Food, Photos and Travel

Wednesday, July 12, 2006



Our most recent travelling adventure was to hot and humid Belize in April of this year. Belize is a fantastic country to visit for a short, tropical adventure. Being an english speaking country full of the friendliest people I've ever met, makes it a breeze to travel around on your own.

It was about 50 degrees outside when we left the wet tarmac of Bradley International Airport in Hartford, and about the temperature of hell when we landed in Belize City. The humidity was suffocating, but we were just excited to be there! It's a small airport (but expanding), so it only took us about 1/2 an hour to check in and get our bags. Then, we just had to walk accross the road to Jaiburu Car rental Company to pick up our Dihatsu 4x4.

We threw our backpacks in the the car and took off down the Western Highway (there are only 4 paved roads in Belize: the Western Highway, Southern Highway, Northern Highway and the Hummingbird Highway). Our destination was the Cayo District, which is located in western Belize, near the Guatamalan border. The drive, which took about 2 hours and took us through several small villages was sunny and pleasant, and I soaked in the Central American landscape.


The Cayo district is home to the town of San Ignacio, where we stopped for some dinner. Chicken, Rice and Beans are the staple diet in this country, and are found at every restaurant (sometimes, that's all they serve). Our lodge could be found 15 minutes outside of San Ignacio down an unpaved road into the mountainous jungle.

We really splurged for this trip and stayed at Duplooys Jungle Lodge. This place was amazing... I loved everything about it. Here's a tip if you are travelling to the jungle of Belize. Some of the Jungle Lodges are very much out in the middle of nowhere down dusty and rough jungle roads. If you don't have your own vehicle, then you are stuck there, and at the mercy of the lodge tours to see anything. It's easy to get places with your own 4x4 and we saved a lot of money on expensive tours by having our own car. Duplooys is in a wonderful location because it is far enough into the jungle to be secluded, but it does not require a long, uncomfortable ride to get there.

Jungle Lodge in Belize

On our second day in Belize we arranged to go cave tubing. We were lucky enough to get there on "Cruise Ship Day", when all of the cruise ships were in port and bus loads of people were on day tours. There were literally hundreds, if not thousands of people. *sigh* Other then that, cave tubing was great, and it quickly brought back memories of camping in Northern Maine (minus the caves and herds of tourists). Cave tubing means lazily floating down the river, on your innertube through several long caves while you chat with your tour guide about life in Belize. If you're lucky you'll get to see some bats or some interesting birds. You will be floating through the jungle, so bring some bug spray!

That evening we found a mexican restaurant in San Ignacio town where we each had a full plate of food, complete with rice and beans, and a couple of beers each for $12 American, total. The local beer is Belikin, and it comes in several different types. My favorite was the premium. The logo features a Mayan temple.

Speaking of Mayan temples, the following day we set out to tour Caracol ruins. We wanted to go by ourselves, so we could get there early for the beautiful early morning light. It was only 30 miles from our lodge, but it took us 3 hours to drive there! It was slow, and bumpy, but we saw the most colorful, wild turkeys and a lot vultures and egrets along the way. When we got to the ancient city, we were the only ones there and we were able to enjoy the site in complete solitude.

Caracol is an amazing site, and is a must see if you are interested in Mayan culture. It covers 65 square miles and is believed to have housed 120-180,000 people! At one time, it was at war with the famous Tikal in Guatemala. The main temple is huge, and is still the largest man-made structure in the country. In the picture below you can se the view from the top. There are many temples in the complex, and I'm sure there are many more buried in the hills and waiting to be found.



After a few more days of exploring the humid mountains and jungles, we decided to head to the ocean for some much needed R&R. There are many choices along the coast, which is the home to hundreds of small islands, or Cayes (pronounced keys) and the second largest barrier reef in the world makes it a premier scuba diving destination.



Laid back is an understatement when describing Caye Caulker. It makes Brattleboro, Vermont feel like New York City. There aren't even any cars on the island. People get around by golf cart or their two feet. We stayed in Da Real Macaw, an excellent guesthouse, right on the beach (although, the island doesn't really have much of a swimming beach). We had hammocks right outside our door, on a porch with a permanent breeze coming through. There are no big resorts, or hotels on Caye Caulker. Just small guest houses and Cabanas. Their restaurants serve up delicious seafood with a caribbean flair. Conch and lobster (when in season) is found in abundance.

Ambergris Caye is another popular tourist destination, but is more populated and has some bigger resorts (but still small and laid back compared to much of the Caribbean). It's a bustling metropolis compared to Caye Caulker. You can get to many of the Cayes by water taxi from Belize City, or by plane from Belize City to Ambergris Caye.


Belize was a great place to visit, and I was sad to end my trip and return to the cold and rainy north. One thing I haven't talked about much is the people. They are all so extremely friendly. Not friendly I-want-your-tourist-dollar, just genuinely friendly and proud of their country. Every where we went we were greeted with smiles and friendly conversations, and people in their yards would wave to us as we drove past. This was especially true in the more rural areas. Not quite so much in the heavily touristed Cayes.


There are lots of budget travel opportunities in Belize, and lots of things to see. There is everything from inexpensive guesthouses and camp sites to private island resorts and remote jungle lodges.

View more photos from our travels in Belize:

Read more about Belize at the Lonely Planet website:

Belize Travel Resources:


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