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Indigenous Villages and other Places of Interest

The Cayes

The reef in Belize is the second largest in the world to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. It is composed of countless small islands (cayes).  We were able to visit a couple dozen, a fraction of the total (check our Belize Itinerary), and we saw some beauties. As well, Belize possesses three of the four atolls in the Caribbean.

Clicking on an icon will open a page of small photos taken during the CASKE expedition.

 

 

 

 

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  • Rendez-Vous Caye: You will have to paddle there or charter a boat and  camp (there are no facilities), but WOW what a place to be marooned for a day. It's literally 200 feet long with a couple dozen palm trees and is  surrounded by its own coral reef. Sharks, rays, tropical fish, they're all there. 

  • Goff Caye: You will have to paddle there or charter a boat and camp. There is a shelter on the tiny island, a popular day spot for tours and cruise ships, but it's deserted and lovely at night. 

  • South Water Caye:  This larger island is part of the Tobacco Range. It is quite developed and has a number of lodging options but all are charming. and tasteful. It's located right on the reef and the diving and marine-life is incredible. Contact IZE, International Zoological Expeditions, below for more information.

  • Long Island, Glovers Atoll:  This atoll sticks up out of the Caribbean about ten miles out beyond the barrier reef. Long Island lies inside the atoll. It's a beautiful half-mile long strip of sand. IZE has a basic compound on one end, Slickrock Adventures on the other. Kayak surfing the reef break and snorkeling are the big draws. See information below.

Island Tours: multi-day, island-hopping Hobie Cat tours from Hopkins with Under the Sun see below

The Coastal Towns

From Belize city northward, the coast has little to offer in the way of sights and culture. South of Belize City, on the roads less-traveled, you will find Garifuna and Mayan villages, rainforests and much more.

The Sweet
        Bun lady

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Hopkins

This village is one of the northernmost Garifuna communities. Traditionally the Garifuna have been self-imposed isolationists and although life in Hopkins is beginning to change, the music, religion and lifestyle are fascinating. Fishing, subsistence farming and a little bit of tourism support the villagers. For travelers, the few boarding houses are quite rustic, but the food is worth the visit. Sarita the Sweet Bun lady supports her family with her back yard baking. Incredible! A few restaurants serve local specialties such as conch, fish, and game from the jungle (ask for Gibnut); all are excellent.

 

 

 

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Placencia

This Creole village south of Dangriga lies out on a peninsula framing a lagoon. Its atmosphere and location are lovely. With a nice beach, a selection of lodgings for all budgets, and access to cayes, Garifuna villages, and other tour options (Monkey River, Blue Creek and the Jaguar Reserve) it is a perfect place from which to base your explorations of southern Belize.

Click here for recommended lodgings

The Jungle Lodges

There is nothing like waking to the sounds of the forest coming alive. Environmentally-integrated jungle lodges are becoming quite popular and we understand why. Here are two of our favorites. 

 

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Blue Creek

This lodge and nearby Mayan community of the same name are located in southern Belize. Nestled beneath 100-foot canopy on the banks of a river, the setting is stunning. Tours and classes in survival skills, iguana tracking, traditional cuisine, and weaving can be arranged with Kekchi and Mopan Mayan villagers. The main attraction is the spelunking tour through the river-cave, a ten-minute walk upstream. Check our full section on the Kekchi Indians and Mopan Mayas, and on Blue Creek.

"Help A Village" donation project !

Click here for lodging information

Jungle Shower

 

 

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Ian Anderson's Jungle Lodge and the Cave's Branch River

Located in the interior of the country, the San Ignacio district, Ian's place is completely hidden in a tract of prime-growth forest. The region is home to the largest cave network in Central America. It is the subject of much of the Mayan lore about the afterworld. Some caves contain carvings, statues and human remains from ritual sacrifices. Much of it remains un-explored. Ian is the most famous caving pioneer in the region and organizes tours and expeditions based on your level of adventurousness from day trips to extreme week-long treks. one of the most beautiful jungle lodges we've seen. As well he coordinates a cave-paddling tour on the Cave's Branch River with Slickrock Adventures, Inc. Read Luke's account: Speyakalunking the Mayan Underworld.

