I’m on a mission to have visited all of the countries in the continental Americas by the end of this year. It’s not likely to actually happen, but a girl can dream. I’m limiting it to continental Americas, because I don’t think I deserve to tackle all of the islands until I can spell Caribbean without spell check. My brain repeatedly insists that it is Carribean. Doh.
Countries I had remaining as of Jan 1, 2015:
Paraguay (I spent an evening there, but doesn’t meet my “at least 72 hour rule”)
To kick off the new year and celebrate my husband’s birthday, we decided to tackle the closest to us: Belize!
What is it they say?…..”It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
We decided on the 8th that we should go and left on the 13th, so it didn’t leave much time for planning….but that’s ok, how hard can it be to go to the beach?
The adventure began in the Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo, my second least favorite city/town in Mexico to date (Villahermosa gets first place!). We’ve been there twice now and got stranded there both times. It’s typically about 115 degrees in the shade, it smells funky and just seems like another sketchy border town. This time around, I’d been advised not to buy the ferry tickets from Chetumal to San Pedro, Belize in advance because there are multiple ferry companies and you don’t know which company will be going on any given day. We were feeling lucky and timed our bus arrival to arrive about an hour before the ferry. Not so lucky. Upon arriving were informed that the day’s ferry was sold out. We briefly considered crossing the border and either hopping a quick island flight or seeing if there were other water taxi services not advertised on the Mexican-side but Luis was thankfully acting sensibly and pointed out that we were likely to spend a bunch of money and get ripped off if we did things in a hurry so we opted to just stay put, get our bearings, ask around for an alternative, and get an early start the following morning. We hunkered down in a crap Chetumal hotel and made ourselves feel better with some massive portions of fish tacos, ceviche and cervezas.
Take Two: 5 am the following day. I was perfectly happy to rise at 4:45 if it meant getting my foot out the door of the crap hotel and on our way to bluer skies. A taxi to the Belize side of the border cost us 150 Pesos ($10 US) and included a wait for us to go through immigration on the Mexico side. There was exactly one “taxi” on the other side, a man who uses his private vehicle to shuttle around tourists and he took us the remaining 10 miles or so to the town of Corozal and the ferry dock for $20 US. The second taxi ride included a shady middle of no where currency exchange which I decided to sit out from the safety of the car. Both taxis charged higher fares than they should have but given it was dark, 5 o’clock in the morning and the only taxis we saw….it was fine….plus, we were getting the hell out of Chetumal – I’ll gladly pay a premium for that!
I may have been bushy tailed, but I wasn’t quite bright eyed so we bought our ferry tickets and decided to get some coffee. I know I’m travelling “Jess-style” when I find myself someplace random with only nescafe on tap.
Another day, another Nescafe. Life is grand!
We waited around as a few more passengers began arriving on the dock, enjoying the rising sun and the crass chatter of a group of fishermen who seemed much more interested in cursing up a storm and getting the day’s gossip than actually catching anything.
At promptly 7am, the ferry departed and we were on our way. 15 hours behind schedule, but Caye Caulker-bound!