Posted in Travel

Wild and Wonderful Belize

lamani

Fellow Travelers,

If you are thinking about your next getaway consider traveling to Belize. Belize has the world’s second largest coral atoll which is protected by “water rangers” in an underwater national park setting. This is the place where you will find fish and coral of any size and color, easily spot a nursing shark and sting ray, or swim with turtles in season. They say it feels like being in an aquarium but I disagree, this is so much better, and of course, bigger! I saw corals swaying as I was passing by, I fed sharks then swam around them, unheard of!

The way to vacation in Belize is by splitting your time between the islands and mainland. We stayed on Ambergris Cay for 3 nights and hopped over to Caye Caulker one day. Don’t miss out on the flying stingrays! There are no cars on these islands (other than utility vehicles and delivery trucks) so you can only rent a golf cart to get around but if you stay in San Pedro you can walk pretty much anywhere. If you are a sun worshiper you must stay in a high end resort to find a clean sandy beach, free of seaweed. Belize is known to be a scuba diving paradise than a beach destination but there are a couple of nice beaches at private resorts.

There are only a couple of small local airlines connecting Belize with the coral islands which is a must do if you want to have a panoramic view from above. FANTASTIC! Once on the mainland I highly recommend renting a Jeep (or any 4X4 SUV) due to poor road conditions, especially if you have plans on going deep into the jungle, like we did. Highways are acceptable near the capital but once you leave the city you will see roads with large potholes, often time without pavement. We crossed the Mopan River close to the Guatemalan Border just to see a Mayan Ruin, and it was worth it! There is no bridge around here other than a man operated platform (not sure what to call it, really) but basically you pull the platform over to the other side. There is no cost to it but you should tip the operator.

Mopan

If you are into boutique hotels that are tucked away in nature, far from civilization, look no further than the Belize Boutique Resort and Spa. Instead of a hotel room you will get a bungalow here and each bungalow is different with its own theme. The furnishing is rustic and bohemian at the same time with nice tile floors. Our bungalow was called the “Fertility Bungalow” which was a two-room superior suite under a thaw-thatched roof. The second room opened from the bedroom which was a lounge area with a private Jacuzzi tub.  The housekeepers decorate your suite every day with fresh hibiscus flowers, hand-picked from their very own garden.

hibiscus

Spend your day by reading or meditating in quiet tropical gardens and soaking in a natural mineral pool under the coconut trees.  If you are into body treatments like we are sign up for their signature mud massage and take a camera with you. Therapists will use 4 different colors of mud which will dry onto your skin while decorating your “private parts” with hibiscus flowers. Trust me; the flowers will stay on 😉 Once you get up from the massage table you will look like a warrior; it will be fun to take pictures! The next step is walking over to the outdoor spa and sitting in the tile pool. You won’t have to move a finger just let them bathe you the old fashion way. Mud and flowers will slowly wash away from your body while the soft outdoor drapes slowly dance in the breeze.

This place has everything you need, from a yoga room to a chapel, from a hookah lounge to a birding area, from a chess cabana to a restaurant and a bar. They have a menu but they can make you pretty much anything, any way you like it, so technically you do not need a menu 😉 The closest cities are about 30-40 minutes away so make sure you have enough gas in the tank, never arrive here empty. When you check-in Melanie will give you a private tour of the grounds and point out flowers you can actually eat, such as the hibiscus, which reduces blood pressure. They actually produce hibiscus tea and other food items here at the resort for sale (they have a cute little gift shop). The staff members wear a lovely colorful outfit every day and ready to help you any way. When you check out they gift you a silk shoulder bag which is made from the same material the staff members wear all day so that you can take something home with you. How thoughtful!

I had a lovely time at the Belize Boutique Hotel and Spa and I’m confident that you will to!

Follow me on my next adventure at the Bahamas, the Exumas and Eleuthera Islands in March!