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I’m going to Belize in 2 weeks! I have been invited by the Belize Tourist Board on a “FAM” trip. This is travel industry lingo for “familiarization”. I, along with a bunch of other travel industry professionals, are going on a somewhat insane itinerary: we will visit 27 hotels in 5 days! I wouldn’t call that fun, but many of these are places I have heard of for years but never gotten to, and I am looking forward to seeing them. We will be staying in San Ignacio, Mountain Pine Ridge, Placencia, Hopkins, and San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. I’ll be posting more about the trip when I get there.
When I first heard that my friend was going to visit Belize, I thought that she was referring to a small and unknown local restaurant. I had never heard of this tiny country before, which is located in the heart of Central America. Due to a family emergency, my friend was unable to go on her journey as originally scheduled; however, she was smart enough to purchase travel insurance.
I enjoy having adventures, especially with my fiancé along side me. Belize embodies that sprit from its vast rainforests, to the Mayan Ruins, to world class diving and cave exploring. And coming from upstate New York where 85 degrees is considered a heat wave, I can’t wait to experience is the sunny hot days that Belize has to offer. The Belizean coast is a place I could see spending an entire afternoon, just sitting on the beach with uninterrupted ocean in front of us and a rainforest behind us.
After spending days and nights searching for a better deal, I gave up Tahiti and turned to the Caribbean. The beach is still beautiful. Hotels, there were many that were very luxurious but they just weren’t exotic enough for my liking. I wanted palm-thatched rooms with elegant wooden floors and furniture – at least something like that, and the atmosphere that tells me “you’re in the Caribbean!” Since I didn’t know much about the Caribbean, I just googled images of “Caribbean villas.” There was one that looked “okay” in Belize. Belize? Where is that? I further researched the place through travel magazines and websites along with other places like Curacao, Turks and Caicos, etc. They all looked similar so I didn’t mind where I go as long as it had somewhere exotic for me to stay.
Some of the things we are really looking forward to are: diving and snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef, exploring the ancient Maya historical sites, sampling the best local restaurants, white water rafting through the jungles, and meeting many new and interesting people along the way! I actually have a keen interest in photography and so I’m looking forward to toting my big DSLR camera and zoom lens and capturing as much of the country as possible… More than just hitting the routine tourist destinations and then hopping on a plane back to the States, I hope to really get a chance to intermingle with the local culture and people and get to know them on a more personal level.
Last spring break I went on an alternative spring break trip to San Ignacio, Belize with twelve other members from my school for a writing class. We came and volunteered at ProWorld for two weeks. The experience I had in those two weeks put my college years to shame. It’s different going from hopping from party to party to hopping from waterfall to river to Mayan ruin. I can tell you one thing for sure, sitting on top of Xunantunich was the most I’ve ever felt alive. An emotional void had been filled in me, and I knew that’s where my heart would reside.
I have just started benefiting from Maya Abdominal Massage that began in Belize with the ancient Mayan Culture. I have been taking herbs collected from the rainforests of Belize before they are destroyed and have seen amazing and magical results. Rosita Arvigo holds workshops at The Lodge at Chaa Creek and I would love to visit there one day and take one of her courses.
Belize is a nature lover’s paradise. Beautiful scenery, rainforests and beaches. Amazing native birds and animals. The climate of Belize is near perfect. Belize is home to wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, rivers, herbal trails, massive Mayan ruins and ancient pyramids that are still among the tallest structures in the country today, and a massive system of subterranean caves. With approximately 40 per cent of land classified as protected, the forests support a vast range of wildlife including five large cat species – margay, jaguarundi, ocelot, puma and jaguar. Bird life is also abundant with over 500 species recorded.
I wonder what it is like to wake up and know your alarm clock is a Howler Monkey. What is it like to be in a place where the morning mist rises as you strain your ears to hear the ancient Mayans whisper their secrets of the past and knowledge of the future? I wonder what it is like to be in a place where the sky scrapers were built to encourage spiritual enlightenment and not the growth of big business.