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adventure travel

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

Dream Destination – Belize, Part 1

.Each year Marina and I try to put together our dream destination list, a list which is ever growing and rarely gets smaller. While we’ve already checked off some major dream destinations so far this year (Finland, Egypt!) we sure can’t get to everywhere all at once, which is why we have to dream a little bit, something every traveler should do.

We were lucky enough to visit Ecuador and Peru at the end of 2012 and lived briefly in Chile back in 2009, but have yet to truly tackle Central America, the home of this Dream Destination  – Belize.

Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1One of the best parts of traveling is hearing about places we have never been from passionate travelers around the world. Belize seems to keep popping up, so we’ve compiled a list of all the things we have to do when we finally get to Belize. From adventures to the food, excursions to unique hotels, we’ve mapped it all out – and there is so much we broke it in to two different parts!

Belize has the interesting classification as being the only English speaking country in its region while also being part of the Caribbean and Central America simultaneously which makes for a diverse and rich culture, ripe for exploring!

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1. Explore Mayan Ruins

Modern day Belize was the very center of the ancient Mayan civilization, and there is no better place to explore these ancient ruins anywhere in the world. Belize is home to the largest concentration of Mayan temples, artifacts, tunnels, paintings, etc. and you can get lost forever exploring these fascination sites. While the Mayan civilization might have reached its peak 1,000 years ago, decendants of the great Maya still live in Belize, including member of the Yucatec, the Mopan and the Ketchi tribes. 

While there are endless ruins to explore, the Caracol, Altun Ha and Lubaantun ruins are among the most popular and easy to explore. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the top 10 Maya sites to see in Belize and read more about each one. 

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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We have explored ancient temples in Guatemala and climbed the famous steps to Machu Picchu but still have so much exploring to do. There is something about ancient ruins that is endlessly fascinating, and if you let yourself explore and allow your imagination to run wild you are in for a real treat!

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2. Fun in the Sun

When we say head to the beach, we really mean it in Belize. With over 270 miles of stretching white sandy beaches, there are truly endless possibilities for water activities in Belize. Aside from the gorgeous beaches, Belize offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world – including the Belize Barrier Reef and the Great Blue Hole, one of the most draw dropping sites in the world, over 400 feet deep.

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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So whether you fancy simply laying on the beach, diving in for a refreshing swim, exploring the sea life with a snorkel or going all in for a dive, Belize has some of the best sea life in the world and we cannot wait to explore all it has to offer. The best beaches in Belize are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins Bay so take the time to map them out and don’t miss a single one!

Want to go kayaking? Just wait for our part two, where we delve into the jungles!

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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3. The Right Place to Stay

On every adventure the right accommodation is key, and Belize is no different. But with so much to explore and experience we have tried to find the best hotel options that offer both a comfortable and elegant place to stay and a full offering of all Belize has to offer without being over the top or insincere, which is hard to find.

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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Our pick for the best hotel to enjoy the sun and seaside fun is Hopkins Bay Belize, which seems to offer the best of both worlds. With comfortable 1, 2 and 3 bedroom bungalows, it is secluded away from tourist activity, right on the beach and close enough to town to not feet completely cut off from the world, while remaining private and quiet.

While located right on the beach, they offer great fishing, diving and snorkeling tours while also offer complete caving, ziplining and Mayan ruin tours, a list so long we’ll never get through it.

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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Hopkins bay also offers some really great ways to interact with the local Garifuna people in the village just minutes away. Take a Garifuna drumming lesson and learn the rhythms of the village or jump on the back of a bicycle and join in on a cultural immersion tour, both will leave you with special memories of the native people of Belize.

 

4. The Food!

No matter where we travel in the world we are always on the lookout for the most fresh, authentic and real local food we can find, we’ve even taken Thai cooking classes in Chiangmai just to learn how to make a few of our favorite dishes. With the rich diversity of the Central American and Caribbean influences, Belize truly has a unique and absolutely delicious cuisine.

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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We are most excited to try Serre la sus, soup made from coconut milk, onions and fish, which sounds very similar to our favorite Thai soups. Obviously the seafood is of huge popularity, which only makes us more excited to try their local seafood dishes, especially the lobster.

Huge fans of spice and pepper, we’ll be putting local Habanero Pepper Sauce on just about everything and washing it all down with a local ginger beer, hows that for a kick to your palette! (We might even have to add in a bit of world famous Belizian rum!)

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Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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On part two of our Dream Destination – Belize series, we’ll explore the jungle, find one of the most hidden and beautiful hotels, jump in canoes and find some true wildlife!

What are your dream destinations around the world? Leave a comment below and let us know where you want to get lost, explore, make memories and when you plan to get there!

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Images provided in part by Flicklr via BrettMike Heller and Shezamm

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

4 Ways to Travel Healthier

4 Ways to Travel Healthier

 

Are you “one of those people” who always comes back from vacation with a flu or cold? Can you never sleep on hotel beds no matter how comfortable they claim to be? Does it seem like you get back from your trip more stressed and worse for wear compared to when you left? If that’s the case, you’re one of the many travelers who isn’t taking care of their health while discovering new adventures.

