Tikal has been on my bucket list since the Mayans captured my imagination at Chichen Itza a few years ago. So imagine my excitement when I started planning my visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the wonders of the Ancient World. As one of the largest and most impressive Mayan sites, it would be an honour to walk in the footsteps of one of the world’s most mysterious societies.
After descending from the dizzy heights of Temple IV, it was already 6am and the sun was burning off the mist. The air was still cool and the jungle still empty of others, apart from our group. It seemed like the perfect conditions to explore this ancient kingdom.
Fumbling through the darkness, my eyes searching the small pool of light radiating from the torch strapped to my bag, concentrating hard, I tried to keep up with our guide. It was 4:30am on a humid and increasingly warm spring morning and he was expertly and speedily navigating through the Guatemalan jungle with 20 or so sleepy tourists following in his wake.
After only 2.5 hours of sleep, an hour minibus ride and a gallon of insect repellent, I was finally fulfilling my dream of seeing Tikal at sunrise.
When Fast Travel becomes Insane Travel: A Road Trip through Belize To Climb Cahal Pech At Sunset
We’ve all heard the alleged fact that you’re more likely to die in a car crash on your way to the airport than on a plane. I have no idea if that’s true, but that didn’t stop me putting it to the test with my whirlwind road trip through Belize.
Travelling from the UK to Belize is pretty simple and should only involve one stop or layover. However, I needed to meet up with a friend in San Diego and then go to Mexico for 3 days and so after stops in Dublin, Atlanta, Orange County, San Diego, Dallas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico city and Houston…. I finally made it to Belize.
I landed at 3pm and met up with my traveling partner, Niamh. We had 12 hours to get to the Guatemalan ruins of Tikal for our sunrise tour and only a couple of hours to get to Cahal Pech for sunset.
The San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a jewel in the Belizean Jungle. Great food, heavenly beds, private hammocks and of course Iguanas.
That’s right. Iguanas. Green ones to be specific.
At this point you may have questions such as:
- How does a hotel get overrun with Iguanas?
- Why do Iguanas even need hotels? What wrong with the jungle?
- Is the hotel staffed by trained iguanas that bring you your breakfast in bed? If so, where can I book?
Good news is that we have the answers!
Belize has so much to offer the tourist and traveller: great food, luxury yet affordable accommodation, friendly, English speaking locals, the culture and history of the Mayans, the natural beauty of the Belizean rainforests and sea, and the incredible wildlife that resides in them.
Belize is not a big country and it is possible to run around it and sample all that it has to offer in a short period of time. However, if you’re not the running type then sit back, relax and read on because we’ve found somewhere that brings together the best of Belize into one place.
We started this adventure with one goal in mind: To explore every country in the world, one weekend at a time.
With over 200 countries to explore it would be easy to start with the big ones at the top of everyone’s list: France, Spain, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand!
However, we’re fast learning that the joy of the mission is that we need to look at and into every country in the world, learning about its history, culture and everything that it has to offer. We’d barely heard of the country before we started planning our Belize itinerary for our most recent adventure to Central America, but we were soon salivating all over tripadvisor and Pinterest.
Sometimes travel plans go out the window and you trip, holiday or journey can be made or broken by how good you are at making the best of a bad situation. Sometimes you lose and you spend £200 and 12 hours in Eindhoven airport waiting for the next flight home.
Sitting on the balcony of a restaurant on the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel Miami, sipping a bespoke cocktail and watching the picture perfect city lit up by lightning strikes is definitely a winner.
I’ve never liked foodies. I feel food is a weird thing to judge. At the end of the day an apple has already been ripped from its mother, kidnapped and forced into a slavery working in a factory where it is beaten to a pulp, given enough sugar to give it diabetes, trapped in a prison of pastry before being burnt and then sold off to line the pockets of rich people like Mr Kipling.
The fact that at the end of this journey someone has the gall to tell it that it would be better with a pinch of cinnamon or a nutmeg glaze is adding insult to injury. It’s not the apples fault man, he’s doing the best he can.
Almost 90 million people visit Florida every year with Orlando and Disney World the most popular destination. Of the 1 million Brits who descend on Orlando each year and it’s entirely possible that 999,999 people love it, but I know one person doesn’t and that’s me. I have been to Florida for the last 6 years running and I just couldn’t give a rat tail about seeing Mickey Mouse and Disney world.
To be fair, there is lot to do in Orlando. Universal and Disney do have some great rides and I imagine it’s absolutely magical if you’re a family with young children. The fireworks are always fun and the weather is certainly better than anything we have back in England.
But this year we decided to try something new, Alternative Orlando if you will, and visited a few of Orlando’s State Parks in one day.
In November we did a weekend in Rome with some of our American Friends. As per our travelling style we raced around the City trying to take everything in and attempted to double our body weight by eating as much delicious pasta and Gelato as we could into our ever aching faces.
In our two day break we managed to squeeze in the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps, the Pantheon, the villa Borghese, the Roman Forum, a whole load of Piazzas and the casa del Pope itself, the Vatican.