We have an excellent Belize packing list for our island and jungle trips. I have been doing this a long time, and I would say that the thing people are most confused by is buying booties. I spend a crazy amount of time talking about shoes.
It seems people don’t really know much about water shoes and how to protect their feet. Foot injuries are our most common injury on the island. And I would venture to say that 95% of the problems come from bringing improper or just plain lousy footwear.
Think about it: on our island trips we do ten water sports, and if you are going with us to the jungle also you can add four more to that list. All but two of our sports take place in the water. That means you need one pair of shoes to handle twelve different sports. That’s a tall order! And they will never dry out during the whole trip. Some shoes are too bulky (they won’t fit on kayak pedals or into a snorkel fin), some shoes are sandals and so don’t protect you walking around in the ocean where there are sea urchins and sting rays. And still some are too stiff, or don’t have any traction, or don’t protect your whole foot because the whole top is simply a thin mesh.
The answer to this problem is simple: get some neoprene booties.
This subject came to me yesterday when I remembered I need to get myself a new pair of booties. I had worn out my 4th pair last spring and when I got home I suddenly realized when packing for a river trip I had left my last pair in Belize to finish off next season. I had to buy a pair locally and I really don’t like them, they are overkill. They are extremely sturdy, with a huge zipper going way up the calf. They are too stiff. I like a smaller, more flexible pair. Cully was doing an order from Northwest River Supply and I thought he would get me a pair there. But upon looking at their site all of their options had the same over-the-top features of the pair I just bought. So I went to Amazon and put in “dive booties” and found a very good looking pair with all the features I like for much less money than my river booties had always been. I wish they went a little bit higher up the ankle, but that’s the way it goes. They look flexible, and with a good thick sole, and they pull on – no zipper. And they are only $23.
[Photos, top to bottom and left to right: Robert Dunlop, Jerry Wylie, Elena Potter, Rich Mitchell, Kimi Gosney, Rick Pratt]