Saturday, 18 February 2012

“Even Jacques-Yves Cousteau Admits that Belize Contains Top Ten Scuba Diving Sites in the World!”

Many people spend the better part of our lives working hard to survive and to save a bit more for the amenities needed in life. When we take a moment to think of all the great things around us that is available for consumption and pleasure, we realize how seldom we take advantage of them. It is not often that we appreciate our families, the good friendships and relationships we enjoy nor the many countless gifts that Mother Nature has bestowed people with to appreciate, protect and utterly enjoy. Belize is one such destination, where apparently Mother Nature favored a notch above many others. This tiny Caribbean tropical jewel, although only 8,866 sq. miles with roughly 318,000 people boosts the hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, three out of four atolls, an abundance of natural wealth of rich biodiversity from reef to rainforest and a multi-ethnic society of fascinating cultural heritage. Belize is the Maya heartland where three Maya ethnicities continue to flourish in their traditional ways. And if this were not enough evidence, the tiny bio-mass continues to unveil the discovery of oil deposits in commercial quantity across the country further affirming that Mother Nature offered this secret Caribbean getaway an unparalleled mix of natural riches.

This Caribbean gem with a barrier reef spanning across most its offshore, three atolls, hundreds of white sand beach and mangrove islands, pristine waters, thriving reef systems that includes the iconic Blue Hole are the perfect ingredients for superb sports fishing and diving. It is no surprise that informed travellers come from all corners of the globe for world class sports fishing and diving in Belize and appreciate why renowned diver, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, regarded some sites in Belize among his favorites in the world.

There are many must-see diving and fishing hot spots, but Glovers Atolls must be highlighted. This reef ecosystem, of ring corals 54 miles in circumference, offers spectacular diving and snorkeling experiences.  The southern end of Glover’s Atoll, also recognized as a UN World Heritage Site in 1997, is national marine reserve.

Just one hour south of Glover’s Atoll is Gladden Spit where the world’s largest fish - the whale sharks gather to feed during the months of March to May. During these months there are high chances for divers and snorkelers to see these amazingly passive sea mammoths. These gentle giants of the sea may grow up to 65 feet and weigh several tons are seen near the full moons feeding on the spawn from dog snappers. Splash Dive Center holds the gold standard in customized services to divers and snorkelers in a variety of diving options and locations for an optimal experience in Belize’s very best dive packages available.

Life is easy in Belize! So whether you are looking for a unique adventure, or exceptional fishing or diving, a close encounter with wildlife, an unforgettable cultural exchange or utter pampering and relaxation at a resort  – chances  you may very well get more that what you bargained for!  Life is short, there is just too much to be enjoyed in Belize! Call Splash Dive Center today, Belize’s premier Destination Management Company, to start planning your dream vacation. If you can conceive it, we can make it a reality. Live a bit, live a lot in Belize!

“Falling in Love in and With Belize”

Little did I know that twenty years later I would be returning to the tiny paradise of Belize were Mark (my husband) and I spent our honeymoon.  Despite the many changes I see now, mostly for the better, I still remember my first trip back in 1992 as if though it was merely a year ago.  We spent most of that one week vacation in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye at Victoria House.  The entire experience was magical. Coming from Chicago, a honeymoon in the tropics is quite a treat.

I first landed at the San Pedro Airstrip on a small flight from the international airport and was taken aback with the quaint fisherman image of this sleepy town.  I was initially concerned whether the town or the hotel would even have the amenities or facilities it claimed to have. Well, even then, Victoria House exceeded my expectations. Mark and I are as much in love today as we were back then but with the intense butterfly feelings that newlyweds often have. Every moment and every second was glorious. The room was impeccable and elegant. The ocean view was break-taking. The food was exquisite, the indoor dining hall was superbly elegant and private dining on the beach with torch fires was beyond romantic. The service was exceptional and all staff members seem so genuinely happy to be providing a superior service. Going to the outer cayes and snorkeling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve with the overly abundant marine diversity reminded me of Brook Shields in the Blue Lagoon. I could not have been any happier, if I could only hold on forever to that fairylike feeling of overwhelming happiness.  Beyond any doubt, the island represented great memories for Mark and I. So much so, we swore that one day we would bring our kids one day to visit Belize.

This year, my son Andrew completed twelve years and my daughter Jessica will turn 16 and I thought that perhaps this year my family is much deserving of a vacation. Surely enough my husband and I made well on the promise to introduce our kids to Belize- the place where we consummated our marriage. Indeed, twenty years was plenty time to bring about serious changes in a destination we visited two decades ago.  I was elated to note that the country had since grown substantially since our trip in 1992. The small town of San Pedro is now booming with several more resorts, restaurants and even more people.

Placencia was a top priority this time around.  Mark is very fond of sports fishing and my two children are huge diving enthusiast.  Jessica and Andrew took intermediary diving lessons with our local dive and tour operator, Splash Dive Center, who also arranged our family excursions to Caracol Maya, Monkey River, horseback riding and to the Belize zoo.

My family and I spent the final two days of our vacation in Toledo District at Machaca Hills lodge.  The property itself is rustically divine and chic. The view from the exquisite and award winning restaurant perched on a hill top was just stunning.  Mark and I made much use of the sunsets and sunrise from the balconies of our private cottages looking at the dense Machaca Forest hills and the sea in the backdrop. It was the perfect setting for us to re-commit our vows to each other and we did!
These are memories that my family and I will cherish forever. I am very happy that we decide to visit Belize a second time and I know that every member of my family has gained so much more from the experience. Thank you Belize for a wonderful time, it truly was a perfect and indelible family vacation!