Today we left El Remate where we had been staying to visit Tikal and headed back towards the Belizean border.  I had read about a Mayan site called Yaxha which sounded interesting, and Norberto, our Tikal guide strongly recommended visiting it, so when we say the signpost, we decided it would be worth a quick visit.  Unfortunately, the 8 mile drive was over very rough terrain and when we got there it required a US$10 per person park entrance fee (nifty concert style bracelet included!), so we decided to stay a little longer and take our time visiting the ruins.  Glad we did as although Yaxha is much smaller than Tikal, far fewer people visit it and it made it easy to get around and sometimes more atmospheric.  Great view of the nearby lake too.  Wikipedia details on Yaxha can be found here.

Aaron seemed to have a lot of fun with the local arthropods and learned how to safely extract a tarantula from its hiding hole.  Saw some pretty interesting insects, including the VERY large grasshopper that Aaron found.

Returning to the main road, we drove back to the Belizean border and after turning in our car paperwork and getting our passports stamped out of Guatemala, we payed the BZD10 fee (US$5) for an inspection sticker and proceeded to Belizean immigration and customs just in time to be behind a large tour group.  Thankfully the line moved fast and we didn’t have to spend all day to get back into Belize.

A few miles down the road is the major town of the Cayo district in Belize, San Ignacio.  We stopped to use the ATM and went to the market stalls to buy some fruit (turns out the day we had driven through here on the way into Guatemala was the major market day).  Anyway, bought some delicious, ridiculously cheap fruit – 5 lovely fresh bananas, a papaya, a huge mango and a dragon fruit for less than US$3.  The fruit here has been fantastic.  Had star fruit a few days later, which I normally think tastes like water, but here is it juicy, sweet, and flavorful.  The dragon fruit was also interesting – unlike the ones we had in SE Asia which are white on the inside, these are the color of beetroot.  Still yummy though!

We are staying at the Five Sisters Jungle Lodge in the Pine Mountain Reserve – only about 24 miles from San Ignacio, but over a challenging unpaved road, so it took us more than an hour to get here.  The place is very remote, but it is really lovely.  Our cabana is actually two stories – Aaron has his own double bed, bathroom and screen in terrace upstairs, while Kelly and I have our own King size bed and bathroom downstairs.  The place is beautifully landscaped, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful.  More to come!

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