When we made the decision to visit Belize, only three weeks after our Mexico trip, we not only thought about our wallet, we also weren’t sure how we were going to survive on a private island in Placencia, a whopping 4hours away from the major tourist destination Ambergris Caye. We chose Placencia for its calmness, beauty and slow pace. Going unplugged in Belize was a no-brainer. A short and direct flight from Houston, and pika-free consequently placed it at the top of our list. And, when you are bent on spending your 30th birthday away from chaos and stress, you make the unpopular and the conscious decision to stay in what experts have dubbed the “eco-destination of the Caribbean”.
In Placencia, we embraced the outdoors completely, ate with the locals, spent what most people categorize as valuable time chasing hermit crabs, killing mosquitoes, sipping on refreshing coconut water. We lounged on the rooftop overlooking miles of palm trees on one end, and the Caribbean sea on the other end. It was the kind of vacation I had hoped to have for a long time. And I am grateful for staying true to myself by truly going unplugged in Belize.
You see, my life has never been easy. Growing up in a house of 12 or more doesn’t leave you any room for meditating; and certainly chasing money, healthcare, a middle-class lifestyle in America feels like a marathon every single day. To have this luxury of going unplugged in Belize meant everything to me. The peace, quiet, and relaxation for 9 days straight felt truly valuable.
The house we rented was nested on the peninsula of Placencia, a small village that is home only to about 400 people. Tourism is not so prominent here, we met a few Canadians at the local store, most who came here to retire and start a small business. Belize is a commonwealth nation, which makes it very attractive to Canadians. Our 3 bedroom house was beyond beautiful. It was a mixture of modern and contemporary design with furnishings from Thailand and surrounding Caribbean countries. I will try my best to review this amazing property in my next post.
We initially had wi-fi, however, if you have been to Belize enough, you would know that wi-fi is never dependable. We decided, we didn’t need wi-fi after all and didn’t make a big deal out of it. The kids (my daughter and her friends) spent more time in the pool and the beach on any given occasion, their iPad was therefore meaningless and useless, just the way I like it.
And what made this vacation truly special was all the activities, and the time spent reconnecting, engaging, cooking, laughing, singing and dancing. When it felt like there was nothing to do, we climbed palm trees, read a book, played hide and seek. Here are the highlights of our going unplugged in Belize!
Traveling from Houston to Belize
This was a short 2hr30min flight. If you are a parent traveling alone, be sure to secure a notarized letter from the other parent before traveling. Another long post on that, and the shirt I wore for the trip explains it all, phew! Finally, we arrived in Belize, lunch at the airport, then rented a van for our 3.5hr ride to Placencia. This ride was quite bumpy, lots of mountains and plantations on the way, the kids said we were in a jungle and I believe them.
Zipling at Bocawina Rainforest & National Park
This was one hell of a blast! Bocawina Rainforest located in the southern district of Stann Creek is the Mayflower Bocawina National Park consisting of over 7100 acres of lush jungle, refreshing waterfalls and ancient Mayan sites. Therefore we chose to participate in the zip lining course which included hiking as well.
It was a little expensive at $75 per person, and we had to pay another $10 per person for entry into the park, so you do the math. However, once we started, we quickly forgot how expensive it was. With a mixture of hiking and ziplining, we had to stay hydrated through the entire afternoon. It lasted for 2hours, and we truly wanted to come back the next day.
Beach, Kayaking, Pool, and Local Shopping
We spent lots of time in the water kayaking, swimming, canoeing and on sipping coconut water. The kids wake up and literally head for the waters, and we have to beg them to come back in for breakfast. It was exactly the way I wanted it. I feel so grateful to be able to give them these amazing time together. We decided to take a walk to the local shops for groceries, meat, fish and some drinks.
Things aren’t as cheap in Belize as they were in Cancun, much to my surprise. Luckily we brought a few groceries with us, and the house manager replenished the fruits on a daily basis. Consequently, we spent more time cooking than eating out.
30th Birthday Party
As I mentioned earlier, we made this trip three weeks after our Cancun trip simply because I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday by going unplugged in Belize. I had a blast and the boyfriend was gracious enough to take some beautiful photos of me. The house manager brought a delicious cake earlier in the day which led to a perfect beach barbecue birthday party later in the day. Did I mention that you will find the best chocolates in the local Mayan villages in Belize?
Snorkeling, Reading and Cooking
Since we spent so much time in the water, as a result we decided to give snorkeling a try. We were able to score a deal with Splash Dive Belize to visit Laughing Bird Caye, one of the coral reefs between the waters of Belize and Honduras. Boy was that fun! Most noteworthy, the kids learned so fast and as a result joined the adults deep into the sea. Since it was our first time snorkeling, we took the extra precaution of wearing a life jacket. Laughing Bird Caye is a UN World Heritage site, that made this trip even much special. In addition, there were tons of Pelicans in this area which was a fun factor for the girls.
Have you ever tried unplugging – relax and enjoy without wi-fi or TV? I’ll love to hear all about it!