Today is the day we’re cycling into Belize 🇧🇿. It is only 35km to the border. It is an easy ride with some headwind. Before we arrive at the border we eat our yoghurt because we read we cannot take any fresh food into the country.
Going out of Mexico is easy. We stop at the border at the Mexican immigration office. The officer takes our papers and our passports get stamped.
Belize here we come!
We cross over a river which is actually the natural border here. It takes us a while to find the immigration on the Belize side. But with a man pointing us in the right direction we find our way.
Inside the office we need to fill in a form. With that and our passport we can go to the customs desk. The man behind the desk is really nice. He thinks seven nights is not enough for us to cycle through Belize so it gets changed into a month by him.
Our bicycles are still outside, so we go back to take them trough the final checkpoint into the country.
Here they only check our passports for the stamp. “Yes! We are in!!”
Everything went real easy and smooth.
Belize (formerly British Honduras) is an independent country in Central America - a kingdom with as head of state the British Queen Elizabeth II. The country is a member of the British Commonwealth. Therefore the main spoken language is English. Although this is not the only spoken language. There’s also people who speak Spanish, Q'eqchi, Mopan, Yucatex Maya, Plautdietsch and Garifuna.
Next stop will be Corozal Town. Here we will get some money and groceries. A woman begs us for money. She can use ten bucks she says. “What do you think we are, a walking ATM cash machine where you can choose your own amount?” We give her two, she takes it but doesn’t look very happy with it.
We’ve seen on the iOverlander app that there is a campground in the village Copper Bank. The route is nice. We are not on the main big road again so there is no asphalt here. The road is a little bumpy here and there and we have to avoid the potholes from time to time. We take a man powered ferry to get to the other side of some small rivers. We don’t have to pay anything.
When we arrive at the campground there are only signs that it is closed. It also looks like it is not used anymore. ☹️ “Bummer!”
We ask the man who is working in the garden and he confirms our assumptions. After asking him if he knows some other campgrounds nearby he tells us we can go to “Orchid Bay”.
We get directions and off we go again. It is not too far. And we have to go on another ferry that is hand powered again.
Finally we arrive at Orchid Bay which on our gps map looks like some kind of UFO 🛸 landing. There’s a gate with a guard asking us very kindly; “Welcome, how are you today and what can I help you with today?” We explain him everything. He tells us he cannot give us permission for camping here. He advised us to go to the restaurant that is on the lakeside and go ask the property manager there.
When we cycle up to the restaurant we see some really beautiful houses. Also at the lakeside restaurant everything looks very pretty. There’s a small beach where people are playing volleyball and there’s also a small swimmingpool.
Because it looks very expensive and luxurious we ask ourselves the question if we will even try and ask here. But we’re already here so why not just go for it...
When we go in we get directed to David. He turns out to be the property manager and he is really nice. He tells us we can camp on the beach for the night and set up camp after the volleyball players are done.
That’s more than fine by us. Arjan took a look on the menu. It looks good so we decide to go back for dinner.
The food turns out to be delicious!
The restaurant is pretty busy and David introduces us to the other people in the restaurant who mostly have properties on Orchid Bay. He tells them that we are cycling from Alaska to Argentina. He’s kinda proud it seems.
David also tells us about a man who is actually Dutch and also living here. After awhile the Dutchman shows up at the restaurant to meet us. We have nice conversations about Douwe Egberts coffee, kroketten, flowers and so much more.
When everyone already left the restaurant we are also ready to leave. Only David and Damaris are still in the bar. David asks us what time we want to leave tomorrow. We tell him most of the days we start cycling around 9 am. He suddenly says; “I have another plan for you what you can do tomorrow.” He tells us there are some people from Orchid Bay going on a boat tour tomorrow and they will be dropped off with his van. He says if we want to go we can take the bikes with us in the van, do the same boat tour and go further from there. He is really enthusiastic about the tour and Damaris too. They tell us that we can see a lot of wildlife and maybe even monkeys! Wow, that sounds really amazing us. How can we resist??
When we are back at our tent at the beach we take a look at the sky. It is beautiful and full of stars. It is really dark and the millions of stars look very bright tonight. There is no moon in the sky yet so that’s why the view of the stars is so clear. We even see some falling stars. “Wow, nice!”
We stand here for awhile and see more falling stars. Arjan is amazed, he sees the longest falling star he has ever seen! Kim just happened to miss this one...” Dahm it!”🤷♀️
We leave Orchid Bay early. Dave asked us to be ready at 7.15 am if we decided to do the tour.
The van is already here and we can put our bicycles and our stuff in the back. One of the workers of Dave is driving us to the ecotours centre that is located a few kilometres from the town Orange Walk.
We go together with a Canadian couple Karen and her husband and Tanya and Erin from Scotland. The four met each other on a holiday in Africa years ago. Now Tanya and Erin are visiting the Canadians here because they own a house in Orchid Bay. In the car we get better acquainted with each other. Tanya and Erin try to travel as much as they can to see the world. Tanya tells us at a younger age she did a lot of backpacking trips. The Canadians are from British Columbia, they also travel a lot. In two months they are going all the way to see India.
The guided tour from Lamanai Ecotours starts about 3km from Orange Walk Town. From there we will go on the New River with a small boat. The boat will take a hour to bring us to the Lamanai Maya ruins. It is one of the biggest and longest existing Maya civilisations known.
Nathan is our tour guide on the boat trip to and at Lamanai. We find out straight away that Nathan has a real good eye for all the wildlife that is living on and in the New River. He also can tell us everything about it.
