Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Great Literature for a Belize Trip

If you're looking for a great book to read on a vacation down to Belize, check out The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux.  The novel is about a crazed American man who moves his family to Central America to hack a life out of the jungle.

The book was adapted into a 1986 movie starring Harrison Ford which is also worth checking out once you've finished the book.  The movie was entirely shot in Belize and practically the entire country was in someway directly or indirectly involved in the production.  To this day Harrison Ford says that its his favorite of the movies he's been in.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bannister Island, Belize

Bannister Island, Belize


Monday, March 2, 2009

Approach to South Water Caye by Boat

I took this video clip while approaching South Water Caye right before we pulled up to the dock. Its not that interesting of a clip, but if you're looking for an idea of what South Water is like here you go.

South Water has several places to stay out on the island, Pelican Beach Resort South Water, IZE, and others.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Caye Caulker Water Taxi Schedule

I took this photo of a sign of the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Schedule at the bus station in Belize City in 2007. I can't guarantee that the schedule is accurate and up to date, but this is the sign posted right in Belize City. The sign says that the rate from Belize City to San Pedro is BZ$20 one way and BZ$40 roundtrip.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cahal Pech Village Resort

If you are looking for a good place which can help you schedule exploration trips while providing clean rooms, a pool and a good restaurant then I would suggest Cahal Pech which is just up the hill from downtown San Ignacio. The view especially at night is spectacular as you look out over the city and towards Guatemala.
They can help you with any adventure including a trip to Tikal. You can do Tikal in one day but it is difficult and exhausting so I suggest stay one night at Le Casa De Don David which is in El Remate, Peten just outside the Tikal National Park.
The buses back to Belize go right by the front door so you are sure to catch it.
David and his wife and daughter run the place. The ruins in Belize and in Mexico are great but Tikal is second to none.


Corozal, Belize

If you're planning on being in the northern part of Belize, Corozal can be an interesting place to explore for the day.

Corozal is the northernmost town in Belize and was founded in 1848 by refugees from the Maya Indian uprising against the Spanish in neighboring Yucatan.

A massacre at Bacalar, Mexico finally led to the exodus of thousands to go south and cross the Rio Hondo River. The river now serves as a boundary between Belize and Mexico. Fort Barlee was built in 1870 and parts of the fort are still visiable today as the brick corner supports that surround the post office. While downtown don’t miss the mural on the Town Hall that tells the tale of the history of Corozal which was painted by the Belizean-Mexican artist Manual Villamore.

Make sure to check out the mounds of Cerros located just acrossed the bay. These Mayan ruins are considered one of the most important late preclassic Maya sites because it represented the first experiment with kingship in the Maya world. The remains include a number of temples, plazas, ballcourts, canals, and other minor structures.

Within Corozal can be found another Maya ruin known as Santa Rita. The pyramid site sits atop the remains of a Maya city that dominated the area for more than 2000 years. Jewelry and artifacts from burial sites indicate Santa Rita was most likely part of ancient Chactumal, the Maya capital of the area at the time of the first Spanish contact in the early 16th century.
I enjoyed a great bed at a good rate at Mark Anthony’s Hotel and the food and friendly faces of the family owned business made my stay extra enjoyable. The hotel is located on the bay overlooking a town park which makes it is easy to get around and get the real feel of Corozal Town.

Mark Anthony’s Hotel

Mark Anthony “Butchie” Ramirez


2nd Avenue & 4th Street North

Corozal Town


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga

Pelican Beach is the high-end accomodation in the north end of Dangriga, Belize. Its a genuine Belizean resort that's been open since the early 1970's. It has an authentic feel and a great beach area and dock as you can see in the photo. Its a good spot if you are coming in on a Mayan Island Air or Tropic Air flight as the airstrip is right near the resort. Many people use Pelican Beach as a hopping off point to the islands. Pelican Beach also has a sister resort on South Water Caye and boats leave to South Water on a regular basis. The kitchen serves up some good Belizean fare and overall its a good place for those looking for a little more comfort and are willing to pay for it. Here is a link to the daily rates for Pelican Beach Dangriga


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hummingbird Highway

If you're ever looking for a reason why renting a car in Belize can be a great experience, well the Hummingbird Highway is it.  Its gotta be one of the most scenic drives in Belize winding its way from the Western Highway near Belmopan to the Southern Highway near Dangriga.  The ride is full of great spots to stop as you work your way through the winding hills and orange groves.  Its a paved road so the ride is smooth with plenty of vantage points of the Mayan mountains and surrounding orange groves. Along the road you'll pass plenty of orange trucks transporting citrus to market.

 One of the best stops is at the Blue Hole (not to be confused with the Blue Hole located out on the reef.)  Located right off the highway, the Hummingbirdy Highway Blue Hole is a deep cave pool and waterfall that is excellent for swimming.  The water is cool and the swimming pool is shaded by the jungle foliage offering a great spot to cool down.  Here is a link to the Belize Audubon Society with info about the Blue Hole National Park


Friday, February 20, 2009

Taking the Ferry from Punta Gorda, Belize to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

There are usually three boats that leave Punta Gorda each day.  Most of the time there are departures at 9am and 4pm on boats run by two different companies going from Punta Gorda to Puerto Barrios.  There is also a boat that leaves at 10am to Livingston, Guatemala, however I have never taken it so I don't know much about it.

The dock is located at the customs office down on the water in the main area of town.  You can buy a ticket there for about $18.  The boats are relatively small (ferry is a generous term) but there are usually seats.  Have your passport stamped at the Belizean immigration.  

