Orange Walk and Laminai were last on our ‘must do’ list. We had an extra three days due to Virgin Atlantic having changed our outbound flight to three days earlier than expected and we had allowed a couple of days in case we had any delays or issues. So we debated what to do with the last week or so…
Well, there is so much to do in Central America that this was actually quite difficult. In the end we decided to head back to Mexico. The border crossing was interesting as, apparently, something had not been done or not been charged previously, also the bus which told us it was going right through to Chetumal decided not to go through to Chetumal. This left us somewhat stranded. We were encouraged to take a taxi but, in the end, another bus turned up and took us through to Chetumal.
From Chetumal we caught another bus which took us to Campeche. Campeche is a lovely City. We had a lot of fun walking up and down the sea front and generally exploring. We bought a hammock. It was strange to be in a proper city again. And we got to visit Ednza. Occupied from 500-1500 AD it has a particularly wonderful plaza
and more than it’s fair share of iguanas.
Campeche has several museums. One is in the walls and another is in an old fort complete with canons. That one has some wonderful artifacts, including a jade mask from Calakmul.
Apart from that, Campeche was where we started to experiment with Margaritas. These are no longer a simple concoction of tequilla, lime, ice and bitters (with salt around the rim) but have come to resemble alcopops. Unless you are very careful to ask for a classic Margarita. But we did our experiments in some very spectacular places!
Our next stop was Caye Caulker, a ‘barefoot’ island in the Caribbean. Sadly we have no photos from there. It’s a laid back island with some excellent snorkeling. We snorkeled. We snorkeled over coral reefs and with nurse sharks and rays. We saw seahorses. It was a great day out but Ashley got too much sun which meant a quiet day the next day. We ate lion fish. Lion fish are an invasive species which are damaging the corals and the general marine ecology of the area. Tourists are encouraged to eat them. They are delicious, especially when stuffed with lobster tail. Reggae is everywhere on Caye Caulker.
After three nights on Caye Caulker we headed for Orange Walk (where we took lots of photographs). The journey was interesting as the bus conductor (on the run between Belize City and Orange Walk) decided we didn’t actually want to do into Orange Walk but to a tourist lodge about ten miles outside of Orange Walk itself. He would not be dissuaded so we ended up having to get another bus. Orange Walk has a handful of hotels but is not really set up for big tourism. We stayed in a beautiful lodge by the side of the river. The view from just outside our bungalow is in the picture at the top of this post. The river is rich in wildlife.
Apart from the crocodiles (we saw many, two different species), we saw all sorts of herons and egrets, cormorants, bitterns, a wood stork, anhinga, wood rail, kingfishers, spider monkeys, the ubiquitous Montezuma’s oropendolas, iguanas and an osprey. Many could be seen from the hotel grounds but we saw more when we took the boat trip to Laminai.
The boat trip to Laminai was fantastic – one of the highlights of the trip. We had a very knowledgeable guide who was able to ensure that we didn’t miss any wildlife or any aspect of the important Maya site. We had all taken bananas for the monkey but the monkey was only interested in chocolate. None of us had any chocolate. On the way back we viewed a molasses factory and some of the people on the boat bought molasses. Most of which, of course, is used in rum production.
The site itself has some extraordinary reliefs, though many have been carefully restored and preserved using fibreglass. Laminai is interesting as it was one of the sites that was still occupied by Maya when the Spanish arrived.
And, finally, here are some of the best bird pictures from this part of the trip!
Little blue heron
Russet Naped Woodrail