The Ole’ Chicken Bus

3 January 2014

Everyday of this trip just gets better and better. Today we crossed the border into Belize and arrived in Placencia after two boat beautiful rides and an eventful lift on a chicken bus. One of my bucket list items to do in Guatemala was to ride a “Real” chicken bus (an old school bus that is filled full of people and their chickens and decked out in every color of the rainbow), but unfortunately we only got to ride on a “1/2” chicken bus (a newer school bus with AC and no chickens but still loaded with people). In Belize I finally got to ride that chicken bus, although I still want to go back and ride the chicken buses in Guatemala.

One of the most beautiful parts of Central America is the jungle and the boat rides through it. I have never seen anything so spectacular in my life. Whether you are on land or in water you are surrounded by beautiful jungle. Our ride from Livingston (the Reggae capital of Guatemala) to Punta Gorda Belize was beautiful.

When we arrived in Punta Gorda we discovered that it was a beautiful little shanty town on the coast with only about 5,000 people. While it was beautiful there was little to do in the town so we decided to head a few hours further North to the most popular snorkeling destination in Belize, Palcencia. If you haven’t noticed by this point, we make decisions on the fly as we backpack. You talk to other travellers, gather more information, and your plans change.

We met up with a mother and daughter from San Francisco who have literally traveled everywhere in the world. I cannot believe how many places they have been. They have traveled to every region in the world (minus Russia and Antarctica). It only took me a few minutes to realize how important of a traveling asset they would be. We hopped on the chicken bus with them to Placencia and road together for the next two hours talking about all the travels they have been on. They have been to over 13 countries in Africa, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, India, India, all of The Orient, Central & South America, Europe, etc… There is hardly any place they haven’t been (and by the way they backpack through these countries).

Let me just say that bus ride to Placencia was a highlight of my trip. Talking with people like them just make me more excited to go on adventures. We arrived in Palcencia, found our accommodations at Lydia’s Guest House, walked the beautiful beach as the sunset, and are some delicious Creole food. Creole food is delicious and eating it here in Belize has made me excited to go back home and learn how to make it.

The adventures keep on rolling, and everyday gets better and better! Andrew and I have had such an incredible time together, and have experienced so much in such a little amount of time!

-Kylie

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Today was another great day. We didn’t have any crazy activities compared to past days but it was generally enjoyable. When we got up in the morning we got our things ready for leaving Livingston, Guatemala and entering Belize. We were stuck in figuring out what we wanted to do – see a Mayan sacrificial cave site (which would involve a 45 minute trek through the jungle, a 15 meter swim across the cave river and a 30 minute cave trek to the largest cavity with actual human remains) OR go snorkeling.

In my last email I mentioned we were going to the chocolate farm but… We scrapped that plan since it was pricy and not as cool as the other options.

Sadly to say we did not pick the Mayan cave adventure but chose to snorkel in the second largest reef in the world (Kylie adds – filled with manta rays, sea turtles, and fish).

We boarded another boat to leave Livingston and begin our journey. On the boat ride over we met a mother (60+ years old) and her daughter (32 years old) who were also leaving. They were seasoned world travelers. The mother had been traveling since her days as an flight attendant with United and had been to Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, behind the iron curtain etc. There were only a couple countries she hadn’t been to. We chatted with them all the while about the things they’ve seen and done.

The ride to Belize was beautiful and Kylie and I chatted about New Years resolutions all along the way.

Porta Gourda the place we landed in literally had nothing. It was an old seaport town but had 1 ATM and a bunch of Rastafarian men and women. We decided to move on. We found a chicken bus leaving the port and rode that to Placencia and boarded that. Chicken buses are school buses used for public transport. They are extremely cheap and it’s how the locals get around – Kylie was excited.

Placencia was another beautiful port town and honestly it looks like Hawaii at times. There are a ton of foreigners here and very few locals. Streets are paved, rooms are clean, it feels like we’re in another world honestly! However that is coupled with Belize being the most expensive place in Central America (cost us $27 USD for our room tonight).

After wandering the beach for a bit, we got creole food for dinner which was great! A little pricy at $12 USD for the two of us but at least it was nutritionally balanced for once!

-Andrew

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