The San Pedro Experience
Belize, it's a magnificent country located at the northern end of Central America just below Mexico. You have everything from small towns to crystal blue ocean views and even some rainforests as well. One beautiful part of the country is the little islands that surround the nation's capital of Belize City. It is said to stay on one of the islands due to high crime rates on the mainland and for more scenic views. An island with some pretty magnificent views is San Pedro, which is just north of the mainland.
All flights in and out of the country come and go from Belize City International Airport (BZE). Most major U.S. and Canadian airlines serve the airport from various cities across the United States and Canada. Once you touchdown, you will go through custom's which is a reasonably straightforward process, then you will either stay on the mainland, or you will go and recheck in with one of two airlines. Tropic Air or Maya Island Air. Both of these airlines are Belizean based and fly Cessna Caravans with nine seats per aircraft to the various islands of Belize. Tropic Air actually does weekly service between Belize City and Cancun as well. Most island resorts in Belize will book the onward flights with either of these two airlines for you and include it in the price of your stay.
San Pedro is one of the most popular and most visited islands in the nation. The San Pedro airport is an incredibly scenic and short flight away from BZE at just 20-25 minutes each way, taking you only a few thousand feet over the clear blue Atlantic Ocean. The airline has also created a stunning little terminal in San Pedro. Once you touchdown in San Pedro, you will claim any checked luggage, and most of the resorts will have a car waiting for you to take you to the exact resort. The island is fairly small, so the ride should not take too long. Don't be scared off once you land though, the island does have a third-world country feeling due to a high poverty level, but you will begin to see how beautiful the island is and how kind the native people are.
A hotel I would highly recommend staying at is the beautiful Phoenix Resort. Upon arrival, you are handed either a glass of juice or a mixed rum drink to welcome you. A nice thing about the Phoenix is that the entire property is enclosed from the street, making it very safe, and the suites are insane. Yes, that's right, I said suites, not just rooms. The suites range from one-bedroom villas all the way up to three-bedroom ones. All have pool and ocean views along with direct access to both. The property also features an in-house restaurant and spa. The best part of the entire resort though was the price! It was only $250 per night for a one-bedroom villa which ended up getting upgraded do to availability to a two-bedroom villa. Prices do fluctuate; however, and this was during the slow summer season, prices due typically become more expensive between November and February due to higher volumes of tourists the resort also offers free bike and golf cart rentals to go around and explore the island. There is a pier that extends into a beautiful cove which is protected by a reef. On the end of the pier you can hop into the water for a refreshing swim. There are ladders available for easy access and exit from the water. One can also find local bars and restaurants, many with live native entertainment on the beachfront.
A nice shop that is a short golf cart ride away from the resort is the Belize Chocolate Company and they offer delicious homemade chocolates. You can also find local artists selling a variety of items from jewelry to paintings on the sides of the roads or down by the beach. Belize does also have many attractions, from air tours over the ocean to see the "Blue Hole" to rainforest adventures, to simple snorkeling in the crystal blue ocean.
Belize is truly a beautiful little country with spectacular views. It is also interesting to see how the country’s economy is dependent on tourism as its primary source of income. I did not get to experience many of the attractions due to the short duration of time I spent in Belize, but I do hope to return soon for a more extended stay and experience more of what Belize has to offer.