A Travellerspoint blog

Punta Gorda to Placencia

You better Belize it..........this is the one that will make you sick

Hey guys,

Well we're seriously back in paradise now, just wait 'til you see these pics!! After we last wrote we had a day of boat travel as we had to go back to Puerto Barrios on the coast of Guatemala in order to catch another boat to Punta Gorda in Belize. 'PG' as it's known by the locals is basically just a sleepy little seaside town and we spent the day just hanging out and getting into the laid back pace of Belizian life.

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We stayed at a cool little hotel where the owner called me a 'pretty english girl with a jewel nose bump' ha ha!! Here is Rusty on the main street outside...

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Anyway we only spent one night here before catching the morning bus to Mango Creek, the bus driver was an ace chap who liked to play Reggae tunes at a loud volume no matter what time of day. G you would love this place! We got to Mango Creek and had to take a water taxi to Placencia which is a tiny strip of what is basically just beach reaching out from the Belizian Coast......Its quite crap as you can see!!!!!

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We managed to get ourselves a lovely little hotel which backed up on the seafront, here is the view out of the backdoor!

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The town itself is like nowhere else we've been. There is a road running down the lagoon side of the peninsula but the main street through the town is literally just a small concrete path which weaves through the clapboard houses, which are all set in gardens of sand!! This is Rusty on the main path, which was apparently once in the Guiness book of records for the narrowest street in the world (yes that's two very famous streets we've seen now folks!)

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Mum you would love all the beautiful flowers and plants here too, this place is so pretty.

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Our first night was spent in the Barefoot bar where 'ya got ta show sum toe' which was right on the beach, we met some interesting and very drunken people, the Alaskan wolf killers being a particular highlight and also a lovely couple who were on their honeymoon see below.....

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We somehow (even though I was wittering on at them drunkenly for ages) managed to wangle an invite to go see the honeymooners in the morning, they were staying at Francis Ford Coppola's Turtle Inn Hotel. Its was well nice!!!!

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More days were spent lounging on the beach and eating the best and freshest seafood ever while working on a deep and very professional tan. Worst we have sought high and low in PG and Placencia for someone who has heard of Abalone but alas this person does not exist!! We have even had maps out in dive shops and all sorts! So no visits or pics I'm afraid, but we have seen some of the little cayes offshore and can only imagine how cool it must have been!

Heading off to Belize City with sad faces in the morning. Miss you guys loads and while its paradise its not the same without you. Big hugs C & R XxX

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Posted by russncath 15:49 Archived in Belize Tagged backpacking Comments (5)

Return to Rio Dulce and a Lancha to Livingstone

Water, water everywhere...

After our day trip to Tikal we were ready to head back down to Rio Dulce. (Seems a bit back to front but knew we wanted to visit Tikal but also wanted to cross into Belize in the south so had to go back on ourselves). Anyway we got seats on the bus this time so was a much more comfortable journey and we could actually see the passing countryside. Really green and jungly this side of Guatemala although unfortunately a lot of the primary forest is disappearing due to the usual logging etc.

So glad we decided to stay another night in Rio Dulce on our way back through as this time we stayed on a place out on the river and think we finally got what all the fuss was about! Our hotel was down a little inlet...

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and had cool little wooden buildings on stilts in the swampy jungle all connected with wooden boardwalks...

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We spent the afternoon chilling and generally taking in the jungle atmosphere, and avoiding the little green snake which fell out of the tree above us as we were eating lunch!! Fortunately there was a little restaurant on site and we partook of the lovely buffet with the other people staying at the hotel that evening.

Up early mañana for the trip to Livingstone the Lancha was cool and we got to see all the sights on the way such as:

Castillo De San Felipe....

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The Laguna Garden....

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While we were here some kids rowed over to us in a kayak made out of a log to show us some of the local fauna...

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The river was amazing and the further we got along the grander and more jungley it became, there were still people living along the banks in simple little huts and the towering trees reached right to the bank....

