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Visiting Tikal in Guatemala from Belize

May 7th, 2018

Visiting Tikal in Guatemala from Belize

One of the most unique and awe-inspiring places to visit on the planet is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal. Located just over the border in Guatemala, anyone in Belize can easily visit and marvel at the amazing sights of Tikal and be back in Belize by nightfall. Roam Belize operates regular full-day tours to Tikal from popular Belize destinations like Dangriga, Hopkins, and Placencia.

Now located deep in the jungles of Tikal National Park, the city-state of Tikal was built more than 2,300 years ago by the surging Maya civilization that dominated all of Central America. During the Classic Period (200-900 AD) of Maya civilization, Tikal was the dominant economic, political, and military center, using its vast wealth to create enormous temples, pyramids, and buildings that continue to amaze modern-day visitors. For unknown reasons, the city was abandoned about 500 years ago and lost to the jungle until it was re-discovered in 1853.

The day tour operated by Roam Belize departs Placencia, Dangriga, Hopkins at either 6 AM or 7 AM depending on your destination. During the journey, participants will get the opportunity to learn more about the rich history of the Maya. After crossing the border, participants will get a chance to see real color in Guatemala, including the descendants of Maya who still wear traditional clothing.

Upon arriving the Guatemalan border, participants will be met by an expert Guatemalan tour guide who will lead the tour through the verdant jungle foliage, listening to the echoes of black howler monkeys and witnessing exotic birds like toucans and parrots. After exploring the main site at Tikal, participants will be treated to a delicious lunch and then head back to Belize, arriving back home around 7:00 PM.

The phenomenal architecture of Tikal, including temples measuring more than 150 feet (47 meters) in the air, are truly a sight to behold, especially considering that they were built without the use of wheels, modern machinery, or even animals more than 1,000 years ago.

No one is quite sure what the original name for Tikal was. Today, the site and surrounding national park is named for a Maya word meaning “at the waterhole” or perhaps “the place of voices/echoes” depending on the interpretation of local dialects. Archeologists continue to excavate the site, revealing at least 6 square miles (16 square km) and more than 3,000 buildings.

Visiting the soaring spires of this immense city should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list. Whether you want to visit Tikal as a separate experience or want to combine it with other tours in Belize, Roam Belize can ensure that you enjoy an amazing jungle adventure experience.

Questions about visitng Tikal Maya Ruins from Belize? Send us an email at info[@]roambelize.com. We’d love to help you plan your Belize adventure tours!


Belize City to San Ignacio

May 7th, 2018

belize-city-to-san-ignacio

All international flights and cruise liners arrive in Belize City. Okay, now you’ve arrived in the country! Where to next?

Fortunately, there are a number of good options for getting from Belize City to popular destinations like San Ignacio. Belize is a relatively small country (about the same size as Massachusetts) so no place is ever too far away.

Taxi

You can step out of the airport or set foot on land at the Belize City water docks, and you’ll see plenty of taxi drivers jostling for the opportunity to take you where you want to go.

Taxis don’t use the meter most of the time. Instead, you’ll need to negotiate the price before setting off. Taxi drivers are usually amenable to driving you pretty much anywhere in the country.

Note: all official taxis in Belize have a green number/license plate.

The Chicken Bus

If you’re trying to save money, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the ad-hoc cross-country bus system, affectionately known as “chicken buses” because the passengers sometimes bring their fowl on board.

You can get to San Ignacio or pretty much anywhere else for $10 or less, but be prepared to switch buses, endure lots of stops and long travel times, and no available seats.

Domestic Flights

All international flights land at the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) outside of Belize City, but two domestic air carriers – Tropic Air and Maya Island Air – offer connecting flights (“puddle jumpers”) to over a dozen destinations, including San Ignacio.

The flying times are relatively short (usually 30 minutes or less), but flying is the most expensive option.

Shuttles and Private Transfer

 

Companies like Roam Belize offer door-to-door shuttle and private transfer service from Belize City to San Ignacio and other top destinations in the country. Roam Belize operates a fleet of modern, well-maintained vehicles so you’ll get to your destination in comfort and style.

Roam Belize also offers private transfers and shuttle service from Belize to San Ignacio. Roam Belize can provide private transfer and shuttle service from Belize to all of the top destinations in the country, including Placencia, Dangriga, and Hopkins. Roam Belize can also arrange for ground transportation to and from popular destinations in Guatemala and Mexico.

Contact us today at info@roambelize.com to book a transfer from Belize City to San Ignacio Town or to anywhere within Belize.


