Travel Day: Rio Dulce, Guatemala to Punta Gorda, Belize

Punta Gorda Travel Blog

 › entry 31 of 34 › view all entries
This was the border town i ended up at...yikes

Authors warning:  Illegal activity, not recommended

This is where the 'no common sense' enters the story:

I wanted to get to Belize City today, so I went down to the “bus terminal” to hire a bus.  I should have known better, there were no buses going to Belize City.  This amazed me, because looking at the map, I thought Belize City would be very easy to get to.  The problem turns out not to be distance, but instead roads.  There were 2 basic options, only one of which was presented to me.  I was told the only way to get into Belize, was to travel up to Flores and then over to Belmopan.  This way, I would not cross the border until tomorrow.  I did not like this because I came from that way before, and I wanted to see the different parts of Belize, and possibly spend a day in Punta Gorda.  However, as it turns out, I should have taken the first option.  With Pao’s help, I found a way to get to Punta Gorda, and I would get there today.  I thought this is great, let’s do it!

Famous last words.  The first bus took me one and a half hours to a town called Chacte for 25Q.  Pao told the bus driver what I was trying to do, and so he tells me to get off, and wait in the street.  I am very confused; I thought I was taking that bus all the way to Punta Gorda.  So here I am, in the middle of the street in some strange town, waiting for another bus.  I love travelling because people always go out of their way to help you.  I tell a few people I am trying to get to Belize and they tell me where to stand to wait for a van.  Sure enough, I few minutes later this tiny van rolls up and everyone squeezed their way in the van.  Ok, this has to be the worst bus ride of them all.  All the roads were made of dirt and bumpy as hell.  My knee was getting smashed by the passenger in front of me.  It was blazing hot; I think satan was sitting next me.  At one time I counted 13 people in a very small van, and the driver kept pulling over, and people were climbing on the roof, it was absolutely crazy.  10Q and another hour and a half, and I arrived in Santa Cruz, the border town between Guatemala and Belize.  As soon as I stepped out of the van I knew I had made a grave mistake.

There was nothing but 2 dirt roads and 10 shanty shacks clinging to vertical.  Surely the border with custom agents is nearby right?  To my dismay, I found out there was no such thing around here.  Luckily, and I use that term loosely, a family was crossing the border on foot, illegally.  Well I haven’t broken the law in awhile, so I tagged along for the long walk in to no-man’s land. 

The walk took about 30 minutes, and as soon as we crossed a small stream, I knew we were in Belize.  Supposedly, some sort of custom agent hangs out on the Belize side and will rubber stamp you in, I am sure for a substantial fee.

my illegal border crossing
  Well, this person was not present when I arrived.  Instead, a beast of a bus that looked 30 years past it’s prime, was waiting.  The hood was open and looked inoperable when I was told this was the bus to Punta Gorda.  Reluctantly I climbed aboard and paid 6BZD for the 2 hour bus ride.

Once in Punta Gorda, I went to several hotels to find a bed.  The first one I could not find the manager and the next I believe went out of business.  So I tried one that I had heard of, but is the furthest away.  Natures Way is a very basic hotel, more like a hostel, run by an ex-pat American and his Belizian wife and their daughter.  For 23BZD I got a bed with a community bathroom.  The place was clean and comfortable, exactly what I needed after my long day of bad decisions.

I left the hotel in search of food.  The choices were pretty limited.  Nothing was open.  I happened upon a Chinese restaurant, the Chinese are everywhere.  I had the largest plate of food I had ever seen and the coldest bottle of water possible, it was brilliant.  I love the Chinese.

sunsetsailor says:
My experience was much simpler, but I'm sure less exciting.
You can get a river boat from Rio Dulce to Livingston, a boat from Livingston to Punta Gorda at 7am only Tuesdays and Fridays, then a direct bus from Punta Gorda to Belize City. My bus left at 9:50.
Posted on: Nov 13, 2009
twilk76 says:
yeah, im stupid
Posted on: Mar 03, 2009
Boston_Babe says:
All I can say is...wow!
Posted on: Mar 03, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
This was the border town i ended u…
This was the border town i ended …
my leaders
my leaders
my illegal border crossing
my illegal border crossing
the border of Belize and Guatemala
the border of Belize and Guatemala
my chariot
my chariot
Natures Way Hostel
Nature's Way Hostel
Natures Way Hostel
Nature's Way Hostel
Punta Gorda
photo by: twilk76