In 2018, I spent the last two weeks of my travels in Central America, travelling up the the Yucatan Peninsular on the East Coast of Mexico, from Chetumal to Cancun. I travelled by bus from Flores in Guatemala, up through Belize, to Chetumal in Mexico on a nine hour bus trip which I took through the daytime. There haven’t been many days in my life (I think this could be the only one?) where I have had my breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries so I thought it deserved its own blog post!
Breakfast was pancakes at my hostel in Flores. The bus was leaving early, so I ate them quickly and walked to the bus stop which was essentially a huge car park. The first part of the journey from Flores to Belize was actually quite pleasant, the coach was fairly big and empty which was ideal. I met two Americans on the bus and as the only backpackers, we got chatting and looked out for each other for the rest of the journey.
As we reached the border with Belize, which all had to dismount the bus with our luggage and walk through a scanner. Belize felt quite different to the Latino countries in Central America. As a former British colony, the country has more of Caribbean island vibe, their official languages are English and Belizean Creole. As a Brit, it was fun to see the Queen was on the banknotes – I read since that this is because it still holds strong ties with Britain. As we got back on the bus, and drove through the country and passed lots of poor areas, with simple, colourful houses as below.
After a couple of hours of driving, we stopped in Belize City on the coast for a lunch break. We were dropped off in a car park and told to return in two hours, for the next bus that would take us onwards to Mexico. The Americans and I found a cafe for lunch along the water’s edge, but it only took cash (as did all the others we tried) so we had to wander around until we found an ATM. It felt a bit pointless to pay expensive ATM fees to take out a new currency for just two hours in a country but there you go! Belize City isn’t known for its safety record, so we felt apprehensive straying too far but it actually felt fine walking around – but then again not many places feel unsafe in broad daylight when there are lots of people around going about their business. We went back to the café and sat in the sun which was lovely. Lunch was fairly expensive, a sandwich and a beer cost me about $20. (Not exactly sampling the local delicacies but there wasn’t many options!)
After lunch we headed back to the car park, and swapped over to a minibus which was a lot more cramped than the way up so far. After a few more hours driving, we found ourselves at the Mexican border. It was thankfully a reasonably straight forward crossing, luckily quite empty with an extremely grumpy border patrol man. We arrived in Chetumal in the evening, and were dropped at the travel company’s office. For a further charge, the same company offered to drive a few of us to Bacalar which was the next town up, about 30 minutes away and ideally our final destination so that was great, as a nicer than finding ourselves a taxi. We arrived in Bacalar in the dark – the Americans had booked a different hostel to mine so we took a taxi and then split up. We checked in and then met up for dinner, in a tiny street cafe and had a spicy fajita and a corona beer. Cheers!