What is it like to drive in Belize?

May 6th, 2018

driving in belize

Driving in Belize

Although driving in Belize can be a little different than what you might be used to in the United States or Canada, renting a vehicle is a great way to explore the country on your own terms.

Roam Belize is the premiere company for top-quality rental vehicles in Belize, offering a wide assortment of well-maintained, late model vehicles. For first-time drivers in Belize, we have prepared this basic guide of what to expect:

Although many visitors presume that Belize has a confusing network of dirt roads and gravel paths winding through the jungle, it’s important to realize that all of the major highways are modern roads, fully paved and well marked. Only a few secondary roads can be a challenging drive, but anyone with a 4×4 can usually navigate them with ease. 

Belize is predominately a rural country, so it’s advised that you travel by day whenever possible. At night, poor lighting and an abundance of wildlife can make driving more challenging. Follow all posted speed limits, and be sure not to drive too fast when taking a secondary road as you may encounter bumpy terrain.

Most towns and villages are completely without traffic lights, using speed bumps instead as a way to manage speed limits, so always be on the lookout for those. Many speed bumps serve as impromptu markets where roadside sellers hawk their wares to slowing vehicles. If you get lost or need some assistance, asking a local is always a good idea, as Belizeans are very friendly and helpful.

Gasoline is an expensive, imported item, and gasoline stations are rare and few between outside of municipal areas, so be sure to keep your eye on your fuel level at all times and take the opportunity to fill up when it arises. 

In Belize, just as in the United States and Canada, cars drive on the right. Always be on alert for slow-moving farm vehicles and other traffic. Because insects thrive in Belize’s climate, be careful when opening windows, and always make sure to keep your windshield wiper fluid topped off. For longer trips, it’s a good idea to bring along plenty of water and snacks. 

If you’d prefer not to rent your own vehicle, Roam Belize offers airport shuttles and private vehicle transfers throughout Belize and the region. Roam Belize can also book tours to all of the top destinations as well as your accommodations at hotels, resorts, and lodges.

Questions about driving in Belize? Send us an email at info@roambelize.com. We’d love to help you plan your Belize vacation.


Southern Belize, Belize’s Most Exotic Side

May 4th, 2018

Far from the overcrowded beaches of Ambergris Caye and the hustle and bustle of Belize City lies Toledo District, the southernmost region of the country. Home to just 35,000 people, Toledo District measures more than 1,800 square miles (4,700 square km) and is home to some of the most pristine rainforests, cave networks, and rivers in Belize.

The capital of Toledo District is Punta Gorda, often referred to just by its initials (PG), an eclectic city of some 5,000 people that is home to a wide range of cultures, including two different tribes of Maya, the Creole, the Garifuna (an Afro-Caribbean people), German-speaking Mennonites, and the descendants of Confederate soldiers who emigrated to Belize after the American Civil War.

Several rivers run through Toledo District, including the Sarstoon River and the Moho River, both of which are popular with canoeists and kayakers because of their relatively sluggish currents and shallow depths. There are also some ancient Maya sites located in southern Belize, including Uxbenka, Nim Li Punit, Pusilha, and Lubaantum, which are still being excavated by archeologists.

Southern Belize is also an important agricultural region of Belize, and many people come to this region in order to visit cacao farms. Cacao is the principal ingredient of chocolate, a sacred food used by the Maya for thousands of years. Today, manufacturers such as Maya Gold export their chocolate products around the world. Other food crops grown in southern Belize include milpa (the ancient trio of beans, squash, and corn), peppers, rice, beans, and several traditional varieties of corn (maize). Almost all farmland in southern Belize is in the form of small, family-run affairs.

If you’d like to explore the unspoiled beauty of Toledo District and southern Belize, you can rent a vehicle from Roam Belize. Based right in southern Belize, Roam Belize has a full range of modern vehicles for rent that are perfectly equipped to explore the rugged terrain in the region. These SUVs come with air conditioning and a full complement of safety gear.

For travelers who prefer not to drive, Roam Belize also offers private ground transfers and door-to-door shuttle service to and from anywhere in the country, including hotels, eco-lodges, and AirBNB residences. Roam Belize also organizes tours in southern Belize, including trips to ancient Maya ruins, national parks, outdoor adventures, and cultural homestays in local villages.

For all of your travel needs in southern Belize, you can rely on Roam Belize.


