We packed the bikes and took some pictures of the hotel and the plants in Orangewalk before we left.
We arrived in San Ignacio without any problems and after asking around even found Rosa’s hotel easy enough. While parking our bikes, two guys approached us – Stan and Ron – they are on their way to Ushuaia as well, so we agreed to meet at the square later on.
After we settled in our room, we had a look at the festivity in the main square. The festivity was called ‘The taste of Belize’ and there plenty of stalls and some performances. So we watched the performances and had something to eat – Not sure what it was, so we took a picture of the sign…
At night we watched the “lighting of the Christmas tree” ceremony performed by the major of the town. A bit later we met the winner of the “Best BBQ griller 2012 ” in Belize and then Stan and Ron again.
Somehow we missed taking a picture of Stan and Ron, but we talked a lot! Stan recently had an accident, about two month ago, sombody t-boned him. Unfortunatelly he didn’t have gloves on and his finger tips tell the story. After a couple of beers and swapping email and blog addresses we departed, maybe we see each other on the road.
In the morning we sent off a parcel to Australia in the post office next door to the hostel. There we ask for our parcel with the spare parts, and it had arrived! Yay!!
We picked it up in the afternoon and the son of our host Rosa volunteered to introduce us a good mechanic with a workshop tomorrow.
The next day, Frank, Rosa’s son showed us the way to Gabi, a top mechanic living in San Elena. San Elena is only separated from San Ignacio by a river.
When we arrived we showed him what we would like to get done and Gabi started on the job immediately. He just moved from a rented property to his house. He is currently building some rooms and a small restaurant, so people can either stay there or have a coffee and something to eat while he fixes the bikes. Currently it’s all still a bit temporarily until the building is finished.
The first bike took a bit longer then he thought, but the second bike was done in no time.
The next day we planned our trip until we leave Panama. So it looks like at Christmas we’ll be in Nicaragua and New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica. We also read some travel advice for the countries that we will travel through, so we will try to avoid Guatemala City if possible. After looking at the new plan, we don’t do as much mileage as expected, so the tyres should last until Panama.
Tomorrow we leave Belize and enter Guatemala to visit Tikal, the ‘New York’ of the Maya’s.
Today is the day! We will leave Mexico after six interesting weeks and go to Belize. After packing the bikes and having breakfast, we took a couple of pictures of Rick, Cathy (the couple from Canada) and Beto our host.
I guess as soon as I have a hammock and can see water from the balcony (have a look at the view) I’d like to stay. I couldn’t convince Sigrid to stay another day or two, so we had to leave.
The plan is to follow Ricks and Cathy’s recommendation and ride to Orange Walk and take the jungle tour to visit the Lamanai ruins. Just before the border we went to a petrol station to spend our last Pesos. When we filled up and met three motorcycle riders from Guatemala. We talked to them about spare parts in Guatemala City. One of them, Arturo, was so kind as to give me his phone number and email address, but all three mentioned that Guatemala wouldn’t be as safe as Mexico :/. We stopped at the first booth on the border. There was a guy outside telling us what we needed and where to go after. Another guy inside the booth wanted to take the green visitor card – the one we’d got when we entered Mexico – and the passport to put the exit stamp into. Well, I remembered that I put both cards in a safe place, but I couldn’t find them. Errrr….. Bummer!
So I got nervous and the haggling started. The nice guy helping at the booth told us how bad that was; we were travelling illegally in Mexico. We told him that the entry stamp in the passport and the temporarily motorcycle import licence could be only acquired with a valid visitor card, so we must had have one. After some back and forth he suggested that the guy in the booth would give us a stamp if we pay 50U$ for each of us. We declined, mentioning that we don’t have so much money with us. After a while he made us a special Christmas offer. We give him 20U$ and he will see what he can do for us. He came back with 25U$ for us and 20U$ for him.
Great! we agreed, handed the money over and got our exit stamps. Thing is, I really know that I put the cards in a safe place!
…anyway, we progressed to the bank to get our money back for the motorcycles and that worked without any problems.
That’s it, adios Mexico, welcome to Belize. First stop on the Belizean side was at an insurance booth. There we met the three Guatemala guys again. We purchased the insurance for much longer then we needed, just in case that we had to wait for our spare parts. Getting the insurance was surprisingly easy and not too expensive around 17US$/week. After that we needed to get the bikes fumigated (at the fumigation booth), and then go to Immigration and customs. The customs officer was really nice and told us where to get a free map, showed us some short cuts, told us where to get spare parts – including tyres – and what else to see.
After three hours we were in Belize. The usual thing happened, the GPS didn’t know where we were, this time it was expected and we navigated with guess work and some signs to arrive in Orange Walk an hour later. Close to the city centre we found a nice hotel at a reasonable price. After we settled we got some money from an ATM and booked the jungle river tour for tomorrow. The shop was in the site entry to a pub, and we nearly missed it.
We walked back over the market place and had a look at the different things on offer. The best variety was great – from rusty hair clippers, tools, oil filter to carburettors 🙂.
Later on we found out that to get spare parts is a big problem in Belize – with my collector attitude I would right fit in here 😀
We had some tea at a Chinese restaurant and went home. By this time it was dark and the Christmas light were switched on.
When we got back to the hotel room I had another look for the Mexican tourist cards. This time I found them… in the one place where I didn’t look before. Great! Now I feel really stupid… Anyway, tomorrow 9AM we go on the jungle tour. 🙂
We arrived at the travel agent just before 9AM, jumped in a taxi and got dropped off at the river where the trip started. We waited a bit until the boat was filled up with petrol and lunch was on board.
During our wait time we talked to fellow travellers: Two guys from the US – working at a North Carolina Uni – and educating Belize teachers in teaching methods, a girl from Canada, two couples from India – and finally, our late arrivals, two women from Finland – tour guides avoiding the finnish winter. First stop was a small island where we saw a spider monkey; he even came up to the boat to get a piece of banana.
We drove with the boat for about two hours and saw colourful birds and some fresh water crocs. When we arrived at the ruins we had lunch and then walked through the rain forest.
The first ruin was the mask temple which had two carved limestone masks; one on the left and one on the right side.
From here we went to the highest building in Lamanai, and we even were allowed to climb it!
These stairs were smaller and higher then everything before, but a rope had been put up so it was safer and easier to get to the top.
The view at the top was worth the effort
It was nice to sit there and look around, and then there was the way down 😀
After we came down, we had a look at the ball court and the palace
Eventually we returned to the boat and had a great ride home through the jungle.
What a great day. Tomorrow we leave for San Ignacio and hopefully get our spare parts for the bikes.