One of life’s greatest pleasures is escaping the daily routine and plunging into the unknown with your best friend by your side. Belize was easy to say “yes” to because it offers so many things to do and see in a relatively small area. Plus, the remnants of British rule mean that English is the official language and the U.S. dollar is widely accepted – easy! We dusted off the passports, made child care arrangements, traded out carpool favors and set off on our girlfriends’ getaway.
Scuba Dive, or just Snorkel
With its gin-clear water, Ambergris Caye is a popular gathering place for scuba diving excursions. Top of the agenda for many experienced divers is Belize’s well-known scuba destination - the Great Blue Hole. My gal pal is a proficient scuba diver. Diving Belize was a dream come true for her – checked off a bucket list item. But my ears didn’t cooperate with underwater adventure, so I stuck to snorkeling. Even though I barely dipped below the surface – what an incredible display of nature’s glory! We could have been on another planet. Belize’s most valuable asset is its barrier reef and residents protect it carefully. Our guide’s personal conservation project was planting a coral nursery to reinforce the existing structure.
Daytrip to an Uninhabited Island
One of the best ways to experience the underwater landscape is by taking a boat out to a deserted island like Laughingbird Caye off the country’s southern coast. You’ll need to hire an experienced guide, but it’ll be worth the effort to explore the magnificent coral reefs and to identify the colorful tropical fish. On the boat trip out, try spotting manatees and wild dolphins. The caye is a protected area within the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our daytrip included lunch – that sandwich under a palm tree while shoulder-to-shoulder with my bestie is one of my fondest memories.
Tour Mayan Ruins
Belize and its neighbors were dominated by the Maya over 2,000 years ago. Today, visitors can tour ancient ruins at Altun Ha near Belize City or make a day of it by going across the border to Guatemala to the striking temple of Tikal. On a girls’ trip, it made sense to pay respect to our foremothers at Xunantunich, meaning “stone woman” in Maya, home to the largest royal tomb discovered in Central America. After your jungle trek, head back to the beach to cool off in the turquoise blue water.
Search for Wildlife
Belize is blessed with an abundance of life under the sea but once you’ve spent time underwater, take a look at the animals on dry land and those that fly above it. Bring your binoculars and cruise through some of the mangrove forests for uncommonly rare birdwatching. The toucan is the national bird, and if you’re really lucky you might spot a scarlet macaw. More common is the frigatebird and the Jabiru stork. True adventurers will seek out the endangered black howler monkeys jumping from treetop to treetop. You’ll hear them before you see them!
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