More often than not, crossing borders can be a daunting and sometimes nerve racking experience. The excitement of receiving a new stamp in your passport is quite often compromised by the uncertainty of what to do, where to go, how much to pay, and whether you’re being ripped off.
On the day that I left the very comfortable and friendly ’embrace’ of Rainforest Haven Inn (San Ignacio) I was filled with many retrospective thoughts. I was leaving my favourite town in Belize and would soon be leaving the country itself.
Belize was not at all what I expected. It’s expensive, it’s dirty, it’s chaotic, it’s quirky, and it has the most uncomfortable chicken buses I’ve experienced in the whole of Latin America. However, I’m actually glad that I visited this unique country. My wallet may well have been breathing a sigh of relief as I was leaving but my heart was not. There was something about Belize that finally struck a chord in my inquisitive nature.
Yes, there’s very little left to remind of its former connection with Great Britain, yes, it’s struggling with its independence and yes, there’s a lot of poverty. However, the people of this relatively tiny country are so incredibly friendly and so very laid back.
The bus from San Ignacio, heading for Belize city, left at 07:30 and broke down not long into the journey. Thankfully another bus was not too far behind and there were enough spare seats to accommodate myself and my fellow travellers.
I arrived at the Belize city bus terminal just in time to catch the 11:00 am chicken bus travelling to Chetumal (Mexico). The bus was full but it was obvious who was heading into Mexico – the gringos stuck out like sore thumbs.
It took around 4-hours, including the border crossing, to get to Chetumal. Surprisingly, the bus driver and his female “clippy” held our hand every step of the way making our exit and entry completely stress free.
Next stage: Welcome to Mexico.