We see all kinds of birds, plants, reptiles and more.
Nathan spots three Lenonides-crocodiles. They are very small and he tells us that these are 1 year old.
They grow 1 foot (about 30cm) a year. They can grow up to 12 feet!(3,60m) and live only in fresh water. So that is pretty big. When we see this little cute looking crocodiles we can hardly imagine that they will grow that size!
Nathan tells us Belize also has the salt water crocodiles, they can even grow up to 18 feet!
We also see a cactus that’s growing around branches of another tree. It is called “Snake Cactus” and we can tell why. It definitely looks like multiple snakes hanging around the tree.
There’s a bird called “Jacana” that also has the nickname “Jesus Bird “. You can probable guess why this bird got this name......yes indeed, it looks like it can walk on water! Of course it actually cannot, but because it’s so light it walks over very small branches and waterlily leaves that are floating in the river. It has a white colour on the inside of the wings as a camouflage. When a crocodile would be in the water the bird can open it’s wings up and it looks like a waterlily.
Also we pass a small community of Mennonites. They came to Belize years ago from The Netherlands and Germany. They speak Plautdietsch an old version of German. They live a simple life with using as less as electricity as possible. They work the land and still use horse and carriage to get around. They rarely get married outside of their community. They are in that way comparable to the Amish people that live in the USA.
Arjan and I are curious about the whereabouts of these mennonites so we google it. Google is your friend, right?!
We find out they are descendants of a Dutch priest from Witmarsum in the Provence of Friesland in The Netherlands. He was a Catholic priest who converted to anabaptism around 1540. He was called Menno Simons and that’s how they got there name; Mennonites.
Nathan tells us the Mennonites in Belize are known for the furniture they make. They love to use Mahogany wood for the furniture.
He also tells us this community we are seeing here is called “Shipyard mennonite community” because they are know for making and repairing boats.
He tells and shows us so many more on the boat tour that Is to much to tell you guys about. But only this part of the tour is already worth it!
When we arrive at Lamanai and we get off the boat it‘s raining pretty hard.
Nathan takes us to the museum first. It is perfect because in the meantime we can wait out off the rain.
He starts telling us about the Mayan people who have lived here for 3000 years. Lamanai is renowned for it’s exceptionally long occupation spanning three millennia.
Lamanai was occupied as early as the 16th century BC.
During the Spanish conquest of Yucatán Spanish friars established two Roman Catholic churches here, but a Maya drove the Spanish out and burned the churches down.
When we are finished at the museum we go for a one and a half hour walk through the ruins site.
The total site counts more than 700 temples. Most of the temples are still covered under dirt and plants. All these sites look like big hills, but are actually unexplored Maya temples. There are only 5 sites that are explored and those are the ones we can see today and are told about by our guide.
We also see the Black howling monkeys in the trees here.🐒 We know why they got this name. The monkeys are not too big but the sound that comes out of them is amazing! These monkeys make the loudest sound of all the mammals on earth. You can hear them from a distance as far as 5 kilometres away!
After we’ve seen the ruins it is time for lunch. It is a typical Belizean lunch with coal salad, chicken in a kind of curry sauce, brown coloured rice with brown beans and baked plantain. The lunch is really delicious!
Now we go and see the gift shops. We buy some Belize stickers that we can put on our bicycles.
It’s time to head back so we go into the boat again.
On the way back Nathan spots a crocodile. He immediately stops the boat and turns it back around to give us a closer look.
It is indeed a crocodile and a very big one too! “Wow, what an impressive animal.”
We get back to the ecotours headquarters. We thank Nathan for the great tour.
The Scottish and the Canadians are heading back with the van to Orchid Bay so we say them goodbye. It was nice to meet you and do this amazing tour with you!
When they have left we try to figure out what to do.
Dave said we can probable camp here too. Arjan checks the iOverlander app and it says the same. We decide to ask one of the workers here and she tells us; “of course, no problem!” Sweet!😊
We can find ourselves a camp spot and we enjoy the rest of the day here.
After awhile Errol, the owner of ecotours comes to say hi. We are very welcome here, we can even use the hammocks if we like.
Arjan spends the rest of the day working on editing the last photos for our last Mexico blog and Kim is already starting to write the new blog for Belize.
We go into the small bar that is also here at Lamanai Eco Tours. We treat ourselves to a beer 🍻 because we finished the 0% for ALS challenge. There is a nice vibe at the bar with some nice music.
We had such a great lunch this afternoon that our dinner is simple tonight. We eat some bread before we head into our tent for the night.
In the morning we are awake early already. We had a great sleep last night. Arjan wants to put the edited photos in the blog so that our last blog of Mexico can be put online this morning. We also arrange some other things that needed to be done.
We are finally ready to leave at 10.30 am. We want to sleep close to the Belize Zoo so that we can visit it tomorrow but this is still quite the ride. It is 100km to be exact.
And since it is not that early anymore we hope that we are able to make it.
The road turns out to be not that great. There are no shoulders and when there is traffic coming from both ways we are forced to go next to the road. Sometimes the sides of the road have some gravel and sometimes it is grass. Also we have a strong side wind that make us go really slow....After 3 hours of cycling we have only done 40km. We are not really happy about it but what can we do... At this time it is time for lunch. What a coincidence... there is a great restaurant exactly on this spot. It is called “Slims”.
