Monday, October 12, 2009

Southern Belize

September 6th and 7th

In Placencia, we finally bid a fond farewell to Anna and Ali who are continuing on into Honduras. We've got plans to re-enter Guatemala and see the jungle gorges around Livingston and Rio Dulce, whilst they are keen to make up some time and put some miles in further south. So we head our separate ways. Good luck guys - it's been great riding together and we'll catch up somewhere else on this big blue/green ball of a planet....

Rather than ride north back along the Placencia peninsula, Sue and I take a short boat ride across the lagoon to 'Independencia'.

Oh the King is Coming....

Unlike Guatemala and much of Central America, Belize is mainly tropical lowlands with just a small, largely uninhabited mountain range in the centre of the country. The Maya Mountains top out at around 1000m (3300ft), small bumps in comparison to Guatamalan monsters; many of which soar comfortably above 3500m (11,500ft). The roads here skirt the highlands and riding generally looks like this....

It's hot, sultry work. To the west we see the Maya Range that would provide some spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea and some welcome relief from the heat, but the Humingbird Highway and now the Southern Highway were built to circumnavigate these peaks....

After suffering the loss of Anna and Ali, we are lucky to recruit a new team member on the road. On hearing we are heading to Guatemala, young Diego sets off in hot pursuit, his tiny legs a whirring blur as he tries to keep up....

He's with us for a couple of miles, before we convince him to return home....

Unlike this one that's been following me for about 9,000 miles now....

It's an easy ride through 3 different national parks - the 'Savannah', the 'Swasez Bladen' and the 'Deep River' Forest Reserves. Belize takes it's conservation seriously, in the sense that 40 percent of the country is now national parkland and many of it's animal species are protected. We meet a marine biologist - Penelope who's worked here for several years and explains she is still torn between; on the one hand the government's desire to do good, and on the other it's opportunistic cash grab by taking otherwise unused land and charging an entry fee to tourists.
Hhhmmm that's a tricky one.

What's not up for debate is the beauty of the land. Not in a spectacular sense like the Guatemalan Highlands. No, here it's more of an easy going type of easy on the eye. The variety of bizarre flowers is impressive....

The variety of the people is also impressive. Belize probably has the biggest diversity of peoples I have ever seen anywhere, and this in a country about the size of Massachusetts state. Placencia was mainly a 'Creole' town, where Dangriga was mainly 'Garafuna' or 'Garinagus', a mix of indigenous South American and Africans. A third of the population are 'Mestizos' of indigenous Central American and European descent, and there are also Indian, Chinese, European and North American communities. Added to that are a range of Mayan tribes, the 'Yucutec' in the north, the 'Mopan' in the west where we crossed the border and here the 'Kekchi'.

You only have to ride a couple of hours for the language, the clothing and the shapes of the faces to change completely. Gone are the wooden stilt houses of the Creoles in Placencia and the more Guatemalan style Mayan huts and corn fields now dot the landscape....

An hour later, the colourful traditional Mayan dress fades out and it's all American baseball caps, colourful basketball shirts and bling-bling as we near the American rapper styled town of Punta Gorda and it's 'Garifuna' population. We're back to Caribbean chill-ax and the bikes reflect the laid back attitude - beach style cruisers are the rides of choice round here. Single speed - no brakes, white walled fat tyres and very cool....

Punta Gorda is pretty much the end of the road - this is literally the southernmost road in the country. Belize is not particularly blessed with an abundance of routes, but then not many people drive and the roads that do exist are empty. South of here there is nothing and the only transportation out of Punta Gorda is by boat, either to Honduras, or to Guatemala. We have to spend the last of our Belizean dollars and 'Miriam's' restaurant offers a good opportunity with it's fine blend of Indian and Caribbean cooking. We spend an evening reminiscing about past bike tours with Vanessa and Piotr, a couple we met in Placencia and then again in Punta Gorda who rode from Italy to Spain.