Snorkel and Scuba Dive with Whale Sharks in Belize

April 18th, 2018

snorkel and scuba dive with Belize whale sharks

Whale Sharks in Belize

Once a year, the largest fish in the world’s oceans arrive in the waters off of Belize. Gladden Spit and the remote atolls of the southern Belize Barrier Reef serve as a spawning ground for fish and other marine species each spring, drawing in enormous schools of whale sharks.

Whale sharks are somewhat misnamed creatures; giant fish that grow up to 46 feet (14 meters) long and weigh up to 30 tons. Called whales for their enormous size, whale sharks are technically classified as carpet sharks, the largest non-mammalian vertebrate species in the world’s oceans. Despite their gargantuan proportions, whale sharks are filter feeders, using a system similar to that of baleen whales to feed on enormous mouthfuls of microscopic creatures like plankton and fish spawn. Without teeth or any known natural predators, whale sharks are curious and friendly creatures known to frolic and play with human divers and snorkelers.

Whale sharks are highly sensitive to the earth’s magnetic fields and the phases of the moon, using these immutable landmarks to circumnavigate their way around the globe. Every spring between March and June, whale sharks enter the waters of southern Belize to feast on krill, plankton, larvae, and fish eggs. The sheltered waters of Gladden Spit and the nearby islands serve as the breeding grounds for thousands of species of fish and crustaceans, drawing in the weary whale sharks to hungrily feed on this abundance.

Able to cruise at depths over 5,000 feet, it can be difficult to spot whale sharks. But following the phases of the moon every spring, whale sharks rise to the shallow waters of Belize to feed, giving snorkelers and divers a unique opportunity to interact with these gentle giants.

Strict conservation efforts in Belize impose a limit of 10 boats in the vicinity of whale shark schools and all diving must cease by 6:00 PM. Only authorized tour guides are allowed to bring divers and snorkelers to where whale sharks feed in Belize. Roam Belize, a locally-owned and operated company, has whale shark packages that include a chance to see these enormous creatures up close and personal.

Roam Belize also organizes tours to all of the top destinations in Belize, including wildlife expeditions in the interior, bird watching, and exploring ancient Maya sites. Roam Belize also rents vehicles as well as provides private transfer and shuttle service to and from anywhere in the country. Roam Belize can also arrange for accommodations at the top resorts, lodges, and hotels in Belize.

Questions about snorkeling or scuba diving with whale sharks in Belize? Send us an email at info[@]roambelize.com. We’d love to help you plan your Belize vacation.

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Dangriga Car Rentals

April 18th, 2018

Dangriga is a town on the southeastern coast of Belize in Stann Creek District. With a population of around 10,000 people, Dangriga is considered one of the larger urban areas in the country and is widely known as the cultural capital of Belize. The largest ethnic group in Dangriga is the Garifuna people, a unique Afro-Caribbean culture that has was recognized by the United Nations in 2001 for being a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Dangriga was originally known as Stann Creek Town thanks to its strategic position on the North Stann Creek River where it flows into the Caribbean Sea. In 1832, the Garifuna emigrated to Belize and settled in Dangriga.

Dangriga has an extremely lively music scene, particularly focused on the traditional drumming style of the Garifuna. A large statue of three Garifuna drums is on display in the center of the town and visitors flock to Dangriga to enjoy live musical performances, workshops, and exhibitions of Garifuna music. Dangriga is the home of punta and punta rock, two uniquely Belizean musical genres that are heavily influenced by traditional Garifuna rhythms mixed with influences from calypso and soca music. The risqué humor and scathing social commentary of many lyrics in popular punta songs give this genre a lively popularity ideal for open-air performances and dance halls.

Belize’s greatest living artist, Delvin “Pen” Cayetano, was born and continues to live in Dangriga, and his studio is one of the town’s most popular attractions. An artist successful in many different media, including painting, sculpture, and music, Pen Cayetano was knighted in 2013 by the Queen of England for his contributions to art and culture.

Other attractions in Dangriga include a bevy of restaurants, clubs, and karaoke bars, the open-air market on the north bank of the river, and the Gulisi Garifuna Museum that details the unique contributions and history of the Garifuna people.

Exploring Dangriga

Roam Belize is a locally-owned tour company based in Dangriga. Roam Belize has a fleet of well-maintained, modern vehicles that allow visitors to explore Dangriga and the region in comfort and style. Roam Belize has a simple, no-hassle rental procedure and can deliver vehicles anywhere in the country.

