Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#21535 - 08/14/06 06:59 PM Belize belies idea of world's disappearing true paradise
Marty Offline
Belize belies idea of world's disappearing true paradise

This Central American country is such a mythological setting - Botticelli's Venus rising on a clam shell out of the sea would not be out of place.

By Anne Chalfant
Contra Costa Times

Belize memories float to mind like dream fragments. A few times I have caught myself thinking - did I really go there?

This Central American country is such a mythological setting - Botticelli's Venus rising on a clam shell out of the sea would not be out of place.

I could imagine a slinky jaguar stepping out of the twining jungle that meets the sand. Flowers here are vibrant pinks and oranges - we tucked them behind our ears, goddesslike. Underwater, there's another garden of languorously swishing fish, cobalt blue and bright yellow among tuberous coral and fingery sea anemone.

Between you and all this sensual beauty, there is no mass of people blocking a full-on experience. Belize is a tiny nation, population 276,000. Tourists are more eco-traveler than luxe or the party-hearty crowd.

And though it's very unlikely you'll see a jaguar - they're good at distancing themselves - it's tantalizing to know they're there.

As I lay in bed in my screened casita in the jungle, I hoped to hear a low growl or two. But no - I slept soundly, waking to lilting bird calls. Chan Chich Lodge is deep in the jungle, which became evident as our small plane flew there on the 45-minute flight from Belize City.

Chan Chich Lodge has 12 thatched-roof casitas tucked in among Maya burial mounds of a city occupied from 750 B.C. to A.D. 850. The ruins and excavations are intertwined with nine miles of meticulously maintained hiking trails - we even saw workers raking them as we set off on a 6 a.m. hike.

Pass king's tomb

That was the hike when our guide pointed out the spider monkey family swinging through the canopy on their morning commute, mother, father and then baby sailing from branch to branch in the canopy above us. We passed the king's tomb on that hike - excavated and robbed long ago - but you can go in and take a look. Two other hikers and I chose not to after our guide told us one couple met a jaguar as they entered.

The jungle around here pulses with life - common houseplants such as philodendrons grow to giant versions of themselves, and bougainvillea pop with purpleness.

The healthy jungle ecosystem is famed among birders worldwide for harboring 356 species. As we hiked, wrens warbled as if they were priming a pump and flashes of color flitted overhead. At lunch and dinner on the guest-area deck, we watched brightly colored ocellated turkeys strut past.

These turkeys - an endangered species in Central America - are abundant here.

I did not see a jaguar, nor did I see a whale shark when my group traveled back to Belize's beachy side. April is the season when these giant sharks are a draw for divers, who, with luck, will be able to swim alongside the world's largest fish, which can grow as big as 60 feet and eat plankton and small fish, but are mild-mannered with humans.

Deep sea excursion

One day we went out on a deep sea excursion to try to see the whale sharks, the snorkel boat following the divers' boat. One diver got within 20 feet of a whale shark but couldn't afford the pressure of dropping farther.

We snorkelers paddled around on top and saw nothing but divers below - not all that thrilling, and even less thrilling because the water was very choppy and we were turning a bit green.

But another sailing day was perfection. My friends and I boarded a chartered 47-foot catamaran run by the Moorings and set sail with our own captain and chef, heading for outlying cayes (pronounced “keys”). A few hours out into the brilliant blue we came upon two tiny spits of land - just little sandbars with a few palm trees.

Twin Cayes is a national research station, and the waters around it are protected, so you can snorkel or dive among coral live with thriving colorful fish. It was an otherworldly experience, sailing for an hour or so to this tiny magical place.


#21536 - 08/14/06 08:08 PM Re: Belize belies idea of world's disappearing true paradise
NYgal Offline
Neat....Thanks Marty smile


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Who's Online
0 registered (), 34 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,635 Registered Members
44 Forums
63,718 Topics
461,262 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM

AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.