We had a delicious breakfast at a little place called Erva’s. We all had the house special for 12 BZ. The homemade bread was SO good. Definitely recommend this place!
After talking to a few different drivers, Jimmy saw us again and approached us with a reduced rate of $200 BZ total – for driving 4 us to the border, then a private van to Tikal from the border. We accepted and were on our way. The border crossing was mostly painless and Jimmy really did have a relative waiting on the other side (we didn’t pay him until we met the other guy – call us distrusting but who likes getting ripped off?). We exchanged money at the border: 1 USD for 7 Guatemalan Quetzal. The fee to cross was around $18 USD. Our ride was uneventful and we arrived in Tikal in the early afternoon. We stopped on the way to buy return bus tickets – direct to Belize City cost $40 USD.
We had a reservation with Tour Guide Roxy Ortiz at 2 pm so we went for lunch at 1 pm in the restaurant (55 Quetzals) where we were supposed to meet her. After we finished eating it was 2:15 and still no sign of Roxy. We tried to call, no answer. We emailed, no answer (in fact I still haven’t received a reply after emailing twice more). Finally after waiting over an hour we decided to just head to the park on our own. Entrance was 180 Q. We were pretty disappointed that our guide never showed up, but Tikal was really amazing and definitely worth a visit!
We left the restaurant at 3:30 and explored the park for about 2 hours. Tikal itself was very cool; we had a lot of fun exploring but would have loved to have more time or someone to explain the major sites. We saw a lot of wildlife – parrots, monkeys, coatimundi, a fox! A guide named Caesar was really helpful with letting us use his phone, and calling the other hotel to see if Roxy was there. He also helped us find the shuttle the next morning.
The Jaguar Inn was 620 Q (80 USD) per night and pretty run down. My boyfriend found a scorpion in the curtains and was not happy about the bugs in the room. Definitely not the nicest place we stayed on this trip – and it was the most expensive! The staff were nice though and the meals were good. You don’t have much choice in the park itself.
We went to one of the comedors (small kitchen) to share nachos and beer at 120 Q for the 4 of us. We had yummy watermelon margaritas and some dinner back at the hotel for 110 Q each and called it a night.
Total Cost: $178 USD (includes border fees, private ride to Tikal, park fees, lunch, snack, dinner with drinks, hotel, return bus to Belize City the next morning)
We ate breakfast really early ($5 USD) to catch our 7:30 am bus to Belize City (BC). Our shuttle driver was late – I had to go out to the main road to flag him down, with help from guide Caesar – but we managed to catch up with the bus. The bus was also running late and sat at a crossroads for an hour waiting for a few more people – good to know it doesn’t really leave without you! It was a long bus ride, but not too bad. We arrived in BC at 1:30. The bus goes right to the boat docks in Belize City and there were guys there waiting to escort us to the boats. There was a boat leaving 5 minutes later so it was perfectly timed. The boat to Caye Caulker was 16 BZ round trip (someone at the border on the way to Tikal had given us a ‘coupon’ for this price so I’m not sure if that’s the usual cost or not) and took around 30 min.
Caye Caulker was great – we all loved the vibe! We stayed at Cabinas Maxhapan – Louise was super friendly, cleaned our rooms spotless each day and provided bottle water. Not right on the water but a great spot, we’d stay there again for sure. Cost was 110 BZ a night (per room).
We ate lunch at a spot on the water, it was super windy out and a bit rainy but the view was nice. The guys picked up the tab for lunch so I’m not sure how much it cost – likely around 20 BZ each. We found a little place to do some laundry (we had damp, dirty clothes from ATM and Tikal). Marie’s Laundry cost 10 BZ for a large load of laundry, we picked it up 3 hours later washed, dried and folded.
We had dinner at Tropical Paradise. The food was pretty good but the drink deals were great. We got a bottle of rum with ice and 3 bottles of coke for 25 BZ, the guys got a bucket of 6 beers for 20 BZ.
Total Cost: 120 BZ (includes breakfast, boat ride, lunch, laundry, dinner, drinks and hotel ~ $60 USD)
Had a decent breakfast at Happy Lobster (14 BZ), spent the morning wandering town and window shopping. Visited with an artist (Walter Castillo) that my friend’s mom knew. Around 1:30 we caught the boat over to San Pedro (35 BZ round trip). The CC dock attendant was awesome, always smiling and super friendly. San Pedro was okay, lots of restaurants, lots of people, lots of selling stuff. We were glad we stayed on CC but had a good afternoon in San Pedro, worth the trip if you have spare time. We ate at a sandwich shop style place but I didn’t note the name, we were just wandering around and in and out of shops when we found it. I had a couple of meat pies for 8 BZ. There’s also a super delicious chocolate place called Belize Chocolate Company. We headed back to Caye Caulker before dinner.
Ate dinner at Rose’s – YUM! You pick your meal at the BBQ outside and then the waiter will ask what sides you want. I had the seafood platter for $45 BZ – shrimp, lobster, fish and sides. The drinks were good too, we tried a variety (~8 BZ each).
We spent the evening in the courtyard of our hotel playing cards and drinking LOTS of rum and/or beer.
Note: We wandered down to the Lazy Lizard because we’d heard it’s a good spot to people watch and drink beer but it appeared to be closed and abandoned. Not sure if there are plans to reopen, it was closed every time we passed by.
Total Cost: $183 BZ (includes: breakfast, boat to San Pedro return, lunch, chocolate, dinner, drinks, and hotel ~ $92 USD)
To be continued…