San Ignacio, Belize to Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Feb 10, 2009
|Our plans for Belize were to head to Belmopan, then turn south to Hopkins and Dangria on the coast. Last time we were in Belize we enjoyed this area, which is rather rustic as opposed to the tourist havens on the cays. We had also considered going as far south as Placencia as we have never been there.
After discussing our water pump problem with Wally, the owner of Tropicool Hotel, it was clear we would be heading away from any available help by turning south. There were shops that might be able to help us, if the pump seal failed completely, in Belmopan and In Belize city.
We also reasoned that once the bike was into Mexico, it would be much simpler to get help. Trucking the bike across the border could be a tricky proposition. It would be rather foolhardy to head 200 km further away from Cancun at this stage.
So, looking at the map and the guide book we had, it was clear the only option would be to head North from Belmopan and perhaps spend some time in Corozal, The guide book described it as off the tourist path but interesting so off we went.
There are few things worse on a trip like this than riding along in a remote place wonder if/when the bike may quit on you. You become hypersensitive to every whiff of anything unusual, any little sound you perceive as new or any sensation you become aware of as you ride along.
Of course I was sure the smell of hot antifreeze was getting stronger as the miles went by. Was that a new vibration I am detecting? Does the engine sound the same? I change the revs and the speed a few times. No. It seems ok I guess. Hey, my foot feels like it is getting hot, is the engine overheating? Is my boot getting hot antifreeze sprayed on it? No. The sun is on that side so one foot is getting hotter than the other.
All this is going on while your mind is racing a mile a minute. Where are we exactly? If it quits now are we close to help? I wonder if any of the houses we are passing have phones? Is there even anyone to call if we can find a phone?
After about an hour we pulled over to have a break and see how bad the leak was and if the system would need topping up. To my surprise there was no visible leakage and the reservoir was right up. Were we imagining the leak yesterday? Has it miraculously fixed itself? Don’t question it, just keep heading towards Mexico while the getting is good.
We reached Corozal without incident but were pretty disappointed. The bay was not the beautiful blue and turquoise of the Carribean but a milky grey colour. We stopped and looked at it for a while and a fellow came up to chat. He explained that the river ran into the bay and when it was windy, the silt was churned up turning the water this colour. Sometimes it was very clear.
We had visions of sitting on a beach and even doing a little swimming. This was not what we had expected! The town itself was ok but not particularly attractive or appealing. It was 3:00 PM and we were about 30 km from the Mexican border. We might as well try and cross today and make our way to Chetumal, a much larger place with more services. At least the bike will be in Mexico if the leak starts again.
Leaving Belize and entering Mexico was very simple. Pay the exit fee of about BZ$30.00 (about $15.00 CDN) each and get the passports stamped and the bike permit cancelled.
At Mexico we filled out the Tourist cards and were admitted without even paying the fee. The official explained it was an exit fee and had to be paid on the way out of Mexico. This is quite different than entering at the US border.
I stopped at the Mexican Aduana to get a bike import permit and they told me they don’t do them there. I don’t need one to go to Cancun. I explained I would be exiting at the US border and they said they don’t do them at the border; I must get it after leaving Cancun. Again, this is very different from entering at the US border.
We carried on to Chetumal and found a great little hotel (Hotel Guadalupe $300 pesos). Chetumal is a large, modern city with all services. It was like returning to civilization after Central America. We love Mexico and we are glad to be back.