With a rented vehicle from Roam Belize, you can enjoy all of the sights and sounds that Dangriga has to offer. Whether you’re interested in learning more about the music and history of the Garifuna people or simply want to enjoy a rollicking good time in the cultural capital of Belize, having your own rental vehicle is the best way to explore Dangriga.

Questions about visiting Dangriga? Send us an email at info[@]roambelize.com. We’d love to help you plan your vacation, tours, car rental services, and ground transportation in Belize.


What Is There To Do in Harvest Caye, Belize?

April 18th, 2018
 

In Belize, islands are known as “cayes” (pronounced “keys”). Harvest Caye is a port of call used by many cruise lines and is an offshore island located just a few miles from the mainland.

Harvest Caye itself is very small, and there aren’t many options for cruise passengers. But there is a regular ferry service that connects Harvest Caye to the Placencia Peninsula on the mainland, one of the most popular destinations in the country where you can enjoy activities such as:

Zip Line and River Tubing

Offering plenty of thrills, this tour combines sailing through the upper canopy of the jungle along a zip line with the uniquely Belizean sport of cave tubing, floating down a lazy river aboard an inflatable inner tube.

Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve

Home to some of the last surviving jaguars in the world, the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve is an enormous wilderness area with stunning landscapes, beautiful mountains, and a wide variety of plants and animals.

Maya Chocolate Making

The descendants of the ancient Maya that built the pyramids and palaces that dot the Belizean landscape have preserved much of their traditional way of life, including making chocolate. Cacao (the source of chocolate) is indigenous to Belize, and this tour allows you to make your own chocolate from locally sourced cacao beans.

Horseback Riding

Belize is a beautiful country with astonishingly beautiful nature everywhere you go. One of the best ways to explore this lush landscape is on horseback.

Hopkins Garifuna Cultural Tour

The Garifuna are an Afro-Caribbean people who have been recognized by the United Nations for their unique language, music, and dance. Hopkins Village is a Garifuna community located on the coast, regularly voted as the friendliest village in Belize.

Roam Belize is the name to trust when it comes to guided tours in Belize. If you’re coming to Harvest Caye and want to visit the sights, book your tour with Roam Belize. A representative from Roam Belize will greet you at the ferry pier in Placencia and then take you where you want to go.

Roam Belize also rents vehicles to allow visitors to explore the country at their own pace. All of Roam Belize’s vehicles are well-maintained, modern vehicles perfectly suited for Belize’s rugged terrain.

“We stopped off at Harvest Caye as part of our cruise, and we hired Roam Belize to take us around. Absolutely my favorite part of the whole trip, hands down. My wife loved the chocolate, and I had a blast doing the river tubing and zip line stuff.”

-Jeff Barter, Gagetown, Michigan            


The Best Places to Stay in Placencia Belize

April 18th, 2018

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Placencia Belize

Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and a lagoon, the Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize features more than 16 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, easily traversed by beach cruiser bicycle. The northern part of the peninsula is where vacationers can relax on the sand or fish the lagoon while the southern part is home to the airstrip and the village, complete with internet cafes, banks, gourmet restaurants and transportation connections to the rest of the country.

The village of Placencia is your one-stop shop for enjoying many of the popular marine activities at the nearby Belize Barrier Reef, including kayaking, snorkeling, fly fishing, and scuba diving. Nearby mainland attractions include exploring Maya ruins, visiting the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve, or visiting the village of Hopkins to experience Garifuna cooking, music and culture.

The Best Places to Stay in Placencia Belize

belize beach resorts

 

Mariposa – Located on a two-acre stretch of privately-owned land, the Mariposa bed and breakfast is independently owned and operated by a retired Canadian couple. After falling in love with the beauty of Placencia, they decided to open their own bed and breakfast. Featuring oceanfront views and an on-site restaurant, Mariposa is a wonderful place to enjoy the best of the Placencia Peninsula.

belize-ocean-club

The Belize Ocean Club Resort – Few locations in Placencia can compare to the luxurious Belize Ocean Club Resort. Located on the renowned Maya Beach, the resort offers one and two-bedroom suites, each with their own seaside balcony. The resort also includes a gourmet restaurant and an incredible swimming pool complete with its own swim-up bar.

Chabil-Mar-beach

The Villas at Chabil Mar – Drawing its name from a Mayan phrase meaning “beautiful sea”, the Villas at Chabil Mar offer oceanfront luxury just five minutes by foot from the village of Placencia. Each villa comes with its own oceanfront veranda. Enjoy fresh-caught seafood at the on-site Cafe Mar beachfront restaurant or go for a leisurely swim in one of the resort’s two infinity swimming pools.

