Dear Belize Traveler: Before You Visit, Please Read These Tips!
If you’re like most North Americans getting ready for a tropical paradise escape, deciding what to see can send you scurrying for the aspirin bottle. We don’t blame you. It’s wise to consider all manner of Belize experiences (since this nation has more choices than most) so you wind up with an itinerary that balances down time and leisure with adventures that have no rival in the Caribbean.
To help you plan the perfect trip, we are delighted to share nine facts that can help morph your Belize visit from great to sublime. You will want to thank us for the following advice, but don’t bother. Our reward is bestowed when you find yourself planning your next Belize trip on your return flight home!
Don’t let anyone tell you that the Blue Hole, the deep dive made famous by Jacques Cousteau, is the only place to get your dive fix in Belize. Experienced divers reveal their favorite alternatives and you should know about them too: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Gladden Spit (off the Placencia coast) where you can even scuba dive with whale sharks.
It’s true that Ambergris Caye gets a lion’s share of publicity because once upon a time, it was the only town with a nightlife, cultural spots and tourist attractions. But you do yourself a disservice if you don’t discover destinations like San Ignacio Town, Hopkins, Placencia and Orange Walk, because there’s a chance one of these towns are more to your liking—and in fact, they can be less expensive and less crowded, too!
Belize’s culinary scene is one of the biggest secrets in the Caribbean. Tempt your palate with choices of foods that range from European gourmet dishes prepared by international chefs to Belize-style tamales, salbutes, sere and escabeche, plus traditional rice and bean combinations. Belize is fast becoming an epicenter of exotic wine and beer production and we would be remiss if we didn’t add this hemisphere’s best chocolates.
You don’t have to spend a day outside in the sun or on the ocean if you don’t want to because lots of people come here exclusively for the burgeoning international music scene. The sheer variety of music genres you’ll find here delights those who have no clue there’s this much diversity. If you’ve never heard Garifuna, reggaeton, island-style percussion and other types of Caribbean music, you’re in for a treat. The year-round Belize music festival scene is, in fact, sensational.
While our national language is English, the linguist in you will enjoy hearing so many tongues being spoken in this metropolitan land, you might think you landed at the United Nations or The Hague. We may be a small country, but our linguistic diversity is big and includes our national dialect, Garifuna, Maya, Spanish and even German thanks to our large Mennonite population.
Frequent visitors swear that nothing surpasses our nature reserves and since such comments come from people who travel the world and know about such things, we believe them and think you will agree, too. Exploring Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary never disappoints because the sheer variety of animals and endangered species being protected from extinction is mind boggling.
Belize really is for the birds—over 500 species of them (some say 600!)—but our rainforests are so fascinating, you might want to spend more time looking down than up so you have opportunities to discover and learn about exotic flora and fauna, medicinal plants and anthropoids (spiders, crustaceans and other critters) unique to this region. Take a moment to visit this website so you have an opportunity to see what awaits you: http://www.chabilmarvillas.com/blog/belize-is-a-unique-destination-to-study-arthropods.html.
Don’t listen to people who tell you that the Belize Barrier Reef is the only reason to visit because that’s just not true! From mysterious caves like ATM, Barton Creek Cave, Che Chem Ha Cave, Rio Frio caves and ancient Mayan ruins, it’s almost impossible not to be impressed by our jungles, rainforests and cultural diversity. Tours that combine the reef with other one-of-a-kind site visits are common so you won’t have to miss a thing during your stay.
Who says you have to rely upon shuttles, buses or rental cars to explore every inch of Belize? Tropic Air, a safe, popular and convenient regional system, can transport you everywhere to maximize your time in country and their fares are surprisingly affordable. Triple or quadruple the number of places you visit simply by using this convenient method of transportation to get around. Frequent visitors say that the reason they selected the place in Belize they return to again and again has to do with using Tropic Air to sample lots of places in a short period of time so they could decide which felt like home!