Visiting Belize would be an adventure full of culture, beauty, and fun and in this week's edition of "On the Road," JG Black Book team member Tyler LaMont shares with us, an unforgettable trip to one of South America's most beautiful places:
"After joining JG Black Book and learning that I'd get the opportunity to travel to Belize, a country I'd heard and read so much about, I couldn't contain my excitement. As I prepared for my trip, I couldn't stop thinking about all the fascinating places I'd get to visit that Belize is know for, like the Great Blue Hole, ancient Mayan temples, dense tropical rainforests, mountains, rivers, jaguars, and whale sharks. With so much diversity, what could I expect other than an extremely exotic and fulfilling experience?
A direct flight from Atlanta dropped me right in the heart of a destination with seemingly endless possibilities. From canoeing in deep jungle rivers and close encounters with howler monkeys to incredible seafood and world-class diving, I could not have had a more unique and memorable experience. For the adventurous and culture craving travelers, I highly recommend a visit to this amazing destination."
Q: What was your favorite part of Belize?
A: Belize has so much to offer... must I really focus on just one aspect? Was it the ceviche on the Cayes? Or being ferried across a river by hand cranked lift to reach the mysterious Xunantunich Maya temple? If I have to choose one, I think I'll have to settle on my experience in the jungle. Standing beneath the canopy of the dense tropical rainforest, listening to the birds, the rivers and waterfalls, the howler monkeys wailing in the distance, squinting, hoping to catch a glimpse of an elusive jaguar – it is an incredibly unique place.
Q: Belize's culture is very unique, what did you take away from your visit?
A: Unique is an understatement. The country is truly the melting pot of Central America. Belize has a mix of over 10 different subcultures, including Creole, Maya, African, and Garifuna, as well as a large Mennonite population. With such diversity, you are bound to discover a very distinct and innovative culinary, music and dance theme throughout the country. Not to mention, with such an extreme mix of culture, English is the official language here. In addition, everyone is extremely friendly, helpful, and fun - I shared a lot of laughs!
Q: Belize is known for great food. What was your favorite meal you had?
A: The fish in Belize is exceptional. I think I treated myself to something from the sea for almost every meal! If I had to choose from all the delicious cuisine I had, the ceviche would certainly be a winner. It's a must order in Belize... and you can't forget to pair that with a delicious coconut mojito!
Q: Belize has beautiful rain forests, the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and Mayan temples. which had the biggest WOW factor for you?
A: It really is an extremely diverse destination. The barrier reef offers some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. It is also home to the Great Blue Hole, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and a bucket list item for many avid divers. However, I was simply in awe of the jungle. There you will find an incredible amount of Mayan influence, with millennia-old temples scattered throughout. Exploring these ancient sites take you back to what was once one of the most sophisticated societies on Earth. A most memorable excursion in Belize was at Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM), where you can hike and swim through a cave that harbors ancient artifacts and Mayan remains centuries old.
Q: What was the tour of the Ancient Mayan temples like?
A: Once the heart of the Mayan civilization, Belize was home to more than 1 million Mayan people. The many sites and temples scattered throughout Belize, even more than the amount of ruins in Mexico, are truly mystical. I was surprised to find how easily accessible they are. You won't find many ropes keeping you from exploring the site, so you'll have the freedom to ascend stone steps, climb ceremonial altars and decipher ancient carvings. It was easy to become lost in how the mighty Mayan people may have lived centuries ago. Also, trips to the ruins can be more creative, with opportunities to discover them on horseback or even dine by candlelight on some of the stone temples.