Return Again and Again to Discover All There is about this Beauty called Belize. 

Imagine snorkeling with sharks and sea turtles, the next day jungle trekking, and the day after that exploring Mayan Ruins. Imagine turning the corner on a jungle trek and gasping at the sight of a waterfall, overwhelmed by the beauty of unspoiled nature. Imagine spotting a Toucan, and not on a cereal box. Imagine snorkeling in the bluest water and experiencing marine life like never before. In Belize, you don’t have to imagine. Suffice it to say, Belize is an extraordinary country and quite unBelizeable! That’s Belize for you. Only a 2 and 1/2 hour plane ride on Frontier Airlines direct from Orlando. Come to Belize where endless adventure awaits you.

Language is no barrier, as the official language of Belize is English. Perhaps you already knew about the “jewel” of Central America, or maybe this is your first time really hearing about what possibilities lie waiting for you in Belize. Truly, a country where everyone can be beyond pleased; better yet, enraptured with adventurous hikes to waterfalls that lie in lush jungle or snorkeling trips off the Belize Barrier Reef to Shark Ray Alley. Channel your inner “Indiana Jones” and go on an archaeological tour of Mayan Ruins that rival some of the best ancient ruins in the world. The locals are kind, and willing to offer advice and a helping hand. Belize is full of picturesque landscapes brimming with friendly locals and fascinating escapades. 

The UnBelizeable Splendor of Belize 

We had the opportunity to explore three parts of the country: the Cayo District, Stann Creek District, and Belize District, where we made everlasting memories staying in lovely resorts and enjoying a range of activities both thrilling and relaxing. Let’s take a look at our superb week-long vacation in Belize: 

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Preserve & More: Cayo District

For our first trip in Belize, we landed in Belize City via Frontier Airlines’ direct flight from Orlando. It was a quiet and quick flight, a little under 2 and 1/2 hours. Upon our arrival in Belize City, we were transferred to Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve. This was a 2 hour land transfer. Watching the landscape change was a great way to get a “lay of the land”, and our journey went by very quickly with great conversation from our Driver Omar. Omar was genial enough to tell us a lot about Belize and all the great things that are underway. Roughly the size of Massachusetts with a population around 400,000; Belize has an welcoming feel to it. We were told time and time again, and we saw for ourselves that Belizean people will go out of their way to help tourists. 

Stay: Hidden Valley Inn & ReserveClick Here to watch our Instagram Reel

Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve is located in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of the Cayo District of Belize. The elevation of the Mountain Pine Ridge creates a slightly different landscape than the jungles at a lower elevation. Hidden Valley Inn boasts approximately 90 miles of well-marked and maintained roads! That’s impressive! With acres and acres of private land, the area will delight any traveler who longs to hike without disturbance in a safe place. You can opt to be driven to the entrance of many trails, or you can walk out on your own from Hidden Valley Inn. Hidden Valley will ensure that you have a radio, so you can call in at any time for assistance.

With a real wilderness lodge feel, as soon as we arrived at Hidden Valley, we knew we were in for a terrific time. Hidden Valley Inn is truly a luxury resort, where you’ll experience comfort with a pool terrace, mahogany bar room, lush gardens, and soothing lounges with stone hearths. An intimate resort with only twelve cottages, each equipped with a fireplace, Hidden Valley beckons you to go out and seek adventure with the assurance that you’ll be well taken care of upon your return. The enchanting staff, who make sure to know you by name, will assist you with any requests. After a long day of adventure, we made sure to soak in the hot tub, and then light a cozy fire in our room. Don’t worry, there’s kindling and logs already set up in the fireplace, and plenty more right outside your door. More importantly, the staff at Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve made us feel welcome and right at home. They even went out of their way to celebrate small occasions for us. What a treat! Let’s see what private excursions Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve arranged for us while we stayed with them. 

Excursions from Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve

Xunantunich Mayan Archaeological Tour

For our first private excursion, we went to Mayan Archaeological Ruins not far from the town of San Ignacio. The ruins were utterly spectacular. Our knowledgeable guide Marvin, from Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve, took us through the entire complex. The sheer size cannot be justified with photographs alone. Particularly, the view one gets at the top of the second tallest Mayan structure in Belize, El Castillo. Here, in the middle of the jungle, dating from roughly 600 A.D., lies an awe-inspiring Mayan complex where Mayan civilization once boomed. It satisfied the “adventurer within”, and we were blown away by the architecture.

Our marvelous guide Marvin pointed out the all the details of these fascinating ruins, from the cosmological friezes to the acoustics on the top of El Castillo. At El Castillo, you are allowed to walk the stairs to the top. The climb is well worth the gorgeous greenery that flows as far as the eye can see. In order to get to the ruins, you’ll take a very short ferry across the Mopan River. The drive is nearly over an hour from Hidden Valley Inn. Once we had explored these grounds, we thought the day couldn’t get any better. Boy, were we wrong! The remarkable day was just getting started!

