Belize doesn’t have many roads, but since it’s so small I guess it doesn’t really need many. The main highways have simple names to tell you where they are in relation to the overall country layout – ie. Western Highway, Southern Highway, etc. As we leave Placencia we ride back up the 15 or so miles of the peninsula to get back onto the Southern Highway and then turn onto the Hummingbird Highway and head to the western border town of San Ignacio for a few days before riding west to Guatemala. I have a low front tire as I pack up and prepare to leave “the sidewalk” in Placencia. So we ride over to the only petro station in the town and stop at the tire shop there.
The tire shop guy/mechanic is really interested in the bikes and speak pretty good English so he asks lots of questions. He charges us $5 BD for the air and then we are off. As we ride out there are points where I can see water to my right, the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean, and to my left, the lagoon filled with salt water crocodiles. Loads of beach houses and ex-pats living all along the peninsula. Then back on the main land we ride at first through some dry terrain and I’m surprised by all the tall pine trees growing just a mile or two from the sea and in this climate.
Then in less than 20 miles we ride through banana plantations. The banana flowers and bananas are already covered in blue plastic bags awaiting harvest.
After turning onto the Hummingbird Highway the road narrows a bit, and Belize doesn’t have wide roads to start with. There are no shoulders really, and no markings, no guardrails….
The Hummingbird Highway is roughly 50-55 miles long and connects the Southern Highway to the Western Highway (that leads to San Ignacio) at Belmopan. It’s a hilly road with lots of vegetation and water. I cross lots of rivers and see signs directing travelers to various creeks, rivers, falls, swimming places, parks, etc. Belize is a hikers/swimmers paradise. Most of the bridges on the road are only one lane and work on a sort of honor system whereby the first to arrive is the first to cross. I’m ever mindful of the large petroleum trucks on this road so make extra sure I’m not gonna have a game of chicken on any of the bridges.
It’s really lush and green here. I see lots of farms and fruit trees. I pass through a few small villages and even see a processing plant for all the citrus groves in the area.
It’s a lovely road to ride. My pics don’t do it justice. The road winds and twists and runs over hills and down through valleys. I think I expected to see millions of Hummingbirds, but no such luck here. I do see them all over the country though – sniffling at a Bougainvillia (or bugambilia as they spell it here) in Placencia or taking a quick taste of a flower here and there. Such a novelty to me and so lovely.
At the end of the road I turn west at Belmopan and have another 20 or so miles to ride to get to a campground in San Ignacio and then I can call it a day. It’s been a short day but a hot and very humid one so I’m ready to call it quits after just over 100 miles.