I hope you enjoyed my previous post on 15 noteworthy facts about Belize. In this post I continue my introduction of this amazing Central American country and share some of the adventures we had there. Prior to this trip, I didn’t think I was an outdoorsy sort of person. Despite all my love of nature and dedication to recycling, I can’t imagine my life without regular showers and manicures. As it turned out, our stay at the Hamanasi Hotel allowed us to combine some wildlife adventures with the comfort of civilized life indulgences. I loved this vacation so much that I can’t wait to come back to Belize!
Over the course of our eight-day vacation, we went on five tours. Unfortunately, I caught the flu a few days before our departure so we tried to take it easy, but I was still feeling adventurous enough to go on my first-ever hiking and caving trips. Below, I’ll tell you about each of our tours. As a side note, we booked all the adventures though our hotel, but I am certain you’ll be able to book similar tours if you plan to stay at another resort.
1. Mayflower Jungle & Waterfall Hike was a physically intense uphill hike toward the waterfall. Covered in mud, we inhaled the ‘jungle gossip’ stories our tour guide told and had a feeling of accomplishment by the time we reached the top of the mountain.
2. Cockscomb Basin Cave & Jungle Adventure is a tour where you are hiking inside the cave. Sometimes the space between the walls is so small you need to crawl or use a rope to get to the top of the hill. No worries, we didn’t see any bats or insects, but we sure had tons of fun!
3. The Tropical Birding tour was offered free for all hotel guests, and I took the tour simply because I was curious. Over an hour-long tour I saw all the colorful birds you could possibly imagine, including a hawk sitting on a tree eating… a snake! Our tour guide said that it’s very rare to see something like that so close up, so I guess I got lucky (brrr, I have to say it’s not the most visually appealing thing).
4. Snorkeling from a Dedicated Snorkel Boat. Ben went on this trip by himself because I felt a bit under the weather, and he said it was one of the best snorkeling trips he’s ever taken. According to Ben, the water is very clean and you can see many more fish than during a typical Caribbean snorkeling tour. Too bad we didn’t have a waterproof camera to photograph all the underwater life!
5. Jungle River Canoeing & Kayaking was very good, mostly because Ben did all the hard work moving the boat forward. Our tour took place on a particularly warm day, allowing us to see all sorts of iguanas warming up on the trees. Locals call these creatures “bamboo chicken” and actually eat them, but for my taste, they look too scary to even look at! Also, as I stated before, during this adventure we saw a baby crocodile. He looked very cute and not dangerous at all!
6. Horse Riding Tour was simply amazing! I’ve been riding horses when I was a child, but it doesn’t happen that often now, when I live in New York. We went through the orange farm and the jungle towards the river. As I mentioned in my previous article, I rode an eight-year-old horse named Captain and he was a sweetheart. I don’t know how he was able to do it, but he never stopped eating while on the go. So cute!
I hope I was able to convince you to include Belize on your dream vacations list. Or, perhaps I’ve helped you make up your mind on where to go next. To make your life easier, I put together a list of the best hotels and vacation deals in Belize for your consideration:
1. Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort is the hotel where we stayed (it’s the #1 resort in the Hopkins area and has 1145 excellent reviews). There is no TV so you can completely unplug and reconnect with nature, eat amazing organic food at the hotel’s restaurant, and spend time with the sweetest team you could possibly imagine. There is an option to pre-purchase a meal and adventure tours (that’s what we did) and change those excursions on the go if you want to.
2. Villa Verano is a super-luxurious 5-star hotel where you can book either a romantic suite for just the two of you or an entire floor for your family. The hotel features stunning beachfront views and offers a bit more connection to the outside world (Wi-Fi everywhere) as well as some SPA treatments. This hotel is also known as a destination for small beach weddings.
3. Belizean Dreams is another top-rated hotel that features amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. This hotel is a bit more family oriented than the Hamanasi (it’s listed as a romantic destination and it surely is). There is a bit more going on at the bar and more guests traveling with kids.
What are some of the outdoor activities that you enjoy? Have you ever tried hiking, caving, or snorkeling?