Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins - San Ignacio, Belize

If you've read my post on the Altun Ha ruins, you'll know that we initially planned to also visit Xunantunich in the west and Nim Li Punit in the south, but weather and a miscalculation on how long it would take to get there, respectively, foiled those plans.  After finding the river ferry to Xunantunich closed, I remembered seeing a sign for Cahal Pech a few miles earlier, so we headed back that way.  After all, I didn't drive 3 hours, including getting stuck in traffic in San Ignacio for 30 minutes, not to see anything!

Altun Ha Mayan Ruins - Belize

If you've been following my series of posts about Belize, you've no doubt seen that it's a good place to go if you're looking to lounge on the beach, or if you want to go jungle trekking.  There is, however, one other must-see experience if you come to Belize, and that is, visiting the Mayan ruins.  The ruins in the Yucatan of Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala get more attention, but Belize also has several excellent archeological sites containing Mayan ruins.  We had intended to visit three sets of Mayan ruins in Belize - Altun Ha in the north, Nim Li Punit in the south, and Xunantunich in the west - but flooding prevented making it to Xunantunich, and we ran out of time on the day we intended to go to Nim Li Punit, so we ended up visiting Altun Ha and Cahal Pech (a short distance away from Xunantunich).  Enjoy a virtual tour of Altun Ha after the break, with Cahal Pech featured in a future post.  NOTE:  there are actually many, many Mayan sites of varying quality and accessibility in the country.  12 are maintained by the National Institute of Culture and History, and more information can be found here:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Reserve - Belize

During our recent trip to Belize, our #1 priority was to visit the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.  I'm a huge fan of big cats, and we'd selected our hotel (the Jaguar Reef Lodge, subject of a separate post here) based on its proximity to the park, about 25 minutes away.  Billed as the world's only jaguar reserve, in a country with one of the highest densities of the big cat in the Americas, it's a fantastic place for hiking and exploring, and is a definite must-visit if you come to Belize.  Learn more about our experience after the jump.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Proud Bird Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA - Restaurant Review/Obituary

We went to SoCal last weekend to visit Prita's parents.  A few weeks ago, I read an article on another blog I follow, the Cranky Flier blog, about an aviation-themed restaurant called The Proud Bird on the grounds of LAX.  Sadly, this article had been posted because the Proud Bird would be shutting down on November 21st, as the city of LA wanted to increase the rent beyond what the owners wanted to pay.  We just happened to be flying in to LAX right at lunchtime, so we had the perfect excuse to check it out.  After the break, enjoy my review, but if you like what you read, you'll have to hurry if you want to try the place out yourself.  As mentioned above, next Friday is the end of the line (hence the "obituary" part of the title).

Hopkins and Dangriga, Belize

As you know, my wife and I went to Belize for our 7th wedding anniversary.  We started making plans several months earlier, and the first order of business was figuring out where to stay. Belize isn't a very big country, and most tourists either a) go to one of the Cayes, especially Ambergris Caye, to get in some beach time, or b) stay in a jungle lodge to do some trekking in the backcountry or one of Belize's national parks.  My wife and I wanted some beach time AND some jungle time to look for jaguars, so we settled on the village of Hopkins, approximately 120 miles south of Belize City.  Hopkins is a small Garifuna village of maybe 1,000 people, though there are a surprising number of beach resorts here, including the Jaguar Reef which I reviewed in my post last week.  Hopkins itself is about 20 miles from the larger town of Dangriga, also a garifuna settlement of about 10,000.  Today's post will feature these two towns, and a few things to see in the general vicinity.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jaguar Reef Lodge in Hopkins, Belize - Hotel Review

I've done several restaurant reviews on this blog so far, and while I've wanted to do something similar for hotels that we've stayed at, I've never been in the habit of taking photos of hotel rooms, and I hesitate to do too many reviews without photos.  My opinion, but a review really doesn't have as much meaning without a few photos for you, the reader, to visualize the experience.  In any event, I remembered to take pictures on our recent trip to Belize, and so after the break, I present you with my first hotel review - the Jaguar Reef Lodge in Hopkins, Belize.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Guide to Driving in Belize

The Western Highway outside Belmopan
I'm normally pretty wary of driving in developing countries, but after reading several other travel blogs online, and talking to a couple of friends who had done so themselves, I decided to rent a car and drive around Belize during our recent trip there.  There was one overriding reason why I seriously considered it:  he resort we would be staying at was a good 125 miles from the main airport in Belize City, which would entail either an expensive transfer from the hotel ($150 one way), or a flight on a single-engine aircraft, and I'm deathly afraid of any airplane not made by Boeing or Airbus.  So, the decision was made, and we took the plunge.  After the jump, I'll provide a quick guide to driving in Belize, along with a short review of the roads we traveled.