Why Choose Belize as a destination for vacationing

Living in harsh winter conditions for five months of every year, it is understandable to want to escape the cold for a few weeks and get some serious vitamin D. 
With 5-star resorts, long beaches, cabanas, and cocktails on demand, the east coast of Mexico is often the destination of choice for many. But if you’re seeking an adventure that will break up your trip to Mexico, Belize is only a six-hour road trip directly south of Cancun. If it’s still the relaxed vibes and stress-free ambience you are looking for, then Caye Caulker is the destination for you.  

Caye Caulker, located only 21 miles northeast of Belize City, is surprisingly only four miles in length. But don’t let the size of this tiny island reflect the people and things to do on it. Caye Caulker is predominantly a fishing community, although over time as travellers have spread the good word to fellow nomads, this tiny island now relies profoundly on tourism.  
You won’t see many traffic signs throughout the island, instead you’ll see (and hear) the islands Mantra, which is to “go slow.” It’s the island where you’re greeted with a freshly juiced Pina Colada by a barefoot tanned local (or a lifetime globetrotter who hasn’t been able to leave) and smiling families riding bicycles whom greet with you a very enthusiastic “Hello, beautiful day.” This tranquil, bright island has no cars, no fumes, minimal internet and no worries. Instead the commercialization is left behind in Cancun, and replaced with balmy breezes, turquoise blue water, where an exquisitely picturesque barrier reef is awaiting below. The island is primarily made up of one straight sandy street that is lined with reggae style bars, restaurant shacks and a few little businesses that are overflowing with handmade crafts and seashell necklaces. The mix-matched weatherboard and wood pieces that make up most of the architecture are hand-painted with brightly coloured paint, giving it the eclectic and ‘chilled out’ vibe that is reflected throughout the entire island.  

This easy-going and relaxed atmosphere is due to the strong essence of Belizean Creole People, who are generally descendants from Africa. This not only provides you with one of the friendliest nationalities, but these characteristics harmonized with the island life, has resulted in a strong Rastafarian community on the island.  

Although the gracious people and laid-back attitude is enticing to many, the foremost reason that Caye Caulker fascinates travellers, is the abundance of exquisite marine life combined with the pristine diving conditions. Caye Caulker is positioned parallel to the world’s second largest barrier reef which stretches the entire length of the country (approximately 300 km) where it is the home to more than 160 various species of fish, vibrantly coloured coral beds and marine life, and the renowned profusion of turtles, stingrays and sharks. 

Shifting your phobias aside for a moment, Shark Ray Ally is a must when exploring the reefs of Belize. Shark Ray Alley is a popular dive spot and is a hotspot for harmless nurse sharks and stingrays. Interestingly, this large portion of the ally is filled with Sharks and Rays due to the many years of fishermen cleaning their boats and dropping off unwanted catches. Today, the sharks and rays just need to hear the boats engines before swimming over to greet the snorkellers and divers.  

You’ll witness groups of nurse sharks flocking over to the boat, while a group of stingrays swim on the oceans bottom below. After being handed some snorkels and flippers, I was ready to slip into the under world with animals that, let’s be honest, continually show up in my nightmares. Initially, as my heart palpitated heavily and hands started to tremble, I was secretly a little nervous taking a leap of faith and jumping into the clear waters surrounded by sharks and rays. But after an over-confident push on the back by my snorkelling instructor, I was in amongst the feeding frenzy. However, I was reassured to rest easy, as these harmless brown nurse sharks that reach lengths more than nine feet, will not hurt you. The timid creatures are there to explore and to be fed. You’ll swim along gentle stingrays with wingspans of up to four feet, while they swim and twirl below you. It is at that moment, when I was beneath the surface in their underworld; all my fear and anxiety slipped away and I realized how timid and placid these creatures are.  

With relaxed, slow vibes on the island and an experience of a lifetime swimming with sharks and stingrays, Caye Caulker is worth a visit. Slow down, unwind and spend some time eating freshly caught fish and Pina Coladas with the locals. And if you’re feeling courageous, a quick dip in the ocean with sharks and stingrays may just be the exhilarating adventure you’ve been looking for.  

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