The World’s Smallest Ferry to Punta Gorda

After chasing across Guatemala, checking out the murder capital of the world, and 5 days of fairly intense SCUBA diving, we were ready to chill. Belize was the last country of the trip and sounded like the perfect Caribbean paradise in which to relax and do nothing.
I’d been told about a sleepy fishing town called Punta Gorda in the south of Belize, and so we headed there with plans of doing nothing at all. So we set off from Honduras… 

The only way we could get there early was to spend a second, thankfully less eventful night in the murder capital of the world, San Pedro Sula. The following morning we got on the first bus out of there and reentered Guatemala. Arriving in Puerto Barrios, I headed straight to the port to buy our tickets but had no Guatemalan money in my pockets and they didn’t accept card! Without a second thought, the lady selling tickets offered me a ride on the back of her scooter to the local ATM. I hopped on the back, touring pretty much the whole town as one after another ATM failed to work. 4th time lucky, I had the cash and was heading back to the port!
Now when I said I was getting a ferry to Belize, that’s what I thought. We walked down the board walk towards a large boat, presumably my home for the next hour. You would imagine a boat going from one country to another to be a decent size, right? Wrong. As we approached the large boat, somebody pointed down to their right, at a tiny motorboat sat in the shadows of the much larger ferry behind it. This was without doubt, the smallest ferry in the world with four people and their bags squeezing between port and starboard. Everybody was laughing in disbelief as more and more people piled in to the tiny little boat, presumably wondering whether it would actually make it.
As it happened, the journey was great. The boat was pretty fast, and the hour long journey past mangroves and open sea was over before we knew it, cruising in to the port by 11.30am. I’d made it to BELIZE!!! The final country of the trip, my third country of the morning and the 51st country that I’d visited!
Punta Gorda really was a sleepy town. Arriving without a place to stay, we were pointed in the general direction of a hotel and so set off down the deserted seafront street. We passed by a few shops, a couple of little bar/restaurants and finally made it to a guesthouse that we were happy to call home for a few days. It turned out that there wasn’t much more to the town than what we had seen on our walk from the port and I was more than happy with that!
For the next few days all we did was wander around town maybe drinking a smoothie along the way, drink the delicious Belikin beer, eat amazing king fish (which was accidentally introduced to the Belizean waters and is now being hunted to prevent it from eating the local fish and in turn damage the coral reefs), sleep and repeat.
One day a serious tropical storm set in early in the morning and continued all day and night, but we were chilled out and in Belize – nothing could dampen the mood (although our clothes had never been damper after getting caught in the downpour!).
After 3 nights here chatting with the friendly locals and enjoying life in this tranquil Belizean town, we got up early and hopped on the first bus out of town, catching this beautiful sunrise on the way.
These few days made me think of the Italian phrase “dolce far niente” – the sweetness of doing nothing. How sweet it can be sometimes! Next stop, Caye Caulker!
Have you ever got to a point while backpacking that you just want to do nothing? Where is your favourite spot to chill?

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  5 comments for “The World’s Smallest Ferry to Punta Gorda

  1. November 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Wow. Now that sounds like an adventure! I’m not sure i’d like the boat trip myself but I think getting to Belize would probably be worth it!
    Sophie recently posted…How to do Paris on the cheapMy Profile

    • November 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Definitely worth it Sophie 🙂 Belize is definitely amazing and it was perfect to chill out for a few days in Punta Gorda!

  2. November 30, 2014 at 3:31 am

    On long trips it is essential to just chill out and do nothing! I made this trip, but the opposite direction (from Belize into Guatemala and Honduras), and I had a bit of a different experience in PG. I, too, had heard it was a sleepy little fishing town and planned on staying for a couple of days. However, we got there and for the only time in 3.5 months traveling through Central America felt unsafe! We were followed by some people, had a bad spot for a hotel, and in general just got a bad vibe from the town! We only stayed one night and booked it out of there on the first ferry of the morning. Glad your experience was enjoyable, though!
    Katie recently posted…Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the WorldMy Profile

    • November 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Oh no Katie!! That’s a shame, I really liked it – maybe you were just unlucky (or we got lucky!). Glad the rest of your trip was good though!

  3. April 15, 2015 at 5:35 am

    I’ve taken that ferry! Always an adventure thats for sure.
    Hannah @GettingStamped recently posted…One Week in LangkawiMy Profile

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