A personal post on our recent vacation to Belize – and it was an awesome adventure. I’m a restless soul who loves nothing more than to go somewhere I’ve never been – so I’m constantly researching for new journeys – which is incredibly overwhelming when you open your internet browser and try to pick one place at a time to go in our beautiful world. We picked Belize for a few reasons –
It’s a short flight(s) there – about 4 hours in the air from Kentucky. Sweet.
Belize is the only country in Central America with an official language of English – colonized by the British. Very little communication barrier – right on.
It’s not just a beach. It’s a jungle, has a high density of Mayan Ruins, urban areas, drylands and islands.
A coral reef (the largest in the western hemisphere) guards the country from tides, and offers some kick ass snorkeling.
Conversion rate is simple – 1 American Dollar = 2 Belize Dollars. No hard math for me. Score. I really hate math. Like a lot.
Tourism isn’t it’s largest industry – so while you’ll find many great attractions and tours, you are not thrown into a tourist trap. It’s authentic and you’re hanging with the locals. Gold star from me.
This was a personal journey – so I left all my big gear back at home. The photos in this post are either from my iPhone6+, GoPro Hero 3, or my travel camera (which is insanely badass) – Fuji X-T1 with a 10-24 f/4 lens and a travel tripod for night shots. That’s it.
We stayed in Ambergris Caye – San Pedro – an island off the coast of their mainland. A sweet little town you could easy walk, and after a couple of hours find your way around quite easily. You’ll find lots of local arts, golf carts galore and a cold beer around any corner. From San Pedro, our hotel was 10 miles up the coast – so a twenty minute boat ride from town. Which for us – WAS PERFECT. It was incredibly private, we had our very own Villa right on the beach, and the staff was over the top amazing from the time we woke up, until we hit the pillow for the night. We stayed at Sapphire Beach Resort and Condominiums – and they get 5 big fat gold stars from me. Upon arrival, they greeted us with a local cell phone and MiFi (meaning I could have internet access anywhere I wanted – even in the middle of the jungle.) We always plan to vacay when school is back in session so we miss the influx of crowds, and travelling together in January means I get to leave the dreadful dull cold, and lay out in the sun. (Both of our birthdays are in January – my darling husband turned 30 our first day there, and I made it to 33 the day we got back. Nice celebration for us every year! Yay for birthdays!) We stayed two whole days at the resort out of the 7 we were there – had amazing food, the pool and beach mostly to ourselves, and a small intimate crowd of awesome folks at the bar at night. It was the perfect little rehab for work-a-holics like myself. If you decide to plan your getaway there, ask for Jerrilee and tell her your crazy friend Elaina sent you. She’ll take good care of you, pinky promise.
Our house for the week below on the left – freaking sweet, right? 2bedroom/2bath – large kitchen, laundry and living room, front and back porches sea front. Villa 4, specifically. Tip – grab a few things at the grocery in San Pedro before you hop on their boat – coffee, creamer, sugar, little snacks, etc. I need coffee before I can even imagine getting dressed – so having a few things around was super handy.
Snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. I felt like Steve Irwin, minus the misadventure.
Since our resort was quite a way up the beach with no neighbors – we could see the stars so clearly. Unbelizeable. ;) (Fuji XT1 on a tripod).
San Pedro was a quaint, colorful town. The locals were over the top friendly – speaking to you because they wanted to – not because they were trying to sell you something. While you can find trinkets and souvenirs quite easily all over town, you’re also walking the streets they walk, their children walk. I hope it always stays authentic as it seemed, because that won my heart over.
Cave tubing and ziplining on the main land. MUST DO if you’re travelling to the area. All I had with me was a little GoPro, and that was plenty.
If you stay on the island, you’ll be flying in tiny little planes to the mainland for adventure. 20 minutes, gorgeous views, and you feel like Indiana Jones. Most tours included your airfare roundtrip, and you can expect to spend $250-$400 per person USD for such adventures. Worth it. Set money aside. We booked all of our tours when we got there – even just the day before. EASY. Our hotel booked everything for us – all we had to do was show up at our dock and a boat was waiting for us -then a travel guide. Then someone at the airport telling you what to do. You don’t even have to think about it. Also, be prepared to get up around 5:30 am and to see some of the best damn sunrises of your life.
River Tour and Lamanai Mayan Ruins. Freaking breathtaking. Not terribly strenuous unless you decide to climb the High Temple, like we did. lol. Again, sore muscles and shaky legs were worth it. Don’t try to dress all cute – work out clothes and hiking shoes. We took these and they were PERFECT and a bit less hideous than some trail rated footwear you’ll see around the internet. lol Water and trail friendly – no blisters, not terribly expensive.
Next time we will definitely fly over to Tikal in Guatemala – then a bit of our History Channel Bucket List will be complete. :)
Meeting an adorable wild monkey along the river. Um, year made!!
Things to pack: As much as I travel you think I would have this down pat. Well, not really. I HATE packing, for anything, and search the internet depending on destination for must haves. I basically used this handy list. The bugs aren’t any worse than they are here in the States in the summer, but you always can’t feel them biting you. Pack 2-3 bottles of good bug spray, lots of sunscreen (70 spf+) , 2-3 bathing suits and cover ups, a few maxi dresses, a few cheap ponchos, backpacks (I use these for carry ons then for our day trips) work out type clothes, hiking shoes and sandals and you’re set. Flying I always wear the same thing, no matter where I’m going. Tank + sweater, my favorite jeans, blanket type scarf (because I wrap myself up in it to sleep on the airplane) and a pair of Toms, because duh – they rock. Our luggage weighed in under 40 pounds each and I’m writing that down as a personal best. Also, best investment I’ve recently made was a travel scale – no more overweight charges for me, ever.
While we were only there for 7 days, I could have easily stayed for 3-4 weeks. We did however get everything done we wanted to – but with a lot left to see. I typically don’t like to travel to the same place twice, but Belize is a game changer. I could live there, retire there, or go every few months and be the happiest girl on the planet. And with night skies like these, how could you not fall in love, head over heels.