You Better Belize It!

Many of you reading this post in perhaps Australia or South Africa, may be hoping for a few snowy pictures of Switzerland, to give you a breath of fresh, cool mountain air while the temperatures soar to sweltering back home.  But what I’ll be doing for the month of February in fact, is melting some of the snow and ice here in Zürich with images and stories of my time in Belize just a few months ago.

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Along with Kara Williams of The Vacation Gals, Melanie Waldman of Travels With Two, Gennaro Salamone of Enduring Wanderlust and Christine Gilbert of Almost Fearless, I spent a few days in Belize thanks to the Belize Tourism Board.  I recently wrote about Château d’Oex’s hot air balloon festival as one of my highlights of 2009; this trip was certainly another.  It was a week with a jam-packed itinerary of activities: snorkeling, zip lining, cave tubing, visiting Mayan ruins, deliciously colorful meals (local cuisine as well as restaurants with more ambitious takes on the former), small planes and lots of laughs. It was a perfect first taste of Belizean culture, cuisine and most of all its people – who are just as friendly as the brochures and guidebooks tout.

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We all learned the joys of Fry Jacks, rice and beans, Craboo liqueur and petting sharks and sting rays (or watching others do so from the boat). We got a thrill from cave tubing, rappelling, parasailing – and for me, being able to buy cacao pods off the side of the road!  Not to mention listening to the funky sounds of Kriol, the local dialect. (English is the official language though.)

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You may have followed us along on Twitter (#belizetrip) and read my fellow bloggers’ posts; now  it’s my turn to revisit the 1,300 photos I took and dive back into my little blue Moleskin overflowing with notes.  I’ll share some of our adventures here and especially some recipes that I collected along the way – from locals and outrageously friendly chefs too.  Just a warning, this may not only tempt you to once again grab your whisk and get baking, but you may just be making plans for your next vacation.  You better Belize it!

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By the way, you may be wondering where exactly IS Belize? Formerly British Honduras, this country roughly the size of Massachusetts, sits between Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast of Central America. The official website of the Belize Tourism Board has all the information you could ask for about Belize’s history, language, music, food and more, and is worth checking out for sure.

Has anyone ever been to Belize? Where did you go and what did you think??

32 Responses to “You Better Belize It!”

  1. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    I have never been to Belize, but after seeing these photographs I sure want to hop on a plane straight there. The sunshine, the food, the relaxed atmosphere and the friendly people all look so enticing – and I’m from Australia!

    How great are some of these images? My favourite is the one with the shadow of the plane. What timing! And the vendor selling tropical fruits. Now, I needed him last month! 😉

    What a fantastic opportunity to visit this spectacular part of the world, and be guided by the Belize Tourism Board. I can’t wait to read more – especially those recipes! 🙂

  2. kelleyn says:

    Yes, Belize is wonderful! Our cruise ship stopped there and my husband and I did a hike through a tropical rain forrest and tubing through caves. The food we ate was excellant.

  3. bethany says:

    Hey! Not been! Can’t see any pics because I’m in Dubai and flickr is sensored unless you have some really cool program that breaches that 🙁 i’ll have to wait till I come home to see!

  4. Romy says:

    I am intrigued by that picture with the rope leading down to the ship… is that from when you were parasailing? Incredible! Very much looking forward to your tales and further photos!

  5. Lani says:

    As I sit here in freezing NY Belize looks so inviting especially the hammock under the trees on the “warm” beach! Your photography makes me feel that I actually took this trip and am just reliving the time there. Good food, great activities and I am sure good music….love it. It is a perfect vacation spot for me!

  6. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Wow – I was in Belize a couple of years ago and your post brought me right back there! Soooo envious! Can’t wait to read more!

  7. Kara @ The Vacation Gals says:

    Aaaah! What good memories I, too, have of that trip. I love love love all of your images, and I look forward to reading more of your posts about Belize!

    Kara

  8. Sam says:

    First of all, I love the title of this post. Super clever, not that I am at all surprised! I love all of the pictures, esp. the one of the man in front of the pink wall, just beauitful. As you were writing about swimming with sharks and sting-rays.. I was thinking “really Kerrin!?” but then I saw “or watching others from the boat” and I realized I know you all too well. Great post. Going to pass it along to Darren, he would really appreciate it!

    xoxox

  9. Kerrin says:

    Julia, thanks so much, so glad I’ve peaked your interest here in Belize – and yes in those recipes to come. That photo of the plane’s shadow is one of my favorites too; I love taking pictures from plane windows, always do !

    kelleyn, so glad to hear you had a great experience there as well !

    bethany – and I have never been to Dubai ! 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful weekend adventure, and enjoy seeing the images here once you’re back home.

