Belize Trip – arrival

Waking up at the Copa Banana; our first morning in Belize!BELIZE!We have had a lot of interest in Vaughn and Greg’s trip to Belize, so thought that I would post the details here.. will post more as I get a chance.Vaughn (dad) and our oldest, son Greg (19), went to Belize for 2 weeks in March 2009. They went down as a scouting trip of sorts, with the possibility of taking the entire family down there. As they bought their plane tickets somewhat last minute, it was very expensive to fly into Belize City, so they decided to fly into Cancun, getting to experience the border crossing, and the bus.

BELIZE – DAY 1 & 2

They arrived in Cancun on Wed. night at about 7:30 and got on the bus to Playa de Carmen, arriving at 10pm. It was hot and humid, and after getting to sleep in their a/c hotel room, they were awakened at 5am by shrieking Ani birds . Continental style breakfast didn’t begin until 8am (it’s very laid-back down there), so they got up and took a walk along the beach.Anxious to get into Belize, they arrived at the ADO bus terminal at 8:30, leaving at 9:30. The buses in Mexico are very nice! Quite plush for public transportation; movies, a/c, reclining seats… and cheap. It took 4 hours to reach the border city of Chetumal. Customs at the border was easy, the Mexican process more friendly and easy than the Belizean. Even though it seemed as if no-one in Mexico spoke English!
The boys found the border crossing to be quite interesting! Any semi-trucks going fromBz toMx had to go throughMx army checkpoints – all the soldiers have H&K G3’s (big guns), and were wearing full body armor. The borderruns along the RioHondo river, and there were armored gunboats moored along the banks. The tourist police do not carry firearms, but the checkpoint guards (found periodically along the MX roads) carryuzis.After crossing the border into Bz,, they caught a bus for Corozal where they had hotel reservations. The buses in Bz are not nearly as nice as the ones in Mx; most are old school buses from the states, and there are no seating assignments or occupancy limits; if people are standing along side the road waving down the bus, it will stop just long enough for them to get both feet on the steps and then speed off down the road. The riders simply make room for the new arrivals no matter how full the bus already is!Getting to the bus station in Corozal, while unloading their luggage, they were approached by a man offering his taxi services. ‘Junior’ would take them to their hotel for $8bz ($4USD). Junior liked to talk and was a wealth of information. He speaks 4 or 5 languages; the joke down there is:

Q.what do you call someone that speaks 2 languages? A: bilingual
Q.what do you call someone that speaks only 1 language? A: an American

Junior also has several occupations: he owns his own car which he uses as a taxi (no meters down there, just ask for a quote), he had a stack of ‘for sale’ fliers on the dash of his car and is therefore a real estate agent, and he will also serve as your tour guide if desired. On the way to the hotel, Junior was waved down by a local officer, who was also a friend, to whom he gave a ride – both men were very polite and friendly.

The Copa Banana Hotel in Corozal is owned by Connie and her husband, who moved down from the states about 8 years ago. She was such a great source of information (and it was nice that she spoke fluent English!). She answered quite a few questions that Vaughn had, such as:

*Buying groceries in Mx (there is a WalMart in Playa de Carmen, and a Sam’s Club in Chetumal) and bringing into Bz, difficulty/duties? ~It’s very easy to get across the border, and the duties are next to nothing for groceries (consumables). You just need to be patient – Belizeans are NEVER in a hurry, including those at the borders.
*Hidden costs of living? ~10% GST (general sales tax), food and drink exempt.
*What makes expats move back to the US or Canada? ~they miss the conveniences or life style they had previously.

After a tour of the hotel (5 suites and an apartment), the guys walked up the street to Tony’s Inn and Restaurant for dinner. Vaughn had blackened Grouper, mashed potatoes, fried veggies, toast, and pineapple cheesecake (cost $9USD – Tony’s is the most expensive restaurant in town!). Greg enjoyed a huge plate of Chipolte Chicken Fajitas and pineapple cheesecake.

Off to bed early to recoup from the trip and the early awakening in Mx. The Copa Banana is a great place to stay – just don’t swim in the canal out back – you’ll find the crocs a little friendly!

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. Talking about all that yummy food made me hungry!! It sounds alot like where Danny is from in Mexico. The restaurants in houses and such.

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