A Very Traditional Good Friday Morning in Very Traditional Benque Viejo, Belize

Yesterday afternoon, my 3+ hour bus ride ended in the town of Benque, Belize.


The last town before the Guatemalan border in the Cayo district, Western Belize.  (I took a water taxi from San Pedro to Belize City and then the bus from Belize City to Benque – just west of the Mayan site of Xunantunich on the map.

If you haven’t been to Xunantunich, you must get here imemediately!

I’ve actually never been to Benque before.  Driven through many times, yes, but stopped?  Never.  And the town is SO not what I pictured.


The phrase “border town” bring up imagines of neon signs, barbed wire, shady money changers, shoot outs and girlie bars.  So far I haven’t seen any of that.  Benque is a quiet QUIET town on the gorgeous green Mopan River…


Gorgeous last night as the sun was setting.


The river is filled with bathing kids, women doing laundry, dogs cooling off…I’m hoping to get in a tube a bit later.  And I will show you all my pictures around town including the centerpiece.  The large Roman Catholic church.


This morning everyone was up at the crack of dawn carefully laying down saw dust carpets on the streets for the mid-day procession.  Here are some pictures and I have lots more to take.  This is still going on…

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EVERYTHING is closed in the town.  No one is working.  I need to get out there and take about 15,000 more pictures so enjoy your Good Friday.  The big parties start this weekend.

I am here until the afternoon and then head to Belize City for the evening.  Off to beg someone for a cup of coffee!

  • TarheelBornGal

    Beautiful sunset photo! We spent an afternoon walking ALL over Benque (which, as you know, is not flat at all) looking for this one Mexican restaurant we’d heard was excellent. Unfortunately, once we finally found it, we discovered the owners out of town and the place all closed up. We surely got our exercise that day. We thought Benque was pretty charming, though, and it was fun to take the bus to and from from San Ignacio as the only non-locals. We saw the hand-crank ferry but did not make it to Xunantunich (just not enough time). I guess another trip is in order one day!

    • Belize Blog

      I read your post…the search for the Mexican restaurant.

      • TarheelBornGal

        Yep, even the day we were there, we found virtually nowhere to eat. That sweet woman on the street offered to take us home to eat something at her house; I fell in love with Benque right then! Fortunately, it was just a short bus ride back to San Ignacio for plenty of dinner choices…but we had our hearts set on that Mexican place. It was SO out of the way, though, and way up a huge hill!

  • Angela

    Canada just out out an advisory against travel to belize especially in areas close to Guatemala border and belize city due to high recent crime activity as well as travel by bus, taxi etc, does any of that bother you when you travel to these places or is a lot of it blown up out of proportion??

    • Belize Blog

      I’ve done all four things in the past 24 hours! Bus, taxi, Belize City and the border! I don’t go places where I don’t feel comfortable. Like out in Belize City at night. But on a bus? I feel perfectly fine. And Benque is a lovely town…I felt more than safe there too. I guess it all depends on what sort of traveller you are…and if you are looking for trouble. Like hanging around with strangers, drugs, etc. (Not YOU of course…but the traveller.)

    • mugwump

      I lived in Benque Viejo, Belize on the border of Guatemala for 3 years as a missionary and never once felt like my life was in danger. Belize City in general I tried to avoid, especially going to certain areas and definitely avoided at night, though the more public areas are not too bad. But Belize is a beautiful country to travel in and I would say safe if you have common sense.

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  • Dale

    I am a seasoned traveler and I recommend that you take a taxi at night in Belize City. The rest of Belize is very safe. I am headed back next month.

    • Belize Blog

      I TOTALLY agree. I would not even be in Belize City at night if I could avoid it! But a taxi is a must. I also wouldn’t walk on the beach in the dark…nothing has ever happened to me but ALWAYS better safe than sorry.