I am very pleased to confirm that we survived Belize City. We were (very) apprehensive: according to recent statistics, this is the 6th most dangerous city in the world. It was worrying even though tourists don’t seem to be targeted as much as locals caught in the crossfire between traffickers. We met travelers in Hopkins who told us not to worry, they had just came from there and it was fine. They only recommended us to use our common sense. We had to accept that some areas were off-limit. We were not threatened at gun shot, nor stabbed nor harassed and I was relieved (now this is an understatement). This sense of immediate safety was comforting as I dreaded our walk through Belize city and it would be a lie to say that I could have imagined staying there for a few days and chill. As many travelers stated before me, there is not much to do there and travelers mostly use it as a hub to travel further south, west, north or to reach the islands. During our two-hour transit / stroll through Belize city, we were offered countless times coke and weeds. One character, James, lovely stoned James, sent us to a cheaper groceries store than the tourists usually go, even after we apologetically answered that we were no potential customers (only James could make me feel bad for not wanting to buy coke or weeds). He was such a funny character and I would like to quote him: “You see, I have got red eyes because I just smoked weeds. ‘Coz you know, I don’t give a fuck”. Amen!
With cheap(ish) groceries and a ferry ticket in hand, we proceeded to the ‘boarding’ gate and found a cool boat waiting for us. We handed our backpacks over and headed to the top of the boat. Surprisingly we were the only ones, with the exception of a French guy, while downstairs, it was (over)crowded. Go figure. We really enjoyed the ride and we would highly recommend to use Ocean Ferry Belize, they were nice and cheap (US$ 14.50 round trip). Now what to say about Caye Caulker?! Well, it was alright, I guess. I was unable to get super excited as we had to dodge a sh** load of crazy tourists driving golf carts (what’s that about anyway, the island is tiny?!) and avoid (way too many) drug dealers (though I might be a bit harsh on them, they could have been tour guides: they were maybe genuinely only offering a tour of their gardens to see their beautiful plants). Off the ‘strip’, it is a different Caye Caulker and we did find some peace. Our hostel, Bella’s, was definitely a lovely place to call home for two days. The water was clear and beautifully turquoise. We took a walk around the island (in less than two hours. Yes, this island is THAT tiny), picked a beach with less tourists and for two days, we relaxed, relaxed and… relaxed because let’s face it, unless you are willing to dive, snorkel, party or get high, there is not much to do but chill. I am still learning to take it easy so a hammock at our hostel, a dip in the ocean and a sunset at Caye Caulker surely did the trick. Our highlight on the island was a snapper grilled at Terry’s grill; the owner and Daniel, our waiter, were fantastic and the food divine!
While this down time was grande to celebrate my first anniversary (one week on the road! A small step for the backpacking community but a giant one for me!), I am happy to hit the road again tomorrow. We still have so many things to experience and discover! Exciting! Next stop: San Ignacio!