Monday, March 13, 2006


I once worked for a bank with a specialisation. We devoted endless time discussing if deals should be done outside the institution’s focus. The bottom line for the bank was that if enough money was on the table, “opportunistic” transactions were OK. I had that discussion with myself about Belize and reached the same conclusion. It’s not within my European focus, but it is too good an adventure not to tell you about it.

Whether you see yourself as Indiana Jones, Bob Marley, Jacques Cousteau, Charles Darwin or Howard Carter ( of King Tut fame), you will find your bliss in Belize. Within a landmass the size of the State of Massachusetts, you can have adventures in the jungle, be a bum on a beach, see some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife, dive and snorkel on the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and visit some of the most interesting and spectacular ruins of a lost civilisation. The fact that you can do all these things in a Central American country where English is the official language, where per capita income is relatively high and where the development of tourism represents a top national priority ( i.e. everyone is happy to see you ) is the icing on the cake.

To organize our trip to this part of the world we knew nothing about, I depended almost exclusively on the insights of Peter Eltringham, author of The Rough Guide to Belize. According to someone we talked to at The Guatemalan Maya Centre near us in London, Eltringham if far and away the best authority on the region. This book is filled with tons of "spot-on" practical advice and I highly recommend it.

Like most visitors to Belize, my husband and I elected to divide our time between the jungle and the beach which ultimately lead us to focus on two districts: Cayo in the western interior which we would use as our base for exploring Mayan antiquities and the “cayes”, a collection of islands located in the northern most waters of Belize with easy access to the barrier reef.

Since this post would be ridiculously long if I covered our 8 day trip in one go, over the next few days I’ll be breaking the Belize story into three sections: accommodations in Cayo, exploring Mayan antiquities and the fine art of doing absolutely nothing on Caye Caulker.

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