If you've ever wondered â€œWhat's BelizeÂ Like?â€, the latest entry in my â€œWhat'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 you'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 don'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 would'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 you'll see baracuda, octopi, rays and much more.
You'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.
Don't bother with Belize City. It'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. It's a hydroelectric lodge powered by a nearby river. There were no TVs or even hairdryers in the thatched-roof huts. Since my visit, it's gone all-inclusive and changed names. But the location remains the same, and it's a serene, quiet place that'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. I'm not expert on Belize. But I think you'll get enough out of this to make some better-informed choices if you're going to Belize.
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