Belize: Overland Central America country number 2.
Although we had heard of robberies and assaults before we came to Belize, we felt completely safe, even in the remote areas. We definitely were more on edge in Mexico. The atmosphere and people is an obvious change as soon as you cross the border from Mexico. We also had such a laugh with the locals.
Belize also has a massive European, American and Canadian draw, so don't be surprised to bump into tourists. It was actually nice for us, as we got advice and it's always good to swap stories, and talk to someone other than your travel companion. Places like the Cayes are particularly tourist led. Although these were more developed than we anticipated, they're a good place to relax for a few days.
Belize doesn't have many signature dishes (more a mix of American, Mexican and Caribbean fare), but it was always tasty and there weren't weird items on the menus (like you'll find in China or Japan for example)...apart from the 'royal rat' and cow's foot soup.
We reckon you could cover a lot of ground in Belize in a week, without the need to pre-book anything before you go. We spent 9 unrushed days and even though we had a good time, it's the type of country we both felt we had our fill of and we've seen the highlights.
We would recommend it as a holiday destination for those who are prepared to move about in order to fill the days, or those who don't mind chilling in the Cayes for 'x' amount of time (but if you are willing to pay the price for the latter, we'd head for the Caribbean for better tropical beaches).
As always our highlights and lowlights are listed below and click here for our day-by-day blog.
People - funny and friendly.
Howler monkeys, especially as they climbed over us at the sanctuary.
Blue Hole - the second dive 'Half Moon' was our favourite.
The relaxed atmosphere of the country.
English speaking - we may sound uncultured, but there's no doubting it's less grief when both parties speak the same language, and you don't tend to get ripped off
Cost - everything's imported so it's not a cheap place to visit. You can get some cheap bites, but the excursions are pricey, especially if you don't have a car to get around. It's also expensive to hire a car, so there's not a cheap alternative. There aren't many hostels either, so costs will mount up here.
Altun ha - maybe we are 'ruined out', maybe it was too touristy, or maybe we've just been spoiled, but this was our least favourite ruin to date.
The mossies - they came out in full force in the jungle, even to Gwyn, who usually doesn't get any.