Welcome to Belize
By Doug Van Kempen
If you are the type who likes to be among the first of your friends to find a unique destination or if you want to go somewhere different, exciting but not so remote you cannot get around without a tour guide, try Belize! This little South American nation sits in the shadows of the more popular vacation hot spots such as many of the Caribbean islands but it has so much to offer - everything the sophisticated traveler could ever want.
Belize sits at the southern edge of Mexico and to the east of Guatemala, right on the Caribbean Sea. Having a population of less than 300,000 it was only granted independence from Britain in 1981. It's the mix of old culture and tradition of the Mestizo and Mayan peoples and the British influence that allows you to find both worlds - old and new - which makes Belize so inviting. Find the little shops which offer traditional carvings and handicrafts (sold very inexpensively - but forget the coral jewelry as you won't be able to bring it back home), listen to the sounds of street musicians or dine in some fine restaurants along the shore. Whatever your liking you'll find it in Belize.
While it is the beach that most visitors come to Belize for; miles upon miles of clear blue water and white sand, even more can be found inland. Visit the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary for views and encounters with more than four hundred species of birds and iguanas, monkeys and even jaguars. Walk around and take them all in, or paddle around the area and see the tropical fish. But don't forget that just a short distance away (everything is close in this little nation making day trips a breeze) you'll find the Caves Branch where you can explore limestone caves on foot or by floating through on a tube. Glide through on a cushion of water as you watch the 1000 year old carvings on the cave walls go by. Nothing beats the experience. Back at the beach you'll find an array of accommodations. If you like the night filled with action after a day on the water you'll love the Princess Hotel and Casino. If you want something a little more unique The Great House offers modern accommodations but with an old world flare. Then there is always the Radisson Fort George, right on the Caribbean beach. Enjoy snorkeling, fishing and be right in the center of the barrier reef and the rain forest. What could be better than a day in the sun, a night on the town, time for shopping and taking in the sights, sounds and cuisine of your hosts, the people of Belize.
With all that it has going for it it's a wonder more haven't put this destination on the top of their list. English is the predominant language. During the cold season in November to January the average temperature is in the mid 70's; during the hot season from May to September you'll find the average is in the low to mid 80's - perfect for the sun worshiper or the traveler looking for sub-tropical climates. No matter the time of year you'll be able to pack light. If you're looking for a little place that has it all; great weather, natural attractions, cultural exchanges while being easy to converse and get around in, Belize is it! But don't forget the beautiful beaches, warm sun and cool drinks!
Doug is the owner of Luxury Travel Design and you can view the unique way he has tailored a travel planning service at www.luxurytraveldesign.com. You can also get a free e-Newsletter with travel tips, destination descriptions and all sorts of useful travel info by going to the website and logging on the blog. Get your newsletter and get packed!
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.