In the spirit of Belize’s Independence and just three weeks left to go in my Road Warrior program, I thought I’d add my two cents on
why I love Belize – as a traveler, visitor, writer and photographer.
1. You can go from rainforest to beach in no time
I can hike the rainforests for half a day, then water taxi over to one of the Cayes or offshore islands by sunset. Gotta love it.
2. The cultural wealth is astounding
I can’t remember the last time I visited a place as diverse as Belize. In Punta Gorda, I was stunned every day at the number of folks I ran into in a five-minute span. Mennonite, Garifuna, Mestizo, Kriol and Maya. As a writer it means lots of rich stories and experiences.
3. There are no massive all-inclusives
Unlike some parts of the Caribbean, the views are not majorly obstructed by monstrous amounts of concrete (no offense to the AI’s of the world).
4. It attracts the “active” type of traveler
Most of the visitors I’ve met here have a spirit and love of adventure. They want to know other cultures and come here out of a sheer desire to get off the beaten path, and have fun of course! >>>
5. The fresh fruit juices are to die for
I’m now officially addicted to watermelon juice. It’s the best I’ve tasted – I don’t how the Mennonites do it, but if I ever get fresh fruit juice in Belize, it’s watermelon. The lime juice is pretty good, too.
6. There’s a wide variety of foods
After living in Jamaica for months at a time, I can definitely appreciate being in a place that offers different kinds of foods. You can have anything from Belizean to Mexican, East Indian, Garifuna, Lebanese or delicious Ital (vegetarian) cooking. Even pizza here is delicious.
7. People are friendly and photo-friendly
Belizeans are friendly. The most reserved I’ve found are the Garifuna. But anytime I approach and take time to converse, it’s welcomed and my requests for photos are honored. Belizeans are generally happy to help or share about their country and life.
8. You learn a lot about the environment
You can’t help but learn how to become more environmentally-conscious in Belize. So much history and so much natural wealth here, from the cultural temples to the rainforests, all of it well preserved. And everyone does their part, from tour guide to hotels and visitors. In two months I’ve learned a ton about the importance of mangroves, rainforests, coral reefs, medicinal plants and a whole lot more.
9. There are endless activities
If you’ve followed me along since July, you already know what I mean. Caving, canoeing, rappelling, drumming, hiking, snorkeling, diving, horseback riding, ziplining, fishing, kayaking, cooking lessons, luxury-camping at a Maya site – you name it…I’ve done it. And even in the next three weeks, I have lots more adventure to experience!
10. The scenery is incredible, from greens to blues
There’s no better way to see this than from a Tropic Air flight across Belize, or from a simple car ride along the coastline or passing through the Hummingbird Highway. The colors are overpowering, from the dense rainforests to the offshore Cayes’ turquoise hues. A photographer’s dream.
11. Getting around by bus or taxi is cheap and safe
A bus fare can cost up to BZE $10 (or US $5) to go from one district to another. Not only is it cheap, but it’s usually on time and safe, even if it’s a little hard on the behind! No one’s ever bothered me on the bus and everyone is courteous.
12. The coffee is delicious
I’m not sure I could live anywhere that doesn’t produce good coffee. So for that, I’m so thankful. Oh and Belizean rum is pretty good, too!
13. There’s always a fiesta or bash somewhere and the music is so rich
Belizeans love a good party. Whether it’s sitting by the water and playing their own music, or partying at a summertime fiesta with live music, food vendors and games. A live concert in Belize is a blast – because of how varied and rich their music is – from African-inspired Punta to Brukdown to Paranda, the list goes on. And everyone loves to dance here – none of that “standing and watching” business you see in other Caribbean or even some African countries.
14. It’s all organic
Most of the food is organically grown – from chicken to rice to vegetables. The dairy is delicious too. Good to know, seeing as I have to eat out all the time while I’m here.
15. There are tons of easy-to-access offshore islands
I wish I lived in a country with so many gorgeous offshore islands or “cayes.” Talk about a convenient weekend getaway! All easily reached by water taxi. I’d probably explore a different one every month if I lived here, even the uninhabited ones.
16. It’s safe for solo female travelers, even at night
Belize is one of the safest countries I’ve visited so far. In some of the Caribbean countries, I’d never walk alone at night, even at dinner time. In Punta Gorda or on Caye Caulker, for instance, I’ve felt safe enough to walk to the restaurant at night and back (though not super late) – everyone’s out and about on foot or bicycles and the streets are well-lit.
17. Ladies, no cat calls here
That’s right, no obnoxious “hey baby” while I’m walking around and no following me down the street (okay, that only happened once). And if the men approach, they make up a business reason to hand out their card before quickly walking away. That’s as aggressive as it gets! Pretty surprising, given how much worse it is in other Caribbean countries. As a solo female traveler, I can definitely appreciate that.
18. It’s a family-oriented culture
When Belizeans go out to relax and enjoy their time off, it’s always with family. There’s a very strong culture of the family unit here. I think I’ve hit a record on the number of couples and families I’ve spent time with in one country in one trip.
19. You see lots of unique wildlife
From jaguars to iguanas and birds, I’m always discovering some kind of wildlife I’ve never seen before.
20. You’re minutes away from the world’s second largest Barrier Reef
I could snorkel off the Belize Barrier Reef every week. It’s the most beautiful underwater world I’ve ever seen so far.
And what’s really amazing, is that I could add 20 more reasons to this list!