We went to Belize thirteen years ago. It was our first more “adventurous” vacation. We took two weeks and other than a few nights we didn’t have hotel reservations, took the chicken bus around the country, and impromptu rented a car in the Cayo district to explore the forests and jungles. We LOVED it.
Thirteen years younger…
This time around, we thought a country can’t really get more fun (in our definition) after thirteen years of tourism development can it? We decided to revisit only the Cayo district which also is on our way to Guatemala. (Even though Belize also has some amazing islands and we would have loved to go back to the beautiful Southwater Caye, this time our budget doesn’t allow it.)
We were pleasantly surprised that the things we loved about Cayo are still there.The country side is still sparsely populated. The scenic jungles, waterfalls, rivers, are left as they are. Hotel developments are discreet. The town of San Ignacio is bigger but still would be considered a small pueblo by Mexico standards. Afterall Belize in total only has a population of 350,000. And there is so much to do in the little Cayo district. Multiple Mayan ruins, river canoeing, tubing, caving, waterfalls, horseback riding, and more, more, more. Everything is within an hour’s drive. The countryside looks to us well preserved and doesn’t have the many signs of deforestation as we have seen elsewhere. And, the food is delicious. I am going to go against conventional wisdom and say Belizean food beats Mexican food hands down. It has more Mayan and Carribean influences and more interesting flavors. Just the relleno negro soup is something I dreamed for thirteen years and will definitely bring me back for more.
We were only in the country three nights. All in Cayo. Belize is so small the entire length of the country can be driven in a day. We met up with the Flightless Kiwis in San Ignacio with whom we have crossed paths since Baja. Then we went to a nice lodge for two nights. Out of all the riverside lodges in Cayo, I think the Black Rock Lodge really has the best value. Many of the cabins have river views with the more economical ones facing the back of the property but the cabins are all nice. The staff is very warm as well, a trait that we find true in many Belizeans actually. We hiked, played in the river, swam in the pool, which is refreshingly spring fed, caught tad poles, bugs, swimmed some more. Before we started the trip, we were worried about Ty being safe in all the bodies of water and he took some swim lessons to get a good foundation of breathing and floating. After a couple months of playing in the surf with his life jacket on, in Puerto Vallarta he decided to just jump in the deep end of the pool at the campground. And he started swimming just like that. Now he can swim lengths of the pool.
Once again we LOVED our time in this little country. Until next time Belize. On to Guatemala.