If you’re heading south to Belize, you can’t avoid the capital of Quintana Roo, CHETUMAL, 1.5km from the border. The neighbouring country’s influence is reflected in everything from people’s quirky English names to the clapboard houses. Many of these old wooden cottages were wiped out by Hurricane Janet in 1955, however, and Chetumal was rebuilt in concrete. The city is bustling but largely oblivious to tourists, which can be refreshing after the hedonism of the Riviera Maya. But you must have a particular love for border towns to appreciate the place as a destination. It does make a decent one-day stop for resting and restocking, as everything (except car rental) is relatively cheap. Nightlife is pretty tame, but on weekend evenings the plaza by the malecón has food stalls, and residents flock to the bar-restaurants strung along the seafront east of here.

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