Belize for your Family
"Punta Gorda, Toledo District"
This is the least visited area of Belize, so there are very few tourists. There are Mayan ruins to explore, as well as the cayes off the coast. We visited a home, and learned how to make chocolate. It was a hands on presentation, with everyone grinding the cocoa nuts in the traditional Mayan fashion to make chocolate. The Machaca Hill Lodge is the place to stay in Punta Gorda, a few miles outside of the city. They meet you at the airport and transport you in open jeeps to the lodge. The lodge is similar to an African lodge, as the owners are from Africa. The food is 5 star, and the chef will meet you at breakfast, and ask for your suggestions for dinner. The chef used the chocolate we made at the Mayan home to make chocolate ice cream for desert.
This area is more popular and has more tourists. Caracol is a huge Mayan ruin, and way off the beaten path. Very few tourists actually visit the ruins, due to the difficult road trip. It is worth the trip, but be warned, you must be accompanied by armed guards due to a history of robberies. The ATM cave is unbelievable. You have to hike to the cave entrance, then swim and hike through the cave. There are no lights, so all you have is your miners hat and light. At the end is the crystal skeleton, believed to be a young girl sacrificed by the Mayan priests. The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a jungle lodge, and fun for the kids. Plenty of activites here.
This is the most popular area of Belize, and has the most beautiful beaches and water. There reef is about a mile off the coast, so the water is calm and clear. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a great trip: you get to swim with the sharks, rays, and turtles. We stayed at the Victoria House, definitely a luxury resort.