Articles on Belize and San Pedro

Letters to the Editor about Belize

by: MSNBC:

THE FIRST THING you'll notice about Belize is the airport - it's just an unassuming Mahogany structure with a couple of sketchy looking runways. It does feel very Caribbean - down to the laid-back attitude and the intense summer heat and humidity.

We stayed in Placencia first (the Inn at Roberts Grove), which was sublimely relaxing. Beautiful accommodations, hot tubs on the roofs of each cabin, and surprisingly wonderful food. Due to 9/11, we basically had the place to ourselves, which was wonderful from a honeymooning perspective and disturbing given what had just happened. This was a place to just relax on the beach, kayak, eat, and have cocktails at the pool.

Second, we went inland to Chaa Creek, which was a mind-bogglingly beautiful location, but unfortunately also strikingly overpriced. Accommodations were 'rustic', with roofs that don't connect to walls, allowing all sorts of strange creatures into your cabana and run-down showers. The setting was sublime, however. Food: average. Activities: expensive, but very good.

We did a cave hike/swim that stands out as one of my all-time vacation highlights (the Cave of the Stone Maiden). The town in the Cayo (can't remember the name offhand) we both found charming, and we were lucky enough to be there on Belize Independence Day, so we saw all kinds of parades and celebrating. Beware of the Cayo in the off-season though - no ocean breezes here, and it was stiflingly hot and humid.

Finally, we went to Manta Resort, which was on a remote Caye (three hours by boat from Belize City). It was primarily a dive resort, but seemed to us like the perfect "Gilligan's Island", with palm trees, incredible Caribbean water, and constant trade winds. This was the highlight of the trip for both of us, and we were able to partake in the twice-daily snorkeling trips that the resort organized- and I believe I'm hooked. The reefs out there are incredible, and Manta's guides were top-notch and friendly, and very knowledgeable about the marine life.

The 'rough edges' of Belize are what made it interesting for us. Canned resort towns like Cancun or some other Caribbean destinations bore us to tears. In Belize, we took a public bus all the way across the country, and it was a safe and interesting (though painfully hot) experience. Outside of Chaa Creek, prices were reasonable, and given that it was our honeymoon, we were staying at top-of-the-line resorts. While there, we saw a wealth of lower-priced, attractive alternatives.

If you're tired of the 'packaged' resorts, go to Belize-you won't regret it!

Erik Weis


To the Editor:

You can vacation very inexpensive in Belize and travel to Mayan ruins in that country. Airfare (Continental and American) to Belize City is reasonable and there is prime scuba diving off the coast at the second largest barrier reef in the world.

I was just at the Hamanasi Resort (, a remote (not for the touristy types that like shopping and night life) but very nice resort in Hopkins, Stann Creek Province. They cater to scuba divers but also land adventurers-hikes to waterfalls, caves, river trips, jaguar preserve, and of course, Mayan Ruins trips. There were many at the resort that were not scuba divers. Two in our group of 18 were not divers and they had a GREAT time.

Leon K. Schulte
Atlanta GA


To the Editor:

My girlfriend and I went on a trip to Belize. It was an amazing experience. Drifting through an underground river on inner tubes, then suddenly emerging into untouched rainforest only to slide back into the next cave...there is just nothing that can describe it. And the people are so nice!

David Whatley


To the Editor:

I have vacationed in Belize-best diving I have ever experienced. Diving the Blue Hole is a must, and Ambergris Caye is great. We stayed at a jungle resort built in a Mayan ruin which was also wonderful, although the name escapes me. We stayed away from Belize city as the locals told us it was quite dangerous.

Bill Kessels


To the Editor:

I have no horror stories to share about Belize. In fact the place is wonderful. If you are looking for some fun with the warmest people go the Belize. As we Belizean's say "You Better Belize It".

Sandy Clare


To the Editor:

My wife and I spent seven sun-soaked days on the islands of Ambergris Caye and San Pedro. It seemed the longer we were there, the less clothes we wore. Shoes were gone by the second day. By the third, shorts and shirts were pared down to bathing suits and tees. Gradually, the relaxed form of island living so consumed our us that we were talking to some locals about acquiring property there by the end of it.