Butterfly Waterfalls Hike 

As romantic and adventurous as it gets, we took the journey to Butterfly Waterfalls located at Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve. Butterfly Falls is an approximately 2 to 3 hour walk from the Inn. However, we were driven to the entrance of a short hike through the wilderness. It started to drizzle as we began our hike in the jungle, but we weren’t deterred. Our Guide Marvin pointed out where hikers were thrilled to spot a Jaguar all alone one day. As we trekked along, we pulled up to a dreamy waterfall with a pool at the bottom. We were elated and expressed how beautiful it was. Little did we know, we hadn’t made it to Butterfly Falls yet. A few more minutes through the bright green wilderness, and we could faintly make through the foliage – a mist. Closer and closer, until we could make out the figure: A jaw-dropping 80 foot cascading waterfall in the middle of the Belizean wilderness! Heaven on Earth is the first thought that came to mind. At the base of the waterfall was a pool, deep enough to jump into and swim. We did just that, and ecstatically laughed as we felt the mist on our faces. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of our lives. Our Guide Marvin was thoughtful and took a few photographs of us enjoying the splendor. 

At the close of the day, our Guide Marvin took us on one more adventure before we tucked in for the night. At King Vulture Falls Lookout, Marvin handed us binoculars to take a look at a King Vulture, and the icing on the cake – King Vulture Falls! The cascading falls danced down a lush green mountain across the valley. It was like peering into the land before time. It was another tremendous sight to add to our already unforgettable day. Our Guide Marvin made the day simply wonderful. He taught us so much about the flora and fauna of Belize, and went out of his way to share fun facts throughout the day. He said that he tries to do a least one good thing a day for others, and my goodness Marvin, you certainly did that for us!

 

The Southeast Coast & Jaguar Preserve: Stann Creek District 

Our next few days took us to the Southeast Coast of Belize in the Stann Creek District. A roughly 2 hour land transfer from Hidden Valley, it was great to watch the trees slightly change as we descended in elevation. We arrived upon tropical broadleaf jungle as we journeyed through towards Hopkins Village. We traveled through Pomona, known for its citrus. All the while enticed by all of the excitement and possibility that continued to lay before us on our escapade.

Stay: Belizean Dreams Resort 

Belizean Dreams Resort is a laid-back, “let your cares go” resort that is tucked away on the Belizean coast not far from Hopkins Village. Hopkins Village was recently voted as the friendliest village in Belize, and that’s how it feels at Belizean Dreams Resort as well. Belizean Dreams Resort is a great jumping off point from where you can explore the interior of Belize with tubing or jungle trekking; alternatively, you can enjoy more coastal activities such as snorkeling or sunbathing on the beach or poolside. 

Upon walking onto resort grounds, you’ll notice a fabulously colorful activity board that displays all the trips that are going on during the week. Snorkeling on Tuesday, Mayan Ruins on Wednesday, the list goes on. The board specifies how many other guests are taking a tour, etc. If you want to join in on the fun, just speak to the front desk. You can always book a private tour if you like. Belizean Dreams Resort describes itself as “casual elegance surrounded by adventure” and that description couldn’t be more accurate. Below is the private excursion we enjoyed from Belizean Dreams Resort.

Excursion from Belizean Dreams Resort

Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve

Not too far of a drive from Belizean Dreams Resort is the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve. We went in search of wildlife, and we were spoiled! Our Guide into the Jaguar Preserve made sure to teach us all about the birds that kept showing off on our drive into the Jaguar Preserve. Indeed, our Guide pointed out that often times the drive into the Preserve can showcase some of the best flora and fauna. We spotted six Toucans, Aracaris, a Summer Tanager, and more. The birdwatching was delightfully unexpected and surprising. We did not manage to spot the elusive Jaguar, but that doesn’t mean that others haven’t seen this apex predator. As a matter of fact, we were cleverly told, “You may not see the Jaguar, but the Jaguar always sees you.” If you are hoping to spot a Jaguar, there is a night hike that may provide a better opportunity at spotting this mysterious creature. However, the Jaguar Preserve was worth it, whether or not we were able to spot a Jaguar. 