If the water is choppy at all be prepared to get a little wet from the seaspray if you have a side seat.  The ride into Puerto Barrios can be pretty scenic especially if there is a big Dole Banana cargo ship there be loaded up with Guatemalan bananas.  When you arrive in Guatemala you have to get stamped in at Guatemalan immigration which is actually a few blocks away from the water; just head straight inland from the dock and you should see a sign; follow the street a few blocks and you will see guatemalan immigration in a small office on the left.

If you are heading in the other direction and going from Puerto Barrios to Punta Gorda be sure and check the boat departure schedule as the last boat leaves relatively early in the afternoon.  If you miss the afternoon boat then you are forced to spend the night in Puerto Barrios which is what happened to me; atleast the Guatemalan beer is cheap.

On the trip from Guatemala to Belize a lot of the time they load up the empty seats with cheap Guatemalan goods making the ferry one of the smallest international cargo ships out there.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Belikin Beer Brewery Tour

On a trip to Belize a few years back I had a few hours before I needed to turn in my rental car and so I decided to kill some time by stopping at the Belikin Brewery in Ladyville. I pulled up into the parking lot and found that I was the only car there except for a few official looking industrial vehicles. When I walked up to the building a couple Belikin workers came up to me and asked if I needed help. I told them that I was wondering if they gave tours of the brewery. Well, most of the guys were pretty confused as to why I would want a tour; I think it may have been a Sunday so the place was pretty quiet. They couldn't let me into the brewing area, but they showed me a few metal vats through a window. Wasn't much of a gift shop, but they opened up a few boxes of stuff like t-shirts, keychains, and best of all a nice solid metal Belikin bottle opener and I purchased a few things from the impromptu gift shop.

The tour ended up not being much to see, but it was worth the experience and I 've still got the Belikin bottle opener.


Great Picture of Guatemalan Stop Sign

I think this photo pretty well captures why you have to be careful if you drive in Guatemala.  The roads are definitely busier than Belize and many of them aren't in the greatest condition.  If you are looking into driving a rental from Belize into Guatemala its best to check with the rental agency to see if there are any issues with taking the car outside of Belize.  Crystal Auto Rental is the main rental agency in Belize and they allow cross border traffic to Tikal, Flores and Peten in Guatemala.

I took this photo in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.  I was walking along looking for a place to get breakfast and when I saw this stop sign I just had to take a picture.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking the Intercity Public Bus

Belize actually has a great public bus system for moving around the country. If you ever wondered where old school buses from the US go to die, well now you know. The bus ride is is a great thing to experience; riding along in a big school bus with the windows open and reggae playing on the stereo. Its not the smoothest ride (especially on the dirt road heading south to Punta Gorda), but its a great way to mingle with the locals. The fares are very reasonable and most of the time there are a lot of open seats. The buses are operated by several transport companies so for most locations there is a bus leaving every 30 minutes to an hour. You can ride west to Guatemala and cross at Benque Viejo del Carmen and ride north to Chetumal, Mexico and south as far as Punta Gorda.

National Transport is one of the bigger bus operators and you can find their schedule here

This site has a pretty good description of the bus setup in Belize as well


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pal's Guesthouse

If you're looking for a decent place to stay in Dangriga on a budget, Pal's Guesthouse is a good option.

The building itself isn't much to look at, just a two story cement cinderblock building.  When I first stayed there I checked in at night figuring that it was just another cheap guesthouse with a clean bed and running water, but the next morning I woke up to a fantastic view of the Caribbean.  Really great to sit out on the balcony as you slowly wake up to the sound of the lap of water on the short just a few dozen feet away from you.  Its a short walk from the main intersection of town so you can stock up on drinks from the store and most rooms are equipped with a minifridge.

The rates vary depending on the season and how willing the management is to haggle.  The first time I stayed there I got a single room for $20US or $40Belize, but on subsequent visit I've had to pay a little more.  All in all it beats the $150US or more that you'd be paying at the Pelican Resort on the otherside of town.

To get to Pal's Guesthouse from the bus station, head left out of the station and walk in the direction of the town center on the main thoroughfare.  After you walk over the first bridge take an immediate right and head toward the water and you'll find it.

View out onto the balcony of a second floor room

*Update - I just came across Pal's website at


Monday, February 16, 2009

Dangriga Photos

Some photos around Dangriga in Stann Creek District.


Belize Blog

This blog is dedicated to Belize and Central America from the Yucatan peninsula to the edge of the Mosquito Coast in Honduras.  After spending a lot of time in Belize I've picked up on a lot of info that isn't in the guidebooks and this blog is my chance to record it.  

After travelling extensively, I've come to realize that Belize really is a country like no other.  Its a place with geographic diversity from the coral reefs to the Mayan mountains, and cultural diversity from the ancient mayans to the garifuna.  All it takes is one ride along the bumpy dirt road on an old school bus in Belize to really appreciate the fact that you are in a place like no other.


About This Blog

This blog is dedicated to Belize and Central America from the Yucatan peninsula to the edge of the Mosquito Coast in Honduras. After spending a lot of time in Belize I've picked up on a lot of info that isn't in the guidebooks and this blog is my chance to record it.

After travelling extensively, I've come to realize that Belize really is a country like no other. Its a place with geographic diversity from the coral reefs to the Mayan mountains, and cultural diversity from the ancient mayans to the garifuna. All it takes is one ride along the bumpy dirt road on an old school bus in Belize to really appreciate the fact that you are in a place like no other.

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