Friday, March 8, 2013

Do you “Belize in Love?”

March 3, 2013
When one thinks of Belize, most likely the first thought to come to mind is the fabled Blue Hole, and the world’s second largest barrier reef, second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. But the tiny nation surrounded by its big brother to the north, Mexico and Guatemala to the west and south, is an eco-travelers, adventurer enthusiasts dream. Taking a closer look, there is more to Belize than meets the eye.
Belize - BLUE HOLE Helicopter Portofino
Scuba Dive or take a helicopter ride over Belize’s stunning Blue Hole.
Recently, I got the chance to get my “Indiana Jones” on, and paid a visit to the land of magnificent Mayan pyramids, wildlife reserves, marine reserves, lush jungle, tall waterfalls, spelunking in caves, scuba diving, luxurious resorts fine dining in Belize City and San Pedro, and more. Belize is a country one must explore to truly appreciate. Belize is even an under-rated culinary mecca.
Some facts of interest about Belize. The nation is the youngest country in Central America, gaining independence from the British in 1982. Belize is the only ex British colony in Central America. English is the first language of Belize. The population of Belize is less than 375,000. Over half a million visitors arrive by cruise ship alone every year. Belize is the least dense country in Central America. Over 60% of Belize is forested land, 36 percent of the land is protected. With over 1800 miles of road, but only 400 miles of paved road.

Don’t care to dive? Grab a Kayak from the Portofino Resort for a fifteen minute trip to snorkel  ‘Mexico Rocks’,  Ambergris Caye
From the Mexico-Belize border to the Belize-Guatemala border the distance is only 279 Kilometers or 175 miles, and from east to west 110 kilometers, a mere 68 miles wide, from the Caribbean Sea to the border of Guatemala.
Out of a total of four Coral Atolls in the Western Hemisphere, Belize boasts three of them. Drive a few miles in any direction and you’ll discover a new ecosystem.

Meals fit for a king and queen on Ambergris Caye - Five star dining at Portofino Resort’s -  Le Bistro Restaurant

Jaguar’s Temple Night Club is a favorite nightlife spot, San Pedro, Ambergris, Caye
The first thing one notices about Belize is the attitude of its people. A wonderful melting pot of, Mayan, Creole, Caribbean, Chinese, and European cultures all blending together to form an open and tolerant society.  A cavalcade of faces who are all gracious and friendly.  The Belizean people understand that working toward a common goal is for the betterment of the nation. The whole is greater than the individual parts. Tourism must thrive for Belize to prosper, and its people embrace you with love from the moment you arrive at Belize International Airport.
Nick - Repelling in Belize
Take the plunge – Repelling 300 feet down into the Black Hole Cave.
Hike two hours into the jungle to repel 300 feet off the side of a cliff into the Black Hole Drop, and have lunch in cave.
Things to Do:
Chances are that you come to Belize for sun and beaches. For a lazy Caribbean beach vacation, Belize is as good as it gets. Famous for being a snorkelers and scuba divers paradise. Of course, diving over 100 feet into the deepest, deep blue hole imaginable is a must for scuba enthusiasts.  The Blue Hole is rated as one of the top 10 ten scuba diving experiences in the world.  A visit to the Mayan pyramids of Caracol brings you Mayan culture.

Many a graceful Blue Spotted Stingray at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley.
Snorkelers and divers alike, can come face to face with playful Whale Shark’s, and exotic Rays at Hol Chan,  Shark Ray Alley.
Belize - Nick C Br Living Room
Room with a jungle view at the Cave’s Branch Resort.
From Ian Anderson’s, Caves Branch Resort you can take day trips and experience the jungle of Belize.
Explore Mayan history and find a skull or two spelunking Belize’s Achtun Tunichil Muknal or Atm Caves. This cave is one of the most popular Mayan burial sites in Western Belize. Swimming, crawling, climbing this sacred cave is quite an experience. The cave contains four skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware left by the Mayans.
Jump off a waterfall, repelling off a cliff into the Black Hole, or go tubing down a river. Kayaking, horseback riding, Belize is an adventure travelers paradise.
Chill out in Belize’s Southern Cayes. A world less traveled. Explore 16 miles of “beach heaven” in Placencia and see the real laid back Belize, where you can swim alongside tranquil turtles, while you float in the crystal clear Caribbean waters. Snorkelers and divers gravitate to Placencia’s, turquoise waters.
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Meet the real natives at the Belize Zoo.
Chances are that you will not see a local Baird’s Tapir, Keel-Billed Toucan, nor a jaguar in the wild. However, you can view these rare animal species at the Belize Zoo. 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. Where rescue animals get a second chance to go back into the wild, and locals learn to protect endangered species. Belize is all about new adventures.

The skilled pilots of Tropic Air transport you around Belize.
Getting to and around Belize:
There are not nonstop flights from the United States to Belize. American Airlines, Delta, United, and U.S. Air all fly from the U.S. Taca flies via San Salvador, now Tropic Air will begin flying from Cancun, Mexico to Belize. There is also the twice daily San Pedro two-hour ferry ride linking Chetumal, on the southern tip of Quintana Roo, Mexico to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Tropic Air and Mayan Air operate flights within Belize linking the various regions of Belize on small flights.
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Have an ice cold Belikin Beer at the Jambal Jerk Pit, San Pedro
Don’t come  home without it:
Don’t forget to pick a bottle of Marie Sharp’s Belizean Heat, made with fresh Habanero peppers and local grown vegetables and fruits. Luckily, I was not the first person to be stopped at U.S. customs for bringing in excess hot sauce. Do not leave Belize with feasting on the scrumptious Mayan cuisine at Elvi’s Kitchen in San Pedro.
“It’s a jungle out there” – The Mayan Pyramids of Caracol
Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or a beach bum, a shopper or a foodie, Belize is paradise.
I don’t know what I enjoyed more, the beach or the jungle? I came for the beaches and to scuba dive Belize’s clear Caribbean waters  but I left my heart in the jungle.
Belize, what’s not to like. I do “Belize in love.”
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