You would plan a holiday and leave your travel CPAP machine at home, but caring for your sleep apnea is right on par with not taking care of your subtler health concerns. For example, if you diligently take supplements in your “real life”, don’t forget to pack them in travel-friendly containers for your trip. Here are a few ways to make your next trip healthier and, ultimately, happier:

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1. Boost your immune system

There are many ways to keep your immune system healthy, so start doing so at least a month before you travel (and keep on with it afterward). One of the most effective and natural ways is to add turmeric to your daily diet. You can do this by sprinkling at least a teaspoon’s worth on your meals throughout the day or take a supplement of 800mg to ensure you’re getting the full benefits. Also get adequate amounts of Vitamin C (check the percentage on your multi-vitamin).

The one food we ALWAYS eat while traveling is yogurt. I don’t know about you, but I have a very sensitive tummy, and making sure to always keep enough good bacteria from yogurt in my system has proven time and time again to be the single best way to keep my body in check when I land in a new place.

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2. Stay hydrated

Did you know that, according to Medical Daily, the majority of Americans are dehydrated? This issue becomes exacerbated with long-haul flights where the moisture in the air is even sparser and a lot of people avoiding drinking water in an effort to avoid those cramped bathrooms. Instead, choose an aisle seat if you have a small bladder and fill up on H2O.

 

3. Always choose hotels with a gym

It’s a great excuse to avoid your workouts when you don’t have a free gym an elevator ride away. Even if it’s “just” 20 minutes on the elliptical each day, it’s better than nothing. In fact, the American Heart Association’s recommendation for weekly exercise is a lot more reasonable than many people think. Pack your lightest gym shoes (or wear them on the plane) and commit to sticking with some type of regime.

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4. Pack healthy snacks

Convenience foods usually aren’t the healthiest and many people over indulge on vacation (but not where it counts). Save those splurges for famous food carts, fine dining and other experiences, not raiding the vending machine. While packing a small bag of nuts or a protein bar is simple enough, few people actually take the time to make sure they have a quick, healthy snack while they are traveling and instead just settle for airport meals or convenient store bites to eat – never a good idea. Traveling is way more taxing on our bodies and immune systems so always give your body the best shot to stay healthy so you can enjoy your entire trip!


Traveling healthy can be just as easy as traveling any other way. It just requires a little prep work.

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.Jenna is a freelance writer who loves the outdoors, fashion, and relaxing with her family. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

A Thrill-Seekers Guide to Morocco

A Thrill-Seekers Guide to Morocco

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Morocco is a truly enchanting corner of the globe, full of endless surprises and breathtaking sights. However, for those who wish to do more than just admire the scenery, you may be surprised to learn that Morocco has plenty of ‘white knuckle’ potential for thrill seekers to enjoy too.

While Marina and I were only able to quickly visit Casablanca and Tangier earlier this year, we absolutely loved the two cities and it got us thinking – what else is there in Morocco to explore? It turns out there is tons!

The Adventure holiday experts at Encounters Travel allow travellers to soak up every aspect of Morocco’s rich and exquisite culture from its colourful world-class cuisine to its many historic imperial cities and impressive mountain summits – and as far as the latter is concerned, the more daring type of traveller will not be disappointed by Morocco’s more adventurous side. Here’s our rundown of some of the extreme experiences on offer in Morocco – not to be missed by any self-confessed adrenaline junkie!

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A Thrill-Seekers Guide to Morocco

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Explore the Sahara

Many who visit Morocco will not always get a chance to see the Saharan desert and an even larger majority will miss out on the chance to delve deep and explore one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders in all its glory. The iconic Saharan sand dunes consist of two main areas known as Erg Chegaga and Erg Chebbi and to take a tour across this remarkable desert as the locals do is to step into a dream. Riding out on camels at sunset, visiting hidden caves and canyons and resting from the day’s trek beneath a blanket of stars, a Saharan trail provides a unique and exhilarating camping experience like no other.

 

Go surfing in Agadir   

The region of Agadir is a hidden gem of Morocco. Sheltered from the stormy weather that sweeps across the North from time to time, it boasts a pleasant climate all year round – and is home to one of the best surfing spots in the world. Situated on a seemingly endless coastline, Agadir is unlike anywhere else in Morocco and is nothing short of a haven for water sports enthusiasts. The nearby bays appear to have been designed specifically with surfers in mind, providing waves to suit all abilities from gentle to incredibly challenging swells. Surf’s up!

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A Thrill-Seekers Guide to Morocco

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Climb to Toubkal in winter

Mount Toubkal is one of the highest summits in North Africa so if you’re prepared to tackle the dizzying heights and spectacular views, this is a trekker’s paradise. This amazing 7-8 hour round-trip takes you across the twin peaks of Ouanoukrim to Toubkal, covering the two highest peaks in Northern Africa. The trek certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted and previous experience with ice axes is required so if you have the mountaineering know-how, this stunning ascent is sure to rank pretty highly on your bucket list of worldwide treks.

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

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