When we go inside all the tables are taken but we can take a seat at the bar. We are told by the waitress that we can choose between pork, chicken or sausages with barbecue sauce with beans or rice.
The food tastes delicious! It seems that it is great everywhere in Belize.
We take a look around in the restaurant and Arjan spots a wall of fame full of travellers by motorcycle or bicycle.
The owner comes to talk with us because he has seen that we are the ones that are on the bicycles standing out front. He likes our story and also asks if he can take a picture from us. Arjan asks him if he also travels an cycles himself. He answers; “ Yes, I cycle every day 10 minutes from home to work and back!”🤣
He tells us he wants to make a new wall of fame on the outside fens
so we will be on there too! “Hey that sounds great!” When we ever come back to Belize we will definitely take a look here again.😊
After lunch our next step is to get some water at the gas station not to far from Slims restaurant.
When Arjan asks for big bottles of water inside the guy tells him we can fill up our water at the purified water pump. Great, we fill up and the guy tells us it is 3 US dollar. When Arjan is walking inside to pay the owner of the gas station is asking if he is paying only for water.
He says; “ You don’t need to pay for the water. You two still have a long way to ride.” “ Well thank you mister! Thanks a lot!”😃
After our lunch the cycling seems to go a lot easier. Also the road starts to get a little better. We still need to watch out for the cars and need to go onto the sides from time to time. But we are making a lot more progress now. After awhile the road changes direction so we have the wind in our backs. “This is great!”
We eventually make it to our destination of today. Just in time before it gets dark!
We are at the Tropical Education Centre. They also have cabanas and a campground here.
When we go to the office to check in we pass a sign saying; “Leave cutter ants, please step over...”
And yes, here the are...a lot of ants 🐜 walking with leaves. It is an awesome sight!😄
When we get into the office we meet Juan there. He tells us there is a campground here and he shows around so we know where we can camp and take a shower. He tells us he knows about the Dutch chocolate letters that we have in December because he has a friend from Holland. He told his friend that his actual name is Mario because he figured the letter M would have the most chocolate. But we tell him this is really not the case. Arjan jokes; “Okay we will call you Mario from now on then.”😉
Also we are allowed to get free coffee and tea at the diner when we want. It’s included for people who camp.
He tells us that we can meet him around 8pm at the diner because he has something to eat for us if we like. He says; he likes to give us something because we are on the road for so long and also because he thinks it is important that we have a good impression about Belize. “That’s great! See you later.”
We’ve got a visitor on our campground. It turns out to be an Azara’s Agouti. “Okay, don’t leave any food lying around!”
We pitch our tent en take a nice warm shower. And off we go to the diner. Here Juan shows up with two big plates with food for us! “This is the best! Thank you so much!”
After we finish and we thank him again for the great meal he also invites us to come have breakfast at the diner. He will serve breakfast for the people at the cabanas there between 7am and 8am. And we can just come and join. “Wow, this keeps on getting better and better.”
We drink some coffee and tea before we go back to the tent. But before we do we want to check the leave cutter ants again. It is already dark so we think they are probably gone. We couldn’t have been more wrong...they are still here working hard and walking back and forth to get the leaves into their nest? They almost look like a big army on a mission!
We’ve been told that these ants do this when there’s rain coming. And we know for tomorrow the weather forecast tells that there will be rain indeed! Pretty interesting isn’t it?
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After all this excitement we are off to bed. It was a long but great day again!
When we wake up in the morning we wake up with the sounds of all sorts of animals. We hear a lot of different birds. There is also a woodpecker pecking away.
The big Azara’s Aroundi is also still here and scrambling around.
It is great waking up with al these sounds. Since we came into Belize we’ve been spoiled with waking up like this. It is amazing.
There is no better way.
At 7.30 am we are already in the dining room. We see Juan Carlo again and he comes up to us with two plates full of food! Scrambled eggs with two sausages, bread and yoghurt with
We can take coffee and tea and we even get a can full of orange juice. This is a great breakfast!! “Thanks so much again!”
Today we want to take a look on the TEC grounds. Walk a few trails here and take the trail that leads to the Belize zoo.
At the TEC lookout platform. We see a crocodile and a turtle. There is a lady there and we start a conversation. When she hears where we come from and what we are doing she calls her husband, Wayne. Wayne and Lynn from Oregon, USA. Wayne tells us that he is born in Amsterdam, but moved to the US when he was just 2 years old. His Dutch is still pretty good. He still has family living in Amsterdam and Antwerp.
Also they tell us that Lynn did a bicycle tour through Holland only a few months ago. Lynn has just retired from work and that is why they are taking the trip here in Belize now. They liked the country a lot and they also where very enthusiastic about TEC and the Belize Zoo. We must agree with them Belize is great and it is only our fourth day here.
For Wayne and Lynn it is time to go they fly back to Oregon today.
“It was really nice meeting you.”😊
We also need to get going. There is so much to see here. We start a trail and one trail leads to the other. The TEC grounds are really nice and there are a lot of different flora and fauna here. There are a lot of signs that tell what everything is while we are walking the different trails. Eventually we pick up the trail that leads to the zoo.
The zoo is not very big but it looks beautiful. We can see like the TEC grounds the zoo the people here have put a lot of effort in it. It is built to educate the people of Belize and everyone who comes here nowadays. Find info about the zoo....
We’ve gotten a map of the zoo when we bought our tickets so we are all set to go.