    Romy, you betcha ! Proof that I did in fact go parasailing from the boat ! I’ll have to provide further proof next time – perhaps show the image with my feet in it, ha ha ! But as Sam commented after you, I won’t have any proof of me swimming with sharks, ha ha !

    Mardi, awesome that you’ve already been – where in Belize were you ? Glad I could bring back some of the memories. Stay tuned for more…

    Sam, you are too funny – yes, you totally got me !! No swimming with sharks or rays for me. ha ha ! Hey, someone needed to stay on the boat and take pictures… right ?! 🙂

  10. jkiel says:

    Were they red beans and rice, such as the yumminess in New Orleans? I hope you snagged a bunch of recipes! Hope you put up more pics – what a lovely way to spend Feb., sorting through photos of warm climes….

  11. Rosalie Burton says:

    Your pictures are beautiful! I’ve been going to Belize, since 1987, before it was a known as the wonderful, place that it is!! The people are friendly and the only English speaking, Central American Country! Which is an Aplus, for those who don’t speak Spanish. There are many wonderful cultures, of people in Belize. And so many things to see, like the Mayan Ruins, Birding,the caves,the Blue Hole,San PedroThe Pine Ridge. My friend lives in the Cayo District, Santa Elena and I go every year to visit, the small town! Walking all over and visiting friends there,is one of my favorite things to do! if you have never been, plan to go, leave your coat and worries behind! Thanks for the great pictures, Rosalie B.

  12. kristi says:

    Always great to read about Belize! I live there in the Corozal area (northern part of Belize) and have lots of great adventures here. My favorite part of Belize to visit is the Pine Ridge area but I love living in Corozal! Thanks.
    http://scottysbarandgrill.com/belizedragonfly

  13. Amy Klibaner says:

    Hi Kerrin! We were in Belize in oh…the summer of 2001. Spent total of two weeks in Belize, with one week in the middle in Guatemala. We started out in Caye Caulker for a few days, then moved inland to San Ignacio, for some tubing, cave exploring and ruins sighting. Crossed into Guatemala. Then we traveled to Dangrigra and took a speedboat out for a two hour ride to what I like to refer to as “Gilligan’s Island”, which was a privately owned island next to Glover’s Atoll/Reef. Finished up the trip with a few days in Placencia. We loved the whole trip. Although I ate more rice & beans and coleslaw on that trip than ever before or since then 🙂 Most memorable meals were grilled lobsters and barracuda on Caye Caulker and grilling freshly caught lobsters (by Mike!) over dried coconut husks on Gilligan’s Island.

  14. uberVU - social comments says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by gogotrip: You Better Belize It!: Many of you reading this post in perhaps Australia or South Africa, may be hoping for a few… http://bit.ly/bTN0su

  15. Sarah Musi says:

    Chayote is great (in the second to last picture). Many people stateside don’t know what to do with it but it’s fantastic in soups in place of potatoes if your looking to minimize the starchiness. You just have to make sure to coat your fingers in olive oil before peeling off the skin and cutting out the seed otherwise the residue leaves an annoying (but temporary) second-skin on your hands.

    It looks like you had a great time! It’s always fantastic to read these posts. I’ve been living on a farm on Vashon Island, WA and we have all these pumpkins that I’ve been trying to use before they go bad. Lots of pumpkin bread, pies and soups.

  16. Steve says:

    R…U…Kidding me! These shots are fabulous. I wanted to comment on my favorite, but i honestly can’t decide. Photographically, there’s really something special about the banana shot. Looks like a painting. The hammock shot is soooooo ralaxing to look at. And the woman under the umbrella is really wonderful. And i agree with Sam, i love the title of the post. So cool. So Kerrin. Bravo.

  17. Jack says:

    Fantastic…so many fond memories of my visit during the mid-90’s! Spent a week in the jungle and a week on an island – can’t really say which week was best as they were both very, very special. Thanks for the post and pictures – looking forward to seeing more!

