Play It! Belize by Mesa Somer is "a game, a guide book AND a souvenir."

The new spiral-bound book is billed as "a visual guide to the 150 most essential Belizean sights and experiences."

It covers the highlights of Belize in about 60 pages with full-color photos -- Maya sites, national parks, animals of Belize, birds of Belize, trees and flowers, reef fish, insects and reptiles and Belizean food.

The game part comes in this way: You score points -- say, 20 points for seeing a quash in the wild or 10 points for a strangler fig, 50 points for visiting Xunantunich, 70 points for visiting Cockscomb, and so on. At the end, you total up points and rate yourself as Explorer (400-690 points) or Adventurer (700-990 points) or whatever.

You can check off the different places you visit in Belize, so it also serves as a souvenir of your trip.

It could be fun for families with kids.

The author is going to try to get it in gift shops and hotels around Belize. It's also available on for US$15.

I have no involvement in Play It! but recommend that you take a look at it. It's something new and different for visitors to Belize.

--Lan Sluder