As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
You can read my previous “On the Road” articles:
- On the road #1
- On the road #2
- On the road #3
- On the road #4
- On the road #5
- On the road #6
- On the road #7
- On the road #8
- On the road #9
- On the road #10
- On the road #11
- On the road #12
- On the road #13
- On the road #14
- On the road #15
- On the road #16
- On the road #17
- On the road #18
- On the road #19
- On the road #20
Date: from March 15th to March 28th
Countries/States/Province traveled through: Guatemala & Belize
Wow… time really flies! As I’m writing this On the Road, we are about to cross into Mexico and officially leaving Central America. I will keep awesome memories of this part of our trip. The simplicity, the relax attitude, the ultimate freedom and the joy of being alive. This passage has been a true introspection for me and I would have spent even more money in psychologist, yoga and meditation retreat to grow personally as I did in the past 7 months.
I still have one chapter of Central America to tell. It all starts at the border of Guatemala when El Salvador officials noticed my car registration number doesn’t match my temporary importation vehicle permit…
Nothing can put a Crossing Border Ninja Down
The official was quickly telling me about “penalizar” and other words meaning I would have to “compensate” them for their incompetence of keying the right information on their stupid permit. With a great combination of playing dumb and having my daughter smiling and laughing right besides me, the official starting to think that I couldn’t understand a word of what he said (hahaha!). A few minutes later, we were off to Guatemala with the correct number on my new importation permit!
Our first stop was in a hotel parking lot in Chequimula:
There is nothing better than a hotel with free wifi, complimentary coffee and free water refill for Freefall! We had the chance to meet the owner and his son during our stay. We gave them a few tips about what to visit in Canada as they were spending their summer vacation in British Columbia. During our trip, we have learned that making stops here and there to relax, work and homeschool our kids was a smart thing to do. This is why we decided to change our beat on our way back and include many moment like this. It helps me keeping the momentum I gained with my websites in Costa Rica and kids rather get over their school work within a few days and have the rest of the week off to do activities.
When we left Chiquimula, we headed toward Rio Dulce. This was supposed to be an easy day on the road and finishing it in a Marina. Well, there was an accident on the road and we spent 5 hours driving 17 km…
I never realized the importance of having space on each border of the road. I do now! In Guatemala, there isn’t any space to drive on the side road. Therefore, when 2 big trucks get into a collision, it takes forever to take them out! Fortunately, we had a great night at the Marina where kids played in a real boat while we were cooking.
In Guatemala, there are the famous Semuc Champey waterfalls. Because we have learned that Freefall can’t do too much off roads, we decided to go see Las Conchas, the second most impressive waterfalls of this country. This was a wise decision as we heard about another family taking a 4 hours bus ride to get to Semuc Champey! Unfortunately, there was lots of rain the day before our visit and the water was completely brown….
We had lunch there and decided to continue driving further until we arrived at Flores, a small village on an island. We took the next day walking around and explore this colonial village. I just can’t get enough of their architecture!
But the moment we were all waiting for was our visit at Tikal. We spent 2 days in this magical Mayan city. We haven’t had the chance to visit many Temples so far (they prefer you don’t call them ruins, but temples!), but Tikal was just amazing. It was fun to walk across the jungle, feeling like Indiana Jones about to discover riches from the past. We were allowed to climb pretty much everywhere and the site had only a few tourists. Kids were playing hide-and-seek while we were astonished by the natural beauty of the site. Even better, it was a clear blue sky and the sun was reflecting on all temples.
Leaving Tikal in the morning, we entered Belize not too long after. I was happily surprised to see Belizeans having more structure and being more serious about their borders. We crossed them easily (we are ninja, remember) and we made a stop at San Ignacio for a few days. Belize is completely different from all the other countries in Central Amercia. First, they speak English as their native language and a good part of the population is black and not Latino. There is a relax ambience with a touch of Bob Marley everywhere. Most convenience stores a held by Asians and we even saw an Amish community. I didn’t expect much of Belize and I was happily surprised by this wind of change!
The highlight of our trip in Belize was definitely the four days we spent on Tobacco Caye, a small island in the middle of the ocean. In each country, we identify something specific we want to experience. So far, we have lived with locals in Nicaragua, we surfed in El Salvador and we visited temples in Guatemala. For Belize, we decided to live on an island. This was just like lending into paradise. The concept is great: a small island with about 50 people max on it. We lived in small cabanas and food was served at 8am, noon and 6pm by a group of super happy Belizean. You could hear them having fun and laughing all day while hanging around the small properties. The view was incredible and we had access to snokerling gears (the island is right on a reef where you can swim with gigantic eagle rays and hundreds of kinds of fish), kayaks and Stand-up paddles (good I like this sport!). We chose to disconnect completely for 4 days. Therefore, we spent time with kids in the water and read a few good books in our hammock.
We realized there was a lot more to discover about Belize than we thought. They have a luxurious jungle, tons of temples to visit (98% of them are not excavated yet!) and cave you can swim and to tubes! Since we have decided to use our traveling budget for the island, we will have to come back to this beautiful country later on!
I will be in Mexico until April 20th and should enter Texas around April 21st. Let me know if you are on my way back, maybe we could meet!