This part of my journey has been purely about slowing down in this speed obsessed world. No pressure mon!
Once all my papers were in order and bank accounts restored I headed down to Tulum, Mexico via Valladolid.
Tulum has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that are just made to look that much more exquisite by the ancient Mayan temples in the background. Here I spent a few days soaking up sun and piña coladas. It’s a hard life, luckily no sun burn 🙂
From there me and a few travel companions headed south to Belize with the goal of going straight to Caye Caulker. Instead the bus arrived late to pick us up, and had many long stops along the way and arrived half an hour later then the last water taxi to the islands. With our late arrival in Belize City and having heard nothing but horror stories about the city we quickly got ourselves to a hostel. Now given the state of Belize City tourism and the general apprehension even the most experienced travelers had about even going in the first place to Belize City you would think that the prices for the hostel would be less then American prices, but such was not the case and we shelled out more then our fair share for the beds. The city itself was pretty nice, though the poverty was quite apparent. We went out for a traditional Belizian dinner and enjoyed a bit of their nightlife. Country karaoke anyone?
First thing in the morning we had breakfast and took an early water taxi to Caye Caulker. The moment I saw it, I loved it. The first thing I noticed was that there were no paved roads, only white sand roads. The only cars were those of the police and if you really felt the need to motor around you could take golf cart style taxis to get from one side of the island to the other. Prices were back to normal and the people were friendly. As soon as I checked into the hostel I found my way to Raggamuffin Tours where I got the last spot on a snorkeling sailboat out to the barrier reef. I wish I had an underwater camera with me. I saw fish of all sorts of amazing variety, pet a nurse shark and a sting ray, free dove to see in underwater caves, and witnessed endangered turtles in a marine reserve swimming around. Breathtaking and beautiful.
Slightly tipsy from the rum-punch they served on our way back I went out for dinner. Later me and a few friends went to a bar/restaurant called Herbal Tribe where we had a few drinks and talked with some amazing local characters. I had a long philosophical discussion with a gentleman called ManDingo, a self proclaimed prophet and generally interesting person. I look forward to seeing him again.
I spent the next day just lounging and exploring the island and left the next day for Flores, Guatemala.
Flores is a small town on an island in a lake surrounded by Santa Elena a town of slightly larger population. It is about an hour from the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal. I explored the island, had some down time and visited the ruins.
What set these ruins apart was the jungle backdrop. With howler and spider monkeys around as well as birds of all types, crocodiles and other fun wildlife chasing after me.
Also just the sheer area that the multiple ruins covered. It was certainly an impressive site.
So now I am in Quetzaltenango(aka Xela), Guatemala for the next month to focus on language learning and business. So probably less excitement and relaxing and more self development stuff for the next little while.