If youâ€™ve ever wondered â€œWhatâ€™s BelizeÂ Like?â€, the latest entry in my â€œWhatâ€™s it Likeâ€ series has the answer.
Belize in a Word: Narrow
OK, what do I mean by â€œnarrow?â€ Well, it means that Belize has a narrow range of appeal. If youâ€™re going there for food or beaches, prepare to be disappointed. I found neither to be memorable. Let me correct that – the beaches were memorable for being strewn with flotsam. Resorts hire people to keep them looking nice.
On the other hand, if you are a caver (please donâ€™t say â€œspelunkerâ€), snorkeler or SCUBA diver … Belize is heaven. I absolutely loved the Aktun Tunichil Muknal cave tour more than I can tell you. If I had more time, I wouldâ€™ve interrogated locals for non-tour, do-it-myself cave experiences. Belize is practically all limestone, and has more miles of caves than anyone can properly track. And for the water people, Ambergris Caye, BelizeÂ is a perfect base to get you out for snorkel or SCUBA adventures where youâ€™ll see baracuda, octopi, rays and much more.
Youâ€™ll note that I went in December. The weather was nice but warm. Though the town of HopkinsÂ was just downright hot, even in December. This is coming from a guy who has lived in Arizona for decades, so pay attention. I mean it.
Donâ€™t bother with Belize City. Itâ€™s horrible. Oh, and everybody there wants to sell you souvenirs. They can’t compare to the Red Dzao or Black Hmong in Vietnam when it comes to high-pressure sales … but they make up for it in volume.
Things People Said to Me
â€œHey, big guy! Let me braid your hair!â€
Other Cool Stuff Worth Noting
I absolutely love the Gaia Riverlodge outside of San Ignacio. Itâ€™s a hydroelectric lodge powered by a nearby river. There were no TVs or even hairdryers in the thatched-roof huts. Since my visit, itâ€™s gone all-inclusive and changed names. But the location remains the same, and itâ€™s a serene, quiet place thatâ€™s an excellent base for hikes and cycling. I also had a great time visiting the Caracol ruins. Don’t be surprised if you wind up with an army escort to visit the ruins – or if you here gunfire from Guatemalan bandits clashing with the army.
When I Went: December 2007
Duration: 10 Days
Areas Visited: Caye Ambergris, San Ignacio, Hopkins, Belize City
Sure, I was only there 10 days. Iâ€™m not expert on Belize. But I think youâ€™ll get enough out of this to make some better-informed choices if youâ€™re going to Belize.
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