Belize

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"A Jaguar" - carved slate by Adelita Pau

Once we landed at the Belize airport near Belize City (#1 on the map), we stayed overnight in the city.  The next day, we picked up our rental car (Suzuki Vitara from Budget Belize), and headed to Placencia (#2 on the map). Our first stop along the way was the Belize Zoo - worth a look.   Then we drove the Southern Highway to Placencia, which is a small village located on a narrow sandy peninsula in the south of the country. It is a good jumping off location for exploring the southern end of Belize, which has the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary, and many offshore cayes (such as Laughing Bird Caye sanctuary).

From Placencia, we travelled to the Cayo District and Blancaneaux Lodge (#3 on the map), which is located in the mountainous western part of the country. Mayan ruins at Caracol, pine forests, and spectacular waterfalls and pools are some of the interesting sights in this area.

The last segment of our trip was to Ambergris Caye (#4 on the map) and the sleepy village of San Pedro. This makes an excellent home base for the divers among you, and even us snorkelers can have some thrilling underwater experiences! We took the Manatee Tour, which included Goff's Caye, Caye Caulker and Shark Alley.

Belize-map.gif (44617 bytes)

 

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How we did it

My travel partner and I put this package together partly using the Internet and partly using the services of a travel agent. The airfares and car rental were part of a package sold by Global Connections (based in Vancouver, BC, Canada) and booked through a travel agent. Global Connections (also known as Brazil Connections) specialize in tour arrangements to Central America and South America.

We wanted to cover as much of this small country as possible, and decided that 2 weeks and 3 days would do it for us. Part of the package offered by Global Connections was the first and last night at the Biltmore Plaza hotel in Belize City. We made independent arrangements for the accommodations for the rest of the time we spent in Belize. The Internet proved to be very valuable.  For such a small country, Belize has a good number of web sites dedicated to the needs of travelers. (Click: Belize Links)

cover The travel guide book I found very useful is The New Key to Belize by Stacy Ritz (Ulysses Press). This book contains much practical information, and can really help you get more out of your visit to Belize.

My travel partner used the travel guide book Belize Handbook by Chicki Mallan (Moon Publications)

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The Belizian Dollar "BZ$" prices, as quoted in this JoeTourst travelogue is pegged against the US$ - two BZ$ for one US$.  This trip was taken during April and May of 1997, so please check with facilities for current prices and travel information.

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If you have read through my intro to Joe Tourist's Costa Rica, you will undoubtedly remember that I stated that "the Costa Ricans are really nice people, and are genuinely interested in helping tourists see their country...I can honestly say that in all my travels, I have not encountered any nation who is more welcoming of tourists." Well, Belizians run a close second to the Costa Ricans. Belize may not be as advanced as Costa Rica when it comes to developing their tourist industry, however the Belizian people are very friendly and helpful to tourists. They don't expect tips, although they are most welcome if you decide to offer one.

As an added bonus, virtually all Belizians speak English, unlike any other Central American country. Belize is a relatively stable, constitutional monarchy, similar to both Britain's and Canada's parliamentary system of government. The Belizian dollar is pegged, and exchanges two for one U. S. dollar. Spending U.S. dollars is as easy as using the Belizian dollar, although I would recommend that you not use anything larger than a US$50 bill, since many merchants don't have that much change on hand. Use the larger currency while you are in hotels, Mouth of the Mississippi Riveror use one of the banks (usually only open to 1pm). U.S. dollar travelers' checks can be used virtually anywhere, however you will need your passport to cash one.

Mouth of the Mississippi River near the Gulf Coast, as seen from the jetliner on the way home from Belize.

 

 

 

 
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