the hummingbird highway

i took the boat at eight o’clock back over the lagoon. the one after most of the people left to go about their daily business and there was enough room for the bike. after getting back to the main road i made my way to the belize city bypass as i try to avoid bigger cities. i ended up on the western highway between belize city, the former, and belmopan the current capital. i didn’t like this stretch. the headwind took its toll and i had to get off the road a couple of times. in belize you have only the right to ride on the road as a cyclist as long as passing traffic has enough room to overtake you. halfway along the way i saw the sign for the monkey bay wildlife sanctuary and decided to call it a day. quite a big place with its own library above the office and though it had too much sand flies on the campsite, the library and the common room were good places to avoid the bugs.

the next morning it was raining a bit too much for my taste to start cycling and to get back on the busy road to belmopan. so i did some writing for this blog, the first time on my newly acquired e-reader, which took a bit of getting used to, but is surprisingly comfortable to work on. the rain stopped around noon and i started to half a days ride past belmotan where the hunningbird hwy starts and the scenery is changing dramatically. there is dense jungle on both sides of the road and i had to climb the first hills since cancun. as the sun was about to set, i stopped at the saint herman’s cave visitor centre. there i was told that the blue hole national park, where i intended to camp that night,¬†is closed and got directions to the yaxche jungle camp instead.

surrounded by the rainforest, this is a unique experience. set up by the guys of maya guide adventures to cater for the guests of their adventure tours, it is also a place to just set up camp for a night. i had dinner with a group of people which trained for their jungle and expedition survival certificate, most of them still in their survival gear with the machete hanging from their sides. the training goes for four month and is quite expensive, so most people out of the group intend to pursue a career in that field.

the next day had some serious climbs on the menu but also beautiful scenery to offer. out of the forest came sounds i never heard before and i seldomly spotted the animal causing it. after those sweat producing climbs, the downhill part was a joy. with the wind in my back, i hardly had to pedal and the white markers with the mileage just flew by until i came to the junction with the southern highway.

in the afternoon i arrived in hopkins. a laid back village which has a bit of a backpacker crowd coming in but seems to be too relaxed to care if more tourists come in or not. i stayed at the kismet inn as it offers camping directly at the beach and patricia the host can cook some delicious vegetarian dishes. i stayed an extra day as i had some time before i had to be in punta gorda from where the boat to livingston in guatemala is leaving only twice a week.

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