Coming from New Orleans which is 2 1/2 hours (by jet) due North of Belize we ran into many people from Louisiana and Texas so, for us, it was as though we never left. There was no language barrier to speak of as many of the natives speak English quite well.

The trip was one highlight after another. Given the fact that we didn't scuba dive, though, I think we missed out on its greatest feature. We snorkeled a lot, though, and we ate lobster every single day. We had it baked, barbequed, steamed, buttered, fried, filleted... amazing.

The local beer - if you prefer light-tasting pilsners, Belican Beer - was the best I have ever tasted. On the mainland (US) - Belican in not imported - the nearest equivalent would be "Pacifico."

Swimming with the sharks - literally! - was one of the most amazing things I had ever done. And there is an Eel out there - a local celebrity of sorts, I have seen it on the Travel Channel - that enjoys being fed by hand.

Overall, on the islands, there is not much to do if you are not into water activities and then, at night, eating and drinking. If you want see more of the Belizean culture, you must do it on the mainland. The island are isolated and vastly under-populated but that is slowly changing.

Mark Peter Krasselt


To the Editor:

My husband I frequently travel to Belize. We love it. Our favorite place to stay is the Paradise Resort Hotel on the north end of town. Very nice folks, nice little palapa bar and restaurant, clean rooms. We never go anywhere else.

If you dive, find Sylvin Forman at the Coral Beach Hotel. He's a wonderful dive master. I probably would be too afraid to dive today if it weren't for him. An excellent, inexpensive restaurant is Ambergris Delights. No atmosphere, but great fish and chicken.

Have a wonderful time.

Marie Rallis


To the Editor:

A friend and I visited Belize in January of 2002 as part of a Mayan Ruins travel package that included Honduras and Guatemala. Fully one half of the 14 day excursion was spent in Belize, and we loved it. Most of our time was spent outside the typical resort areas. We visited the ruins at Altun Ha, Lamanai, Cerros, Santa Rita, Caracol, and Xunantunich. Also, we had the opportunity to do some bird watching, visited a winery and stayed in some interesting hotels. Chaa Creek was one of those. It is located near the ruins at Xunantunich. I could easily have spent more time in that area.

We traveled throughout Belize by private car. The trip to reach Caracol was an adventure by itself. The only parts of the country that we missed were the cayes and the southeastern area dominated by the Garifuna.

I had a great time in Belize and would love to go back. The only caution I would make is to be careful in the border areas near Guatemala. The trip from Belize to Flores, Guatemala was nerve racking for me because of the documented incidents of attacks on tourists in that area. Belize is really trying to keep that under control on their side of the border.

I believe Belize is a country with huge potential. They do have a language advantage, and the government does appear to recognize the potential of eco-tourism. A large portion of the rain forest areas have been set aside by the government as preserves, unlike what is happening in neighboring Guatemala. There was nothing more satisfying than returning to the outdoor bar at our hotel to sip on a few Belikins after a taxing day out on the water followed by a visit to the Cerros ruins.

Pat Malicher


To the Editor:

You should also look into the small city of Placencia, Belize. Very small, very friendly people, and one of the nicest places in Belize. I stayed in Placencia in June of 2002 and it was one of the best vacations I ever did.

I would highly recommend the Serenade Island Resort. They offer A/C rooms in the town of Placencia, and own an island about 20 miles off the coast of Placencia, where you can experience the life living on a semi-deserted island. They have bungalows with running water and other amenities.

Please try to give this small town/village some spot light to help with their tourism, because they were very hard hit by Hurricane Mitch and Iris a few years ago. They are doing a marvelous job of rebuilding and many new resorts are built as well. In fact Francis Ford Coppola is even building a resort there. I even have plans to return and possibly retire to this very laid back, away from American hustle and bustle of city life Island hideaway.

Darin Hochberg

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