There is a unique pocket in the world that buzzes with warmth, inner peace and joy.
The people are peaceful, with a quiet confidence emanating from their eyes. They smile broadly, and are filled with energetic laughter, friendly gazes and cozy hugs.
The land is raw, lush, and bountiful. With wildlife that is abundant, boasting jaguars, crocodiles, black howler monkeys, iguanas and over 500 species of birds, Belize is a nature lovers utopia. Rich in history grounded in the Maya culture, transcendent experiences await you – Belize is truly “unBelizable”.
The spectacular turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea reflect the magnificent Maya Mountains. Whatever your flavor, Belize is sure to please your taste buds.
Adventure capitol of Central America, caving, tubing, zip-lining through the rainforest, hiking, biking, scuba diving, snorkeling and Mayan ruin climbing, this country packs a powerful punch.
Often overlooked by its popular neighbors Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a sleepy country, un scathed by tourist traps and over-population.
Belize is a Central American melting pot, where many cultures collide together into a kaleidoscope of inspiration, infused with art, food, and outstanding accommodations.
In Belize, your breath will be swept away.
I recently spent 7 days in this magnificent country.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek
I started my trip in the tropical jungle, where I came close to black howler monkeys, tropical birds and over-stuffed iguanas. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an eco-reserve in the heart of the Belize rain forest – rated “Top Belize Resort” by the Belize Tourism Board – takes a wildly civilized approach to adventure travel, providing casual luxury in a vibrant, unspoiled rainforest setting. Guests are housed in small cottages; each is individually designed with palm-thatched roofs, personal sun decks, ceiling fans and Maya inspired art. The rooms blend effortlessly into the natural rainforest surrounding them, adding to the peaceful retreat experience.
Every employee I meet smiles wide with his or her eyes, as if to say, “Hello, my new long-lost friend, it is so wonderful to be here with you.” The staff seems to have a passion and confidence for their job that oozes through their pores. Some of them have been here for 30 years, which is a true testament to the company and the value it places in its employees.
By the third day of hiking, swimming and eating organic local fresh food, I have lost weight. Being this far from civilization, I have found a new level of consciousness, one that unites me with nature and has me treating my body with respect.
The eco lodge has taught me a few things about living life well. The truth, I see, is that less really is more; I have more time to be present and have left all my distractions back in America. I spend my mornings hiking through the property and swim in the afternoon. The food in the five-star restaurant is fabulous.
After spending three adventure packed, yet therapeutic days in the rainforest jungle it is time to see a new part of Belize; I am on my way to become a beach betty.
I take a 3-hour drive along the Hummingbird Highway and arrive in Placencia, to stay at Chabil Mar Villas, a luxury, boutique resort. After surviving the jungle for 3 days, my senses are on overdrive. I check into my 1000 square foot Ocean View Luxury Villa, where there is a quiet hum as the property buzzes with social connections and new-found friends. There is an open invitation to meet and greet as honeymooners, families, and singles play together in the cozy comfortable grounds.
The property is in immaculate, with botanical blooms around every corner. It is a tropical paradise, equipped with lounge chairs, kayaks and Belizean woven hammocks. Heaven is on earth and it is here at Chabil Mar. Each villa has a personal service butler; anything you need is at your service.
After being pampered to perfection, I want to see yet another aspect of Belize so I head to the ocean islands by taking a 45 minute boat ride to Hatchet Caye, a resort on a tiny island 18 miles southeast of Placencia.
There are only 9 small huts on this petite island. Kayaks, snorkel and dive gear are free for use by all guests. I jump into the water, swimming with crabs, tropical fish, octopus and barracudas. The cays (pronounced keys) of Belize are abundant with fish and boast some of the best diving in the world.
Belize is a breathtaking place that reminds me how important it is to strip down and return to basics. The people of Belize are joyful, happy and full of life. They live in jungles, on islands and in little villages with family and friends. Belize is basic, but enough. The country and its balanced people can remind us all how life can be a beautiful adventure, full of play, and balanced with laughter and love. You don’t need stuff to make you happy in Belize; nature and the people are enough.