Belize Cruise – Limit Your Experience Of A Rather Travel-Rich Country (2020 Update)
Cruise tourism has been a trend for the last few decades, and certainly a growing one in Belize. We can see why; weeks on a big ship at sea with all the large hotel amenities floating along with you, it’s difficult not to be at the very least curious.
There’s always something going on in the many lounges and theaters of these sea vessels which serves to say that the main attraction is the ship itself and not the many destinations at which it makes port. That said; you’re stopping in Belize, and for the time being Belize city‘s “Tourist Village” is the first thing you’ll get to see of land when you dock. Sure, they make inland tours available to you, as well as sea tours, however, there is still much you’re going to miss when stepping out of a crowded bus or packed up skiff.
Here are just A Few of the things you’d miss if you’re on a Belize Cruise:
1 An Authentic Belizean “Hello“
That’s not to say that the people you’re seeing are any at all unwilling to greet you… You’re arriving at the “Tourist Village”, it’s sort of everyone’s job to churn out a ‘hi’ to get your attention. No one actually knows where your name, where you’re heading or any of the stuff you like to do. That is totally not what we’re about here in Belize. Belizeans are much more colorful than the rush at your point of entry to get you immediate and precious attention.
It is certainly a far cry from being greeted by a driver, waiting at your arrival point just for you and who has that one-on-one chance to learn what you like and what you’d like to do while you’re here.
2 The most adventurous moments
Let’s face it – there are few things that one can experience within the hours of 9am to 3pm of any given day, given the blessings of Mother Nature which, if you are to know anything about Belize Weather it is very unpredictable. Some of Belize’s wildest moments take half of that amount of time to get set-up for. Some attractions have a group limit, for example, you can only explore ATM cave with a group of 8, imagine the delay for everyone in your cruise group to get through, heavens forbid you were at the back of the bus! Other activities such as nighttime nature walks and over-nights in limestone cavern formations are some of the most interesting and personal experiences Belize has to offer but are virtually impossible if traveling on a cruise ship.
The travel restrictions also prevent you from just staying if you’re on a cruise should you (and you would) fall in love with mother nature’s best-kept secret. Belize is not a spectator destination as many cruise tour offerings would like you to think, there are entire worlds to discover if you stop and take some time to look around.
3 Souvenirs with personality
Shirts, bags, pens, wallets, belts… belts? Anyway – the tourist village has it all, including things you didn’t know you want and some things that will make you wonder “who would want to remember that?!”. While these are all cool, isn’t the point of a keepsake is to hold on to a memory for you? Are the best memories not ones that made you feel something new or impressive? All around Belize artisans will have their wares on display – what makes those cooler than the ones you find in the gift shops at the village? For one; If you never venture past the “village” you’ll never be witness to the host of lovingly crafted arts made by our local creative minds. Furthermore; sustainability and responsible tourism are topics dear to many Belizean hearts – buying from an artist directly nurtures this practice and aids them in embodying the sustainable philosophy.
Regardless of what keepsake you decide to buy; doing so after an exciting adventure or an eye-opening experience or even after a day absorbing all that it is to be a Belizean that souvenir will mean a lot more to you than it would have if bought just after stepping off from a Belize cruise.
4 Pristine Belizean landscapes
Sure, you’ll get to see the reef, the blue hole, the Maya Sites, but you’ll do so with dozens of others part of the thousands who have before. From a Cruise, You’ll be taken to the most popular attractions – the ones people always want to see. Staying in Belize, however, you’ll certainly discover that there are much more pristine virtually untouched locations that only long time residents know of and that they guard carefully, taking only their friends with them. Some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring vistas can’t be taken in or even found in a few hours of rushing to and fro. Climbing to Victoria Peak and witnessing Belize from one of the highest points is a breath-taking journey that would take 4 days to complete. Camping at the Sapodilla Cayes like a 1600’s explorer cannot be done in 4 hours and finding your way to Glover’s reef will take a little more than that too.
5 Cuisine prepared with love
We can all agree – most airplane food is pretty bad, not all, but most. While you’re on a cruise you’ll be treated to 5-star cuisine buffets laid out in rows on the different restaurant levels. Different themes and locations of origin, things that some of you may never have seen. The problem with huge pre-prepared meals is that they feel – and inevitably are impersonal. You can choose what you pick up off the trays but not how it’s done, if not done your way. Even off the boats, the large batches of food ordered for tour groups are laid out ahead of time to be picked up on the run after or in between activities. Not so much here; Belize has no chain restaurants or large scale operations in the food industry – we have small, family owned and operated restaurants that serve you breakfast, lunch, or dinner the exact way you want it, and with all the love they serve each other in the family.
If you are looking for a true experience while dining, staying here for a couple of days and getting to meet the people making your food is the best way.
BONUS: Check out our Top 9 Belizean Eats Infographic by clicking HERE.
6 Charming Belizean communities
There are many Villages and towns, each with their own personality, sense of community and unique angle to spin you off of in this lush land. Getting a look into peoples’ lives will take more than a tour guide pointing out where you are and what the main industry of a place is. Learning about a place takes time and a little bit of wandering. To truly get lost in a place and take a piece of it back you need to learn names and hear stories and play sports with the kids. Places like Placencia, Hopkins and Sarteneja will steal your heart and ensure you return to Belize some day, and that’s exactly what travel is for.
7 A sense of belonging
More so than taking a piece of Belize back, true travelers leave a piece of themselves here. After all thats what helps us grow, the great people we meet who come and spend some time impact us all in subtle ways. Subtle ways that are never truly forgotten and are often times looked upon cheerfully. For if you truly travel here and don’t just pass through on a cruise You’ll leave Belize with a lingering sense of belonging, that you came here, had a great time here, met great people here, and those very people are eagerly waiting for you to come back – perhaps for a little longer next time.
Have you been on a Cruise that stopped in Belize and just had to come back?
What was it that made you return? We’d love to know 🙂