quite a few new stores...Haagen Das seems to have taken over.

Or this MOST disturbing sight. Twice I saw guys with TINY baby lions (real lions!) selling you a chance to hold them or take a picture with them. Both cubs were exhausted, probably too young to be away from their moms and the "handlers" adamant that you didn't take your own pictures. (This guy was pissed.)

How can this be legal? The guy was actually saying that you should pay for the picture "for a good cause" that the baby could be returned to the zoo and raised properly.

Time to head south.

A one hour bus ride (only $34 pesos on budget local bus Mayab)...

and I'm in Tulum! At a very cute little hotel, VERY reasonably priced that I've been to a few times before: Secret Garden Tulum.

Off to my favorite beach in the world. I'll report back later...

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

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