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Recommended Books and Maps

Note: You can buy books at discounted rates through Amazon.com by following the publisher links on our selected books, or you can access our page with book content information and our recommendations by clicking on the title. Books in Bold are Luke's picks.

Tourist and Specific Guidebooks

History Politics and Society


Tourist and Specific Guidebooks

The Rough Guide Belize
by Peter Eltringham, Iain Stewart, Dominique Young ***Luke's Pick

Reviewer: Alys Spillman
I would highly reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in traveling in Belize. It really gives you the straight story on how to go about getting to Belize, and what to expect once you arrive. Very down to earth approach to writing a guidebook. I encourage people to get Rough Guides when they travel, I have had very good luck with them.
Anyway, back to the new guide to Belize. Peter Eltringham first came to Belize with the Royal Air Force. He's been just about everywhere in Belize and knows it inside out. Turn to any section, and his recommendations on hotels, restaurants and what to do are almost always spot on. Although he's generous -- occasionally to a fault -- with hotels he likes, Peter can be blunt: He's willing to call a hotel overpriced when it is or to point out the illegal cutting of mangroves by resort developers. This guide is especially good on lesser-known destinations such as the southern cayes or Corozal District. There's also a helpful section on Tikal and one on the Honduras Bay Islands, though this latter section was written before Hurricane Mitch and is therefore nearly useless. A section called Contexts offers insightful information on Belize history, music, literature and other subjects. In short, this is a must-carry for anyone traveling in Belize.

Buy this book now

Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Adventures in Nature Belize
by Richard Mahler ***Luke's Pick

Synopsis

Synopsis
Nestled on the Caribbean coast between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize boasts one of the world's longest barrier reefs and some of the planet's most diverse and untrammeled terrestrial habitats. Now revised and updated, this guide shows ecologically minded travelers how best to appreciate the country's profusion of flowers, fish, birds, butterflies, and other flora and fauna. 8 pages of color photos, 50 b&w photos.
Superb guide for nature lovers, November 9, 1999
Reviewer: Michael Shapiro (michaelshapiro@yahoo.com) from Sebastopol, Calif. If you're looking for more than a lazy week on the beach, this guide is an excellent resource. I just spent a week in Belize and found it very helpful in deciding how to best spend my time and what to see in each place.
In addition to standard guidebook material, it has a chapter on Belize's animal and plant life, which I found to be a great resource while visiting the Cockscomb jaguar preserve. And there's a long section on various outdoor activities (snorkeling, caving, etc.), in addition to more standard guidebook content (regional info, history, etc.) You always wonder if a guidebook writer really knows what he's talking about, but after using this guide to get around Belize, I can say that Richard Mahler really knows this little gem of a country.

Buy this book now

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Moon Handbooks: Belize
by Chicki Mallan, Patti Lange

A must have guide, November 1, 2000
Reviewer: alleykatt (see more about me) from Canada As a new traveler, this book was a God send. Just recently having returned from Belize I can say without a doubt that this guide is indeed a "must have". It came in very handy when looking for places to stay, things to do and how to get there. Some prices have changed slightly since publication but for the most part it is quite accurate. I highly recommend this travel guide.

Explorers will find descriptions of hikes, nature walks, and water trails, plus information on each park's facilities, attractions, and history. Hikes range from short walks to extended backpacking trips, and a complete planning section details when to go, what to expect, what to bring, and health precautions.

Buy this book now

Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Belize & Northern Guatemala: The Ecotravelers' Wildlife Guide
by Les Beletsky ***Luke's Pick

As ecotourism booms, it's only natural that eco-themed guidebooks would boom alongside it. TheEcotravellers' Wildlife Guides series, endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and researched by professional biologists, is one of the more credible brands in the swelling ecotravel ranks. The series provides an encyclopedic introduction to Central America's flora and fauna, as well as a friendly primer on the principles of ecotourism. These rich ecological contexts are accompanied by hundreds of pictures and photographs. Miraculously, the guides deliver solid science without growing stilted or boring--as evinced by sections with such titles as "Avian Mating Systems and Birds That Cheat" and "Frugivory: Animals That Eat Fruit and the Trees That Want Them To." The one element that's in surprisingly short supply is ecologically sound travel tips, from general do's and don'ts to a list of ecologically responsible tour operators and other eco-friendly establishments in Belize. This is mildly discouraging--learning how to travel responsibly is as important as knowing what you're going to see. But given the relative paucity of travel literature on Belize, the guide proves a valuable resource for anyone curious about the natural wonders of this increasingly popular destination. --Andrew Nieland..

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Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Fodor's Belize and Guatemala
by Fodor's

Synopsis
This brand new guide to Belize and Guatemala is perfect for adventure travelers who want a bit of comfort on the road. Readers will find information on planning a trip to the national parks, cays and highlands, rain forests, ruins, reefs, volcanoes, and secluded beaches. Health and safety tips as well as a helpful Spanish vocabulary are included

Buy this book now

Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Belize in Focus : A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture
by Ian Peedle, James Ferguson (Editor)

Synopsis
As Belize's agriculture mainstays face an uncertain future, the country has opted for "green tourism". Beaches, coral reefs and the rainforest are now at the forefront of the Belizean economy. This is an authoritative and up-to-date guide to this spectacular country. It explores the land, history and politics, economy, society and people, culture and environment and includes tips on where to go and what to see. Photos and maps.

