Travel

Travel Guide to Belize

July 19, 2016

Hello! I have seldom been on tropical trips and vacations, so planning a trip to Belize was nothing short of exciting. The trip to Belize was for my sister’s Bachelorette and was a first for everyone in our group. Needless to say, we had an unBelizable time together! (Go ahead and hate me for the pun)

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Coming to Belize, I didn’t know much about the country, the culture, or even geographically where it was (silly me)! I heard that it was a destination to retire, and now I can see why. The towns and ocean are very picturesque which just begs for you to take photos. Which I shamelessly did :).

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To my surprise, our part of Belize was rather Americanized. Everyone spoke English – or what our taxi golf carter called it: Creole AKA broken English. We enjoyed American style food like pizza and burgers with the occasional vegetarian and vegan options. They even accept U.S. dollars; it’s the funniest thing receiving change in both U.S. and Belizean dollars.

San pedro, the city that we stayed in, was a simple and quaint community of locals, retirees, and vacationers taking a slow pace at life. And I mean slow. Like wait 50 minutes for your food and no one even gets mad slow (which actually happened). Everyone we’ve come across had been very kind which was a new experience coming from the U.S. where people get mad over the smallest things. It was especially a new experience not being harassed when a group of girls were dressed up. Of course you get some stares, but no one made us feel uncomfortable. It was nice to hear “you ladies look beautiful!” and have that be the end. No catcalls. No following.

The homes and establishments across the islands were playfully colorful and with the bright blue ocean in the front yard, it was truly paradise. Imagine you’re 5 again and creating a beach town in your head – that’s what Belize reminds me of. And it’s a true sign of how happy and carefree the locals are. They’re like “F*ck it I’ll paint my house pink” while in America we’re standing in a Home Depot for an hour trying to find the right shade of off-white.

belizecolorfulPhoenix Resort

phoeniz resort 2Our group of 8 girls shared a comfortable suite for the weekend. Everything from the suite itself to the amenities and customer service were everything you could ask for. When you first arrive, you receive a warm welcome from the staff with a refreshment towel to wipe off the airplane and humid grime and a Rum Punch – the star drink of Belize. The room service was free which meant we were eating breakfast while getting ready and chowing down on pizza when relaxing inside for the night. It’s a great resort for large parties if you’re spending some time inside. They also provide paddleboards, kayaks, and bikes for free! It’s a walkable distance to many restaurants, bars, and clubs so there are many accessible options.

The Blue Hole

theblueholeIt would be a shame to come all the way to Belize and not see the Blue Hole! For those who don’t know, the Blue Hole is a large and perfectly circular sink hole; a 45 minute plane ride or 3 hour boat ride off the coast of Belize. It’s a must see natural odyssey with a breathtaking view from the top. We took a tour with Tropical Air in a small plane with a lax pilot who was the Fast and Furious of small planes; in other words, this is not for those with motion sickness. You could also snorkel here which I would love to do if I ever come back. And if you’re truly daring, you can skydive over it too; all you need is $15,000.

Snorkeling

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Snorkeling is also a must when in Belize. Our group rented a boat for the entire day through Catamaran Tours that took us out to the barrier reef, the second largest in the world. We were able to see a turtle close up and swim with the fishes. Our guide for the day was amazing. He got in the water with us and showed us his Belizean blood by staying under water for 2 minutes and capturing some great GoPro moments through an arch at the bottom of the sea. He also saved our GoPro when we dropped it at the bottom (go Abraham!).

After the barrier reef, we had the opportunity to swim with the sharks! It was a thrilling and terrifying experience that you can enjoy from the boat or in the water. Being a dare-devil, I had to jump in. I wasn’t afraid of being bitten or eaten by them after our guide assured us they were more like catfish. But the fear of touching them was what I was most afraid of – I have an irrational fear of touching fish while they’re alive. I had a few sharks scrape against that had me wailing, but it was worth it!

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If you’re going to Belize with a large group, I highly recommend the Catamaran tour. Many other tours will take you out to the barrier reef and shark alley, but I can’t guarantee they’ll let you jump in the water with them. The tour was an all day tour on a private boat with an open bar and lunch buffet. All in which were amazing! It sounds bougie, I know, but it’s an experience worth paying for especially if you have a large group to split it with. Sitting on a boat for 7 hours can sound daunting, but it’s actually very relaxing with snorkeling stops and an hour stop on Caye Caulker. Kudos to Abraham and our captain for putting together such a delicious meal on a tiny boat. We conversed with Abraham briefly and found out his family immigrated to Belize from Pakistan and raised him in Belize. He works for the tour full time and goes snorkeling everyday and he wouldn’t have it any other way. A simple man and an envious life.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a popular island that many visitors stay on. It has a long strip of shops, bars, and restaurants. The food and snacks are more than you would expect from a small tropical island. They also have coconuts fresh from the tree! There’s a popular bar called “The Lazy Lizard” that seems to be the hot spot for a lot of travelers. Of course, it sits on the water so you can drink and lay in the beach at the same time. It’s right at the end of the island so there is a channel that separates it from the neighboring island. They are close enough that people swim to the other side where there is a board on top of a tree that they like to jump off of. It’s a place I would go to if I was traveling solo or with friends and wanted to meet new people.

I hope this post opened your eyes about Belize! It’s definitely a bucket list destination that you can do in so many different ways. From what I can tell, Belize is a place for anybody whether you’re going with family, friends, or even solo. There’s always a place to be, a place to go, and people to meet.

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Best Things About Belize:

  • Beautiful water
  • Rum Punch
  • Golf carting
  • The people
  • No real creepers
  • The food
  • $1 US = $2 Belizean

Worst Things About Belize:

  • The water is SALTY – jump in with caution
  • The humidity
  • 5 layers of sunblock and bug spray
  • I’m still dark AF

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