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Tips for a Winter Vacation in Belize

Tips for a Winter Vacation in BelizeTips for a Winter Vacation in Belize

My husband and I wanted to take a winter vacation, and we wanted to go somewhere warm. He had been to Belize, and he wanted us to go together some day, so we decided "some day" had arrived.

Belize offers the world's second-largest barrier reef, beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, and many Mayan temples to explore. Winter is one of their slow tourist seasons, and going during the slow season would help keep our travel costs down.

Before Our Belize Trip

With the decision made, we gathered information we knew we needed so we could have a problem-free vacation.

We checked:

- U.S. State Department guidelines: We wanted current information on possible problems.

- Passport requirements: We were traveling outside the U.S., so we needed to be sure we had the proper paperwork.

- Average temperatures: We wanted to be sure that we had appropriate clothing with us.

But after our adventure of a lifetime, we had a list of things we wish we had known before we left. As prepared as we were, we hadn't accounted for everything. We learned from our mistakes; now, you can, too.

Mosquitoes and Chiggers

The disadvantage of visiting Belize during the winter was that it was the wet season, so the insects were out in droves.

Our regular mosquito repellent seemed to serve as some kind of seasoning for the mosquitoes; it didn't deter them much. Our repellent, apparently, made us delicious. We did not have repellent with a high percentage of DEET. If we visit Belize during the winter again, we will not make this same mistake.

The chiggers were prolific. We loved hiking through the fields and rainforests, and the chiggers loved hitching a ride on us. My husband was able to hold them at bay by using insect repellent after he showered. I didn't use it, because I figured we were safely indoors. When I woke up the next morning, I had many chigger bites on my legs.

Rain Storms

It was wet and muddy in places, and there were rain storms. While I was thrilled that we were lucky enough to get caught in a rain storm in the rainforest, others were not. We were glad we brought an umbrella and a poncho.

Humidity

It was very humid. We stayed hydrated and carried water with us. This was especially true when exploring the Mayan temples. Most of the sites do not have extremely high visitor counts, so the facilities (including water fountains) were pretty limited. We filled our water bottles every morning and refilled wherever we could throughout the day.

Crime

There were reports of crimes against tourists at the Mayan temples. The temples we went to had armed guards. We heeded warnings and didn't run around by ourselves at night. We also stuck to tourist areas and didn't carry around flashy, expensive items.

Keep in mind that what you may not consider to be flashy and expensive may be flashy and expensive to thieves. There were reports of groups of tourists having their bags, jewelry, digital cameras, and smartphones taken by armed robbers.

Guides

The last time my husband traveled to Belize, he really enjoyed spending time with one of the guides there. Bruno Kuppinger made almost all of our ground travel and hotel arrangements, and he stayed with us for about half of our trip.

Bruno made things so much easier since he knew his way around. He also (the best part!) took us to local restaurants with the most delicious food. The extra money it cost to have a guide help us was well worth it.

Bruno made it possible for us to see and do things we never would have known to do on our own. In addition, being able to have all of our questions about Belize instantly answered was an invaluable benefit.

We had a wonderful, unique winter vacation in Belize, and we would do it again in a heartbeat. We made lifetime memories and lifetime friends. The next time we go, we will be much better prepared. Hopefully, you will be, too.

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