Caye Caulker; our first taste of Belize

It was with nervous excitement that we left our hotel in Chetumal, Mexico and headed to the port. We decided that we would try get to Caye Caulker by ferry (via Ambergris Caye where immigration occurs), but once we reached the port that plan was definitely up for debate. The cost of the ferry we discovered was over 1000 Peso, making a few hours on a boat very expensive. So we flagged down a taxi and headed for option two: the bus.

We reached the buses and were immediately shown onto a bus which would go to Belize City for the insignificant amount of 100 Peso (approximately, we can’t remember the exact amount). The bus left soon after and we were on our way to the border. For some reason I always feel nervous when doing the border crossings, even though I have nothing to hide and nothing dodgy in my bags, I always breathe a little easier once the stamp is on my passport. Am I alone? Does anyone else feel like this as well? A couple of notes I will make on this particular border crossing is to have all your FMM information for Mexico with you. Just having the tourist card is often not enough to avoid them charging you again. The proof of payment will be in an itemised invoice (not all airlines provide this without asking) if you flew in or if you crossed a land border just remember to keep your official payment receipts. A few of the other backpackers on our bus got stung with this “tourist tax” as we have been calling it. On the Belizean side the customs staff were all lovely and friendly. Overall the crossing didn’t take long even having to get out of the bus twice so we were off south to Belize City with no issues. Continue reading

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Bahias de Huatulco

Our final destination on the coast we decided would be the more touristy town of Huatulco which is beside a large national park. We arrived after a relatively cheap collective taxi to Pochutla where we topped up our Peso at the Scotiabank before jumping on a cheap second class bus for an hour or so.

After arriving at the bus station it was immediately obvious that we had reached tourist country so we shouldered our packs and set of to hopefully find some cheap accommodation. During some internet research the previous day our initial impression of hotels in this town was that they would be at the upper limit of our budget. After stopping off at a few between the bus station and centro we were surprised to find that we had options. At about our fifth enquiry we came across a winner for 300 Peso per night. This got us a recently renovated room, en-suite, balcony and fan about four short blocks to the central plaza and less back to the bus station. This hotel ended up being super cute. When our room was cleaned each day they would arrange the towels as animals; we had a peacock, an elephant and kissing swans in a heart.

Our cute room

Our cute room

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Zipolite with many, many mosquitoes

Zipolite

Zipolite

After leaving Mazunte in the heat of midday we arrived by colectivo ute within 30 minutes to Zipolite, another small coastal town renown for it’s great beach, which also happens to be one of the most well known nude beaches in Mexico. Never fear, you can keep reading because you won’t find any mention of us going starkers or any photos of naked people on the beach (I hope). Zipolite if possible felt smaller than Mazunte with one main road which loops around in a semicircle to rejoin with the main road.

Zipolite main street

Zipolite main street

We set of to locate the places we had found online which looked promising for our accommodation. Along our walk through town we found heaps of dirt cheap places to stay but they all looked a bit rough so we kept walking. Our goal was a place Tom had looked at online which was off the beach in a jungle setting. After arriving and getting no answer from the bell we hung around for a while investigating a huge stick insect on the gate. It was probably 30cm long! While we were amusing ourselves with this (I promise we only touched it once each so we weren’t being horrible to the wildlife) the owner showed up. Perfect timing. He showed us to an individual cabaña with a small outdoor kitchen and while we were thinking about it he let us leave our bags so we could investigate other places. So nice! It was great being able to explore without our packs but he must have known we would return and accept the place because it was a great price.

HUGE stickinsect

HUGE stickinsect

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Zihuatanejo and beaches, beaches, beaches!

From Manzanillo we caught an overnight bus to Zihuatanejo another beach town further down the coast. We kinda did two no-no’s in this trip; a second class bus and overnight. Travelling through three States in the process, one being Michoacan again, is also not recommended. The bus was surprisingly comfortable for a second class and we decided it was more appropriate for it to be named a first and a half class. We were  stopped once during the night and armed personal of some description boarded and checked some ID’s but I was fast asleep,  Tom informed me of this after I woke. The bus made good time and we arrived in Zihuatanejo in the dark before 6 am. Our hostel would only be open from 7.30 so we sat around in the station for about an hour trying not to fall asleep.  After enquiring about buses or collectivos to the Centro without success we took the easy option of a taxi.

Beaches off Centro

Beaches off Centro

Arriving at the hostel we settled in to our room which felt like it was located in a jungle. The property had huge mango trees and gardens between the reception and the rooms. Unfortunately that was one of the only positives of the hostel. Though it wasn’t bad by any means we felt that it overpriced for what it was. To put it another way, I got used to cold showers while here. Continue reading