We’ve been taking North Americans on amazing adventure vacations in Belize for 30 years. We know this country and the things to do in Belize.
This is the first installment of a series detailing some of our favorite places that we recommend to our friends and guests when they want to explore what Belize has to offer prior to, or following, their Adventure Island trip with us.
Our favorite place to stay in the San Ignacio region, this upscale resort is on a 345 acre private nature reserve and is located next to the Rainforest Medicine Trail. The self-guided tour gives you a quick introduction to traditional Mayan medicine.
The best that eco-tourism has to offer. Birding, horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, with WiFi in the main lodge and cabanas that are fully screened with thatched roofs, private bathrooms, ceiling fans, and hammocks. Organic garden and locally purchased food are the icing on the cake.
The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is a birder’s paradise. It sits on 12,800 acres and is host to thousands of birds. The Lagoons can get to a mile wide in the rainy season and some years, dry up during the dry season.
And of the four lodges in the small village by the lagoon, the best is Birds Eye. It is right on the lagoon, has a quaint bar, and a top-notch kitchen staff that serve buffet-style meals. Dinner is only $12 and they accommodate vegetarians. The birding/boating tour for 1-4 persons is $100 total. And it’s not far from the airport in Belize City so it’s easy to fit it in with your first or last stop in-country.
If you’re thinking of booking a trip to our island but also wondering what else there is to do before or after your time with us, here’s a very watchable video on YouTube posted by Brit DJ Dave Raven who visited the country back in 2009. He edited his five-day tour down to 20 minutes. It covers Caye Caulker, San Ignacio and Bullet Tree Falls, Mayan Temples, Belize City, Punta Gorda and Hopkins. Enjoy.
Belize budget lodging can be hit and miss. Clarissa Falls is a fantastic alternative to the more expensive places in the Cayo area of Belize. Situated along the banks of the Mopan River, and just 5-1/2 miles west of San Ignacio, Clarissa Falls is very convenient and tours can be arranged for you with local operators. From here you can also go swimming, tubing or canoeing on the river, take nature walks into the forest or just relax in a hammock with a cool limonada while bird watching. One of our favorite do-it-yourself hikes in Belize goes from Clarissa Falls to Bullet Tree Falls, about 6 miles one-way along the Mopan River Valley. You can take a cab back for an excellent one-day activity.
Hostess, Chena Galvez’ home cooking is fantastic! Rooms are about $75 for a double with a private bath. They also have suites, 6 persons for $175/night, or camping for $7.50/person/night. Their meals range from $5-15. Phone and fax: 011-501-824-3916. Website: http://www.clarissafalls.com/.
Of the many fun and interesting things to do in Belize, either before or after one of our tours, perhaps the most accessible is a visit to the Museum of Belize.
Located at Gabourel and Hutson streets, the Museum of Belize is a beautiful, old brick building that was built as a colonial prison in the 1800’s, and operated as a prison until 1993; one cell has been restored. Originally built to hold one man, each cell held 6-8 prisoners at the time of the prison’s closing.
Many other aspects of Belize prison life are covered in the permanent exhibits. This museum also focuses on the Maya and colonial history of Belize. Highlights include a new exhibit entitled ““The People Who Carved Jades and Their Descendants” which opened in April to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012.
About the exhibit, Adventure Traveler Online says it provides “a deeply enchanting and personal look at the Mayas’ work in creating famous Belizean jade masterpieces, “The People Who Carved Jades and Their Descendants” is an exhibit that was revealed in April in order to provide visitors with a deeper connection with Belize’s Maya culture, as people look to uncover the truth about the end of the 2012 calendar. As the first of many celebrations planned for when the world starts anew on December 21, 2012, this exhibit serves as a bridge between ancient times and the future, and sets the tone for a full line-up of Maya-related events, tours, activities and festivals in Belize, scheduled throughout 2011 and 2012.”
I get this question a lot and I have a standard answer: at the end of the week you will probably fall to the sand and grab me around the ankles and beg to stay. This is the best island you have EVER seen. NO TIME is enough time on Long Caye. Ask Steever Price, who is joining us this season for his 14th trip! Rich Lawson hasn’t missed a winter on the island since his first trip in April of 2006!
There is no end of cool stuff to do. Sure we have guided tours to go sea kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayak surfing, sport fishing, kayak fishing, paddleboarding, and board surfing (not to mention hammock surfing.) But there’s more. Here’s an incomplete list of island activities we pull out of our hats when looking to for other stuff to do:
-Paddling to the other islands in the atoll (from 2.5 miles to 6 miles away)
-Birdwatching with Mario (in April when birds are migrating north we often see 40 different species in a week!)
-Snorkeling to ‘the Wall’ dive site just 100 yards off the island shore
-Paddling north along the reef to snorkel from the kayaks (or just to see the north part of the reef)
-Paddling to the ‘new island’ forming 4 miles north of NE Caye
-Snorkel (swim) all the way to Middle Caye
-Kayak slalom races
-King of the I-Dock (conquering our inflatable dock)
-All About Coconuts, by MJ
-Snorkeling around the island
-Hermit crab races
-Advanced kayak instruction to cover rolling and other kinds of rescues
-Downwind kayak float while snorkeling, then paddle back
-Advanced scuba diving lessons
-Snorkeling outside the reef in much deeper water north of NE Caye if it’s calm
-Reef low tide walks
-Reading from the library; we have over 100 titles about Belize and the surrounding area
-Paddling to patch reefs to snorkel from the kayaks