by guest blogger Katherine Forbes

Northeast Caye
Sisters Katherine and Lisa with Slickrock guides Elmo and John on Northeast Caye during their first visit to Glover’s Reef

20 years ago, my sister Lisa and I travelled with Slickrock Adventures after learning about a sea kayaking adventure from a tiny ad in Outside Magazine.  At that time Slickrock was a much smaller operation leasing Northeast Caye as their destination island.  Lucy was our head guide, Elmo and John were her assistant guides, also our fishermen and cooks.  Our small group of travelers (about 15) stayed in tents on the beach with a few guests in small cabanas. Days were spent kayaking and snorkeling while marveling at the amazing underwater coral and sea life.

It was such a unique experience that 20 years later we decided to come back with our families.  With husbands and 7 children between us ages 10 to 16, we returned to Belize in April 2013.

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Katherine, Lisa and their families during the girls’ second visit to Glover’s Reef this April
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Sisters on Long Caye

What a wonderful surprise to see how much Slickrock has evolved over the years!  Not only have the accommodations improved, but instead of just offering kayaking and snorkeling, Slickrock now provides a wide array of activities like surf kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite boarding, scuba diving and fishing.  No experience necessary, you can be a beginner and still enjoy everything!  And if you want a break from water sports you can explore the island, looking for hermit and blue crabs, trying to catch lizards, playing with the bunny and even learning how to open coconuts.  Perfect for everyone as there are so many fun activities to entertain all ages.

But what makes Slickrock really special is the “Eco-Friendly” resort they have created.  In this day and age where everything is excess, it was wonderful to live with simpler means for a week.  Composting toilets, a rainwater collection system used for all island drinking water and the use of only solar power is part of your unique experience.   Saving the pristine tropical environment is a priority to Slickrock and a great lesson on how an eco-friendly resort works.   Notably there is no cell, internet, social media, wifi, or TV on the island.  Everyone is unplugged which is an unexpected pleasure!  With all the activities to keep you busy during day and then evening volleyball, board games, hermit crab races and island educational lectures everyone had a fabulous time.  No one missed their cell phone, laptop or TV – not one bit, even the kids!  It was wonderful break from our digital world that has become such a constant in our lives.

If you are looking for a vacation on a beautiful tropical island with unlimited water sports, world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, delicious food while living “off the grid” then Slickrock Adventures is for you.  A fabulous trip for families and perfect destination to get away from it all!   We plan to go back again but not wait another 20 years!

surf

Today I stumbled across an interesting discussion thread on Fodor’s, the website belonging to the great travel guide publisher, in which a Phoenix, AZ couple, “sofun1” and her husband, were seeking advise on planning a Caribbean vacation that included snorkeling and diving (for her) and surfing (for him). “We like returning to St. John, Jost Van Dyke, V. Gorda, Cancun, Mazatlan,” she wrote. Places they’d been to that did not make the “returning to” list: Turks Caicos, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Nassau. “We actually surfed on Tortolla and St. John. He loves Oahu for that but we are not in to that color of ocean. Carib turquoise is for us.”

So-o-o-o understandable. We too have a thing for that “Carib turquoise.”

The thread turned to the subject of Belize and one poster stated: “No surfing in Belize – the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef gets in the way. :)

Well, of course, we felt obliged to unburden them of this illusion. Though the barrier reef indeed does get in the way of most surfing in Belize, Long Caye on Glover’s Reef (where we operate our tiny eco-resort and multi-sport paradise,) is well outside the barrier reef and is therefore privileged to be the home of the only accessible surf break in Belize (in fact it was awarded one of the world’s top five snorkeling and surfing locations). Our evidence is below. Need we say more?

Here’s our post to the Fodor’s discussion thread:

Chrissy J and hopefulist, thanks for mentioning Glover’s Reef. I work for Slickrock Adventures and we operate the eco-resort that Chrissy stayed at. I stumbled across this thread just now and wanted to add that, in addition to surf kayaking and stand up paddle boarding offered to all our guests (along with a host of other water sports), we actually do have a selection of regular surf boards for our guests to use. And use them they do, whenever the surf is peaking (see http://www.slickrock.com/surfingbelize.html and http://belizeadventure.com/2010/12/great-surf-on-our-belize-island/ )

Granted, the waves never develop to anything of epic size, but on a good day they are plenty big enough for the average surfer. We’ve had many good rides at Long Caye. The Long Caye surf break, 50 yards off shore from our surf dock, is the only directly accessible surf break in Belize (not over living coral, and therefore safe to surf.)

And regarding hopefulist’s correct point about the rustic accommodations, he stayed on Northeast Caye, the island adjacent to Slickrock’s Adventure Island on Long Caye. He’s right. That setup really is for those who want bare-bones accommodations. But on Long Caye, we like to think we’ve been able to achieve something mid-way between that flavor of super rustic experience and the highly developed luxury of many of the other resorts in Belize. We like to call our style “five star camping”. For a look at the accommodations check out: http://www.slickrock.com/accommodationsbelize.html