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We arrived into Livingstone after our river journey and it's a pretty crazy little place. You can only get here by boat and it's sort of a port town as it's right on the golf of Honduras and has boats going to Punta Gorda in Belize, although not every day which we found out when we got here, so have had to chill here for a couple of days. Chilling is easy here though as it fits with the Garifuna culture, which is a mix of indian and black, and quite like the rastafarian vibe.

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Found a pretty little hotel with a good courtyard for reading books in, and have sampled some of the local fish dishes which you can imagine are pretty fresh here!

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We did the tour around the town, which is about two streets and took in the local museum. In the middle of the local park with all the swings and fresh faced children playing we also found a lovely little pond which contained four of these......hmmmmmmmm

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Anyway we are heading off for Punta Gorda in Belize tomorrow so more from there, lots of love and miss you all loads...R & C xxx

Posted by russncath 16:27 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Rio Dulce, Flores & Tikal

Buses, boats and broken buildings...

Left Antigua some time a few days ago on a shuttle bus which dropped us in Guatemala city. Fortunately we only had to see the inside of a bus station before we were on our way again for a long journey cross country to Rio Dulce. This is basically a river which flows out of Lake Izabel in eastern Guatemala, all the way to the carribean. There´s a little town where the lake meets the river called Fronteras where we spent a funny night staying in a Yachties hangout called Brunos...

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Had a cool room with views over the jungly river...

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The town itself was not that great though so we decided to get straight out of there the next day and head on up to Flores in northern Guatemala. Here is Rusty managing to smile very nicely considering he had already been standing up for 3 hours of a 4 hour bus journey!!

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Anyway after that we arrived in Flores, this place is cooooooooool! Its on a lake linked to the town of Santa Elena by a spit of land 500m long and is like a tiny island! Its really nicely done....apart from the roads.... and they have the usual tuk tuks racing around...

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The view you get is amazing and we took advantage of the happy hour at a bar right on the front, we got to look at this as we drank the best frozen Mojitos....

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After this we sat on our hotel balcony and watched the sun set into the lake before heading out for a lovely dinner at a restaurant reaching out on stilts over the water...

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Up early the next day to get a shuttle to Tikal, we saw some ruins at Copan but we were not prepared for the sheer scale of these ancient mayan buildings...

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Walking around we came across some bloke who had a big Tarantula....he said it was his pet but I think he just found it in the Jungle!!! Anyway you could hold it if you wanted here`s Cath....

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There is a pic of Rusty holding it too, but he is NOT smiling!! We spent a good few hours wandering around Tikal and taking in the atmosphere of it all, but the best moment by far was getting to the top of Temple IV (the highest one) where the view over the Peten jungle was simply breathtaking...

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All in all we´ve had a fab time in Guatemala, but it´s nearly over! We´re heading back to Rio Dulce tomorrow to catch a boat down the river to Livingstone, from where we can catch a ferry to Punta Gorda in Belize (Kirst I guess you´ll prob start recognising the photos from this entry on!) Not long to go now, miss you all lots and lots, C&R xxx

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Posted by russncath 16:14 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (5)

Lake Aitilan

Panajachel and Santiago Aitilan

Hey everyone,

Cath again here. As you may have noticed from the last entry I have been writing most of the blog today as Rusty isn't feeling too well. He has got a nasty ear infection, so I have sent him to bed with some Ibroprofen and a good book! Think the cup of tea we had earlier and the fact we watched Notting Hill last night have made him a bit homesick too so lots of sympathy messages would be good ;)

Anyway let me tell you about our little side trip to Lake Aitilan in the Guatemalan highlands...We got a chicken bus cross country to get there, and saw some beautiful agricultural countryside on the way...

