Day 10: Flores – San Ignacio (Belize)

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Day 09 of Mayan Discovery by G-adventures tour

Todays G-adventures itinerary:

“Cross the border into Belize and travel to San Ignacio. Enjoy an included pottery demonstration and local lunch at a G Adventures-supported women’s pottery cooperative.

Continue on to Belize, a country with a decidedly Caribbean flavour. The relaxed atmosphere of San Ignacio allows for options including horseback riding, canoeing, caving, or exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area.

Private Vehicle San José – Melchor de Mencos 2h-3h 95km
Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle; the drive today will be on a mixture of paved and unpaved roads.

Border Crossing (Guatemala – Belize) Melchor de Mencos – Benque Viejo del Carmen 30m-1h30m
Pay the Guatemalan exit fee (10 Guatemalan quetzeles ~$1.30USD) and walk on over to Belize.

Private Vehicle Benque Viejo del Carmen – San Ignacio 30m-45m 13km
Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Your G for Good Moment: San Antonio Women’s Pottery Cooperative and Local Lunch
Like in many places around the world, education for women in the village of San Antonio isn’t prioritized. Girls don’t typically attend school beyond primary levels. So a women’s cooperative was founded here, as a way for underprivileged women to earn income, learn new skills, and share centuries-old Mayan techniques and knowledge. Visit the pottery workshop, which is newly expanded with an investment from G Adventures. Meet some of the women who’ve found community within its walls and gain insight into the tradition of throwing pots. Afterward, enjoy lunch together with these inspiring and unforgettable women, sampling traditional foods of the Cayo region.

Free Time San Ignacio
Get familiar with the district of Cayo.”

We start early in the morning at 6 am to the breakfast place, where we do a small stop for preordered sandwiches (breakfast). I get another one of this smoothies. It is the same breakfast place like yesterday. The coffee did not improve. Antonia, the German girl from our group killed her stomach. S from friesland had the same, but no effects … maybe it was half the liter of icecream. She stays at the breakfast place, Lola stays with her.

All the others go back into the bus, meet our guide and drive to Tikal ruins, we skipped yesterday. Tik’al are the ruins of an ancient city, found in a rainforest in GuatemLa. It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Colombian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén basin. The site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World heritage site.

It is huge, more than 15 sqaurekilometers located in a huge national park, which goes over the border to Mexico and Guatemala. It is non for its various wildlife, even Jaguars have been seen here shortly. The drive is about one hour, the guide explains a lot. It is deadly hot at the ruins, there is a huge tribe of physical education kids in uniform at the entrance, we pass by and start the tour.

One needs to be sacrificed

The ruins are various, the pyramids steep. They have built wooden stairs to climb up some pyramids. They are up to 70 m elevated. In the heat this is quite challenging. The guide is very informative.

We see lots of Tapirs, parrots and Tucans.

Then we get into the bus and drive back to the breakfast place and get lunch to go there. I have a salad with chicken, I never had so much green salad in Latin America before. Of course the dressing is either cilantro or super spicy. I take the cilantro.

Not everybody is happy that we leave …

We drive for the border. Crossing is super easy, I donot recognize the emigration at all, the immigration is done by Lola (we handed the passports and 20 quetzales for immigration and emigration tax and she takes care of the stamps) followed by a half copied form we have to fill (it seems that for the lower third there was no printer toner left). Of course some of our group forget bags or other stuff in the van on Guatemala side, as we have to cross on feet to Belize. Next time I forget my 30 kgs bag.

We get into the Belize van and drive to San ignacio. We arrive at 4 PM and go to book the cave stuff. I try to get crystal and ATM cave, since it is a minimum of 4 and there are two groups, which do the cave at the same time, I have to decide either or. I vote for ATM cave. It is more water and artifacts.

We get the hotel rooms. They are a little bit picky. If you want to use aircon it is 15 usd per day extra.

On April.10 there is a selection if Belize wants to go to international court because they quarrel with Guatemala over a strip of land. Everywhere is advertisement, mostly yes, let’s go

At 6 PM we meet for G Adventure planeterra, their corporate social responsibility program. We get free dinner instead of the planned lunch.

Afterwards we do some pottery. I do a gingerbread man. Since Kindergarten, they call me pottery Michelangelo.

The pots of the others will not go off even as ashtrays.

We drive home, the room has approx. 40°, 15 usd gone.

Accommodation Venus Hotel, San Ignacio, dinner included at plateterra

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