February 22, 2016
Bus from Tulum to Chetumal, Mexico
Taxi to Water Taxi dock
Accommodation: Banana Beach Resort, San Pedro
At Banana Beach February 22nd to February 29th, 2016.
A bloggers worst nightmare is WiFi that bites 🙂 I have a ton of photos to upload and there just isn’t enough bandwidth available *sigh*…I may have to come back and fill in the blanks once I get a better connecting – but that won’t be for at least 5 days…and who knows, it may not be better. *sigh*
The rain in Tulum stopped as quickly as it started. We had breakfast, hopped in a taxi and headed to the Tulum Centro bus station. It’s a nice station with lots of seating. The bus arrived right on time and we headed out on the 3.5 hr trip to Chetumal, Mexico. Interestingly, the bus was filled with tourists and therefore people were sitting in their assigned seats (unlike our previous two trips which had locals and assigned seating didn’t seem to count). There isn’t a whole lot to see between Tulum and Chetumal, it’s a highway like most anywhere in North America. Our driver did tend to hug the centre line (or go over it) and being a big bus the oncoming traffic seemed to simply avoid hitting us by hugging the shoulder 🙂 There were a few nice little towns along the way waving their goods at the bus driver to try to get him to stop. At one town the stop was a few minutes longer and the vendors got on the bus selling plantains, cheese sandwiches and some sweets. There was also a nice little donkey pulled cart driven by a Mexican Mennonite. Some of the local Mexicans were wearing ranch style clothing so there must have been some farming going on nearby. The Yucatan Peninsula is flat so I imagine there is a lot of agriculture.
The Chetumal bus station was huge and really really clean and organized. You need 5 pesos to go through a gate to get to the bathroom and bring your own t-paper! We had noticed on Google that there was more than one bus station and our taxi driver explained that we came in on the premier bus line and that the other bus stations were the more local bus stations. 10 minutes to get to the Muelle Fiscal (commercial dock) where our water taxi to Ambergris Caye, Belize was leaving from.
Again, a really nice terminal and very organized. However, the whole process turned out to be a little more than we had realized 🙂 First we in and got our ticket (which we had bought on-line), then we had to go through Mexican immigration, all went smoothly. The next steps was a bit disconcerting (for some). We had been told that the military came to check our bags and personal belongings before we departed for Belize. As we sat sipping cold ones at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the water taxi a big military truck loaded with armed soldiers and a sniffer dog arrived. Apparently this happens daily. Seemed to take them a while to get organized then the sniffer dog started on the line-up of luggage outside the boat. One bag was pulled aside and the owner was asked to present themselves. Everyone else was down on the same level and we of course were up top and I was snapping photos (I will post later). In any case a young clean cut Swiss fellow was the owner of the bag and he was directed to open his bag and the dog went sniffing away. He was then told to take everything out for the dog to sniff some more. As it turns out, it seems he had nothing in his bag and it was all for nothing. I told him I had caught it all on camera and emailed him his shots 🙂 We then all piled on the water taxi (comfy seats, mostly enclosed) for a 1 hr 40 min ride to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
It was a great boat ride, nothing of consequence and nothing to see until you neared Ambergris Caye. The entrance to San Pedro town is via a river/lagoon with mangroves, very tropical 🙂 Once arrived we hopped off the boat and were directed to go through the Belize customs and immigration process…..and this reminds me……I guess I’m getting old…and didn’t know it until we were lined up to get on the water taxi and one of the workers came and took me out of the line to be among the first on the boat…..I didn’t really think a lot of it…UNTIL upon arrival one of the customs/immigration people also took me out of the line and get through the process early….what I finally realized is……I was grouped with the OLD people…*sigh*…..had my hair tied back and it looks almost completely white that way *sigh sigh sigh*..also they didn’t really want ‘young’ Johnny to come with me but I insisted…..OK…end of rant 🙂 The customs immigration process was quick and easy and everyone was super friendly. We got a taxi outside and the taxi driver was awesome too, pointing out places of interest and recommending various places to do things…as it turns out the hotel paid for our $5 US cab fare so all good! Check in was also super simple and minutes later we were in our room overlooking the sea! OK….I’m tired and have to upload this….will have to finish later! Eventually there will be 3 slideshows below. This first one was the last few photos at our hotel in Tulum before we left. The second slide show the water taxi between Chetumal and Belize and at the bottom individual photos of the military situation.