The road from the Mexican border to the closest Belizean town, Corozal, is narrower than the ones I had biked on in Mexico. There was barely any room for me if cars met, so I felt a bit in the way when cars occasionally had to slow down.
It was a windy but short ride, and I arrived within 30 minutes.
It’s hard to pinpoint what it is, but coming to Belize feels like being in a completely new country! That might sound silly, because it obviously is a new country, but normally when crossing borders by land, the difference doesn’t feel as big, at least in Latin America.
But here, they speak funny English, they look different and have darker skin, and the prices are twice compared to the Mexican east coast, even though it’s at least as simple and dirty, at least in this village. Worse roads too.
The daily broken tire update:
I had to stop and pump the tire on the ride to Corazal, so something is definitely fishy. As I was biking through the town, I saw a bike shop and asked if they could pump my tire, and the friendly and chill dude (I imagine Jamaicans to be like this, though I haven’t been there, yet) said no prob!
When I explained the situation, he said “must be a tiiiny little hole!” and the way he said it was just hilarious! He said he’d fix it for 2 Belizeans (≈1 USD), so I’ll definitely go back later. He didn’t want money for pumping my tire.
Money problem update:
Since my credit card is gone, I had checked online to see that three stores in Corozal deals with Western Union, and as I arrived, I immediately saw “Fry Store” along the road, which was one of them. “This was easy,” I thought.
But of course it wouldn’t be easy. They had stopped offering WU services.
Two more places to try… Would I have to stay the night hungry on a park bench?
The locations map on Western Union’s own website turned out to be very inaccurate, so I kept asking people and biked around the entire town, also looking for the cheapest hostel.
Then suddenly I found Doony’s Instant Loan, far from where I had pinned the address on my phone. And success, they are still WU certified!
Would it be that easy? Well no. Just showing my passport wasn’t enough; I also needed a long MTCN code, and I didn’t have it. The lady said I could get free WiFi in the park nearby, so I went biking once again.
The park turned out to have great WiFi, but only for 1 hour per day! Luckily it was enough for me to find the code, and I returned and got my very first 117.5 Belizean Dollars! I’m rich!
Turns out there are no hostels here, only private rooms in hotels. By now, I had asked around for prices, and for 45 Belizean dollars per night, The Sea Breeze Hotel was the cheapest option.
It’s a nice place right next to the Caribbean Sea. Good showers, free drinking water, air-conditioning if you pay extra. The next morning I asked for a place to buy groceries, but the owner said she’ll make breakfast for me!
I can only assume this is a typical Belizean dish. Tortillas, beans, fried eggs with tomato and cheese on top. It was pretty good! Fresh papaya juice too!
Food in Corozal:
In the evening I went out to find something affordable to eat, but was surprised by the costs. A pizza seems to go for 20-30 Belizean dollars!! A small burger for 10. Are people actually rich here, but just dress and live very simple?! I’m confused by this country.
The supermarkets are similarly expensive, with a bag of potato chips being sold for 12-14 Belizeans, a tiny bag of nuts for 6. The only affordable thing I could find were bananas, sold by a woman on the street. 8 bananas for 1 Belizean is nuts!
I asked around, and apparently Chinese food is the only thing that’s affordable. (And there are tons of Chinese restaurants and takeouts here, and most supermarkets seem to be run by Chinese as well.)
At Perfecto Restaurant near the park, the most affordable meal was chicken sweet & sour for 10 Belizeans. It was alright, and definitely filling!
The final broken tire update (I hope):
Before leaving Corozal, I went back to the bike repair shop (also near the park) to fix my tire once and for all. Turns out it had four tiny holes!
He said that in this heat, patching so many holes will not work, and that I’ll get a new tube for 5 Belizeans. I agreed. 7 Belizeans (≈3.5 USD) for the whole reparation would have to be worth it.
The bike repair guy was a cool dude.
Now I was ready to continue my journey!