Belize is starting to get a reputation as a major tourist hotspot in Central America. More families are bringing their children to this tropical paradise. But, before you get online and find the perfect Belize rentals for a dream vacation, there are a few things you should know. Here are ten essential considerations before booking a family holiday to Belize
1. Belize isn’t For Young Families
If you have young children, perhaps this isn’t the best place to take a family vacation. Travelling to a developing country can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when you have to manage the little ones as well. Older ones and teens will probably fall in love with the country when they get to the beach and go snorkeling.
2. Research and Plan Your Activities
For a small country, this Central American nation has incredible diversity. Beaches extend hundreds of kilometers along the mainland’s coastline. And there are more than 400 islands, cayes and atolls in the Caribbean Sea. The main attraction is the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest in the western hemisphere. The snorkeling and diving are some of the best in the world. Head inland,and you’ll see national parks, diversity in wildlife and Mayan ruins. Before you book your vacation, ask the children what they want to see and do and get them involved in the planning process. When everyone joins in, everyone gets to do what they want.
3. Don’t Stay in Belize City
The former capital and the current largest city should be avoided as much as possible. Most tourists arrive at the city’s international airport before heading to the cayes. You should do the same. A top tip is to find accommodation that provides a shuttle service or hire a private company to pick you up at the airport. Spend as little time here as possible. Not only does Belize City has an abysmal reputation for safety, but there’s also not much to see, widespread poverty andreckless motorists. Fly into and get out.
4. Get Out on the Water
The kids will love the abundance of water activities. Rent some snorkeling equipment and swim around the shore and witness the hundreds of fish swimming below. Take boat tours to the protected areas, marine parks and visit the Barrier Reef. For older teens, you might want to see if they want to learn how to dive at one of the diving schools. Other activities include sailing, canoeing and fishing.
5. Have a Zip-Lining Adventure
Zip-lining consists of a wire connecting two points. You then slide from point A to B. The activity is growing in popularity around the world and a favorite with adrenaline junkies. Why not see if the teens want to spend an afternoon shooting between the trees in some of Belize’s lush rainforests? You could even join them on the lines!
6. Visit the Mayan Ruins
Did you know centuries ago, more Mayans were living in Belize than modern day Belizeans? The territory was a major center for the ancient culture,and its legacy remains today in the form of ruins. Famous ones include Caracol and Xunantunich, which consist of a complex with various buildings and pyramids. Visiting and trying to educate your children on the Maya is a must on any trip to Belize. If you search online, you’ll find a range of tours to choose from.
7. Staying Safe
Yes, it’s true that Belize has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. And it’s also truecareless tourists can quite easily become a victim of crime. When you look at the statistics or take everything in the media at face value, the country doesn’t sound too appealing. But, most of Belize isn’t dangerous, especially when you get out onto the cayes. There’s a lot of crime in Belize City, but you’re not going to stay here anyway. Check any travel warnings and read accounts from other families who have recently visited to get an idea of the reality.
8. Staying Healthy
Research the essential vaccinations months in advance and make sure everyone is up-to-date with their shots. Expect a lower standard of healthcare and poor quality hospitals. Insects, in particular mosquitoes, can be a huge annoyance. Don’t drink the tap water, bring insect repellent and take out comprehensive travel insurance and you should be fine.
9. Choose the Tours Carefully
Walk through the streets,and you’ll see various tour operators trying to convince you to join their group. Look online and even more options will appear. Most visit similar attractions and have prices in the same range. However, not every tour will be suitable for families. The comfort, quality and type of atmosphere vary. It might be a good idea to try to book one with air-conditioning if you’re travelling by road. You should also double check safety records of some of the boat companies. Tours might look the same, but two similar priced one could be very different.
10. Embrace Belize
Visiting Central America gives you and your family the opportunity to experience a diverse range of nature, wildlife and culture. Make the most of your time. Don’t just spend your time sitting on the beach. There are lots of chances to learn more about Belize’s progressive conservation efforts and their unique culture.
Thousands of families visit Belize each year,and most have the time of their lives. Just remember to follow the tips above before you book the flights,and you’re sure to have a great vacation too.