Water sports, Belize
Joy Tours made our experience in Placencia. Tuka and Evan took us 24 miles to the reef wall. It is the second largest to the Great Barrier Reef and they say it has more life than Australia's. We caught barracuda, bonito, mackerel, yellow tail snapper, king fish, and black grouper. The price was reasonable and I highly doubt these guys made any profit off of us. We spent all day fishing and had the time of our lives. They were very friendly, as well as informative and answered all of our questions about Belize. Delicious salad, chicken, potatoes, and fruit were provided as we spent lunch on an amazing caye. A constant "fish on" with so much variety. An opportunity to spend a day with this outfit is not to be missed. The service is unparalleled.
Tuff E Nuff Ambergris Caye: Whatever you do, use them.. a lot! The service that we received from Tuff E Nuff was impeccable. Who would guess that with absolutely no previous experience whatsoever we were able to go scuba diving down to 30 feet and experience the Hol Chan Marine Reserve up close and personal. A shark attacking a conch, turtles up to the size of a VW bug, rays, eel, and all the colorful fish and coral that you can imagine. The highlight for me was swimming with a huge school of Tarpon. It would not have been the same without Billy who made us so comfortable. His unwavering patience is something I most certainly aspire to attain someday. Irwin even took the time to make our dinner reservations. Tuff E Nuff is far more than good enough.
A fun activity while in Belize is to go CAVE TUBING. There are several companies who offer this excursion, and we had a wonderful time. A short drive to the outfitters, and you get an inner tube, a helmet, a headlamp, and a life vest. You walk the 1/2 mi path to the entry point of the river. After sliding down a small rock slide (the staff are there to catch you and help you into the tube), you are linked into a group (your feet tucked under the arms of the person in front of you) and together you float down the river, through caves with bats, stalagmites, and ancient histories. It was beautiful, cool and refreshing - a wonderful way to spend a little time while in port!
After our morning walk to Xunantunich, we chilled out on the internet for a while and then had lunch. However, by 1 PM the heat had built up quite nicely to the 30 C (86 F) range, so we decided to take advantage of the Trek Stop accommodation's river tubing adventure package. For US$10 each, we hopped in the rear of one of their pick-up trucks and they drove us to the Mopan River just upstream of the hand-cranked ferry to Xunantunich (note the local guy in the photo standing by a small island out in the shallow rapids). There, we were both outfitted with life jackets, which were attached by a small rope to the large rubber inner tubes that we were both given.
It was then into the water as we began our 'jungle cruise' adventure! This was a really fun trip as just the two of us floated down the winding Mopan for more than two hours, traversing a series of eight Class II and III rapids, interspersed with quiet stretches of water. These sections were very peaceful as the thickly forested banks drifted by and colourful Amazon Kingfishers flew past. Of course this was after the first set of rapids tipped us both out of our tubes, but that was the only time that happened. Each set of rapids was fun as you could hear the roar of the water as you floated closer. Usually there was a small island in the middle of the river at each of these, and it was difficult to guess which way was the safest to avoid the deepest drop into a back-swirling pool (Sue got caught in a couple of those but my 'inertia' carried me through!). Also had to remember to bring your butt up out of the water and lay straight as a board on the tubes to avoid scraping on the rocks as we went over these ledges! We had a fantastic time, at last reaching the hotel beside the final Clarissa Falls rapids. There, we paddled to shore and called the Trek Stop from the bar area - the truck soon arrived to pick us up. I don't have any good photos of this because we did not take any glasses, watches, cameras or anything for this one!
Belize is well-known for its marine environment, including the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, three major offshore atolls and several World Heritage Sites. There are also mangrove ecosystems both offshore and along the coast that create a tremendous wetlands environment
This is an easy, comfortable boat ride to swim with nurse sharks and sting rays. The fish are well-fed and not aggressive. Bring a lightweight long sleeve shirt, hat, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. It's HOT out there and you will burn otherwise.
I went to Belize with the tour company GAP, and we went sea kayaking for 4 days around the islands in the barrier reef off the coast near Placencia. I had never been kayaking before, but it's easy to learn and our guide only took us out for a paddle if the waters were fairly calm. It was a really neat way to see the islands, and we were out there by ourselves with only an island or two within view at times. Highly recommended if you're looking for a different kind of vacation and don't mind roughing it. We camped on two different islands for two nights each - the Silk Cayes and Pompion (aka Pumpkin) Caye. Our tour was actually run by Sea Conga, which I believe is out of Canada and was contracted by GAP.
What I recommend everyone who goes to the island is go look for Juni.
He owns a sailing boat and takes people to a water resort about an hour sailing. On the way there, he'll tell you a lot about the animals in the Sea and when you're lucky some dolphins and flying fish will follow the boat and jump up from time to time. Juni will stop his boat a few times so people can go snorkeling (you have to rent your snorkels in a shop accross the street from where Juni lives) in the middle of sting rays (they won't bite), beautiful yellow, blue, green fish and small sand sharks. Juni will even go in the water with you when you're scared and he will go look for the interesting animals.
The water resort is amazingly beautiful! Please do not touch the corals (if they're still there by now) because you'll destroy them!!
Normally Juni brings oranges for when you're done snorkeling. This will take away the salty taste in your mouth. Bring more if you want, it tasts so good when you come out of the water!
You must dive or snorkle, that is a must. You should also try windsurfing and sailing.
I went on a snorkling tour in Shark Ray Ally, off the coast of Ambergris Caye. You get to swim with huge sting rays and reef sharks, its pretty safe and very exciting.
To the left, relaxing in the water...
If you have made it all the way to Belize, check out the Cayes. These islands are magical and inviting. The contrast between the western, very Carribean and eastern, Maya, is at its most extreme on these islands. You can snorkel and boat and swim, and most wonderfully, relax. Mmm. Let me say that again...RELAX!!! :)