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Return to Belize Recommended Readings

History Politics and Society

Maya Atlas : The Struggle to Preserve Maya Land in Southern Belize
by Toledo Maya Cultural Council
***Luke's Pick

Unreviewed.

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Household Ecology : Economic Change and Domestic Life Among the Kekchi Maya in Belize
by Richard R. Wilk

Reviewer: A reader from Pennsylvania
Wilk develops an excellent model for talking about social organization. Based around an ethnography of the Kekchi Maya, household ecology presents a model that allows the anthropologist to deal with such issues as history, gender relations, markets, subsistence and political organization (and that is easily transferred to different settings for comparative work). This is a book for readers interested in understanding how households function as social institutions, it is replete with information and useful data. Not for a beginner, but for the student of anthropology and ecology, this is an important text!

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Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Jaguar : One Man's Struggle to Establish the World's First Jaguar Preserve
by Alan Rabinowitz
***Luke's Pick

In the early 1980s, working at the behest of the noted biologist George Schaller, Alan Rabinowitztraveled to the newly independent Central American nation of Belize to study jaguars, once extensive throughout the Americas, in a remote, densely forested part of that country. ("If the world had any ends, [Belize] would surely be one of them" Aldous Huxley once wrote.) There, deep within mountainous jungle, Rabinowitz conducted a thorough study of the jaguar's natural history, studying its diet (made up, he writes, of a surprising quantity of armadillos), movements, and territories, and learning the ways of the much-feared cat. He also learned a little something about himself--discovering, he writes, that once I had overcome my initial fears of this dense, dark green world, I started to enjoy it.
Over his two-year stay, Rabinowitz developed plans to establish a forest sanctuary that would be free of the jaguar's principal enemies--not deadly fer-de-lance snakes or other large predators, but loggers, poachers, and cattle ranchers, all of whom had their reasons for wanting to see jaguars disappear from the region. Although he was successful in convincing the Belizean government to authorize the Cockscomb preserve, Rabinowitz writes in the afterword to this revised edition of Jaguar (first published in 1986), the jaguar haven came at a cost to Mayan people who lived in the area and were forced to relocate. His memoir will be of great interest not only to admirers of the jaguar, a magnificent animal by any measure, but also to students of international ecological issues. --Gregory McNamee!

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Return to Belize Recommended Readings


An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador
by Joyce Kelly, Jerry Kelly (Photographer)

Best Available Guide to Ruins of North Central America, February 15, 2000
This book, while somewhat outdated, provides accurate and detailed information about the ruins in Guatemala in particular. The guides I traveled with all wanted to purchase it to enhance their information. The descriptions help you make decisions about where to go and having it with you enhances viewing. Places are generally easier to get to know

Buy this book now

Return to Belize Recommended Readings


Time Among the Maya : Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico
by Ronald Wright
***Luke's Pick

Using Costa Rica as an example, Longley carefully examines the development of the successful relationship between a nonindustrialized country and the United States, revealing the complex forces at work in resistance and accommodation. During World War II and the immediate postwar era, both the United States and Costa Rica experienced dramatic changes. The United States assumed world leadership and the accompanying responsibilities; Costa Rica encountered far-reaching difficulties that culminated in civil war in 1948 and the rise to power of Jose Figueres. Longley examines why the United States supported Figueres and emphasizes the history and role of Costa Ricans, primarily the figueristas, in maintaining good relations in such a difficult era.

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Return to Belize Recommended Readings


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Adventures in Belize

The fame of Belize as a travel destination has been built on the caye islands of Ambergris and Caulker, yet the roads less traveled hold the true cultural and outdoor discoveries. The dozens of tiny cayes lining the barrier reef further south are quiet treasures. The southern coastal and inland regions are more isolated and less known and are home to two indigenous groups. The Garifuna people have kept their culture and still live from the sea in a few coastal villages. Our documentaries, photos, and travel tips give you all you need to discover Belize by yourself.

The cultural highlight of our three month was a two-week period experiencing the traditional lifestyles of the Kekchi and Mopan Mayans community called Blue Creek. They  live on subsistence farms in the rainforest further inland. View our Documentary Pages.

Return to : Adventures in Belize


Photos: Belize
CASKE Expedition

Other Countries

Best Travel Books:

Wild Writing Women: Stories of World Travel by Lisa Alpine, Jacqueline Butler, Lauren Cuthbert, Lynn Ferrin, Carla King


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Best Photography Books:

African Ceremonies
by Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher

Passages: Photographs in Africa
by Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher


More Photo Books

 

Travel information

Countries currently covered:

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Coming Soon:

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Peru

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