Living in the tropics, you sometimes wonder what autumn in the northern climes must be like. We’ve seen the breathtaking photos on calendars, greeting cards, in magazines and elsewhere, so there’s always a feeling of missing out on something, of the smell of wood smoke in the air, crunch of leaves underfoot, the nip at the tips of the nose… all those romantic autumn things we hear about.
Some years back I was fortunate to be able to experience a northern autumn, and yes, it was sort of like being in a Norman Rockwell painting and very lovely indeed.
However, at the end of the day, it made me miss the autumn months in Belize.
First up, I’m a warm weather person, and prefer a stroll in the forest in shorts and tee shirt as opposed to being rugged up in heavy wool and leather. Also, I like to swim, and couldn’t imagine cutting that out of the picture for however many months a year.
Yes, as October approaches, I must say I’m really looking forward to autumn in Belize, where you get all of the colour with none of the chill.
There are plenty of amazingly beautiful colours during October, November and December in Belize; they’re just brighter and alive. In fact, everything is constantly blooming. There are literally millions of birds who share my taste for warmer weather, and just like me, they head south for the winter. So in addition to the amazing variety of local tropical birds such as toucans, parrots, hummingbirds and the like, you also get a crowd of very happy visitors singing their little hearts out in the trees.
And trees in Belize don’t need to die to get colourful – they’re that way all the time. You want vibrant reds, yellows, greens and every shade imaginable? You got them, alive, healthy and refreshing all the time.
And, while temperatures in Belize are fairly constant all year long, generally hovering around the 80°F (26°C) mark, it gets a bit cooler as we approach winter, and everything is that much more invigorating. The coolest months in Belize are November to January, but even so, we’re talking about an average temperature of 75°F (24°C), which for me is just about right for winter. Autumn in Belize also sees the gradual decrease of the wet season, which means it’s not too rainy, but not hot and dry either. Perfect Belize holiday weather.
And speaking of autumn holidays, Thanksgiving in Belize is a rare and wonderful treat for those who are used to the North American version. I guess due to the proximity and cheap airfares from the US and Canada (yep, Thanksgiving has become a Canadian holiday as well), and the number of expats and tourists from up north, Thanksgiving is widely celebrated in Belize, and especially in many of the upscale resorts. For example, every year the Lodge at Chaa Creek puts on a Thanksgiving in Belize celebration all month long that to me represents the best things about globalisation and the worldwide melting pot, with succulent traditional turkey dinners cheered with a definite Creole and Spanish lilt in the accompaniments.
The very first Thanksgiving was a blend of feasting, adventure and natural beauty, and Belize is the perfect place to recreate that scenario.
I had Thanksgiving there last year, and as with everything those gracious hosts Mick and Lucy Fleming put on, it was casually lavish and exceeded any expectations anyone may have had.
The food was excellent, the turkey, hams and gravies succulent and rich, the veggies (always fresh from the Maya Organic Farm) almost alive and the deserts decadent. Even my vegetarian friend was delightedly stuffed when we finally left the table.
And here’s where my Thanksgiving dream really clicked in. After aiding digestion with an excellent brandy and a rest, we swam off any caloric guilt and ended the day walking through the beautiful gardens as birds began serenading nightfall.
With 365 acres of stunning, pristine beauty at your fingertips, well supplied with horses, mountain bikes, canoes, and literally miles of jungle trails leading to Maya temples to explore, you can indulge as much as you wish and still come away healthier for the Thanksgiving in Belize experience.
And, in the spirit of giving thanks, it’s great to know that 10% of profits from the rooms and a fair amount of other money go directly into worthy Green and social causes, so there’s an extra glow that comes with supporting a business that supports the environment and people. To me, that really represents what Thanksgiving is all about.
So yes, I still do get all warm and fuzzy looking at those pictures of covered bridges, sheaves of multi-coloured corn and quietly riotous trees in a north American autumn, but for anyone who hasn’t tried it, autumn and Thanksgiving in Belize is one of those unique experiences that will change the way you think about fall or look at a turkey forever.
And then there’s always Christmas in Belize, another Chaa Creek holiday vacation package that combines the familiar and the exotic in the most delightful way…