It doesn’t actually take that long to get to Belize, but it did involve a lot of steps. Bus to airport, flight to Denver, flight to Houston, 8h layover in Houston, flight to Belize City, taxi to water taxi ($25 USD), water taxi to Ambergris ($70 USD round trip) where we are staying. Knowing we had a long overnight layover in Houston, I packed my small carry-on full of lightweight camping amenities – inflatable sleep pad, blanket, eye mask. It still wasn’t the greatest sleep, but I did get a solid four hours before the security guard started reconfiguring the chairs and a few young, *ahem* enthusiastic women started screaming to each other about their coffee.
This was originally supposed to be a dive trip and so A and I had done pretty much zero research on Belize. We were going to pack our fins, snorkels, masks and bathing suits and then rent the rest of the gear down here and then spend our whole time diving and relaxing on the beach. We didn’t really bother to think about much else. Then, about two days before we flew out, A checked the weather and saw that it would be windy and rainy – potentially not ideal for diving. Suddenly we had to rethink our plans and include things like clothes to our packing list (this is the last I will say about it, I promise, but I did an amazing job packing. I’m particularly proud of the hanging water filtration system I bought since we hadn’t really thought about water quality in Belize, as dive boats typically provide you with bottled water for the day. Now we can get water out of the tap and fill up our own water bottles, save some money and decrease plastic waste!).
Ambergris is a caye off of mainland Belize. We chose it because of its proximity to a large reef and marine reserve that is supposed to be awesome for diving. It’s definitely set up for tourism. The entire beach front is hotels and restaurants. Our hotel is a set of bungalows on the beach (price ranges between USD $60-$200 something per night depending on the bungalow). All the bungalows have wifi and fridges and bathrooms and then things get fancier from there. As soon as you get off the beach, there are markets and stores and local restaurants. We splurged and ate at a beach front restaurant called Caliente, which advertised their margaritas (thinking of you Munchkat), but I think we will be eating “inland” for the rest of the trip (I put that in quotes because it’s a pretty skinny island).
The official language of Belize is English and everyone readily accepts US or Belize dollars, which makes getting around exceedingly easy. We were also told that Spanish and Spanglish were readily spoken by most, but I’ve also heard many locals speaking Kriol.