When we in Belize think of Mexico, we think of cheap prices! tacos and Mexican beer! big city shopping at Walmart! crowds of people! CANCUN! but just across the Rio Hondo in Northwest Belize, the town of La Union is really none of those things.
Well…except Mexican beers.
In this neck of the woods, La Union stands in stark contrast to that view of Mexico and equally stark contrast to her prosperous neighbor, separated only by a fairly narrow river, the Mennonite villages of Blue Creek.
Where one side is gorgeous open pasture and farm land including Circle R, the largest producer of rice in Belize, the Mexican side rises up on a scrubby cliff side (an escarpment) and the town clings to the side of it.
A bus does go to Chetumal (the capital of the state of Quintana Roo) and you could take the winding Rio Hondo that way as well, but it seems light years away from the city.
In fact, La Union is so far from the city the residents use Belize cell phone service – Digicel and Smart phone credits were on sale at the small local shops.
Let me just get to the photos.
The one road in and out of Blue Creek.
Just after the gate keeper’s booth is the Police Station and customs and immigration.
And then down a small hill…to the “ferry” to Mexico. $1bzd per person to cross.
Apparently the river is about neck deep…so even though it looks shallow you can’t walk across…here.
On the other side, a taxi.
And an immigration station. We gave our names…and a few dollars. My name, for the record in La Union, is Rebecca Cutest.
We walked along the crumbly road passing small homes…and shops. A school and some churches. Honestly? There wasn’t too much to see…or too many people about. Even though the population is estimated around 2000 to 2500. 3-4 times that of Blue Creek.
We walked back down to the less legal crossing in the river.
We are in Mexico, that bank? Belize.
Apparently the US government has been here a few times in the last few weeks to examine this pretty weak link in the border. And it is speculated that things will tighten up very soon.
We walked back passing my favorite market by far.
One…for the name.
Two…because of the kitten.
And three…because of the strange reminder that you are in Mexico. WHITE EGGS!
White eggs are illegal in Belize.
Dripping with sweat, we headed back to modern Belize.
Super interesting to me. A village in Mexico that basically exists because of Blue Creek, Belize. Who knew? I am getting more and more inspired to travel to the small towns of Belize – the farthest corners because, well again…who knew? In this outpost of Belize, I found a village filled with friendly people, gorgeous farm landscapes and some major industry.
And before I go, as you drive into Blue Creek, you can see a cut-away in the Mexican cliff side. Apparently there is a large cenote called Cenote Encantado that is ice cold and “bottomless”. It’s a kayak ride down the ride or a hike into the jungle. I MUST GO BACK TO SEE THIS CENOTE!