BORDER DELUGE May 17, 2014 Never do a border crossing on an empty stomach. We've done it a few times now and it makes a hot and slow process so much worse. Crossing in to Mexico we were lucky to have two experienced travellers with us, who both spoke Spanish. The countries that have followed – Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua – have progressively got hotter and slower. These border crossings have taken between 1.5 hours to 5.5 hours. Janell handles border crossings for The Pack Track. She is the most organised out of the three when it comes to paperwork and is picking up Spanish phrases a little faster than Stu and Skyla. To cross a border (a bridge over a river in most cases) we have tourist visas, motorbike permits and live animal import/export (that's Skyla). The process involves moving from the immigration and customs queues in one country to get stamps and permit, then moving to the administration buildings of the next country to get more stamps and permits. Sometimes you pay some money. Interestingly not all countries require insurance so when its not mandatory we don't get it. Oh, travelling in a group is handy as someone can always be watching the bikes. Belize is a very small country in both population and area; the population is about the size of Newcastle in NSW at 340,000. Another interesting fact is that its an English speaking country so it was a good first border crossing for us on our own. Everything was fairly straightforward except that we had not completed the online form to import Skyla. A $50 'fine' quickly sorted this problem out and we were on our way. Belize city, located on the east coast used to be the capital of the country but the coastal area is prone to flooding and tsunami's therefore was strategically moved inland to Balmopan but Belize city remains the commercial centre of the country. We spent our one night in Balmopan. Visiting the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich was a major highlight of our trip so far...to our surprise, Skyla was allowed in with us and we had great fun climbing up and down the ruins taking silly photo's. Janell came down with a cold leaving Belize so we stayed two nights in Guatemala in a more resort style accommodation (still within our budget); when you're sick on the road you really want the creature comforts around you. Unfortunately we didn't do any exploring but we stayed in the vicinity of the Tikal ruins in a very pretty town called El Remate, about 30km out of Santa Elena. Janell described the area as a great place for a honey moon; peaceful and pretty. To Be Cont.