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The last part of the journey involved a truly hair-raising ride down this crazy mountain road which wound down to the lake really steeply; my nerves were not helped by the cavalier approach of the bus driver, like most other drivers here he seems to think it's a good idea to drive on the left until something is actually coming the other way (yes they are supposed to drive on the right!) I have discovered that if you sit on the left of the bus though you are either looking at the side of the mountain or at least have another lane (supposedly) between you and the drop...anyway I digress...

We decided to stay in Panajachel which is probably the most touristy of the lakeside villages, but is also the easiest to get to by bus and has the most accomodation etc. We found somewhere to stay and wandered down to the Lake which is easily the most beautiful lake we have seen yet (and that's saying something). The water is really, really clear and its setting in a bowl surrounded by volcanoes is really peaceful and has a totally cut-off from civilisation feel.

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We wandered round Pana's artisan markets that afternoon and overall felt a bit depressed by it I think. The stuff they are selling is so lovely but the place is completely saturated with it, I swear there are more stalls than tourists. Just makes you wonder how these people make a living. Everyone is very friendly and smiley though so they are obviously doing ok.

The next day we took a boat trip across the lake to Santiago Aitilan which is one of the more traditional lakeside villages. The journey across the lake was top- speeding along on one of the little lanchas and marvelling at some of the crazy houses set into the side of the volcanoes (obviously some people have got lots of money here!) Here's the view as we pulled into Santiago...

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The village itself was not that pretty actually. Lots of the houses here are half finished concrete affairs that don't look half as nice when they've not been painted pretty colours and they've still got steel rods sticking out the top waiting for the next floor to be built! We had a fun time wandering round the local market though and watching what seemed to be some kind of schools performance with the village kids all dressed up in crazy costumes. (You'll notice that the pic below isn't too close up to the villagers, as apparently they're not keen on tourists taking pictures of their children).

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Anyway we did manage to ask a friendly local girl to take a picture of us on the lancha ride back, a pretty good one I think!

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So we're safely back in Antigua today and have been enjoying the fine food and atmosphere of civilisation again; even went to a live jazz concert in the atrium of an old church last night! We're off to Rio Dulce in the east of Guatemala tomorrow (a tiny place where most of the buildings are on stilts in the water!) Wish us luck!! Keep those comments and emails coming as lovely to hear from you all, all our love, C&R xxx

Posted by russncath 14:38 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (5)

Amazing Antigua

Everyone should visit this place- it's ace!

Hi everyone, Hope you are all well and enjoying the warmer weather back home...

After our few days in Copan Ruinas we left Honduras and crossed the border into Guatemala. It was a fairly easy day of travel as one shuttle minibus took us the whole way to Antigua, just long and hot as usual! The countryside became more mountainous and dry as we crossed Guatemala and we were glad that we were only passing through Guatemala city as this looked like the most hectic and least attractive city we've seen yet!

Anyway we finally arrived into the lovely Antigua; think cobbled streets, more of the prettily painted colonial houses and many, many, many gorgeous little cafes and restaurants in green courtyards. All overlooked by the obligatory central american volcano!

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We found a lovely little hotel with great views over the city from the roof terrace.

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We spent a very pleasant three days in Antigua seeing the sights and generally taking in the atmosphere of the city. Particularly impressive were the monastery ruins behind the Mercad church, which included an enormous fountain and the best views over the city...

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Seriously everyone should come here at least once, it's such a great place for hanging out, although rather dangerous in terms of spending money due to all the afore-mentioned eateries and loads of crazy souvenir shops and artisan markets. The one below was the most mind boggling we've seen! (Hope you all like wooden Jesus's!)

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Seriously this place has stolen my heart and we were even able to get a good old English cup of tea and a scone!!!!

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We had to leave at some point though and set off for Lake Aitilan in the Highlands (see next entry). Funnily enough though as we write this we are actually back in Antigua as have come back for a couple more days before we head across to the east of the country...More about that later...

Lots and lots of love and missing you all lots, C&R xxx

Posted by russncath 14:22 Archived in Guatemala Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

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