We see the national animal of Belize, the Tapir. There are Spider monkeys and polar monkeys, we see lots of different birds like eagles, parrots and other kinds. We see a grey fox, panthers. There also are crocodiles, turtles and there is so much more. It is too much for me to mention here.
We take a lot of photos with our phones and the GoPro, but sadly without our real camera. Our camera broke awhile ago 😢 we cannot take very nice pictures for you to see.
We had a great time here! When we are finished we check out the gift shop and get something to eat. After that we head back to the TEC grounds. It is already 3.00 pm so we decide to stay another night. It was not the plan to stay here another nigh and that’s why we already packed everything on the bicycles this morning.
Since there is a shelter with two pick nick tables we decide to not put op our tent but to put our mats and sleeping bags there tonight. This way we don’t have to unpack again and even a better reason; we can sleep under the stars!
When it starts getting dark we see some flashing really small lights in the air. We see these small lights we see are fireflies! “Wow, this is great!” We keep on scanning the air. It is quite fun. We keep on seeing them around us.
After awhile when we point our headlamps to the ground we see many small reflecting dots. The whole ground is full of it. When we take a closer look we see that all these reflecting dots are actually small spiders 🕷 There’s really so many of them!
Again tonight we are invited to come and get some dinner at the diner around 8.00pm. Arjan said it wasn’t necessary, but Juan insisted. So how can we resist? The food tastes great again!
We stay at the diner for awhile, we chat a little and drink some tea.
Back at our camp spot we make everything ready for the night. When we are lying in our sleeping bags we have the greatest view on the stars. It is so beautiful. Yes, life is great!
Or so we thought....
After two hours being stubborn and trying to avoid the mosquitos. We are done trying to cover ourselves under our sleeping bags while we are to warm to fall asleep. Arjan decides to go put up our tent. Okay, let’s do it then. Kim helps and after a few minutes we are nicely and mosquito free laying in our tent....”Yes! Now we can finally sleep!”
We get up early pack up all our stuff. We drink some coffee and tea at the diner and off we go. We have a long day planned for ourselves. We first go to the capital of Belize, Belmopan and from there we want to take the Humming Bird Highway to the south of Belize all the way to Mayflower Bocawina National Park. 116km from where we are now.
The ride up to Belmopan goes slower than we thought we would be. The wind is not as much in our back as we had hoped and also we are slightly going up. There is a lot of traffic on the road, so we have to get off the road from time to time in the rough gravel or grass.
Eventually we make it the 34km to Belmopan and do some groceries at the supermarket. We haven’t had breakfast yet, so we decide to eat it here. We feel a bit energetic again and there we go again.
We’re on the Humming Bird highway. This road is a lot better. There is less traffic and the scenery here gets better and better. We do have to climb some more but that makes the route more interesting here. We stop when we see a sign that says “chocolate and coffee”. The girl who is standing behind the counter let’s us taste the chocolate beans and all kinds of chocolate samples. It all tastes really nice! We buy a bag with chocolate with ginger. It was our favourite one! Also we enjoy some coffee and ice cream here.
A little further up the road is the Blue Hole visitor centre. We take a look inside and talk to one of the rangers here. For the caves that we can see here we need to take a guide and we don’t feel like doing that. Just 1 mile further down the road is the Blue Hole. Here we can take a look and even better take a nice swim to cool down from cycling in the heat. Sounds like a plan!
The when we arrive we see also see they have a small booth with some information. We take a quick peek.
When we get to the Blue Hole it looks nice but a little less impressive as we thought it would be. But we are probably already pretty spoiled with all the beauty we have seen in our journey so far.🙈 The swim here is nice. While we are here some people ask us if we are the cyclists. “Yes, we are.” They tell us they are Beli and Juan? and they are cycling as well. They don’t have there bicycles here because they came by car here with their “couch surfing” host James.
They are headed to San Ignacio tomorrow so we will probably not see each other in Belize, but who knows somewhere further down the road. We exchange information and they take off.
We go back in the water for awhile until we get cold. That means we are cooled down enough for now!
Back to cycling again because we still have a long ride.
Back on the road it gets more hilly. We don’t make a lot of progress quick. The road get steeper here and there, but we have beautiful views. We find a bakery that smells to good to just pass. We order some cinnamon rolls. These are great for energy! We also buy some oatmeal cookies for later.
We are a bit in a hurry now because it is already pretty late and it looks like we will not be able to make it to our planned camp spot at Mayflower Bocawina National Park.
We see the “Green Hill Restaurant” in a very small town somewhere between Middlesex and Valley Community. We are jut discussing with each other if we should ask if we can camp in there backyard since it will soon gets dark.
A man walks up to us from the restaurant and makes conversation.
He asks were we came from today and what kind of trip we are making. We tell him what we are doing and he likes what he hears. He also has just met some other cyclists who he is supposed to meet up with. Then he says; “You guys are loosing weight.” So Arjan and I both think he is now trying to get us inside his restaurant, but he doesn’t. So we ask if we can camp here and then he says;”You should ask the lady over there in the restaurant.” 😄 Okay, that’s why he is not trying to get us to eat here...he is just another customer. And only interested in us because he sees some crazy cyclists!🙈😄
We eventually ask the nice lady at the Green Hill Restaurant and her answer is “Of course you can!”
That is great! We are happy that we managed to find a place to spend the night again.
The restaurant looks pretty nice and it looks pretty popular as well. There are quite some people coming and going to eat here.
When we eat our dinners we can understand why it is pretty busy. The food is really good!