  18. Kerrin says:

    jkiel, yes indeed ! Not sure how they serve it in New Orleans though, but in Belize “rice and beans” is white rice and red kidney beans cooked together in coconut milk. It’s worth noting that “beans and rice” – however subtle a name change – actually refers to a different dish, where the rice and beans are cooked and served separately. Both delicious ! Oh, and yes, got some recipes – stay tuned for those ! 🙂

    Rosalie, thank you so much. Wow how fabulous that you have been going to Belize for all these years, and continue to visit every year. This was just my first visit, you have mentioned several things that I hope to do and see on my NEXT visit !! Thanks for sharing.

    kristi, how lucky to live in Belize ! I have never heard of Corozal or Pine Ridge, I’ll have to look them up for sure, thanks !

    Amy, WOW – that is some trip. I totally want to go back to Belize and just follow your exact itinerary, including that week in Guatamala. Oh, and totally including going with Mike so he can grill more lobsters for dinner ! So tell us – did he catch them too ?! 🙂 Seriously, that trip sounds amazing. I had a bit of overlap, in Placencia and San Ignacio, but no Gilligan’s Island 😉 Thanks for sharing Amy.

    Sarah, from a farm in WA to Belize via Zürich – gotta love blogs ! 🙂 Good eye on the chayote squash, impressive. I have never cooked with it before, but when I do, I’ll be happy to have your tips here. Thanks ! You do know your fruits and veggies, as I am reminded of your comments about durian back when I was in Bali. Meanwhile, I LOVE pumpkin – mmm, wish I had a piece of your bread right now. Here are 2 more pumpkin recipe for you:
    //mykugelhopf.ch/2008/11/think-pumpkin/
    //mykugelhopf.ch/2009/10/cooking-with-pumpkins/

    Steve, thanks so much for the praise on the photos !

    Jack, glad I could help you revisit a few memories. A week in the jungle and a week on an island, incredibly special to me ! Hope you’ll enjoy the next Belize posts to come…

  19. Mowie @ Mowielicious says:

    Kerrin! You sure know how to make me jealous! Those photos are amazing and I can’t wait to see more! I’ve never been to Belize and was just looking for inspiration online today for where I could go this year… & now I know. I’ll email you later xxx

  20. Lizounette says:

    How fun, Kerrin! I look forward to reading the recipes that were inspired by this trip!

  21. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    I don’t know whether to be more envious of the pictures or the trip – that shot of the airplane shadow in the river is so beautiful. I’ve never seen pictures of Belize, nevermind been there so this was really lovely to see.

  22. Tuesday Travels: Travel Websites « Getting By, Dreaming Big says:

    […] My Kugelhopf – This site has the most amazing photos!  The author, Kerrin, is a New Yorker who lives in Switzerland.  She writes about her travels, the food from the areas she visits (most specifically the sweets – YUM) and shares recipes of what she sometimes tries to recreate.  I love reading about her trips and her culinary exploits, but seriously I L.O.V.E. her photos!!!  They are so beautiful. […]

  23. Tweets that mention You Better Belize It! | MyKugelhopf -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gennaro Salamone, Kara Williams, Mowie, Travel News, Belize and others. Belize said: RT: @MyKugelhopf: had enough snow and c-c-c-cold weather? here's some sun and beach for you: http://bit.ly/9E5ShA […]

  24. Doug says:

    Been going to Belize since 03 and love it. The people are great, the weather is great, the food is great and there is plenty to do.

  25. Sindy Johnston says:

    I love Belize!! We were there last year and spent a couple of days at Trek Stop, a week at Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch and a week in San Pedro on AI. Totally loved it and can’t wait to go back.

    The food is wonderful but the jungle and the ocean can not be beat! We dove with the sharks and rays and even did it at night too! Fantastic!!!

  26. Kerrin says:

    Lizounette, I hope you have been enjoying all the recipes in the Belize posts that followed this one here. Let’s get cookin’ !

    Sarah, thanks so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos.

    Doug, how fabulous that you’ve been going for all these years. Enjoy your next trip there this year !

    Sindy, sounds like you had a fabulous time last year. Hope you’ll get to go back for sure. I just did a roundup of pics and recipes from San Pedro – hope it brings back delicious memories for you !

