It’s easy to fall in love with un-belizeable Belize and its laid back Caribbean vibe. This beautiful tropical country borders Mexico and Guatemala. It is a popular destination for snorkeling and diving the second largest reef in the world, the Caribbean crystal clear waters, the Mayan Ruins, Belizean cuisine, dancing and island hopping! Belize offers a slice of paradise for a price that is cheaper than other Caribbean holiday destinations. Want to eat rice and beans, ‘go slow’, soak up the Garifuna culture, walk along luscious beaches? Belize is a great place to go!
Belize is a country by the Caribbean Sea and the official language is English and Creole. I can’t speak the latter but I must say, it did feel strange to go from a Spanish speaking country to speaking English with the locals. The Belizeans are very friendly and welcoming to show you how to do things the Belizean way. Anything from cooking, dancing, rapping, drinking – there’s a Belizean twist to it. Like in San Ignacio we discovered a hidden pool park that is a spot for locals to hang out (you wouldn’t find it in the Lonely Planet). We met a couple there and they invited us their home and to have dinner with them and the kids. We went shopping for ingredients and cooked up a big feast Belizean style. We were cooking for a family and a couple of friends. The meal was filling and flavorsome. It was so much fun and rewarding to know that the family were going to eat well tonight.
Being in Belize inspired me to cook and enjoy Belizean Caribbean meals. Jo and I wrote a list of dishes we wanted to try and we managed to taste it all at local cafes and recommended restaurants listed on Lonely Planet & TripAdvisor. Belizean food is scrumptious and bursting with flavour. There’s a restaurant in San Ignacio where we ate at numerous times as the service was excellent and the food even better. Cenaida’s restaurant is a favourite amongst the locals. I treated myself to Sangria, plantain, succulent grilled fish and salad. YUMM! Jo and & I ate at a 5* restaurant called Guava Limb. The three course meal were traditional Belizean dishes and I finished every last crump on my plate. We stayed at The Chal-Tun Ha Hostel in San Ignacio. It felt more like a home to us and most of the time we had the whole hostel to ourselves. Inside is a lounge area, television, two separate bathrooms, washing machine, fully equipped clean kitchen with dining area, hammock and outside view, clean beds – I mean what else more could you want as a backpacker?! Most nights we were in the kitchen cooking with ingredients we purchased from the local market. Big up to Wendy the owner!! She is a lovely lady who is passionate about life and really made us feel welcome in her presence. She even treated Jo and I to a wonderful home-cooked meal of beef and seasoned potatoes. ‘Nuff Love.
Typical Belizean food includes: Fresh fish dishes, stew chicken, conch fritters, fry jacks, johnny cakes, Ceviche, Tamales, Hudut with Belize Fish Sere, Creole Bread and Coconut Milk, conch soup and more. A typical café meal is well-seasoned fried chicken served with coconut rice, beans, plantain and salad.
Wendy got us a good deal for the ATM tour. Although the tour is pricey (about 90US) it is worth every penny! The experience of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) of the Ancient Mayan Underworld is like non other. As I walked through the jungle trees leading up to the cave, I felt like I was an Indiana Jones explorer back in time. We swam through the cave, walked parts and climbed some rocks. It was adventurous and so much fun. After the tour, we ate lunch and had unlimited rum punch 😉
Pictures taken from Google Images. Cameras without a permit are forbidden from the cave.
Boy, the Belizeans can dance like rhythm was born in their blood. Their dancing is infectious. Everything is a big joy and celebration of life. Music is a way local musicians express what’s happening in their neighborhood. One song I heard on the local bus was called ‘Clean Belize,’ a song about the individual responsibility for cleaning up and doing your part for your town. The message is out there to keep Belize tidy.
The beaches in Belize is absolutely beautiful. To see the pristine beaches, you can book a tour. Crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea..
Belize is well set up for backpacking and is easy to use transportation to get around the country. The buses are cheap and some services are frequent per hour. Your luggage is placed to the back of the bus so be sure to keep an eye out for it! Street vendors get on at random stops and sell you food and snacks. That’s how the sellers make their living day to day. I saw locals eating so one time I decided to try a local sweet snack. It was tasty, cheap and convenient. I like this kind of service on the buses.
Un-belizeable Zoo. Hop on the local bus and take a ride to the National Belize Zoo. My favourite animals to see were the Toucans, Tapir which is the National animal of Belize, Leopards, Panthers and much more.
Among the Caribbean waters lies a ‘backpackers island’ called Caye Caulker, a must see in you visit Belize. Caye Caulker is an island with a ‘go slow’ culture and no cars allowed! If you run you’ll get told not to. It’s all about the enjoyment of life and taking things easy like in the words of Bob Marley ‘Ain’t No Worries About a Thing’. I did the Ruggamuffin snorkeling tour which included 3 snorkeling stops, lunch, equipment and unlimited run punch!! The tour was incredible and I would highly recommend. To swim one of the world largest reefs and to see the spectacular sea life up close was a great achievement for me. After the all-day of snorkeling, the birthday girl and other friends we made on the tour went out celebrating. We ate a scrumptious grilled dinner at Wishing Willy’s and she sorted us out with complementary rum punch! Party at the Reggae Bar and spend at least a day lounging by the split at the Lazy Lizard.
Ruggamuffin crew and friends
Souring high – feeding a bird
If you are on a budget, I would recommend the following hostels:
Chal Tun Ha Hostel in San Ignacio
Yuma’s House in Caye Caulker
Lydia’s Guesthouse in Placencia
Live and Love Life. Keep Calm and Travel on