In the morning we pack up our things. Everything is wet because it was raining all night. It still is a little rainy.
When we are almost done a man comes out of the house that’s connected to the restaurant and starts to chat with us. He turns out to be the father of the nice lady who gave us permission to camp here yesterday. He doesn’t speak English. He can only speak Spanish, but that’s not a problem Kim’s Spanish is getting better so we are able to understand him and make some conversation. He asks if we would like a cup of coffee. Yes, Kim would really like one, but only if it’s not to much hassle. “No, it’s no problem it is already ready inside the house. He goes back inside and comes back with a huge mug! The coffee tastes great. We sit down in the empty and still closed restaurant. He comes sit with us and we start chatting some more. He tells us he is actually from Guatemala and that that is also a very beautiful country. Belize is also beautiful he agrees. He asks us what our route through Belize to Guatemala will be. We tell him we go more south and we will take the ferry that will take us from Punta Gorda into Guatemala. The ferry is actually a small boat so this crossing is not possible with a car or a van but it is by bicycle. He thinks that this is a very nice idea and that way we don’t have to leave this country only halfway. He advises us to go visit Placencia. He says it is really worth the visit and it has the most beautiful beach. It will be on our way down to Punta Gorda. Sounds good!
For us it’s time to leave so we say goodbye and we thank him for everything!
Today it is only 31 kilometres to reach Mayflower Bocawina National Park. We cycle up to Alta Vista and there we fill up our water bottles at the “supermarket”. The owner and his son are very helpful. We have a chat with the son while we are filling up our water. We tell him our story and he really likes what we are doing. He tells us he once cycled 80km when he was studying in Vietnam. That’s the most he has ever done in one day. He wants to do something like what we are doing someday. When we are ready and pay for the water inside his dad gives us a bunch of mini bananas 🍌. He says; “These are from my son, he likes for you to have them. They are really tasty.”
“Wow, thank you so very much!”
We are fully loaded with water again and back on track. Here in Alta Vista is where we take the “shortcut”. Which means a lot of up and down the hill, crossing a river and small streams and lots of great views and bumpy sand roads.
Due to a problem with one of Kims Ortlieb panniers we are a little less fast as we would like to be. The pannier is falling off the bike every now and then until one of the clips eventually just breaks off. This is causing us some more delay....☹️ Now we need to fix this problem. Arjan has had the same problem with his pannier clips already somewhere in Mexico. So luckily we bought some new ones there. Because of that Arjan can now make a new clip out of two broken ones. We also strap the pannier down onto the bicycle so that it is not that bouncy and hopefully it will stay on the rest of the route.
The view this on this road stays amazing and really worth the rough ride. We take loads of pictures. Eventually we make it to the National Park. Here we meet Israel. He works here at the park as a ranger. He shows us around and tells us if there is anything we need we can ask him. There are a few nice trails we can do over here. A few short ones and a six hour one passing some nice waterfalls. We decide we want to stay two days. Israel tells us we can camp here so that is no problem. He shows us where we can pitch our tent. It is only 2 pm, we put up our tent because it is still wet from this morning. Then Arjan finds out everything in his panniers is wet. We needed to cross the river this afternoon but it turns out the panniers are not waterproof...(or at least not anymore☹️) Kim checks her panniers too. The pannier with all the clothes in it is luckily still dry. The other side though has a very small hole in it in the bottom she now finds out...in this pannier some stuff is also a little wet. So we pack everything out and leave everything to dry.
When we are done doing this we can finally go up to the trail we wanted to walk this afternoon!
The trail is called “Antelope Trail” and we’ve been told that it is a 45 minute walk up. Going up there is slower than going back down to the campground because you are walking up a mountain. Even at some points there are ropes to help you climb up because it can be steep. The way down can be done in less time because you’re going down of course.
Almost at the top we reach a nice viewpoint that looks out over the National Park. The view is really nice.
We walk the last bit up to the falls. When we are at the top we are treated with the great view of the falls here with the pool below where we can take a swim in!! “This is really nice!”
After the pretty but hot climb up we are treated with a cool down swim!
We enjoy ourselves, sit down for awhile before we begin on the climb down. We’re still wearing only our bathing suits. It’s still nice and warm. We can hear the Howler Monkeys make their sounds in the distance. We take a look at some more leave cutter ants that are walking and working and doing their thing. They even have made their own kind of “highways”. We see some huge ant hills from time to time. We call them “Ant cities”. Some of their “highways” end up in there. The nature here is amazing!
Down again we start cooking and eating dinner before it gets dark.
After dinner we take a stroll to the resort that is close by. It is nice here but we figure it is probably more expensive than where we are staying tonight. It also has a restaurant. We check it out. It looks nice but the prices are a little too high for our standards.
When we return at the campground we see a lot of fire flies in the grass. Every time we see it these creatures it’s something special. We watch the spectacle for awhile and after that we crawl into our tent for a good sleep.
We hear many beautiful nature sounds while we lay our heads. We hear a lot of insects like crickets. We can still hear the Howler Monkeys make their sounds. We also hear the cobbling water of the river beside our tent. It makes it even more easy to fall asleep.
We have had a great sleep and start the day early. We eat some breakfast and off we go. We are doing the 6 hour hike today. The path takes us to a few water falls and the steam hoist. This last one will be our first stop and it will be about one and a half hour walk. After we will visit the falls and hopefully we can get to go swimming here again. While we are walking up to steam hoist we here some birds making noise above our heads. We see them flying over. They are the national bird of Belize, the Toucan. Also we get surprised by seeing a hole group of Coatimundi. They are just strolling along with their group. They are digging their noses in the ground looking for food like fruits they van eat. When they notice us they run up in the trees and start making noises. We watch them for awhile before we move on. Al this time they stay up in the trees. Only when we start moving away from them they feel comfortable leaving their save haven.