Click here for lodging information


Native People


Lodging, Food and Equipment

Unlike guidebooks that try to offer a comprehensive list of  establishments, few of which the authors have ever visited, we only mention our favorite, highly-recommended places. Lodging is not as cheap as neighboring countries and you have to be selective to get your money's worth.

Placencia:

We found the best quality for a reasonable price at Deb and Dave's Last Resort. In addition to bright clean rooms, Dave happens to be one of the best Naturalist/Guides in Belize. Check his contribution to our site on mangrove ecology. On one of his tours, he will take you paddling to look for manatees. Amazing!

Deb and Dave's Last Resort
Point Placencia, Belize
Central America
Tel: (501) 6-23207
Fax: (501) 6-23334
Email:
debanddave@btl.net

For the traveler looking for up-scale private bungalows with hammocks and a veranda or family-style suites with a fully-outfitted kitchen, we recommend Kitty's Place. The food is great, the beach front is lovely and they occasionally have live Garifuna drumming performances. It's the class of the field in Placencia.

Kitty's Place
Placencia Point, Belize
Tel: (501) 62-3227  
Email:
kittys@btl.net

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Blue Creek Lodge

We liked it so much we went twice. On our second visit we stayed for a week and arranged with the manager of the lodge to spend a few days with the local Kekchi Mopan Maya Community to learn and document some of their culture, lifestyle and surroundings. Check our full section on the Kekchi Indians and Mopan Mayas, and on Blue Creek.

Blue Creek Rainforest Lodge
Ignacio Coc
P.O. Box 133
Punta Gorda, Belize
Central America
Fax (501) 7-22199

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Ian Anderson's Jungle Lodge and the Cave's Branch River

Ian's place is one of the most beautiful jungle lodges we've seen. The environmentally-integrated design almost blends right into the jungle. You have a 270 degree view of the jungle from your bed and the tropical birds wake you up in the morning. From the lodge, you can take cave-trekking or jungle-survival tours with Ian, or paddle through the underground grottos of the Cave's Branch River with Slickrock Adventures, Inc.

Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Adventure Co. & Jungle Lodge
Mile 41 1/2 Hummingbird Hwy,
P.O. Box 356, Belmopan, Belize
Tel/Fax: (501) 8-22800
E-Mail:
caves@pobox.com

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Eco-tours & Guides

Natural History, Culture, Survival Skills, Tours and Eco-Lodge

Blue Creek Rainforest Lodge
Ignacio Coc
P.O. Box 133
Punta Gorda, Belize
Central America
Fax (501) 7-22199

Above is a mailing address in Punta Gorda, but you can just go to Blue Creek and ask for Ignacio or any of the guides working at the lodge. Wonderful eco-tourism project! Read more about Blue Creek and meet some of the Guides.

Adventure Week on Glover's Atoll and the Cave's Branch River

Slickrock Adventures, Inc.
P.O. Box 1400, Moab, UT 84532, USA
Fax: (435) 259-6996
E-Mail: slickrock@slickrock.com
Website:
www.slickrock.com

Hobie Cat Island-Hopping Tours

Under the Sun
Riley and Dorothy Dunn
Tel: 1-800-285-6967
www.coloradopros.com/underthesun
E-mail:
sail@underthesunbelize.com

Natural History/Tropical Biology Tours and Lodges 

International Zoological Expeditions (IZE)
(Blue Creek and South Water Caye)
210 Washington St.
Sherborn, MA 01770
Tel 508-655-4445
E-mail:
ize2belize@aol.com

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Recommendations and Information for Paddlers

We pushed off from the docks in Belize City and paddled straight out to the reef. It's a long paddle but very worth it once you are out there. We spent weeks camping and island hopping.

Our favorite paddling stretch was between Spanish Caye and Rendez-Vous Caye. It was undeveloped, remote and the cayes were postcard-perfect islands. This section of the reef is located in the middle, away from the big resorts of Ambergris and Caulker. The snorkeling is beautiful, the conch and coconuts bountiful and people sparse. Perfect!

Go back to the section on The Cayes

Read about Health and Tropical Diseases: Click here and Malaria: Click here

Return to our Main Page: Adventures in Belize


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