Jungle/tour(isten) Sunday, 28/9/2003
When I finished my last travel report the river water was treating the residents of San Ignacio. So next morning I was very curious how it would look like? Fortunately the water-level was already going down and was no treat anymore.
The last 2 destinations I visited from San Ignacio were the Mountain Pine Resort and Xunantunich. The first is a big nature reserve with lots of Pine trees (of course), but also some very beautiful waterfalls and caves and pools. Good to have a romantic swim and to take some very nice pictures! The only sad thing was that a few years ago almost 80% of the pine trees were killed by a pine beetle and it will take at least 40 years to recover
The temples of Xunantunich were not very special. The only thing I liked was the view from the top of the highest pyramid.
And then I had to leave Belize. I have seen most of the things I wanted to see and the things I haven't were just too expensive (Caracol for example) to visit. Especially on your own...
Crossing the border to Guatemala went very smooth. Only I had to pay 37.5 Bz$ to leave Belize? Perhaps because they have too less residents?
Flores, I always thought that it was a big touristic city, but it turns out to be just a big touristic village on an island in Lago de Petan, with one bridge to the city Santa Elena on the mean land. Both places I didn't like very much and also the grutas (caves) of Santa Elena were not very special. But hostel Dona Goya in Flores is good to meet other travellers.
Tikal and surrounding: I've already visited a lot of temples and ruins, but until now I think that the site of Tikal is the most impressive! It's big and has impressive temples, nature and wildlife.
El Remate deserves a place in my report, because I found it a very friendly and hospitable, farmer village.
Biotope Cerro Cahui is not very big, but has a few nice trails from where you can spot a lot of birds and have a nice view over Lago de Petan.
The ruins of Ceibal are most still covered with huge tropical vegetation. I had here a tarantula on my hand, but if you want to visit Ceibal be sure that you have a good guide or perhaps go on your own. But don't stay on the few trails, because it's boring and you see to less of the beautiful jungle.
Rio Dulce (sweet river) a small international yacht port, a city on 2 sides of Lago de Izabal, connected together by a very huge and high concrete bridge. Although the city has no big harbour of it's own, many boats, especially sailing boats, have found their place on the lake. Around the lake, on its beautiful shore, are also many, but not to much, villa's and hotels/hostels situated and in one of those, Casa Perico, I was happy to spend the night.
Livingston, here there live black people in a Caribbean coastal village, in Guatemala. To me it looked like Belize, even the way they were asking for money... The village is nice to visit for one day, have a good exercise to walk to the viewpoint and the small falls of Los Siente Altares on your own and leave next day. It's to bad that this Caribbean village has no Caribbean beach. I think that you can better spend some more time on other nice places around the beautiful lake or in the nature reserve nearby.
El Paraiso, another waterfall, but this one is special! This is the first warm/hot waterfall I've ever seen and it is dropping it's water in a cold pool. I guess it was also the first hot shower I've had within 2 weeks.
Poptun, or better said the farm Finca Ixobel. A big farm-resort surrounded by hills with trees, with lots of cabins and dormitory's to sleep. It's a great place to met other travellers, to have good real bread, a very good dinner and to join some tours. I can recommend to experience the fun of innertubing, only it can be a little dangerous. Also, watch out for the
Some things I've learn these last 2 weeks are>
There is a big difference between walking through the jungle and seeing some wildlife. Except for the fact that you need some luck, the best way to see wildlife is to walk calm, look very well around and keep your ears wide open. Some times it's even better to stay stand and listen, but not to long, because the mosquito's like that...
Something else I've learn is that you need more people, if you want or not, too do the special (jungle)tours, visit places witch are difficult to reach and to keep it payable