When the country “Belize” comes to mind, many Americans are surprisingly unaware of what this country has to offer. When I visited in January of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. I thought to myself, “Great, another country where everyone will make jokes about me in Spanish right in front of me.” I was wrong. Belize is the only country in Central America whose official language is English. Spanish and Belizean Creole are also spoken, however everyone knows, and speaks, English. Being only a quick two-hour flight from Miami, Florida makes Belize even more appealing to tourists.
Anyone flying into Belize must fly into Belize City. From there, smaller aircrafts will take you elsewhere. My family traveled to the Placencia Peninsula, which is only about a 45 minute plane ride from Belize City. Once we landed, we got a bus ride to our hotel, Kanantik.
The next morning we rented bicycles to sightsee in Placencia. The city of Placencia is about a twelve mile stretch, so a bicycle is all you need to go from place to place. We quickly learned that dogs wandering around the streets was normal (and sad – a lot of them had fleas), the locals would stare (mainly because I was the only person in that twelve mile stretch with blonde hair), and the temperature would not get below 85 degrees (luckily we had Belizean beer to cool us down). Nonetheless, we were also told that many celebrities vacation down to Belize quite frequently, such as Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lawrence, and Tiger Woods. Finally, after a long day of sightseeing, we headed back to our hotel for dinner! Belize is a tropical place where you can relax in your cabana, lay on the beach, eat, and drink. However, there are also plenty of activities to do, such as zip-line, horseback ride, snorkel, scuba dive, shop, and go cave tubing. Although we did not do all of those activities, the ones that we did is what made the experience at Belize so amazing.
The next day we took an hour and a half bus ride to Nehoch Che’en National Park, also known as Caves Branch Outpost. This area is in between Belize District and Belmopan, which is the capital city of Belize. Here, we were going cave tubbing for the day. I really didn’t know what to expect when going cave tubbing. “So do we just sit on a tube while floating in a cave for 5 hours?” is what I thought to myself the entire hilly and bumpy bus ride to the National Park. Once again, I was wrong. After carrying our tubes for about a mile to the entrance (that was the worst part!), we placed our tubes in the water, adjusted our life jackets, turned on the flashlights on our helmets, and got in the water. The guide had a rope around all of our tubes and he was in charge of pulling us the entire way through the caves. The excursion lasted about two hours, which was more than enough time for us. We did learn a lot about the caves and we saw bats inside of them as well as the beauty surrounding the caves. Although our adventure did not stop there, cave tubbing was a memorable experience and one that I would definitely do again.
I begged my sister and my dad to go zip-lining with me, because who wouldn’t want to zip-line at a National Park in Belize? After much persuasion, my sister decided to go. After getting our harnesses adjusted, the instructors told us how to zip-line properly. We did ten different rounds, each going higher every time. Zip-lining definitely made the entire experience. Even though it was my first time zip-lining, it is definitely not my last!
Although these are just a few of the activities that we did while exploring Belize, I definitely recommend doing it all. If I were certified (and had more time) my family and I would have gone to the Blue Hole of Belize. Not only is it a top attraction in Belize, but it is a world class destination for diving. The Discovery Channel even ranked the Great Blue Hole as number one on its list of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth.”
The whole point of traveling is to explore different parts of the world, so why not try it all? Belize is an “Un-Belize-able” place to visit. Although we never stayed long enough in Belize to visit Belize City, many people do. With the average yearly temperature being 84 degrees, it is considered a retirement haven for many adults. Belize is also known as “the Hidden Jewel of the Caribbean” because many people are unfamiliar with this country. I know that I will be back to visit, so if you ever have time, take the quick two-hour flight from Miami to explore this beautiful “Hidden Jewel” of a country.