Upon our arrival into the Preserve, we signed in at the station and began our hike to a waterfall. The hike was a moderately arduous walk into a lush broadleaf jungle. Our Guide pointed out plants and told us a story or two about precautions that should be taken and sights that shouldn’t be missed. We enjoyed the hike, and upon leaving stopped at a nearby Mayan Village. We purchased some bright artisanal crafts from the village as well as some of the best chocolate we’ve ever tasted. We had a fun and enjoyable day. When we returned to Belizean Dreams, we were sure to order one of their signature cocktails, a “Mosquito Bite”. As we sipped our cocktails poolside, overlooking the water, we couldn’t have imagined a better ending to such a day.

Ambergris Caye: Belize District

The last portion of our Belizean journey took us to Ambergris Caye. From Hopkins Village, we took a short ride into Dangriga, and hopped on a 15 minute Tropic Air flight into Belize City. From there, we jumped on another quick Tropic Air flight to San Pedro. Some of you may be familiar with Madonna’s song ‘La Isla Bonita’? It’s rumored that this tune may be based on Ambergris Caye, as the largest town on the island is aptly named ‘San Pedro’.

Stay: Matachica Resort Click Here to watch our Instagram Reel

Matachica Resort is an adults only luxury boutique resort located on Ambergris Caye. Matachica is only a 5 minute boat ride from the town of San Pedro. There are many things that make Matachica Resort so sublime. For instance, the dining is outstanding and the wine list is extensive. People will often come to the resort who live nearby, just to dine. Your choice of accommodation includes Seafront Casitas, Seaview Beach Cabanas, and Sea Breeze Bungalows to name a few, each with a hammock. We couldn’t decide our favorite place to hang out on the resort grounds. While away the hours poolside, or stay in your room luxuriating on a hammock. Even better, relax on the pier, where there are individual loungers that overlook the water. Standing anywhere on Matachica Resort, you can see and hear the Belize Barrier Reef. It is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. When I say hear, I mean you can actually hear the waves crashing on the reef itself. Matachica arranged a private snorkeling tour for us off the Belize Barrier Reef, and it was beyond wonderful.

Excursion: Private Snorkeling Tour at Mexico Rocks

As the Belize Barrier Reef boasts some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life, I was anxious to get in the water and go snorkeling. Our Guide Joe took us to three different points near Mexico Rocks. Even better, our Guide Joe went snorkeling in the water with us. He was terrific at pointing out a plethora of sea life. Without him there is so much that we would have missed. He pointed out how the Nassau Grouper will camouflage itself according to its surroundings. We watched the Nassau Grouper leave the safety of the coral to swim over the sand and sea grass. As it did, the Grouper turned color from dark to light. Interestingly, the tropical fish were overall very curious. We’d often find them swimming near us to get a better look. 

One of the highlights of the trip was when I asked our Guide Joe if I might have some luck seeing a sea turtle. Now, it is important to note that there are many places to snorkel along the Belize Barrier Reef. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is very popular, and that’s where you can find Shark Ray Alley (full of sharks as you can guess). So, upon asking Joe where I could have the best opportunity to see sea turtles, he honestly stated that my chances were better at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We were headed to Mexico Rocks. However, he reflected that he may be able to nevertheless help me spot a sea turtle. Let me tell you, he certainly did! After snorkeling around Mexico Rocks, we jumped back in the boat and Joe kept his eyes peeled on the water. “There!” He pointed. He stopped the boat and told me where I could swim to see one. He said he had just seen the sea turtle come up for air. After jumping back in the water and swimming for a few minutes, it happened! I spotted a sea turtle, slowly munching on sea grass below. I made sure to keep my distance so as not to interfere with the sea turtle. But I got a good while alone with it, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. 

Lastly, we headed over to a secret spot where the nurse sharks and sting rays gather. We snorkeled around them, slightly terrified and excited. After we were finished in the water, we sipped on a glass of rosé and had some of the most delicious ceviche. Joe went out of his way to make sure we had a great time snorkeling.

Heading Back to Central Florida

Central Florida is an amazing place to call home, especially knowing that it’s only a relatively short plane ride to places as fabulous as Belize. Our trip to Belize from the Cayo District, to the Stann Creek District, and onto the Belize District, was the adventure of a lifetime full of friendly locals who were kind enough to show us all the splendid sights of their magnificent country. Without the Belize Tourism Board and Frontier Airlines, our trip wouldn’t have happened. We would like to thank the Belize Tourism Board and Frontier Airlines for hosting us and making our trip possible. 

Come to Belize to celebrate life. Adventures, peaceful retreats, or whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it there. That’s why Frontier Airlines’ direct flight from Orlando to Belize makes perfect sense! A relatively short flight takes you to a paradise that’s been awaiting your footsteps. Step into a world that’s ready for you to discover: the unBelizeable splendor of Belize!

Remember, please check rules/restrictions/tests regarding Covid-19 before you travel to Belize.

Most hotels will work with food allergies/intolerances, just contact them before your stay. 

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