A Central America Gem…Belize

“Land of the free by the Carib Sea”

Belize….ahhhhh Belize! 
I love Central and South American countries and this one in particular because even though it is nestled between Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras it is an English-speaking nation and mirrors more of a Caribbean vibe than Spanish.  

This small country, almost half the size of Costa Rica, has six districts: Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo.  And five different cultures that reside there: Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole, and Mennonites.  When you plan your trip keep in mind the wet (June to November) and dry seasons (December to May) to avoid soggy feet and high hotel prices with lots of tourists.

I wonder….am I the only person who finds it a bit stressful to figure out what to do when there are so many options?  Like in Belize for example: there are six different districts that offer so many different things.  Can they all be seen in one week?

Lets try!

First off rent a car – it is by far the best and cheapest way to get around Belize.  Even if the idea of navigating your way through a foreign country scares you take a deep breath and research.  Also, try this GPS map for Garmin devices that will provide you with accurate directions to all cases and ruins.  There are four primary roads – the Northern, Western, Southern and Hummingbird highways and all are easily navigable.  Make sure you rent a 4×4 as some roads leading up to major Mayan sites are rustic and with rainy weather can be down challenging.  But before you arrive in Belize you have to obtain an international driver’s license to rent a car there – do that here

Now that you have your car first stop is: Cayo district.
Cayo is inland so before you make your way to the coast I feel it is best to mark the jungle adventures off your list!
The Cayo district is known for its eco adventures to caves, Maya temples and nature reserves.
ATM Cave Ruins
  The town of San Ignacio is located there also and serves as a hub for these adventures and offers many adventures in town too!

Whether you are looking to go canoeing or tubing you will find many tours that will allow you do so or if you want to hike to a waterfall head to Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest reserve in Belize.  There you can explore the caves or go for a swim at Butterfly Falls.  
Mayan sites are one of the most popular attractions in Cayo so if you want to see Caracol, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech call Cayo home for a couple of days.  
Go horseback riding or discover what Belize is doing do preserve their Blue Morpho Butterfly at the Natural History Museum.  

And as you can imagine the birds in the beautiful country are stunning and abundant – bring a set of binoculars and a camera with a fast shutter to capture these gems in their natural environment.  

Spend about 3 days inland before heading to the coast.  
From my research I would split my trip between the Cayo and Belize districts and that is it.

Next stop: Caye Caulker – Belize District!
(you could stay Ambergris Cay but it is more pricey)
You could very well spend the rest of your vacation here and honestly I would advise it.  Cleanse yourself of all the stresses and worries of back home in the beautiful, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.  When you base yourself in either Caye Caulker or Ambergris Cay you open up an all access pass to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. 
“The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.” 
~sourced from here

I am sure everyone has heard of the Great Blue Hole or at least seen a picture of it.  Well you can find it here in Belize and basically any dive operator on the island can take you there.  If you are not into diving other water activities include swimming, sea kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, manatee-watching or sport fishing.  

For the land lovers you can explore the small village by foot, golf cart or bicycle and stop at the wide range of gift shops, restaurants, bars, and art galleries.  
Or one could head to the Split – it is a narrow waterway that splits the island in two that Hurricane Katrina created and now serves as a popular swimming spot.

> > > > > > > > > > > > 

And you do not necessarily have to stay in Caulker Caye but like I mentioned earlier it is cheaper than Ambergris Caye so that is why I chose it.  

Enjoy your vacation to Belize and just remember to contact United Military Travel for all your travel needs – they take excellent care of their clients!

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