I met Patricia of AbsoluteBelize at a Wendy Perrin conference in January of 2020, just before we all went into lockdown! Fast forward a year and a half and the kids and I couldn't wait to put our passports to use again and I immediately thought of AbsoluteBelize and Patricia! The country was open to vaccinated travelers or those who test negative 72 hours before they depart. We were vaccinated, so it was easy prep for us!
I had been to Belize back in my college days, but felt I had missed a lot on that trip so this trip I had a list of what I wanted included! With Patricia's help we came up with an itinerary that fit the whole family!
Belize Family Itinerary
- The Lodge at Chaa Creek: We were awakened by howler monkeys and bird calls, we watched butterflies and birds as we relaxed in the infinity pool and we had an amazing afternoon horsebackriding through the jungle. The cottages don't have AC so if that's a must-have for you then upgrade to the spa cottage, but for us, fans were just fine. The food was delicious and I was very impressed to see my kids ordering salmon one night and rack of lamb another night...somewhere chicken nuggets are feeling abandoned and I'm having to get used to traveling with teenagers!
- Xunantunich (pronounced: shoe-nan-too-nich). This amazing temple complex is easy to get to and with fewer crowds we spent a lovely morning walking through the ruins learning about Mayan history and peaking over the hill into Guatamala!
- Spending time with the Mayan and learning new skills! These are always my favorite days! We learned about coffee from a lovely Mayan farmer, we learned how to make tortillas and throw clay in the traditional Mayan way at the Mayan Women's Cultural Center and we then had an amazing lunch served on the cultural center verandah!
- Jumping into waterfalls in the Mountain Pine Ridge: This afternoon at the waterfalls was just amazing! We climbed up and jumped off rocks into the water and when a thunderstorm hit we swam through the rain and waterfalls!
- Cave tubing: I know how touristy this is and I can't imagine what it's like when it's high season and the crowds are back, but even with it being touristy and silly I loved it! Who doesn't want to float through caves and jungle...it was the Endless River ride in real life!
- Getting dive certified: My kids have wanted to get certified for a couple of years now so we got it done in Belize. They did the online course ahead of time and literally jumped in the pool and started getting certified the afternoon we arrived! By the last day they were certified and we did our first dive together...so great to get to have my kids enjoying one of my favorite hobbies!
- Diving The Blue Hole and surrounding reef: For those already certified Belize doesn't hold back. I took a boat out to The Blue Hole and dove down 130 feet to see stalagmites and stalactites and some large sharks, but honestly this dive felt overrated. Luckily the dive boat included two more dives that day on the reef around the Blue Hole and those did not disappoint! Amazing coral, stunning fish and turtles, barracuda, eels, and a lot of sharks! Some of the best diving I've ever done with no currents and phenomenal visibility.
Why Vacation In Belize?
Things I liked about Belize:
- Everyone speaks English so it's fun to be able to talk to everyone you meet without needing a translator
- This is a small country with less than half a million in population so it feels very manageable even if you only have a week to travel
- The country isn't as developed as I thought it was which surprised me, but intrigued me as well
- My guide! The hotels will arrange activities, but I was so glad we had David! He knew everyone and was just fun to be around! I felt like I got to know the country much better by having a dedicated guide!
Things that surprised me about Belize:
- It's expensive! Meals especially caught me off-guard as I hadn't budgeted enough. At the hotels you were easily paying $15US for a main course and it wasn't much less in town. Our guide explained that food is expensive even for the locals.
- Sargassum has become a huge issue in the Caribbean and it had hit the beaches of Belize hard. Our hotel was working all day to try to clear the beach of this foul smelling and rather ugly seaweed, but it was just too prevalent. We drove to the West side of the island and enjoyed the clear blue waters over there...the East side of the island wasn't swimmable when we were there. The worst months for Sargassum are June through August.
- There are very few luxury properties like we're used to in Southeast Asia...no Four Seasons or Six Senses type places, I loved the smaller boutique hotels, but this isn't a luxury destination.
If you're interested in Belize check out the itinerary I put together based on Patricia's recommendations and my trip! Or learn more about AbsoluteBelize, one of our partner travel specialists! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any Belize questions or are interested in booking a trip and I'll Kaanect you to the experts!