Belmopan to Flores
Belmopan Travel Blog› entry 3 of 34 › view all entries
Woke up with the idea to get on the first bus out of Belize. I was in luck, there was a bus at the station about to depart to Benque, which i was told is the border town with Guatemala. Sign me up. Another chicken bus, but you cant argue with the price, 4 Belize dollars to the border. And the ride was interesting. Our driver almost ran over a bike race, and then we almost had a head on collision with a truck. The truck driver was not paying attention and swerved into our lane. The bus driver had to break hard and pull over on the dirt shoulder. I was not too worried, we were bigger, and the bus was full, so i would have had a nice cushion of bodies to fly into.
The bus stops short of the border, and it is wise to hire a taxi to take you to the border. It is not very far, but it can be tricky if you have never done it, because you can't see the border where you are dropped off. It only costs 2 Belize dollars to get to the border.
Leaving Belize is a racket! 30 Belize dollars to cross the border, outrageous. 10 Quetzal to enter Guatemala. During this time of organized robbery, a taxi driver was trying to convince me i needed to take his cab. My spanish is crap, apparently it showed to the driver because he kept asking me if i spoke spanish. I kept trying to convince him that i did, so he takes me to the bus stop, where i learn the bus to Guatemala City does not leave for another 5 hours, and the bus takes 12 hours. Now i know why the bus driver kept asking me if i speak spanish, i missed the small details of that conversation. So again, i explain i want to leave as soon as possible and get as far as possible. The taxi drives me to a very crowded van and tells me to get in. Well, i am a gamer, so i jump in. This is my first encounter with the ubiquitous collectivo. Collectivos are vans that stop whenever someone wants to get out, relatively cheap, and usually crammed tight. This particular collectivo was going to Flores, so that is where i was headed.
The price was 40Q, and the ride was hot. Most of the roads were dirt, so everytime a vehicle was headed our way, we had to close the windows to keep the dust out, which made the van fell like a dutch oven. Random roadway sight: a shirtless teenage boy riding a horse and leading 2 others, galloping near the road.
After a few hours in the collectivo we arrived at the bus station. Crazy busy terminal, i was a little confused, as i usually am when i get off a long bus ride, and people coming up to you offering you God knows what, even before i get my fricking bag. Whooaa everyone chill out and back the freaks up. Where am i? So apparently i am in a town across the river from Flores. I dont even know what the hell Flores is, but i know i am supposed to go there. Some dude points to a tuk tuk, like the ones in Thailand. So i hop in that and tell the driver cheap hotel. The driver goes down a few alleys and then points up a hill. So i walk around looking and dont find anything, tried to get something to eat, and that didnt work out either. In my wandering I found a proper hotel, with a proper expensive tab. But i was tired of walking around and i just took it. Hotel Villa Margerita was 125Q per night, which killed the budget, but they took Visa.
After checking in, i was in serious need of cooling off. So i followed some locals to the swimming hole. Cooled off in the lake and watched the sun set. For dinner i went to the strip, where there were comedors lining the short street fronting the lake. I had the tortilla harina, which i thought were soft tacos, wrong. It is one large flour tortilla, served open faced with meat and vegetables, and something that looked strangely like mayonaise. Drank some Brahva and went off looking for a bar to patronize. Apparently Sunday night is not the night to party at Flores.