It was eight years ago during another frigid, snowy winter that I decided I had had enough. That’s when I decided to head for warmer climes each winter.
Since then my wife and I have wintered in Arizona, Costa Rica, and Belize. We’ve probably spent more winter time in Belize than any other place. And that’s where we are now.
So, if you’re fed up with this year’s horrid weather, take a break and head south. Even a long weekend will likely lift your spirits.
Ease of Travel
While travel to Hawaii and other exotic beach get-aways can eat up an entire day, a flight to Belize is much quicker. Non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Belize City takes about five hours. Flying non-stop from New York City is seven hours.
I’m based in Kansas City. Last week I boarded a Delta flight at six in the morning, changed planes in Atlanta and arrived in Belize City just seven hours later. Tack on another fifteen minutes in a puddle jumper to the island where we stay and we checked into a condo, changed, and headed to the beach.
Ease of Living
Belize is a small, Central American country bordered by Mexico on the north, Guatemala on the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea on the east. From the north to south border the country is only 170 miles long and it’s just 68 miles wide.
English is spoken here. The US dollar is accepted everywhere along with the Belizean dollar. The exchange rate favors the US 2 for 1. Each American dollar is worth two Belizean.
While the mainland hosts some excellent eco-lodges it’s the islands offshore that attract most of the tourists. There are as many as 450 islands called cayes (pronounced “keys”) with Ambergris Caye being the largest, most developed, and most popular. This is where we vacation.
What to See and Do
Belize is great for active folks as well as those who prefer to sit on the beach and enjoy a good book. There’s zip lining, cave tubing, ancient ruins to explore, even a unique little zoo.
It has some of the best dive and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean. Just offshore is the world’s 2nd longest barrier reef, only outdone by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Belizean reef stretches about 185 miles off the shores of Mexico, Belize, and Honduras.
Another major attraction just offshore is the Great Blue Hole. It’s the world’s largest known ocean sinkhole. The Blue Hole is a favorite of deep-sea divers. Jacque Cousteau was first to explore its depths. It’s a huge depression – 984 feet across and 407 feet deep. It is said that the deeper one dives the better the view. The water becomes clearer and the formations, more complex.
Half of Belize is covered by dense rainforest and much of it is unexplored. The first people to develop Belize were the Mayans around 1500 BC. Belize has some 900 Mayan sites. In fact, the tallest building in the country is an ancient Mayan temple.
Maybe it’s too late to plan a winter get-away for yet this year. But think ahead. Do you really want to spend another winter in sub-freezing temperatures and blizzard-like snow? Belize could be the perfect winter get-away.