  27. bethany says:

    Finally back and can see the pics! Looks absolutely beautiful! This post reignites the real travel I’ve not done is so long… you know the one where you’re visiting a place for the first time, wide-eyed and you’re ready to get down and dirty! That’s what I’m talking about! off to read more…

  28. Sarah says:

    I can’t even start to tell you how jealous I am- Belize looks absolutely stunning- great photographs of course. That is very exotic, buying cocoa pods from the side of the road.

  29. Jorge says:

    hi there!
    i love your page! i just found it and i fell in love with your photography congratulations from Colombia!
    i’m planning to visit belize in a backpack trip for first time in my life and I only have two weeks to enjoy it and a short amount of money. would you recommend me any route to visit the most exiting thinks of belize? (i dont wanna miss a thing).
    thanks a lot!
    JORGE OSSA
    COLOMBIA

  30. Sindy Johnston says:

    Jorge… A couple of suggestions for you, take the chicken bus everywhere as taxi’s can become expensive. The best suggestion I got was to “Go inland first then go to the water.” There is a great place to stay in San Ignacio called Trek Stop that is really inexpensive and there is a lot of ruins, etc near there. If you want more of the Jungle then you can stay at Ian Anderson’s Cave Branch but make sure to stay int he bunkhouse, $15.00 per person per night. Depending on the time you go Caves Branch will upgrade you to a Cabana at no charge. If you go to Ambergis Caye (sp?) then stay at Pedro’s backpacker hotel, very cheap. If you go to Caye Caulker then stay at Tina’s Hostel, again very cheap but both are a great place to stay.
    If you go to this website you will get a ton of info.. http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ make sure to check out the link on Toucan Trail. It is for budget or backpack travel. All places to stay are under $60 USD per night but a lot are under $25.00 USD per night. Also check out http://www.belizefirst.com/documents/BelizeBestHotels_eBook.pdf. Great book by LAN SLUDER on travel in Belize.
    I have done the budget backpack trip, as well as the expensive trip with my two son’s, so if I can help then just let me know. I also have a ton of links on Belize that will help you.

    Sindy
    sindy1232@msn.com

  31. Kerrin says:

    bethany, you said it best here. I absolutely adore visiting new places – exotic countries, undiscovered cities – and I certainly have those big googly wide eyes the whole time I am there ! 🙂 Always ready to explore…

    Sarah, thanks so much ! And yes, cacao pods on the side of the road may have been totally normal and “boring” to the Belizeans I was with – but I was excited, so exotic !

    Jorge, thanks for the kind words from Colombia ! Two weeks backpacking around Belize sounds fantastic ! When do you go ? Looks like Sindy gave you some really great ideas above. I’ll ask my friends in Belize if they have any other recommendations for you…

    Sindy, thanks so much for your ideas and links here. Wow, great stuff !! Will be an excellent resource for Jorge and other readers heading that way as well. Much appreciated.

    Oh, and if anyone is curious about Sindy’s mention of a “chicken bus,” here’s a fun link that will answer that question:
    http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/jeffsadventures/jeffswalkabout/1081134300/tpod.html

  32. Lorena Martinez says:

    Hey Kerrin, great blogs on Belize!!! I agree with many of your readers; your pictures are AMAZING and the content definately ignites the traveler in you to want to hop on a plane to Belize–great job!

    I’d like to share a couple traveling tips with George who’s planning his expedition to Belize. Great starting point to look for inexpensive accommodation is to visit http://www.toucantrail.com/. This is one of the official websites managed by the Beilze Tourism Board and it caters to those travelers who are looking for inexpensive accommodation which are of course are clean and comfortable. Toucan Trail lists many guest houses throughout mainland Belize and the surrounding islands so there’s countless of options that would cater to your wants and likes. Most rooms go for US $60.00 or less so you won’t be able to beat those deals!

    Alternatively George, you can also visit http://www.travelbelize.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=631 to find travel specials that are being offered by hoteliers throught the country. Many of the packages llisted offer a combination of inland and island experience. For the most part, I can assusre you that you’ll be able to find accommodation and activities that would provide you with a well rounded experience on Belize.

    Should I be of further, you can always contact me at lorena@travelbelize.org.

    Warm regards from sunny Belize,

    Lorena Martinez
    Marketing Officer
    Belize tourism Board

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