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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!

.Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1 Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1Dream Destination - Belize, Part 1

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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!

Hotel Review: Phuket Arcadia Hilton

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There are many beautiful places around the world and after visiting many of them, Phuket, Thailand will always be one of my favorites. Nothing beats the beautiful ocean and island lifestyle you can find in Phuket, not to mention the amazing Thai food, one of Jeff and my favorites. And just because we lived in Phuket, doesn’t mean we didn’t also enjoy some of the best hotels the island had to offer. I will always treasure the days that we would spend poolside at the Phuket Arcadia Hilton.

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The Spa treatment Villa

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If you’re looking for a 5 star resort experience, look no further. The Phuket Arcadia Hilton is located in the beautiful town of Karon Beach in Phuket. Karon is a great family city in Phuket full of shopping, great restaurants and a gorgeous beach. It is very centrally located to many of the other popular beaches so you can just jump on a motorbike and drive down to Kata or Rawai in the south or head north for a nigh out on the town in Patong.

My favorite part of the Phuket Arcadia Hilton is the Ocean Beach Club Pool, which has the beautiful Andaman Sea as a backdrop. While you’re laying poolside drinking a Piña Colada you can oversea the beautiful ocean in Karon Beach. The pool chairs are extremely comfortable and there are umbrellas just in case it gets too hot. Some of the pool chairs are even in the sand or you can relax in a private cabana and watch the sun set. They play lots of fun music and it’s a perfect place to relax or get ready for a night out!

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King Deluxe Plus Garden

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If you’re looking for something more family oriented, don’t worry the Phuket Arcadia Hilton has something for everyone! They have three pools all together and the Garden Pool is perfect for families to have some fun and even has a great water slide! The third pool is the Seafarer Pool, which is a calmer pool for those looking to just sit back and relax. You can order food or drinks at any of the three pools.

If you’re looking for something else don’t worry there is plenty to do at the Phuket Arcadia Hilton! There is a golf course, a great fitness center, a spa, a jogging track, playground and plenty of activates you can join in on.

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Marquee Lawn

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After a long day of events and swimming, your guest room or suite will not leave you disappointed. Each room has either a ocean view or garden view and have everything you would need for your home away from home. They even have laundry services, childcare and cribs available for the little ones.

Phuket is a great place to visit and after living there for the past two years I have fallen in love with this little tropical island. Phuket is very diverse and really does have something for everyone and staying at the Phuket Arcadia Hilton will only make your experience better. The hotel has everything you would ever need and is located in the great little town of Karon, our home away from home.

Book your room now, as there are currently great rates across Asia Pacific with Hilton Hotels from as low as £28!

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Dinner at Ocean Beach Club

 

 

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