Archive for February, 2014

Driving from the USA to Belize or vice versa?

Posted: February 14, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Thinking about driving from the USA to Belize or vice versa, as well as in and around Belize, well help is here. We’ve started a new Facebook page community with up to the minute information from those who are on the road to and from Belize as well as driving around in the country. Please drop in and take a look. We’ll be posting up to the minute information about cool places to check out, and things you don’t want to miss while driving and around, or through Belize. You’ll find information here about border crossings, insurance requirements, temporary vehicle importation to Belize and more. And if you have any information you’d like to add we’d be happy to hear from you. Happy adventuring!

A great place to discuss your experiences traveling on the roads throughout Belize, Central America. Share GPS coordinates, camping, lodging, restaurants, road conditions, sites of interest, anything related to traveling in Belize! It’s the journey, not the destination….enjoy.

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Well actually there is no route 66 in Southern Belize, but we thought the title was catchy. See, we decided to explore southern Belize today. We were headed to a town called Punta Gorda or PG. The trip started out a little rainy, but by the time we reached PG, the sun was beaming. Our first stop as we entered the little sea side town was a local bakery where we enjoyed muffins and breakfast sandwiches. We got directions to the local farmers market in town. This is where the local Belizean, and Guatemalans sold their fruits, vegetables, and wares. We picked up some amazing fruits and vegetables and observed the locals conducting business. This is a great little town! An absolute must see if you are ever in the area.

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We loaded back Into the butane powered Land Rover and headed for the chocolate farm in San Felipe. As we wound down the pot hole stricken dirt road, we couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of the surrounding area. Vine covered signs pointed us in the right direction.
We pulled into the grass parking lot of the building and sign welcoming us to IXcacao.

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We feel anything with “cao” in the name is worth checking out. Juan met us and welcomed us to his family owned chocolate farm . He said lunch was almost ready. We were to have chocolate flavored chicken! That was a first for us. Juan introduced his wife who was preparing the meal as he showed us around.
Before we knew it, we were sitting at a table smelling the aroma of the gourmet meal being prepared. We were served 100% cacao in a hot chocolate style drink. It is the way many generations of this Mayan family drank the sweet nectar. Next we were served pure cacao chocolate candies, all before our meal! That’s what I call an appetizer! Then came the main meal. The chicken was some of the most tasty chicken, I had ever eaten. There was yellow ginger rice, pumpkin, tomatoes, cucumbers, and collard greens! A real feast, all organically grown right on their family farm. It was great! Next we were shown how the cacao beans were shelled and ground by hand, just like it had been done for generations. The grinding stones were handed down through the generations and had been at least 4 generations before Juan and his family received the very ones we used today. It was a great experience and a deal at $20 for the tour and meal. A chocolate festival is scheduled for May 2014. We will definitely be back!

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Quite recently we found ourselves not trekking through jungle but in a strange new predicament……..traffic! Yes that seven letter word. Backed up for miles like traffic. The kind that makes us want to pull over and pop up the roof top tent and wait it out. See, our normal is driving off road, through the jungles, mountains, beaches, and small villages way off the beaten path. For us a normal commute is a creek crossing or two, using our winches, tow ropes, hi-lift jacks, sand mats, airing up or down our tires and pure driving skill.  So why do we get so jacked up about traffic? I guess just sitting there in your vehicle inching along is just not appealing to us……boring ! So the next time you’re sitting in traffic and you see something that looks similar to us, a 4×4 with a snorkel, roof rack, ladders, lights and all the usual paraphernalia, I tell you that driver is probably really bored. Do us and yourself a favor, how about a friendly wave or gesture to let them know it’s okay and everything is gonna be alright.  He’s probably suffering from off road anxiety. Thanks

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Amazing race Belize , are you in?

Posted: February 7, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

We’d love to have you join us for an amazing race though Belize. Our 2014 tours of Mayan ruins, caves, coral reefs, jungle and more is filling up fast. Are you in?

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Have you heard about the Tampa to Cancun Ferry?

Posted: February 3, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Have you heard about the about the possibility of a ferry service from Tampa Florida to Cancun Mexico. Well if you haven’t we’d like to be the first to tell you about it. Since November 2011, there has been talk and it appears that things might come together for this service to start this summer.

According to Bruce Nierenberg, the CEO of United Caribbean Lines, the ferry service would be similar to services between ports in the Mediterranean, and would carry approximately 1,000 to 2,000 passengers and 500 vehicles.

Nierenberg expects to run two round trips weekly to Tampa, with a cost of $350 for a round trip crossing in a cabin with meals included.

The idea of a US-to-Mexico ferry service is not new. In 2003, a ferry service affectionally called the “Yucatan Express” ran for one winter season, eventually closing down due to lack of passengers. Business picked up significantly towards the end of the season, but the owners still chose to close down the operation, having invested and lost $5 million USD in the venture.

Will it happen again? Who knows. Significant barriers stand in the way. For one, Tampa’s port director, Richard Wainio, has said  that the service would require the Tampa port to construct ramps for cars and additional fenced areas for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to check vehicles and cargo. That total cost to the port could be $1 million USD.

On the other hand, would it be great to have such a service? Absolutely. As Cozumel island dwellers, having the ability to get off the island and to take our US-plated car to the US, whether for tourist or business reasons, via a 36-hr 27-hr ferry would be fantastic.

As vacation rental managers, we have also noticed a significant increase in 2011 in the number of Americans and Canadians coming to the island for 3-6 month periods. 25% of these temporary dwellers travel over land by car. Would they appreciate having the option of skipping that 3-4 day trip through Mexico and arriving in the Cancun area directly? We’re sure many of them would, and that having that option would attract even more temporary visitors to Cozumel, and the surrounding areas.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

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