Not being overly impressed with Belize’s value for money situation (we weren’t the only ones, most people we met agreed) we made a beeline to get out of the country and into Guatemala, with a quick pitstop at San Ignacio prior to crossing the border. San Ignacio is sometimes heralded as a hippy town, but from where we were sitting it was a typical tourist town with plenty of tour offices trying to empty your pockets on over priced tours and activities with not one yoga retreat or organic vegan cafe to speak of.
There is a nice little pedestrianised street lined with cafes, bars and said tour operators, and it was here that we bumped into Nicole and Victor, a Swiss couple we met while snorkelling in Caye Caulker. Of course a couple of catch beers were required, so we set out to scour the back streets for happy hour.
Coming across a dreadlocked local selling something out of the boot of his car, curiosity took hold and we headed over to check it out. Turns out he was selling homemade seaweed shakes, Belizean gatorade, we’d heard it’s good for your libido and you can’t leave the country without trying the concoction.
Promising us it was a guaranteed hangover prevention, and good for the blokes in more ways than one (his words aren’t quite fitting for this space!), we bought one, along with some homemade conch fritters, and gave it a try. A creamy, milky texture, sweet and with a hint of peanuts, this is nothing like what it sounds. You don’t even get a hint of the seaweed flavour, and it’s actually bloody refreshingly delicious.
Hangover preventative sorted, we found a local bar with happy hour and caught up with the Swiss on the last few days. A few beers later we were all a bit hungry, so heading to the main square where we’d parked Porkchop in a little carpark, we do as the locals do, and bought a loaded hotdog from a street vendor, a beer from the corner store, and sat on the steps to watch the evening go by.
Awaking before the sun rose, thanks to our central parking spot and the 4am trucks that roared past within meters of our pillows, we were happy to note we were hangover free, not an easy feat when you’re drinking awful Belikin beers. Taking a short bike ride out of town, we headed for a point north of town where the Mopan and Macal rivers converge to form the Belize river. We’d seen some nice pictures of a little wooden suspension bridge connecting San Ignacio to the villages north of town so thought it would be a pleasant outing.
In reality we spent half the time digging our bikes and our flip-flopped feet out of inches deep mud that made up the road, before arriving to find the bridge had been destroyed in the recent flooding. Making our way back through the mud, we came across some workmen who were hosing mud off the road and were happy to oblige when we asked them to hose the chunks of mud caked onto our bikes.
Feeling that we hadn’t quite given the enough attention to natural beauty of Belize’s jungles and forests, we decided to head out to the other other Blue Hole, and inland sinkhole with sparkling blue waters. At only a couple of dollars each it makes a big difference to the other Blue Hole, which costs you a gut wrenching a couple of hundred US. Descending the steps we were happy to note we were the only people there, so we enjoyed the cooling waters under the jungle canopy. The ticket price also includes entry to the nearby caves if you’re into that kind of thing, and it’s a nice way to spend an afternoon out of town. Without a car it can probably be quite hard to get to independently though as it is a fair way out of San Ignacio towards the Guatemalan border.