Tuesday, December 28, 2021

[BELIZE] Belize from Above


Belize has always been just there next to Mexico but somehow I always snubbed it because of visa issues. For Philippine passport holders, we used to be visa on arrival as long as we have a multiple entry US visa. But we still had to pay, like, USD50 to get in. I don’t know what happened but when I finally landed here, I didn’t have to pay anything. Apparently, Philippine passport holders are now visa-free here as long as you have a valid multiple entry visa for either the US or Canada. If you have both, they award you with honorary Belizean citizenship. Nope, that’s a joke. What, I can’t make jokes anymore?


Because of the pandemic, everything seems expensive here. For one, you can only stay at Gold Standard accommodations unless you are visiting friends or family. Shuttles are also expensive and there are some who will tell you that they must be Gold Standard too, although I don’t really know how they are going to implement that. In my case, I just decided to shell out the USD27 airport transfer fee via private shuttle, which is pretty much standard rate anyway. Moving around, you can get taxis for around USD5 (BZD10).


The flight from Roatán via Tropic Air on a Cessna plane was expensive but turned out to be worth it. En route to Belize City you just see the many islands and atolls from above, and it’s a really magnificent sight. I felt like my sightseeing already began even before landing at the airport. Tropic Air actually offers plane tours like this if you want to see the Blue Hole from above, but again, it’s kind of expensive. If you have the moolah and you want to indulge, then I’d say why not.


That was actually my original plan but because of last minute changes regarding the reopening of the country’s land borders, the immigration officer surprised me and four other foreigners on our flight with the declaration that they will not allow us to get in unless we present a return or onward ticket. So, yeah, that's where the money for the Blue Hole airplane tour went. Effing pandemic. In any case, these tours from Tropic Air all depart from Belize MUNICIPAL Airport, NOT Belize International Airport in case you’re interested.


The next few days have been a bit lackluster because of rapid change of plans and getting a bit sick. I was planning to go to Caye Caulker or San Pedro for a daytrip given how the water taxi port is just five-minute walking distance from my Airbnb, but I decided to just rest and catch up on sleep. I guess the best itinerary for those islands is to do them in tandem with Orange Walk, Corozal, and Chetumal on the other side of the Mexican border. There’s always next time. For now, I feel like I have already seen amazing things thanks to that inbound flight.


But I still had to take a stroll and just get to know the town a bit. It pays to get accommodations in a central area. Aside from some giant B-E-L-I-Z-E signs, there is nothing much to see in Belize City itself. Most people just transit here en route to Caye Caulker or San Pedro for the chillaxing island vibes. You can get to the former in 45 minutes from the water port. Add another 30 minutes for the latter. There are multiple departures a day. Some people favor the Mayan ruins to the west near the border with Guatemala. In that case, you just take a bus. The travel time is between 2-3 hours.


And that’s Belize the district for me. As for Belize the country, I still have Cayo district for some Maya adventures in the next two days, and I guess I will be enjoying that more to be honest. I like the country so far, but it can be a bit expensive, so prepare your dollars, both US and Belizean which are both widely accepted here anyway. And there goes my last country in Central America as the culmination of 2021. Last but definitely not the least!

[BELIZE] Belize from Above

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