We’re already walking for awhile when we think we should be at the turnoff going to “steam hoist” but we can’t seem to find it. So instead we keep on walking further ahead. Next stop is “Big Drop Falls”. These falls are a challenge to go to. The path goes steep down. And it goes down for quite a long time. The people from the National Park here put some ropes to help you descend and later will help you come back up to the trail again. We are glad they did that because some parts you really need them. But all our efforts are paid of when we reach the “Big Drop Falls” it is really beautiful! We are so sweaty so we take our clothes wand go skinny dipping. The waters cold but it’s nice and refreshing. We take our time enjoying the water. Eat something and go back up all the way to the trail again.
Going back up we are a lot quicker. Once back on the trail walking towards the next waterfall we are already sweating like crazy again. Hopefully we will be able to get another dip again there. On our way over we see a black, red and white coloured little snake. Luckily Arjan saw it in time. It seemed to be more scared by us because it is gone in a second.
Also there are a lot of “ant highways” and also “ant cities”.
We reach our next waterfall. The “Peck Falls. This one is really easy to reach. Again we can take a nice dip in the water. Again there are no people around so we do a skinny dip again. “Wow it feels like paradise”. Maybe we should call this hike “The Skinny Dipping Waterfall Tour” instead of “The Six Hour Hike” 😀
We take our time again. When we’re dry we take off again.
Next stop is “Tears Of The Jaguar Falls”. This one is also nice and easy to go to. It is just a lookout point so no possibility for swimming here. But still it is nice and beautiful.
We are going to the last waterfall but on our way there we get surprised by a second group of Coatimundi. They are also surprised to see us and they jump in the trees straight away. But they see that can flee from us so they start jumping out of the trees again and head into another direction. “What a great experience!” On the trail we see some more beautiful looking birds, frogs and so much beautiful trees and plants. The environment here is really amazing.
We’ve reached the last falls. There’s a upper and a lower part. We are at “Bocawina Falls, Upper Part” first. We take a look and make some pictures. This one is right next to the trail so very easy to get to.
Then there is only the “Bocawina Falls, Lower Part” left. Here we take our last skinny dip swim of the day. We rest, eat some cookies and drink some water. Dry off and head back to our campground again.
“Wow what an amazing trail hike this was. It was really worth our visit here.”
At the campground next to the visitor centre we meet Israel. He is sitting at the picking tables with one of us friend co workers. He asks us how our hike was. We tell him it was amazing. We tell him we saw the Coatimundi. He tells us that the group we saw must have been only female with their babies because the male are always alone. The single mails are also called single squash. He tells us that they are only their to reproduce themselves. So that’s what they do. Find another lady an reproduce and take off again to find another lady again. He says it is also what we say in Belize when a man is single. When people ask you if you have a lady you can answer with; “No, I am a single squash!”😄
Haha, okay that’s nice.🙈👍🏻
We also talk about the Black Howler Monkeys. We heard them yesterday all afternoon and night. He also did here them because he lives in the house that’s also at the campground. He tells us that they are making the sound because they are waiting for rain. “Okay, that’s interesting.”
Israel and his friend ask us about our route through Belize. We tell them our plans and they also say that we should go visit Placencia because it is so nice and beautiful over there. That is the second time we get this tip. It must be something special. It’s probably worth to check it out.
It’s time to cook some dinner. Meanwhile another girl arrived to the campground. She is camping in her van. We get into a conversation. She is also doing what we are doing going from Alaska to Argentina but only she is doing it by van. From time to time she has friends visiting her and travelling with her. Her name is Tanya and she is from the UK 🇬🇧. When she has WiFi she can still do some work and earn some money. That sounds great. That makes it easier to travel for a long time. She also plans to stay for two nights like us. We tell her a little about the trails we did here and she is planning to do the same as we’ve done.
The mosquitos are getting at us because it’s getting dark so Arjan and I are heading into our tent. Tanya is going into her van to cook her dinner.
We will see each other tomorrow and share some info before we leave.
Every morning we are awakened by the jungle sounds. It is so nice to be here. All the birds start making their unique sounds and we hear the cobbling of the water. We hear insects flying over our tent. The sounds are amazing and so relaxing. We can easily get used to this.
It is time to pack our stuff and eat some breakfast. Cook some water for coffee and tea. We still have most things out of our panniers because of the river water that came into it. So we probably need a little longer to pack up. That’s no problem. Luckily today will be not a long day of riding. It will only be about 60 kilometres.
When we are starting breakfast Tanya comes up to us. She has some tuna and rice that a friend left in her van that she’s not going to eat because she is a vegetarian.
That is real nice because we don’t have a lot of bread left for our breakfast so we cook the rice straight away and eat it. Now we have a proper breakfast.👍🏻
There’s also another ranger from the National Park there and we make a chat with him too. He tells us a lot of interesting things about the park. He knows a lot about medicine plants and trees that you can use for all kinds of skin problems or to help solve different diseases. Then he and Israel need to start mowing the lawn of the campground. We exchange information with Tanya so that we can keep in touch. Maybe we can meet up somewhere further on the road.
