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March 2021 – Happy Birthday Cully!

By Slickrock Adventures on May 9, 2021

Dear Slickrock Friends,

I trust all’s well with you and yours.

I’d like to wish our founder Cully Erdman a very happy birthday today. Forty-four years ago he founded Slickrock Adventures, from very humble beginnings in 1977. I class him as an inspiration, mentor, and good friend, knowing each other for nigh on a decade.

Cully Erdman, Adventurer And Mentor 

He was famous on TV
From Discovery, to ABC

Back in 1977, he founded Slickrock Adventures
Expeditions from Utah, and Colorado, to Mexico’s Chiapas

The first kayak descent, of Agua Azul
You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn cool

An avid adventurer is he
Voted “Top 100 Paddlers of the Century”

How could I not be inspired?
He’s a true free spirit, and hadn’t tired

Of following his dream
Was always nice to me, helped build my self-esteem

I visited Belize in October 2008, and felt Zen
Contacted Cully, in December 2010

In August 2011 we met, and I was impressed
We went to his island, instantly decompressed

Not just a resort
As many would retort

Two weeks, shy of eight years
From bank drama, to fears

He helped me stick it out
I’ll make sure I do him proud, no doubt

A true free spirit, if ever there was one.

Cully created Slickrock in 1977, then a small kayak school on the Colorado River. After exploring the region while assisting with adventure television shows, he expanded to Mexico and Central America.

In the early 1980s he expanded to Mexico, Belize in the late 1980s, then Guatemala and Honduras in the mid-1990s. In 1986, Lucy Wallingford joined as a partner, and together they developed the Belize itinerary that we offer today.

  • 1977 Slickrock Adventures founded by Cully Erdman in Moab, Utah
  • 1977-1997 Kayak school and river company operating in Colorado, Utah and Idaho
  • 1981-1994 River trips in Chiapas, Mexico – first kayak descent of Agua Azul
  • 1986 Lucy Wallingford joins company as Vice President
  • 1986 Belize – Slickrock becomes the first sea kayak outfitter in the country
  • 1991 Leased North East Caye, Glover’s Reef Atoll
  • 1996 Leased Long Caye, Glover’s Reef Atoll
  • 1996-1999 Bay Islands of Honduras added as a destination
  • 1997-2013 Tikal, Guatemala added as a destination
  • 2001 Purchase of Long Caye
  • 2011 Kiteboard school added
  • 2018 Merged with Green Tree Co
  • 2018 Head office moves from Moab, Utah to Hood River, Oregon
  • 2020 Head Office moves to Belize

The 20th of March will be a year since we closed the doors due to Covid, just in time before the borders closed on 23rd March 2020.

Moving forward, there are several moving parts of the business that will help the Belizean economy and our team, on a very long-term basis. The US office was closed and moved to Belize, our sister businesses will provide hundreds of jobs, with the goal of employing 1% of the working population.

I will be stepping back from the business longer-term, so as to empower the Belizean team to take the reins and make their own mark. As I always try to articulate, I have always seen, and always will see myself as the person pushing the car from behind to keep it moving, rather than beeping the horn and steering the wheel.

I have worked over ten years planning the transition of enabling the dedicated team to co-manage Slickrock, having put their life and soul into a job they love for years upon years. It will have some teething problems, but be crucial to our long-term success.

Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow, as I know first hand. Having a fear of the unknown is part of life, but will be very fulfilling once that mental block can be overcome, no matter who you are.

Most people say the number thirteen is unlucky, but 2021 marks the 13th year since I first visited Belize as an eagle-eyed 23-year-old. I still have a burning passion, love, and respect for the country and it’s population, meeting many of my best friends over here. I actually made a pact with myself when I first visited, not to move here and be a jaded ex-pat frustrated with red tape and delays business-wise, which is why it took exactly a decade and two months to move here properly.

Whilst we have run a very limited season of four trips, we are still here and looking forward, not backwards.

We’re looking towards December 2021 to re-start properly, but remain open from now until August for private charters of 15 (minimum) for US$2,000 per person. Charters for 20-30 guests get a 10% discount.

We will have selective dates next season for general bookings for US$2,000 per person, including Christmas 2021, Valentine’s 2022, and Spring Break 2022, but will likely steer mainly towards private charters for 2021 and 2022 until Covid peters out, to be open and honest with you.
Covid-19 Travel Update

With regards to Covid-19, we became a government-approved Gold Standard Hotel (Long Caye Adventure Camp), implementing extra sanitisation and safety measures, which won’t dampen the experience. Prevention and minimising risks, even without Covid-19 on the scene has been our priority. This is for your peace of mind, as well as our Slickrock team.

The Belize government’s requirement at this moment in time is simply a negative Rapid Antigen test 48 hours before arrival, or a negative PCR test 72 hours* before arrival, as well as downloading the travel app:
*The Belize government changed the PCR test back down to 72 hours, from 96 hours last month.

In accordance with CDC to re-enter the States, we have arranged a Rapid Antigen test for US$75 per person. They will come to Best Western as you arrive back from the island and you’ll get results within 30 minutes.

Covid-19 Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to travel due to restrictions placed on your home country or Belize by the government(s) or airlines, or if the resort is unable to open due to government restrictions, any paid bookings are eligible for rebooking for future dates of up to a year from your original check-in date. Guests will receive full credit for the amount paid to apply to the future rebooking dates, subject to availability.

As with previous terms, all cancellations are subject to a minimum US$100 administration fee, if not re-booked for an alternative date.

Thanks for your support in the past, present, or future.

Our next trip for general bookings on 19th March still has spaces. Should you want to get away from it all for nine days, you know where we are.

Please feel free to call anytime between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday Belize time (Central Time).

On behalf of the Slickrock family, we look forward to welcoming you to the island sometime.

Stay safe,
Phil Dowsett

CEO – Slickrock Adventures
+1 800-390-5715