VIVA MEXICO! October 2014

We’re finally on another adventure! There have been a lot in between – 6 weddings (including our own in June!), a few road trips, Las Vegas, trips to the mountains for skiing, and not to mention all those seemingly ordinary but wonderful everyday ones (ok, MOST of the time) Josh and I get to experience together. Denver has been great to us the past year, but we jumped at the chance to see more of the world!

This time we are in Playa del Carmen, mostly in part to a lot of luck! Luxury Homeaway actually picked me as the winner of a contest to pin Follow Elizabeth’s board LOVE and ADVENTURE: Our dream wedding and honeymoon!!!! on Pinterest.}” target=”_blank”>”My Dream Luxury Vacation” – I know, I still can’t believe it either! So our friends will be here soon to enjoy this insanely AMAZING house in a few weeks!

While we are waiting for them to get here, time to take in some relaxation, culture, cerveza and local nightlife, Mayan ruins and everything else along the way in Guatemala!

Night bus (ADO – 556 pesos, so about $42 USD) left from Playa to take us to Belize City en route to Flores, Guatemala at 11:40 pm (after great tacos and drinks watching the Royals win, of course!)

Paying 300 pesos ($25 USD each) seemingly very arbitrarily (horrible exchange rate, no signs, no change given, just what some dude tells us in the English he surely knows more of but doesn’t let on) just to leave Mexico at Chetumal border at 4 AM wasn’t great…but as it goes. Cross into Belize – more freezing cold bus (we were wearing ALL of the semi-warm clothes we brought and still freezing), and still feeling super dehydrated because I skimped on the agua for fear of no bathroom onboard, but still too scared to drink water (what about the next bus?!)

We arrive at Belize City at 8 AM – only it’s 7 AM there. Had no clue about the time change. Either way, we still missed the Express bus to Flores. Luckily, everyone there is ACTUALLY helpful (no, seriously, not like Africa where “helpful” people were the ones to avoid because they would rip you off the most). Changed pesos we got from the Mexico border to Belize dollars, then we are off on a crowded old school bus for a 45 minute trip to Belmopan for 5 Belize dollars each (2 Belize dollars = 1 USD)

Once there, stop at the ATM then a 2-hour ride on another old school bus to Benque Viejo del Carmen for another 5 Belize dollars each. Then it was another 10 Belize dollars to get a taxi to the actual “border” in Belize.

Even with a “transit” stamp in our passport from 6 hours ago, we paid 30 Belize dollars each to leave Belize (they spared us the $7.50 each conservation fee:). We successfully dodged at least 12 people asking us if we needed rides, to change money, take a marketing survey, and generally rip us off, paid nothing to get into Guatemala then were off!!

Only we had no clue what to do next. So we walked across the bridge, and realized they had been offering us rides at an outrageous price for what ended up being a 5 minute walk. We were finally in Melchor de Mencos – we made it to Guatemala!!

We found an ATM to get our 3rd currency of the day, a colectivo (think very overcrowded minibus), and we were off to Flores. Since Flores is an island, of course it was one more ride – a tuk tuk at 10 quetzals ($1.30 USD) straight to a hotel we just blindly picked from a list.

So – 15 hours later, we are in a GREAT room with a view watching the Royals, waiting out the rain and Josh to finish his work and trying some Gallo. Moral of the story for other travelers – you will be nickled and dimed, but if you really want to save money by flying into Mexico rather than Guatemala, it’s doable. If you miss the express bus from Belize City, still also doable, but it will take you what feels like A REALLY LONG TIME and you will be dreaming of cold cervezas awaiting you when you FINALLY get here.

And since we’ve been bad at taking photos, a few from the past year and a half to catch you up!

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