Slickrock logo

Island Essence

By Slickrock Adventures on August 17, 2022

Belize.

What conjures in your mind, rather than a Google search?

Mayan ruins?
The second largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia?
Jaguars?
Keel-billed toucans?
Dolphins?
Indiana Jones?

To be honest with you, all of the above came to mind back in 2004, and the romantic notion of moving 5,000 miles away to land far beyond was hugely appealing.

From a start-up mobile zoo business back in England built on a shoestring and a mere dream, I thought adding eco-tourism to the aforementioned far-flung land would be the icing on the cake.

With a genuine passion for wildlife, business was never a goal, but a means to follow the path of a dream, or whacky idea, however you see the glass half-full, or half-empty. I was turned down for a job as a zookeeper after volunteering at a local wildlife park, and helping to run three big cat sanctuaries, so stumbled into setting up a mobile zoo in England.

The natural progression (in my eyes) was to tie in eco-tourism to wildlife hot spots when the school clients were off for the summer.

A place in South Africa was very far along in the planning stages, until I heard about tick fever being prevalent there.

A UK-based wild cat charity closed, moved back to England, and had their 50 acres for sale. This was the exact same time as I was setting up Zoofari, so nightly research was making this amazing country starting to stand out like a sore thumb. Decent weather, politically stable, Mayan ruins, wildlife, English speaking, tropical rainforest (Indiana Jones-esque). Jungles and Caribbean Sea were on the mind for four years, before I even stepped afoot in the country.

A whole four years passed before stepping off the plane, and it was like walking into a sauna on full blast.

Humidity, heat, friendly smiles at immigration, a morpho butterfly, as blue as the Belizean sky, fluttered inside the airport.

From four years of vivid daydreams to reality, it was definitely the start of a dream-come-true.

It was three years later that I met Cully, and although I had been to San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), and Caye Caulker (where the majority of tourists go to), Long Caye, way, way out at Glover’s Reef Atoll, was something else.

The sea was smooth as, the sun’s rays shimmering off the water, as we headed out from Dangriga, after a 20-minute flight from Belize City on a small plane. Flying fish, dolphins, decent weather, Factor 100 to hand, and then an absolute oasis.

Dark blue to turquoise, as we approached Glover’s Reef Atoll. The sky a light blue, barely a cloud. Frigate birds above, pelicans on the dock, and not a single tourist to be seen. It was off-season in July 2011, and this magical, isolated island was like something out of a movie.

Like the three days spent in Belize in 2008 when I first visited, it was a mere three days on the island, and I felt such an overwhelming Zen feeling, that the next seven years were spent tirelessly working on making this beautiful island part of the eco-tourism plans I had been cultivating in my head for fourteen years.

Those three days in 2011 had a huge impact on my outlook and life’s plan.

You too can visit the same far-flung island, sometime.

Several weeks have sold out, we’re here to help if you’d like to reserve your cabana.