When the opportunity arose to partner with Carnival Cruise for my next Passport To story, I was intrigued. Neither Michael nor I had ever been on a cruise before, but we’d heard that it was a pretty spectacular way to travel. We signed up with enthusiasm, but I have to admit I was a little concerned about an itinerary that only gave us one day in Belize. Will we be able to get enough great shots, see enough, experience enough to write the story? I’m happy to report that our Carnival Cruise experience proved that yes we could, and then some. We visited four different ports over our week at sea, and Belize was the one that most definitely captured our imaginations. With it’s gorgeous white sand beaches, raw untouched jungles, underground caves and mysterious ruins, this central American gem is ripe for discovery. Join us on the Carnival Glory as we dock in Belize, and step into a world of adventure:
I’m a beach baby at heart, so I couldn’t wait to explore some of the country’s famous white sand coastline. Belize has over 200 off shore islands that are easily accessed by boat from Belize City. The islands (some developed and some completely raw) are known by the locals as the best beaches to visit in Belize.
No matter how many times I visit the Caribbean, I’m always entranced by the crystal clear water — it’s like nowhere else on earth.
A local tipped us off on a great place to go “cave tubing” in Belize, and it sounded like something we simply had to do. The hike through the jungle carrying our tubes was beautiful and surreal, with wild coatimundi scampering across the trail in front of us.
The caves are almost pitch black in places, so it’s necessary to wear a hat with a light attached in order to see once you’re inside. I definitely felt a rush of adrenaline strapping on my helmet before getting in the water.
Once inside, the caves took our breath away. We lucked out with an expert tour guide who grew up in Belize and was very knowledgeable about the area. As we floated along the cold crystal clear water, he told us that the caves were created from centuries of erosion through the porous limestone rock that lies just below the soil in Belize. You can book your own cave tubing excursion direct through the Carnvial website — how easy is that?
There is evidence that ancient Mayan people also visited the underground caves. That was likely thousands of years ago (as far back as 900 B.C.) around the same time that they constructed Atun Ha, the incredible temple we visited just north of Belize City
The highest point on site is the Temple of the Masonry Altars, which looms 54 feet tall just over the jungle tree line. Admittedly, the trek to the top left us a bit breathless.
…but the view from the top is amazing. The site of Atun Ha covers an area of 5 miles, and from the top of the Temple of the Masonry Altars you can see the entire site (as well as catch a much-needed breeze).
Back down on earth, Michael explored a jungle trail on site at Atun Ha.
We always want to go where the locals eat and after a hot afternoon at the ruins our guide Dion knew just the place to take us. We stopped by Bird’s Isle Restaurant for a bite before heading back to the Carnival Glory.
I felt I had earned a round of beers (as well as the right to wear this shirt.) The local favorite restaurant is also known for it’s fresh-squeezed juices, daily specials and fried snacks like conch fritters.
Looking back, one of our favorite things about our Carnival Cruise was meeting people like Dion Allen, our fun fast-talking Carnival tour guide in Belize. He got us everywhere we needed to go (and back to the port on time.) Now we’ve got a standing invitation to come back and hang with him and his family in Belize.
We were surprised with how much we were able to experience in Belize inside of just one day, and left feeling inspired to return. A visit to the famous Blue Hole off the country’s coast is a top-of-list excursion for our next visit.
The best part of cruise travel is returning to the luxury of the ship at the end of an adventurous day. Hot showers followed by a long laid-back dinner never sounded better.
Thanks Carnival, for making our Belizian dreams come true.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.