I wanted to put in a travel line, Indiana Jones style, but I would be completely guessing at the route (Google wasn’t any help).
So we flew into Belize and then bused 5+ hours across the country and into Guatemala, ending in Flores. We shared the 18+ person shuttle with only one person: a traveler from Japan named Taka who showed us some incredible underwater photos of his diving excursions in Belize. He was also the tannest Asian I’d ever seen – we ran into a group of Japanese tourists in the Belize water taxi and bus station who didn’t even recognize him as Japanese and asked him how he spoke Japanese so well (“Um… I AM Japanese.”)
We parted ways with Taka upon arrival at Flores and encountered the first test of my Spanish: finding our first hotel. We’d made absolutely no reservations in advance: we didn’t want to be tied to a set schedule and figured we wouldn’t have a problem. Then the first two places we tried happened to be full. I asked one of the workers if she had any hotel/hostel recommendations and thus commenced what would soon become familiar: an explanation in Spanish that I was unable to translate, sparking a confused exchange of hand gestures and broken Spanish and/or English.
We ended up in a small but clean hostel with a bonus: a couple from Vancouver, BC across the hall. Friends!