Although Belize has evolved over the past two decades into a bustling and popular tropical destination for travelers from all over the world, it continues to retain its small town charm. With wonderful shops, fine dining, numerous outdoor activities. Friendly locals and a diversity of people and cultures throughout the island, Belize offers something for everyone. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
It had been more than 19 years since I had been to Belize. Back then it was a two-night stay as I traveled with my husband and four of his buddies. We hired a local to boat us to Ambergris Caye. Arriving late at night, we went directly to a restaurant that had white sandy floors, excellent jerk chicken, and watermelon juice. Instead of doors separating the bar from the restaurant—there were colored beads hanging from the ceiling. I never forgot it and it spoke to me over the years, so much so that we recently decided to go back and investigate if it was as beautiful as we remembered.
We flew by Tropic Air to San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye to celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. It wasn’t just our means of arrival that had improved—we stayed at Victoria House, a five-star luxury hotel on the outskirts of town. I felt like I was in one of those television ads, looking out at the azure water surrounded by white sand.
The biggest eye opener was when we went into the town of San Pedro to discover the streets were paved with cobblestones. Lots of golf carts and taxi vans. My, how things had changed! Wonderful shops and restaurants.
I couldn’t get over how “busy” Ambergris had become. It may not be as quiet as I remember, but now there are plenty of activities (diving, snorkeling, fishing, cave tubing, Mayan ruins to explore) to keep you occupied.
I noticed that everyone was smiling all the time. Babies smiled, old men smiled, and beautiful women smiled. I found my cheeks hurting because I had started smiling non-stop. It is heaven on earth here—peace and love and good vibrations.
We loved the diversity of people and cultures throughout the island. Our fancy hotel was about an hour’s walk from downtown, and we liked to walk there and back every day to get our exercise. Something happened to us on those walks that sums up Belize for me.
After a few days, people kept stopping to offer us a ride. First a beautiful mocha-skinned Belizian man with his daughter stopped for us. We thanked him for his offer but told him that we were walking for the exercise. He nodded, smiled and drove off. Then, 15 minutes later, a blond expat woman stopped on her golf cart and made the same offer—and happily left with our same reply. A little while later, a strikingly handsome dark-skinned Jamaican man stopped his golf cart and asked us, ”Would you like a ride?” What a treat! Three locals within an hour offering two strangers a ride to town. That’s Belize—beautiful people and a beautiful place.
This article has been republished from International Living.