If you’re interesting in exploring all the best that southern Belize and the Placencia Peninsula has to offer, let Roam Belize help plan your itinerary and arrange for your travel needs. A locally-owned and operated company, ROAM BELIZE specializes in helping visitors find the hidden gems in Placencia, Hopkins, and other exciting destinations in Belize.

Roam Belize also offers shuttle service to and from anywhere in Belize as well as transfers from neighboring Mexico and Guatemala.

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Belize Family Adventure Vacations and Family Adventure Holidays

April 11th, 2018

Dreaming of getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern life? Seeking a way to get your kids (and spouse?) to put down their phones for a while? Want to make some unforgettable memories together? 

Belize is the perfect place for family vacations. A small, democratic, and English-speaking country in Central America just a short flight from the United States. Best of all, Belize is a beautiful wonderland of pristine nature where brightly-colored parrots chatter, where the perfume of a thousand flowers fill the air, and where exotic animals like monkeys, giant iguanas, and jaguars roam.

Yes, you can get an internet connection in your hotel, but the beauty of a family vacation in Belize is that everyone will be having too much fun to want to look at their phones. In Belize, you can visit an animal sanctuary, climb to the top of an ancient Maya pyramid, go snorkeling, and sail through the air along a series of zip lines. Little kids love to learn about animals, and older kids love adventures and learning about ancient history and the indigenous cultures of Belize.

The mainland of Belize is composed of pristine rainforests, thick jungles, misty mountains, and towering waterfalls. And Belize also has hundreds of islands in the Caribbean Sea, framed by the largest coral reef system in the northern hemisphere. Whether your idea of a perfect family vacation is spending time on the beach or hiking through a vast wilderness sanctuary, there’s something for everyone in Belize.

At Roam Belize, we love to share the beauty of our amazing country with travelers from around the world. Family means everything to Belizeans, and we love how children have curious and inquisitive minds, eager to explore the world. And because we know that most families are on a budget, we offer special discounts for families with children. 

Furthermore, we understand that not all of the activities and tours that are available in Belize are suitable for young children due to size and weight restrictions. That’s why we work with families to make sure that we match you with trips and adventures that are right for your family.

Roam Belize is a full-service tourism company owned and operated by Belizeans. We offer a full range of travel services, including vehicle rentals, shuttle service, private ground transfers, and tours and adventures to all of the top destinations in the country.

For your Belize family vacation, choose Roam Belize.


Horseback Riding in Southern Belize

April 7th, 2018

One of the best ways to explore the lush nature of Belize is on horseback. Unlike cars or ATVs which produce loud sounds that disturb animals, horses allow travelers to enter the natural world unheard, the perfect way to see and experience the ecological diversity of Belize.

Horseback riding is more than just a great way to get outdoors and explore the landscapes of Belize; it is also a fantastic way to get some exercise. Physiologists have discovered that even riding a horse at a light trot causes riders to burn the same amount of calories as a moderately intense workout equivalent to jogging, swimming, or playing volleyball.

Furthermore, horseback riding is considered a great activity to improve your posture, tone your back and thigh muscles, and activate your “core” abdominal muscles. Horseback riding is also a great way to relax and unwind mentally as it requires the rider to remain balanced while taking in the beautiful surroundings. Lastly, spending time with animals has been proven to raise serotonin levels, the so-called “feel good” hormones.

Roam Belize operates one of the most popular horseback riding tours in the country. Roam Belize’s horseback adventures take place in one of the most beautiful locations in southeastern Belize, a privately owned ranch. The ranch has its own herd of well-trained, very gentle horses who are intimately familiar with the riding trails on the property. This tour allows travelers to experience the wonders of the rainforest, including fragrant plants, colorful birds, and exotic animals like monkeys and giant iguanas.

Roam Belize’s horseback riding tour will take travelers into some of the most unspoiled terrain in the country, including a pristine river that flows down from the Maya Mountains. The horseback riding tour includes a stop at a natural swimming hole on the river which is located between two small rapids, making it the perfect place to unwind and cool off on a hot day.

Roam Belize’s horseback riding tour lasts for five hours. The price is $100 and includes transportation to the ranch, use of the horses, and all the necessary safety gear.

Roam Belize also offers guided tours to all the top attractions in the country. Roam Belize also rents vehicles so that travelers can explore Belize at their own pace. And for travelers who do not wish to drive themselves, Roam Belize provides door-to-door shuttle services and private ground transfers to any destination in Belize.