San Pedro Town is often considered as one of the most unique destinations in Belize. The local community is rooted with both Mestizo and Spanish traditions, as many of the first settlers are originally from Xcalak, Mexico. But it’s not only the culture that is common, we also share a border! Yes, a border!
The only thing that separates Belize and Mexico is a narrow channel within the Rio de Cantena. Belize Mexico Channel-2The channel is believed to have been dug out by the Maya to provide a trade route from the Bay of Chetumal, Quintana Roo to the Caribbean around 600 A.D. Evidence of this theory can be seen in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, which contains several unexplored Maya sites- after all, the entire Ambergris Caye can be considered an Archeological Site.Belize Mexico Channel-3
Apparently, Ambergris Caye was a large trading post for the Mayas. Civilizations in the Yucatan peninsula used the channel to get Chac Balam (the Maya ruins that lie within Bacalar Chico). Chac Balam was a very important Maya trading center for everything from salt and food to jade, obsidian, and pottery along the Caribbean coast. From there, goods were distributed to the about 19 known Maya Sites across Ambergris Caye, most of which are unexplored.Belize Mexico Channel-5
The channel cannot be more than 15-20 feet wide and is lined on both banks by rich mangrove. Today, it’s a perfect nursery for baby fishes and other marine life, not to mention, feeding ground for much larger predatory species- I guess it’s called ‘the circle of life’. Belize Mexico Channel-1Deer, Wild-boar and even Jaguars have crossed this channel which explains our rich wildlife on Northern Ambergris Caye.

A capsized wreck on the Mexican side!

A capsized wreck on the Mexican side!

If you think about it, if the Maya wouldn’t have dug out that channel Ambergris Caye would not be an island, it would be attached to Mexico! Our Maya ancestors definitely left us proof of their great works!

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About the Author: Janelle Cowo

Janelle loves traveling and experiencing new cultures both within and across the border of Belize. She particularly enjoys history and is an avid Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance reader. What she lacks in stature, Janelle has (and even surpasses) in spirit for adventure. She is willing to try pretty much anything, from daring jumps to new eats. She loves sharing her adventures with her daughter Inori, hoping to encourage her to lead an adventurous life and enjoy the beauty of the world around her. Janelle lives her life according to Mae West quote “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

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