Hey girl, check your email =) Just booked us flights to… (No, this wasn’t my boyfriend making me the happiest girl in the world one day. I’m single. This was me sending a text to my homegirl because we were WAY overdue for a simple girls trip. And that’s how I ended up in…) BELIZE!
How Did I Get There?
Your first flight will be to Belize City International Airport. From there most tourists take the watertaxi or small plane to Caye Caulker or San Pedro Islands, Hopkins Bay or Placencia. The further out you go the prettier the beaches become. I stayed in San Pedro, which is known as the party spot. Local bars stay open until about midnight and then the more popular spots downtown like Rehab, stay open until the wee-hours of the night/morning.
A few weeks before takeoff new direct flights opened to Belize from Houston and New Orleans. We took our flight from FLL through Southwest and caught a RT (FLL–> BZE and back) for about $125. The flight was 1hr and 45 min. The cab ride to the water taxi was $25 and 30 min. The water taxi was $35RT to San Pedro which took about 90 min. I’ll be honest, though in all not a long journey, all the stops kind of wore us out for our first night on the island. Next time we’ll take the 20 min flight on Mayan Air and shell out a few more bucks.
What’s to Eat?
Traditional Belizean meals are similar to what you’ll find in most Caribbean areas, rice and beans (make sure you say it right- there is more rice than beans and they are cooked together, which is why the rice is darker), stewed chicken, beef, or pork.
For breakfast you can pick from fry jacks, johnny cakes or flour tortillas with eggs and sausage and a side of beans. Wash it all down with…RUM! Or natural fruit juice, if you’re trying to play it cool.
Had some great seafood dishes, of course. My favorite being the coconut ceviche from our resort’s restaurant, Pier 366. Going during low-season was great for our pockets but it meant we spent a lot of time eating and drinking here. No complaints, the staff at Banyan Bay made us feel right at home.
Depending on where you’re going getting around is pretty inexpensive and easy. The islands are pretty narrow and were not originally built to be big sprawling cities. After the horse and buggy came the golf cart. I’m sure there was something in between, but this is the main source of transportation. We also took advantage of the complimentary bikes at our suites to take into town and cabs when we needed luggage hauled, also complimentary. If you’re looking to island hop, you can catch the water taxi from sunrise to sunset.
Things to Try
We signed up for the full experience on our 3rd day. Mayan ruins, zip-lining through the jungle and cave tubing.
Never have I ever… felt such an IMMENSE connection to this earth as when I stood 130ft above ground on the Mayan temple of Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock). These Mayan ruins date back to 300-600BC and the first discovery was in 1881. The last area discovered in this area was just last summer and continues to be excavated. Can you find me in the first pic? #UnBELIZEable #MayanCivilization #PursuitofHappiness #Xunantunich #HonorTheGods #13LevelsofHeaven
It was HOT! It was fun! It was INCREDIBLY emotional. Not just because I caught charlie horses in the back of both thighs while swimming in the river, thank God for my life vest! The ruins were nothing short of magical. Standing at the site of Xunantunich with unearthed edifices that date back to 300BC, so well intact – WOW! That was a feeling I have never felt before and it is still hard to explain. I literally had chills standing 130ft above ground at the top of the temple. You also become really self aware when there’s no side railings or guards to protect you from falling. I stand at 5 feet and 8 inches and would have been considered an elite at that time. The avg Mayan stood at approx 3.5-4.5 ft tall. I see exactly how they seemed like Gods sitting high in the sky.
My good friend that I traveled with had done zip-lining before. All I could think of is that feeling of your stomach dropping on a roller-coaster. I was ready, but not really. I knew we were on a schedule so when it was my turn, I turned my head to the stranger who was with our small group and waved goodbye. It was now or never. A deep breath and i was soaring through the sky and thanking God for another amazing experience. This has to be my new favorite sport.
Cave-tubing was our final stop in our all day adventure. We took a 2hr drive across country and another 30 min to the jungle and then a 25min. hike to the caves. Definitely got our steps in for the day. This part was relaxing and easy but also really beautiful to see. My last cave adventure was relatively short in Cuba. This was much longer and darker. Yes, we had flashlights on our helmets, but our tour guide, who was awesome, convinced us to turn them out and follow the light to drift out. By this time we certainly trusted him, so hearing that rushing water into the waterfall didn’t make my heart skip five beats. He guided us through safely with knowledge at every turn.
My new random facts to add to the box:
- Most Belizeans are tri-lingual
- Country’s Language: English (British ruled until September 21, 1981)
- Creole-English: No, if you speak French Creole or Jamaican Patois it’s not likely you’re going to have a successful conversation with a Belizean. It is so popular it’s even taught in some schools. Basically say it in English, drop the “e-r” from everything and speak pretty quickly.
- Native Country Language. There are so many people from all over who have settled in Belize. There’s a large Spanish speaking community of course, but don’t be surprised to see Taiwanese, British, Canadians “Eh”, Menonites and Americans (most Americans move here to retire)
- Mennonites produce approx. 60% of the agriculture in the country. They’ve come up with the modern times a little too. Don’t be surprised to see them driving down the road in a car. They won’t be the ones driving though that’s for sure. Hired-drivers wanted!
- After many devastating hurricanes, the Belizeans decided to ask for their Independence from the British who saw a declining country on it’s hands.
- There are 28 known Mayan ruin sites in Belize. A new tomb, temple and site being excavated daily!
- The majority of the oranges used in Tropicana juice comes from Belize.
I have no clue where I’m headed next. But when I get back, I’ll let you know how it went!