Xunantunich Belize

Highlights of a Week in Belize

On the Caribbean coast of Central America to the south of Mexico and the east of Guatemala lies the tiny country of Belize. One of the smallest countries within Central America, with a mere population of around 382,000, Belize has an incredible amount to offer the intrepid traveler. Belize’s lush jungle, stunning barrier reef, plethora of ancient Mayan ruins, rich culture, and downright natural beauty make it a haven for adventure junkies, nature lovers and those wanting to experience island life on one of its many cayes (islands). Furthermore, Belize is Central America’s only English-speaking country making travel much easier for those who don’t speak Spanish or Creole.

After exploring much of Central America and particularly falling in love with the beauty Costa Rica, I personally wasn’t sure how Belize would compare. I had honestly never truly given Belize a thorough review, as I had only visited Belize City and one of her lovely cayes for a day trip when we were on a family cruise years ago. But that one visit to paradise was enough to whet my appetite for more and instill a desire to return for a full blown week long adventure. The only challenge was that I would be traveling alone.

After careful research, I found the perfect way for me to visit Belize without my usual traveling companions, my family. I joined a small-group tour with G Adventures, a Canadian-based company with a focus on responsible travel and tourism. I had learned about G Adventures years ago when I heard its inspiring founder Bruce Poon Tip present at a travel blogging conference in Toronto. I was instantly impressed with his vision and passion for sustainable travel through G Adventures’ for Good Programs around the world.  I was thrilled to see G Adventure’s Belize Trip used local tour guides, drivers and locally-owned hotels for all the stays, and also included three G for Good Program visits where we could support the local community. I booked the trip in early December and anxiously awaited the departure just as winter in Minnesota was gathering steam.

Belize Barrier Reef

Setting sail on a catamaran to Belize’s Barrier Reef

Belize Barrier Reef

Snorkeling with sea turtles, nurse sharks and rays is a highlight of any trip to Belize. Photo Credit: Anda De Wata Tours, Belize

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Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Un”belize”able Belize: A Day at Rendezvous Caye

Our first destination of call during our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Christmas was to Belize.  After exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, Belize has been on my wish list for quite some time and unfortunately I’d only get a taste of this un”belize”able place (as the tour operators rightly called Belize). But a taste was enough to whet my appetite and understand why so many tourists are flocking to the amazing English-speaking cayes (small islands) off the coast of Belize.

Belize Barrier Reef

The majestic blue-green hues of the Belize Barrier Reef were stunning.

By far the largest attraction in Belize is her beautiful, vibrant barrier reef. Belize boasts 190 miles (300 kilometers) of the 560-mile long (900 kilometers) of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest barrier reef in the world spanning from Cancun on the northeast tip through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras. Most people come to Belize to enjoy the diverse scuba-diving and snorkeling activities afforded by the reef, however, there are many other fabulous things to do and see in Belize.  Belize hosts her own share of noteworthy Mayan ruins, adventure sports and amazing wildlife.

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Tips to Make a Family Cruise Run Smoother

This past Christmas we took our first ever family cruise. It was my second cruise. The first cruise I did was over seven years ago on the Queen Mary when I was four months pregnant with my daughter Sophia. It was a business trip for my husband and my parents watched my son Max during our vacation.  I recall the trip being relaxing, enjoyable and fun. We sailed from New York City to the gorgeous southern town of Charleston, South Carolina and then to the Bahamas for a day.

Fast forward eight years, and we were on our first family cruise with the kids and my sister and her family. Four adults, four children ages 5-9 and four days and five nights on the Royal Caribbean meant we were in for quite an adventure jam-packed with fun, excitement and a small number of entertaining mishaps.

Our crazy kids

Our crazy kids

Looking back, it was a fabulous trip and we had an absolutely wonderful time glimmering with special memories. Yet it wasn’t without a small amount of “newbie cruiser” mishaps which prompted me to write this list of tips for surviving and enjoying your first family cruise together.

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