Many North Americans have this misconception that Belize is a distant and forgotten land deep in the rainforests of Central America. It is, in fact, only a two hour flight from Florida or a just a few hour drive from Mexico. This tiny country with an area of 8,867 square miles is unique because it was the only British colony in the region where English is the official language and Elizabeth II is still the queen.
After two days of hiking, climbing and swimming, I was ready for a bit of a change of pace, so we headed to the eco jungle resort, Chaa Creek. At this 365 acre resort, you’ll have everything at your fingertips to customize your own jungle adventure. I had met someone from Chaa Creek a few years ago at a travel trade show and had been staring at their promotional disc for years, waiting for the day I’d get to Belize so I could stay there. After checking in to our private thatched cottage, we met with the concierge to organize the activities for the following day. Many are included in your stay, but a few such as horseback riding and canoeing carry a small surcharge.
As far as Central American countries go, Belize has not always been known as a “must-see” travel destination as compared to its more famous neighbors, Mexico and Guatemala. But over the last 10 years, Belize has built a reputation founded on its determination to protect the rainforests and farms of its land. With the rise in the popularity of ecotourism, Belize has positioned itself as a leader in the field, with the government protecting 40% of the land for conservation purposes.
Travel and Leisure is one of the world’s most recognized magazines. Published 12 times a year, the publication has just shy of five million readers. As for the World’s Best Awards, every August since 1995, these awards have been determined by an annual reader survey which asks travelers and travel providers to rate destinations, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, river cruises, and car-rental companies.
In our fast-paced, material-heavy modern world, it can be difficult enough at home to live sustainably: Practicing environmental and ecological ethics on the road is sometimes that much tougher. There’s less under our control; we’re often beholden to local practice and custom about which we know little; and we may, like it or not, be part of a massive tourist horde, the impacts of which are substantial.