Belize is famous for its beaches, coral reefs, watersports and being a favourite destination for rich American tourists. I was looking forward to Belize because of one selfish reason: they spoke English. My Spanish is not very good, and that made communication in Guatemala difficult. But as a former British colony I expected no problems speaking to the Belizean locals.
We crossed the border from Guatemala to Belize on foot. Our tour guide gathered up all our passports and took them in to be stamped out of Guatemala, we didn’t even need to show our faces to anyone. Then we walked across the border and got stamped into Belize. We said goodbye to our minibus and got into some local taxis for the short drive to San Ignacio.
Our taxi driver explained that the locals spoke English, Spanish and a local Creole. But education is generally in English and it is still the official language. Belize is definitely a developing nation, but the people were all incredibly friendly.
San Ignacio is a small inland town that most people use as a base to visit the nearby ATM Caves or Mayan ruins. There’s a tiny little tourist area in the middle of the town featuring some restaurants, shops and bars, as well as plenty of tour operators. We stayed in a small hotel called Casa Blanca Guest House where you had to pay extra for air conditioning. I wouldn’t say that San Ignacio is dangerous, but there was a decent amount of security features on our hotel door and windows and it’s probably not recommended to wander around at night.
The next day everyone was free to do their own thing, and a group of us chose to go tubing. Now I’ve been tubing in Laos, but apart from the actual rubber tubes you floated in this was nothing like that. We drove for about an hour to reach the river, and then we had to walk for about twenty minutes to the starting point. From here we jumped into the water and floated through a series of caves. At times we got out of the tubes and went exploring through some of the caves, which was absolutely amazing. Our guide told us a lot about local history, which was nice to hear about. He was really friendly and happy to answer any questions.
I honestly have no idea how long we floated for. At least 90 minutes, and probably more. We eventually ended up back at the carpark where our car was parked. They actually have reasonably nice changing rooms and a few restaurants and things like that here, so remember to bring a change of clothes.
After that it was back to San Ignacio for a final night in our hotel before heading off to Caye Caulker!