Trip Report: Can You "Belize" It?
Happy Spring! It’s been raining like crazy down here in central Texas and the wildflowers are in full bloom. I love driving the back roads when there’s nothing but fields of wildflowers and towering oak trees as far as the eye can see. The Texas Hill Country is truly beautiful this time of year.
Fun Fact: The national flower of Belize is the Black Orchid. This little beauty is only about the size of your fingernail.
In March, Wander Beyond teamed up with National Geographic and G Adventures for a trip to Belize. 14 people from all over the US met just outside of Belize City to start our adventure. We discovered inland jungles, Mayan ruins, ancient cave systems, the 2nd largest barrier reef system in the world and pristine coastal beaches.
Our journey began in Burrell Boom, a quiet town about 30 minutes outside of Belize City. This was our base camp for the exploration of two major Mayan sites, Lamanai and Xunantunich. We also visited the NatGeo-funded Howler Monkey Preserve. Thanks partly to this Preserve, the Howler Monkeys have made an impressive comeback from endangered status.
We headed west toward the small community of San Ignacio, a perfect hub for venturing into the extensive cave systems that Belize is so famous for. Here, participants had many different options for exploring the caves. Some chose to go cave tubing. Others chose canoeing through the caves. Some took on the challenge of spelunking to the end of the incredible “ATM” cave. This wet cave provided tons of Indiana Jones moments. The Mayans used this cave for sacred rituals including human sacrifices! At the end of the journey, you are rewarded with views of the “Crystal Maiden”, a perfectly preserved skeleton of a teenage girl that seems to shimmer and shine like diamonds in the light of your headlamp. No cameras are allowed in the cave, so you really need to go see this for yourself.
Our final destination was Caye Caulker. This special island definitely lives up to its motto, “Go Slow”.
After a water taxi ride from the mainland, we arrived at this beautiful oasis with no paved roads, no motor vehicles larger than golf carts, and some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet.
Here we explored the Belizean reef. We snorkeled with sharks, rays, and brightly colored fish of all shapes and sizes.
On our last night in Caye Caulker, most of the group opted to take a sunset catamaran cruise. After the skies went dark, we were rewarded with a shooting star that lit up the sky and lasted for an absurdly long time. I'm not much of a crier, you guys...but I cried on that catamaran. I was brought to tears by the beauty around us, the joy of sharing this special trip with new and old friends and the realization that it was all coming to an end.
Once a year, I host a small group on a big adventure. If you want to join me and other like-minded explorers, join our next hosted trip to Patagonia! This 2-week hiking and cultural adventure hits all the must-do’s, including 3 days hiking in Torres del Paine National Park.
There are limited spots remaining on the Patagonia trip, and a $350 deposit will secure your spot. Read more about the Patagonia trip by clicking HERE.
Thanks for reading,
See you again soon!
Pam Cherek Founder | Travel Advisor Wander Beyond Travel LLC
If you’ve been thinking about your personal travels for 2020, it’s not too early to start planning. Booking early ensures that you get exactly what you want, not just what’s available. We’ve got quite a few trips booked for folks next year, from small-ship adventure cruises in Alaska to expeditions in Antarctica. We’ve even got some family trips to places like Universal Studios and all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean on the books. Any trip can be made better with expert planning, so reach out with your ideas today!