We pack up the last of our things, pay for our stay at the Visitor Centre. We say goodbye to Israel, his co worker, to Tanya and we leave.
The first part to get out of the National Park is still a gravelly sandy road. Then we reach the paved road again where we have to turn right. When we’re just cycling here Kim finds out she lost her “Prudhoe Bay cap” that she had hanging on her handlebar tent bag. What shall we do? Just leave it or go back for it? We decide to go all back. 🙈☹️
Back at the unpaved road Arjan suggests that he will cycle all the way back without his panniers. That’s probably quicker. Kim’s afraid she already lost it while leaving the campground because the clip that was holding the cap was probably not secured very well.
Kim’s waiting and waiting. Meanwhile Arjan is cycling in the heat and searching.... it takes a long time. Kim her assumptions are probably right...
Arjan finally finds the cap at the gate of the National Park. All this took an extra hour or so....🤦🏼♀️and Arjan an extra 12 kilometres.😬
Okay, we’re on the road again heading toward Placencia.
We are already hungry again and when we find a supermarket we buy ourselves some yogurt for lunch.
After lunch we feel better. At the turning to Placencia we are changing direction east and this causes us to get some heavy head wind. Eventually the road turns south again and we have the wind more in our back. That’s a lot better riding! From here we are going down on the peninsula. Everywhere on this road there is lots to be sold and there is a lot of building going on as well. We see some half build buildings that look a little like ruins next to beautiful looking buildings. It is a strange sight.
There’s a lot of American estate agents selling lots here. So we figure this is also mostly to sell to rich Americans and Canadians. We see a lot of people who look an awe full lot like Americans. But people also think that we are Americans so you’ll never know for sure right?!
When we are finally at the tip of the peninsula we arrive at Placencia. Here we do some groceries for dinner. We cycle into town and we like what we see. This is a really nice place. Lots of small shops a restaurants. Lots of people on the street. It is really what you expect from a tourist town. The vibe is really relaxed here. We are gonna be sleeping at a hostel called Anda Di house and we can camp in the backyard. When we arrive we are told we need to go upstairs because that is where the lady of the house is. And that is where the reception is. Okay! 👍🏻 When we nock on the door a girl opens. We ask if we can stay and say we want to camp. We get a quick explanation and the door is closed again. This is the strangest welcome we had so far in our trip.
The campground is great though. It is in the backyard of the hostel which is actually on the beach. Sweet! The place looks nice and we put up our tent.
We talk with some other people who are also in the hostel. Make our dinner. After dinner we take a quick shower and take a walk into town.
We see that most stores are closed now. Only the bars and restaurants are open. There’s also a supermarket still open so we decide to buy some drinks and head back to the hostel. At the hostel there is not to many people. A lot of them have gone out to the restaurants and bars. We enjoy our drink in the backyard.
Then Pandora comes sit at our table. She asks if we smoke pot but no we don’t. We find out she is the owner and we met her daughter earlier at the door upstairs. She asks us if we stay more days because this weekend will be an art festival. Sounds really nice but we cannot stay here. We are meeting Kim’s parents in Costa Rica so we are a little bit on a schedule. She cannot imagine that we are not staying at this beautiful place. Sixteen years ago she was also travelling but then she ended up here in Placencia and never left ever again, she says.
Then she leaves with another lady who is staying over in the hostel to go to a party at a restaurant.
We sit in the backyard for awhile and when we finish our drinks we hop into bed.
When we wake up we take a little walk on the beach. We watch the sea for awhile.
Back at the hostel we make some coffee and eat some breakfast in the backyard. A girl comes sitting at our table. We find out she is Dutch too! We haven’t met a lot of people from the Netherlands 🇳🇱. That’s nice. Her name is Joanne and she is from Emmeloord. She is backpacking for a total of 13 months. She is now 7 months into the trip. She has been going back and forth between Mexico and Guatemala. In Mexico she has met someone who is now her boyfriend she tells us. She says she thought it would never happen to her but it did!
Like us she is also leaving the hostel today because she needs to be in Nicaragua in 2 weeks because her mom is coming to visit her there. She is leaving the peninsula on a boat to Honduras. It is already leaving early so she needs to hurry.
“Okay, it was nice chatting with you. Have a good and safe trip!”
We pack up our tent and put everything on our bicycles again.
We decided that we want to take a stroll through town before we take the Hokey Pokey boat out of town to the main land. It is a nice little town with a lot of tourists. We take a look in some shops. Buy some groceries and head back to the hostel do our last things before we leave. We pay Pandora for the night we stayed. She says that she hopes that the people from the Hokey Pokey boat will take us. They don’t always take the bicycles with them. “We hope so too, otherwise we will be back in half an hour!”😉
At the Hokey Pokey cassier desk there is a big man behind it. We ask him if we can go on the next boat. He takes a look at us with our bicycles and he says;”We have to wait and see if the small boat comes back.” We don’t really understand what he means with that but okay it’s a wait and see.....
So we wait....and we see....
The boat that arrived is already filled with people and taking off.
Then the big guy says; “Yes, you can go on that other boat there.” Probably there is another one that we didn’t see yet, but it’s there and we can go! We take the panniers off the bikes and put everything onto the boat. There’s also some other people, so also this boat is totally filled up. We are so glad that we can go and not have to wait until tomorrow!
The boat ride is nice. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get us to the other side.