We also discover 'fry-jacks' for breakfast, an oily, bready, corny deep-fried thing that is totally bad for you and totally delicious with eggs and hot sauce.

I took a photo of the last of the money before we converted it all to food. It just seemed a bit weird seeing the British Queen on currency not only denoted in dollars, but sporting pictures of jaguars as well! The back of the $20 depicts tapirs, ocelots, spider monkeys and a raccoon like 'coatimundi' and is very cool....

Can't say a lot happened in Punta Gorda. It is described in the guide books as being so laid back, the locals can't even be bothered calling it by it's full name. Even the road signs refer to it rather diminutively as 'PG'.
It's true! Nothing happened here and 'sleepy' is an understatement, but it's a nice place to relax on our last Belizean stop before heading through Immigration, parting with a $37.50 exit tax and boarding the world's smallest international boat....

Next stop Livingston and a return to Guatemala...


Anonymous said...

I like reading your blog for the reason that you can constantly get us new and cool things, I feel that I ought to at least say thanks for your hard work.

- Rob

Anonymous said...

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

Anonymous said...

If you could e-mail me with a few suggestions on just how you made your blog look this excellent, I would be grateful.

Sween in SAmerica said...

Thanks for the kind words guys. Always good to hear people appreciate what we are doing.

Anonymous - last comment. Happy to give you some info, just drop me your email to and I'll try to help.


Anonymous said...

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be
on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say
to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about
worries that they just don't know about. You managed to hit
the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing
without having side effect , people could take a signal.
Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Have a look at my blog post: boom beach diamonds hack

Unknown said...

san antonio spurs jerseys
the north face jackets
nike running shoes
mizuno running
spurs jersey
canada goose outlet
oakland raiders jerseys
tommy hilfiger outlet store
derrick rose jersey
raiders jerseys
north face jackets
blake griffin jersey
chelsea soccer jersey
cheap jordans
ugg boots
the north face outlet
kobe bryant shoes
chanel handbags
denver broncos jerseys

Unknown said...

شراء اثاث مستعمل
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالطائف
شركة تنظيف مجالس بالطائف
شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف
شركة تنظيف شقق بالطائف
شركة تنظيف بالطائف
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالطائف
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالطائف
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالطائف

Unknown said...

20170528 junda
coach factory outlet
pandora jewellery
coach outlet store online
coach outlet store online
true religion jeans sale
michael kors outlet clearance
michael kors uk
gucci outlet online
michael kors outlet clearance
roshe run

Unknown said...

cheap ray bans
cheap ray ban sunglasses
canada goose parka
true religion jeans
ray ban sunglasses
cheap oakley sunglasses
ugg outlet store
michael kors outlet
nike outlet
coach outlet clearance

56 said...

0806jejeUn excellent moyen de rendre les questions nike air max 1 pas cher femme plus excitantes devrait être de fournir une personne ensemble qui se fera un plaisir de partager ces connaissances avec vous et comprend votre sentiment de style. Il se caractérise par un conducteur en composite de titane de 460 cc, doté d'un manche en graphite, de bois de parcours en new balance femme bleu marine et doré acier inoxydable avec des arbres en métal et de deux hybrides en acier inoxydable faciles à atteindre. Le rapport du Dr James Barnard qui a étudié à l'École de médecine de basket basse nike air max l'Université de Californie à Los Angeles a eu la même idée avec Act. Néanmoins, je recommande de ne pas essayer de nous contrôler aux autres, puisque la vraie vérité de votre air jordan 1 en solde problème est toujours qu'ils peuvent être les plus efficaces qu'ils sont souvent et nous ne pouvons être que le meilleur que nous pourrions être, pas les deux. En outre, Nike publie des chaussures améliorées pour la gestion en plus de l'athlétisme. Certains d'entre eux ont été soumis ubiq x asics gel lyte v midnight bloom pas cher au $ sky-high.

Unknown said...

prada handbags
nike blazer pas cher
moncler online outlet
nike presto femme
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet online sale
canada goose outlet
nike chaussure
kate spade