border, we made good time driving through Spanish Lookout ( a primarily Mennonite community), and then on to Placencia, a great beach town.
We spent a few days catching up with some friends in Placencia. We also took the time to put our extra belongings in a storage unit. The plan was to head South through Central America. Anything that wasn’t needed along the trip was going to be left for later. We had packed an overland fridge on the plane, so I was looking forward to setting it up. You just can’t beat having access to ice cold drinks and food available whenever you want it.
One of our friends who lives in Chicago, also owns a few condos on the beach in a upscale resort called Belize Ocean club. He offered to let us stay in one of the condos for the 5 days we were preparing for our trip. We were spoiled with all of the amenities and things to do at the resort. It was so nice staying right on the beach and having spectacular sunrises each morning, from our balcony, overlooking the Caribbean.
We visited some of our favorite restaurants, like Mangos and the Placencia Hotel. Belize Ocean club features a pool party on the beach each Sunday afternoon. The live DJ entertained the guests, spinning dance tunes pool side. They also offer free use of their kayaks, and other beach toys. All in all, it is an event that the locals and visitors enjoy each week.
We stopped by the church we attend in Placencia on Sunday evening and had a great time seeing a lot of our friends there. Although it just wasn’t the same, with a few other friends who were not there. It was nice to be welcomed back and missed by everyone.
This time around, we didn’t do much site seeing as we were focusing on getting ready for the exciting trip we had planned. The loose plans, including traveling through Guatamala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and possibly as far as the Panama Canal. We planned to travel with Bernard and Tammy, some friends that we had traveled with before. Each couple has a Land Rover outfitted for overland journeys, including rooftop tents. It is nice to caravan for any potential break down and safety issues.
Finally we were ready! It was going to be tough leaving the luxury accommodations we had been spoiled staying in, and exchanging it for the roof top lifestyle, but the trip was going to be one in a lifetime. So we hit the road, and headed towards the border of Belize and Guatemala.
Our GPS coordinates took us within 100 yards of the first nights stop over, San Ignacio. We pulled into the grass parking area and was promptly greeted by the owner, Xavier. He told us to make ourselves at home. Due to the upcoming festivities, Belize National day, the campgrounds was fuel. of people cooking, playing, and lounging. We were told not to worry, the people would be leaving in a few hours. It was pretty cool to see the locals interacting with their families, a water balloon fight, dogs chasing each h other, and the men sleeping lazily in the hammocks under the palapa.
We were told of a good restaurant where we could walk to for some lunch. It was excellent food, good prices, and friendly service. The waitress told us we were just in time to enjoy the parade that would be going through town. We finished up, and headed back towards our campsite, as the parade would pass right by us there. As an added extra bonus, we were conveniently located across the street from the town market. We perused the fruits and vegetables and waited for the parade to start. The locals began pouring in, lining the sides of the streets in anticipation of the festivities. We walked back across the street to a “fast food” joint and ordered a water.
The parade waltzed by with people dressed up, flags waiving every where, and lots of laughter and fun. It was quite short by the standard of parades I was used to ,but it was fun any way.
We settled back into the campsite, now much quieter with the local families having left. The owner introduced to some of his friends that were visiting, and we shared off road stories, and their adventures of driving Land rovers in the wild Belize wilderness. We all sat under the palapa roof, which included electricity to plug our fans in for sleeping, and WiFi.
Getting hungry again, we decided to order a pizza from a Facebook friend that delivered pizzas in San Ignacio. They made a special pizza and delivered it after hours to our campsite, where we finally met them in person, and enjoyed some conversation. Finally, we were able try some of this self proclaimed’, best pizza in Belize. We were not disappointed, it was very good, and hit the spot.
After a semi restless night sleeping in the tents, due to some residual partying in the streets (mainly loud music in the distance), we got up and began taking camp down. I decided to go for a run around town, and then we stopped at a taco stand that offered breakfast burritos. With camp packed up, and our bellies full, we set out for the border crossing a few miles away.