Exciting & Eco-friendly Adventures in Belize
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Located in the very heart of Central America, this hidden gem of the Caribbean offers an unspoiled encounter for beach-chillers and thrill-seekers alike. Whether you’re backpacking solo or on a family vacation, Belize has a plethora of hot spots to whet your appetite.
Second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Belize Barrier Reef provides world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities. From the novice to the most seasoned diver, one can explore three of the four Atolls to be found in the Western Hemisphere. Both the Turneffe Atoll and the Lighthouse Reef Atoll are conveniently accessible for your diving pleasure, as is the famous Blue Hole.
Vacation on a Live-Aboard boat or have a posh experience at the Turneffe Island Resort, where the beaches are glorious and the reputation for service impeccable. Either way, you have diving at your doorstep!
Crystal clear and 80 degrees, the water in Belize is calling to you. For those who would rather ride the waves rather than dive deep, Slickrock Adventures has your back…and your board! Literally an “Island Unto Itself”, they boast that “Long Caye enjoys the only surf break in Belize that is both accessible and safe (not breaking over live coral).” Paddle boarding, Kayak & Windsurfing, you name it, this place rocks it. Slickrock is also the only venture to offer full-on kayak & rafting tours of the underground Caves Branch River.
For those primal souls with a global conscience, who find themselves wildly attracted to the thought of truly connecting with Nature; Belize can put a whole new spin on being infected with Jungle Fever. If exploring the Belizean Rainforest safely & to your heart’s content, while being certain of leaving a minimal carbon footprint, I’ve heard a stay at CHAA CREEK Resort is mandatory. They provide a wide range of authentically Eco-friendly accommodations and Adventure Travel Tours galore – you’ll have to go back several times before running out of things to do!
Well before the catch-phrases “go green”, “eco-friendly” & “sustainable tourism” were hatched, Mick and Lucy Fleming were striving to ‘co-exist with nature’. They opened Chaa Creek back in 1981 focused on ‘sensitive construction and creative recycling’. What began as a couple of cottages to accommodate visiting travellers has grown into a 365 acre private nature reserve.
Backpackers can have an affordable posh-tent-like experience staying in one of the Camp Casitas, where “Every effort has been made to create a true jungle experience without relinquishing comfort and safety… at the Macal River Camp you can experience nature much as the original Maya inhabitants or early settlers did – with little of the distraction or noises of civilisation. It is a tranquil, peaceful location that brings home the beauty and vibrant life of Belize’s rainforest and rivers.”
If travelling with the Family or even if it just takes a little more four-star fancy to turn you on, there are Garden Jacuzzi Suites and palm thatched cottages “…furnished with a tasteful, casually elegant mix of hand crafted furniture, fine fabrics and local and international art, all designed to blend in with the exquisite rainforest surroundings and local culture.” Perhaps best of all, you can recapture the days of a Tree-house Summer by combining the best of both worlds, with Attitude and Altitude! Chaa Creek’s Treetop Suites are “Perched high atop the meandering Macal River…” These “…large airy suites provide a one-of-a-kind Rainforest Experience in Belize’s verdant Western Cayo District. You’ll share a birds’ eye panoramic view with toucans, parrots, kingfishers and many other colourful avian species.” Count me IN.
With an eco-system as diverse as it is lush, the possibilities for exploration are seemingly endless. Take a guided Birding tour. Go horseback riding or mountain biking on the well maintained trails or drift lazily down the Macal River in a canoe. Listen to the monkeys as you enjoy a hot stone massage or stimulate your intellect and experience the architecture and history of the ancient Mayan Temples of Xunantunich and Tikal.
Visit the Butterfly Farm, Natural History Center or take the Medicinal Plant trail, learning about healing & culture. You can even take a Helicopter Tour and get an eagle’s eye view of the magical Rainforest, glorious waterfalls and lagoons, & the Caves Branch River. Like I said, the possibilities are endless , and hooking it up with Chaa Creek gives you access to it all as well as affording you the benefit of responsible tourism… ensuring that the landscape is there to enjoy for generations to come.
Anyway – this is just my two cents – some places I totally intend to hit when I go through Belize this fall on my way to Guatemala. I’d love to hear any stories from readers about your adventures through Belize too!! If there is a place that one travelling through MUST NOT MISS… let me know!