Endless Blues... Belize!
After an exhausting week traveling through the jungles of Guatemala, the right place to go to soak up the sun and relax was Belize.
Arriving in Belize City was an easy bus ride from Flores (about 3 hours total). I took a private charter bus at one of the many local travel agency in the city center. This bus took us to the border city (Menchor de Mencos), where all the passengers had to get off the bus, go through the immigration offices to get our passports stamped, and get back on the bus. There is a tax to be paid at the border ($3 USD per person). We continued the journey to Belize City which was another hour from the border.
Once in Belize City, I got off the bus and since my destination was San Pedro I had to take a ferry to get to the island of Ambergris Caye so I used Ocean Ferry Belize - Water Taxi Belize, Charter, Transportation. The ferry costs about $10 USD per person. Caye Caulker is another popular tourist destination and the ferry costs about the same. Total journey on the ferry was about 30 minutes. Once you arrive at the ferry port you must collect your luggage, which has to be checked in when boarding the ferry. After collecting your luggage you may then take a golf cart taxi, or walk to your hotel. I opted to walk since my hotel was very near.
I opted to stay at Tides Beach Resort, which was a great experience. It is a beachfront property and unlike many other resorts, quality exceeds quantity. The resort only has about 12 rooms and the owners treat all guests like family. Starting with complimentary drinks at the beachfront bar. It took me seconds to make friends since everyone was gathered around by the pool. After some drinks, I decided to soak up the sun and catch the sunset at the pier in front of the hotel (see below).
Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world, nearly the entire length of the country (almost 200 miles). All of the snorkeling is located on this barrier reef, and much of it is quickly accessible for snorkeling by boat.
After speaking with some of my new friends at the hotel, they suggested we did a snorkeling tour the following day. The company that the hotel works with its outstanding. They picked us up at 8am. From the port, we took a boat to these popular snorkeling areas: Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan has beautiful sea life. It's quite a colorful spot and it is both shallow and deep areas but it is a nice dive especially if you are a beginner, just make sure to stay on the shallow areas. Shark Ray Alley was the next stop and although it's very shallow and has feeding areas, it is not recommended for beginners, especially for those afraid of large marine life. Here you will see abundant number of stingrays, turtles, and sharks. Some of the guys in my tour even said he saw a manatee. I quickly got nervous when I saw about 10 sharks approaching our boat; however, the tour guides told us that it is ok to swim here, these animals are in a protected area and are used to hundreds of people visiting this site on a daily basis. To me, this was such a thrilling experience!
At the end of this tour we headed back to the hotel, where we finished the afternoon at the pool and bar of course. Lastly, we decided to head out to a popular restaurant in town. I wasn't much for the idea because I prefer small hole in the walls; however, everyone wanted to go so why not. Arrived to Blue Water Grill and boy was I impressed. The food looked and smelled amazing before even ordering. Their broiled lobster is to die for! It is a bit expensive for me but worth it. Don't freak out when you look at their menu, it is in Belize dollars not USD.
So this was Belize for me, total of two days and two nights. I made some new friends, had an amazing stay at Ocean Tide, and did some snorkeling and diving.
What would I do differently? I would definitely stay at least 2-3 more days... Belize has much more to offer. The islands south of Ambergris (Rendezvous, Colson, Carrie Bow, Gladden, Pompion, and Little Water Caye) are much more private, less visited and they sit on a larger portion of the barrier reef. I would also visit Caye Caulker for the nightlife. Lastly, I would most definitely get my scuba diving license to be able to dive into the blue hole, which is in Lighthouse Reef. You are allowed to snorkel around but cannot go inside unless you have a license. From what I hear, it's definitely worth the experience.
Now I was ready to head out to my next destination... Mexico!
Use Belize Water Taxi | Belize Charter Boats - San Pedro Water Taxi to get out of the island and into Chetumal, Mexico. I'll leave the Mexican Riviera for the next post. :)