A jump from the United hub in Houston, Texas, and about 7 hours flight time from New York, Belize is a wonderfully centrally located destination from the United States.
Traveling to Belize from Europe is certainly a longer journey, but we recommend it, at least once in your life, perhaps through New York or Miami as ports of entry.
Jungle, Mayan temples, caves, warm and turquoise waters, atolls, sunshine and great food make it truly an irresistible destination. This time we decided to explore two of the main cayes, or islands: Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
Caye Caulker: the paradise of divers.
Caye Caulker can be reached by boat or plane from Belize City. To date it is still a rather unknown destination. This emerging destination is perfect for divers and travelers looking for an authentic experience away from the usual beaten tourist trail. The island moves to the rhythm of its motto “Go Slow” which clearly reflects the atmosphere of the city, its rhythm and its wonderfully relaxed nature. Despite having an accommodating pace, it offers a great variety even for the active traveler: the coral reef is superb and there are lots of wonderful excursions organized by local businesses to choose from.
We chose to dive with Frenchie’s, we planned the few days with some training classes and various local dives and we enthusiastically joined in their weekly planned journey to explore the Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole is one of the most exciting and “must dive” places for experienced divers. It is a gigantic marine sinkhole made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top five diving sites in the world. Diving in the Blue Hole is exciting, it doesn’t disappoint and it is certainly never a boring experience.
It is interesting that this portion of the sea is not really blue at all, at least not under its surface. Devoid of aquatic plants and the usual tropical marine life that so fills the surrounding cliffs, it is a geological adventure, a marvelous and suggestive scenario of monochrome stalactites full of underwater wonders.
A few nautical miles later a stop in paradise is lined up. Half Moon Caye is remote, isolated, green, sunny, a splendid gem, an emerald surrounded by an infinite sea of turquoise. The perfect escape for dreamers.
On the way back from the underwater trip it is impossible not to stop at the pier at Frenchie’s to taste the dish of coconut curry with shrimp from chef Kareem, the best on the island. Street food in Belize is widespread and genuinely fabulous.
Ambergris Caye, the luxury escape for a dream vacation.
After getting your fill of aquatic adventures, diving with sharks and turtles, waking up at 5am, rum-flavored sunsets and days full of sports, it’s time to relax at Ambergris Caye’s Victoria House, the Belize’s largest island, and made famous under the nickname of the “Isla Bonita” by Madonna.
Entering the curated green rooms of the Victoria House it is inevitable not to feel an immediate happiness that only the tropics can give to sea lovers. We promptly decided to embrace the hotel rituals: the morning yoga class and the spa session. The Spa is really not to be missed. Ask Roxanne, the manager, for advice on organic body scrubs from the local product body and their personalized massage packages. Our choice was a two-hour treatment including a coffee body scrub, an energizing treatment for skin rejuvenation and a spectacular massage with local organic coconut oil. The villas and casitas of the Victoria House Resort and Spa are managed by a dedicated staff. The oceanfront resort is also equipped with a state-of-the-art water activity center with scuba gear, kayakers or snorkelers. Its suites and casitas with their Mayan hammocks that swing in the ocean breeze give the resort a quiet, authentic and smooth atmosphere.
The island itself is a wonderful surprise. Ambergris Caye and its vibrant city of San Pedro is charming, colorful and refreshing, with a variety of different accommodations possible. Taking advantage of the golf cart rental, we promptly set off on an adventure to explore the pristine areas of the island by discovering the beauty of Secret Beach. About four miles north of the city and three miles to the west Secret Beach is a delight for lovers of clear blue waters. Semi-submerged wooden tables where you can have lunch or drink to keep cool while socializing with the locals. It is a semi-discovered beach untouched by progress: only a few colored cabanas and no electricity. Leaving Ambergris Caye and Belize is certainly a difficult greeting.
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