In keeping with things that I prioritize, restoration is a must. Everyone needs a period of rest. Everyone. If you are one of the people that gathers vacation time with no plan for using it, I urge you to use it. Feed your passion. If you do not have one- use your vacation to find it. Ultimately, what you do during your period of rest is up to you- just take it.
Southwest began flying from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Belize City (BZE) in 2017 and it caught my attention. I am a fan of Southwest Airlines. It is the only airline that allows me the ease of change. There is no charge to change flight except for the difference in fare. Okay! I fund my travels, in part, with my Southwest Credit Card that I use to earn miles. It starts you out with enough miles for a round trip ticket with qualified expenses upon opening the Chase Southwest card. Yes! A reasonable flight and add the draw of warm climate during winter months in the Mid-Atlantic and I am in.
What to do in Belize?
The list goes on and on but these things are top of my list.
Trek the rain forest
Visit the Sleeping Giant
Dive the Blue Hole
Fly over the Blue Hole
Snorkle: the reef, with sharks, with manatee...
Visit the island of Caye Caulker
Visit the Island of Ambergris Caye
What we actually did
We went slow and soaked it in. Caye Caulker is the smaller and more laid back of the two islands and it sounded like just the speed I needed. The motto is “Go Slow.” There are no cars here. The modes of transportation on this less than 1 mile long by 0.5 mile long island are walk, bike or golf cart. In parts of the island, I stood in the middle of the main street and could see the east coast in one direction and pivot to see the west coast. We walked nearly every part of the island. Breathtaking views everywhere. I took lots of pictures.
We ate lots of delicious local eats including stew chicken, rice and beans, fry jacks, stuffed fry jacks, grilled lobster, whole red snapper, and fresh coconut.
The split is where the island of Caye Caulker is told to have been separated in part by devastating Hurricane Hattie in 1961. I am unclear if there was a preexisting channel before the hurricane. Reports of a preexisting channel and additional dredging done by hand after the hurricane lead to the disrupted the land mass and the large split that exists today. Since that time the flow of the tidal water had taken over and a strong current passes between the two parts and continues to widen and erode.
I jumped off a dive at the edge of the split and my girls wanted to do the same. They reneged after I did it and I was somewhat relieved. The sign said for strong swimmers 13 and over and at your own risk. Yikes!
We took a boat from Back Bridge to KoKo King Beach which is north of the split. It was the perfect place to unwind. The girls had access to floating tubes and swings. They explored in the sand and water and I enjoyed watching them and joining in.
We flew into Belize City (BZE) and took a land taxi to the water taxi. The water taxi took us to the island of Caye Caulker. From there we took a golf cart taxi to the rented cottage.
Everywhere you looked there was beauty.
Could do Without
Mosquitos and sand flies. We sprayed head to toe. There still were multiple itchy bites to be had. I came stocked with sun screen, bug spray, and coconut oil. I bought even more bug spray there. I felt like I was applying barbecue sauce.
Cute dogs everywhere. Many were not collared and most were unattended. It was a bit much for me. My little girls are dog lovers. Nonetheless, I was not willing to take any chances. I asked the girls not to pet any or stop and say "awwwww." They did not pet any but there were plenty of awwws. If I didn't like to travel so much, I would get a dog.
The last day was a bit of a mess. I woke up first thing in the morning and for the most part, the bags were already packed. Sometimes getting children together is like herding cats. When we finally get out of the cottage all of the time to walk to get breakfast had slipped away.
We walked to the office to get an earlier golf cart taxi at 8 am for our 9 am water taxi to make time to pick up food. At 8:37 it still had not come. I flagged down another taxi but it still made two more pickups and two stops before dropping us by the water taxi.
We checked luggage at the water taxi and we waited. A small boat came and went, but the large water taxi has been delayed secondary to mechanical issues or similar by 20-30 minutes. Perfect. I saw a window to get breakfast. The day prior we had picked up stuffed fry jack with egg and cheese and the girls were requesting the same. We went around the corner to the store and it was closed on Mondays.
We are pointed further away from the water taxi to a street stand with a crowd. We let our stomachs get the best of us. Time ticked away and we were still waiting for our order in the land of “go slow.” We arrived to the dock only to watch our boat pull off. Waiting for the next boat placed us in a rush that I did not desire to be in. I do not like shorting the two hour pre-arrival time returning to the US and the next boat cut into this time frame
Jieldo (I am unsure of the spelling), the manager of San Pedro Express Taxi went above and beyond and was most helpful. He arranged to have a trusted taxi waiting at the time of docking ready with our luggage to get us to the airport efficiently. We finished our egg and cheese stuffed fry jacks and the youngest wanted another. I was almost tempted, but we had plenty and missing the next boat was not an option.
My girls and I managed to be first off the boat and everything was as it said it would be. We arrived to the airport without incident, but our flight was delayed by an hour. You have to laugh with the universe sometimes.
Check Travel.state.gov for travel requirements and advisories on Belize. There is a January 10 travel advisory noting an increase in crime and to be aware. I was mindful of our surrounding and never felt in harms way.
Of note, there is a entry requirement that requests written notarized permission from the absent parent. I had read something about this and I was prepared but I did expect to really have to show documentation, as there was no additional mention of this requirement from anyone until I arrived at the immigration checkpoint in Belize. Indeed they asked.
I will return
I love to travel. The stunning views, delicious food, warm people, and welcoming atmosphere made Belize worth the journey. I hope to go again when my girls will fair better with a full or half day out on the open sea and be able to snorkel in and around the reef and among large fish. There are still so many things to do and explore. If traveling is your thing, you should consider Belize. To see more of my photos follow me on Instagram