There we arrive at Independence. We need to get some water so Arjan goes in a supermarket to ask if they have big bottles. Meanwhile Kim is standing outside with the bicycles. Two boys on their bicycles come op to her. One of them says; “Hey misses where are you riding from?” She tells them we are riding from Alaska to here. They are amazed and start asking a lot more questions like; “How long are you cycling and where are you from? Have you been to the Belize zoo?
Why do you have two different cycling gloves?”
“Ah, yes the gloves.” Kim tells them she lost one of each that is why she is wearing two different kinds. They ask if they both can have one. At first Kim’s doubting, but then she says; “Well okay why not, you boys can have them.” They are really excited, so it makes her day.
Arjan came out of the supermarket in the meantime. Kim tells him the story.
“Can we take a photo of you guys now you have my gloves?” Kim asks. “Yes, off course!” they say.
Okay let’s go riding. We need to do 70 kilometres still and it is already 1.30pm.
The road is not to busy, but not very interesting either. The cycling luckily goes pretty easy and for the most part we have tail wind.
Eventually we make it to Big Falls just before dark. That’s the name of the village wanted to reach today. Here we found a spot on iOverlander where we would be able to camp at “Big Falls Extreme Adventures”. A place where you can go zip lining from and go with a floaty over the river. They also have cabanas and if you ask the owner you can camp there as well. At least that’s what the info on the app says. When we cycle up to where the restaurant and reception is there is no one there. “Now what shall we do?” It’s getting dark in a few minutes so cycling is really not an option. It is to dangerous on these roads here. So we decide to just pitch our tent here. Next to the river there is a nice spot. Hopefully when we see the owner everything is already and he won’t be angry that we’re here... Wish for the best...
We cook and eat our meal. Wash ourselves in the river. When we are done with that we want to hop into the tent. Only we see that there is someone at the restaurant. The lights are on up there and there is some movement we can see. “Okay, now what?” We figure we can best go up there and tell our story and ask permission to stay.
We go up to the restaurant where a man and a woman are inside and a man who looks like a guest. Maybe he stays in one of the cabañas.
We talk to the man at the door and ask if we can camp here. He says he doesn’t know and says we should ask the lady. The boss is not here yet. So we ask the lady. She cannot understand us because she only speak s Spanish. Kim asks in Spanish if we can camp and we have our own tent with us. She directly reacts that she thinks it will be possible. She says if we just wait for a little bit because the boss will be here in a few minutes. “Alright, that’s fine, we will wait.” She asks if we want something to drink in the meantime so we ask for a beer.
A few minutes later the boss arrives; he speaks English so that is easy. We explain our story and tell that we already have put up our tent. We are really relieved when he says he is fine with it. We stay at the restaurant for awhile and have a chat with them all. The lady is his wife. The man who we thought was a guest is an American friend who is visiting them. The other man works here. They have breakfast in the morning if we like. They will be in the restaurant at 7.00 am.
Eventually we go back to our tent. It turned out to be all good and we are very glad that we decided to go up here.
Next morning it is a little rainy. We are at the restaurant at 7.30 am but there is nobody there. We can see there has already been people there and the coffee is already ready. They cannot be far. We decide we will pack up our things first. When we’re done we see the boss arriving in his car and he waves. Okay, time to have breakfast!
At the restaurant we get some coffee and tea and the bosses wife makes a very nice meal for us.
Meanwhile it started raining again pretty hard so we are glad we are not on the road already. We wait out the rain a little.
When the sky seems to clear we had off. We say goodbye and thank everybody for the nice stay here.
It is a short day of riding today. Before we know it we are in Punta Gorda. In town we enjoy an ice cream. We haven’t finished it or it starts raining again. Pretty hard too. We wait for the sky to clear again and start looking for a place where we can stay the night. It takes us an hour to find a good spot.
We check in at a guest house. We take a shower and go back onto the streets because we want to check where and at what time the boat will leave tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is a Sunday so we are not sure they are going on Sunday. We want to go to Guatemala tomorrow. The boat will leave here from Punta Gorda, Belize and will bring us to Punto Barrio in Guatemala. When we are walking towards the boat dock where the time schedule is we meet a guy. He just came from the boat and is looking for an ATM and asks us in his best English if we know where it is. Arjan knows and explains it. Kim asks where he’s from because of his accent and he is indeed from the Netherlands.🇳🇱 We proceed our conversation in Dutch. He tells us he has just got a few weeks. He flew to Guatemala yesterday and just came by boat to Belize. Tomorrow he will go back on the boat again to the Cayes islands to do some diving over there. After that he will go back into Guatemala and after that he’s got one week left for Costa Rica. “That’s a lot of travelling in a few weeks time!”
He is tired from all these hours of travelling so we say goodbye.
We take a look at the boat schedule. There’s a man asking if he can help. We ask him if they sail on Sunday and he tells us that they do indeed. The first one leaves at 9.30 am and the next one goes at 2.00 pm. He says that there will be a man sitting on a chair next to the gate selling us the tickets.
If the weather is good tomorrow morning we want to take the early boat.
It’s time for dinner already and when we cycled in to town we spotted a pizza place. The place is nice and it’s called “Pizza” probably because he is the only one selling it here in town. It’s run by a nice guy who does everything by himself. We take 1 big pizza with the two of us and it is big enough....It is a real good pizza but it is actually too big. So we take what’s left from the pizza with us. Good for breakfast!
Tomorrow we will leave Belize.
We are a bit sad that we already are finished cycling in Belize. We had such an amazing time here.
Belize you are unBelizeble! 😄 🇧🇿