Well, this Portland Native, who has hardly traveled anywhere, is going to Belize. Woo hoo! It’s a solo trip to take in the sights, sounds, and culture of a beautiful country on my first international trip. You may be wondering how I settled on Belize for my first trip out of the country. Well, it was somewhat impulsive (read: I got a cheap flight and room deal right after I got my tax returns), but it also is home to some amazing fishing. Oh, did I mention I’ll be staying on Caye Caulker, an Island off the coast of the mainland in the Caribbean Sea? Have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean? I don’t know anything about the historical accuracy of the movies, but I can vouch for the prevalence of rum in the Caribbean. On my one, small, walkable little island, there are three (3!) distilleries! As if that’s not enough, they’re known for their lobster there as well. Okay, let’s recap: Fishing, check. Booze, check. Tropical setting, check. LOBSTER?!, check. Belize here I come!
Alright, now it’s clear what my life priorities are, let’s dig into what it takes for someone who’s never traveled to leave for paradise six weeks after her impulsive purchase.
- Well first, a passport. You’re not allowed to smile in passport photos, did you know that? So now I have another piece of identification that I look like I might mug someone in, cool. This was about $150, and it came in just over two weeks. Whew! The biggest thing I was stressed about, and I got it no problem.
- Vaccines. Here’s my first piece of advice for you if you’re new to international travel, visit cdc.gov for the area you plan to travel to. I’m presumably good on vaccines (my doctor couldn’t find my records in the system, so I told her I’m good to go… don’t be like me), but we both knew I still needed the Typhoid vaccine. It comes in pill form, and you take it over the course of eight days. Once the course of pills are finished, the vaccine is good for five years! Fun stuff!*
- Fishing! What am I going to do on this 8-days trip to the crystal clear shores of Caye Caulker? Fishing is a must, of course. Well this is where it gets even cooler. Belize is home to one of the largest and most diverse coral reefs. Fishcayecaulker.com boasts, “…the second largest barrier reef in the world, combined with untouched mangroves, shallow salt water flats, and deep offshore ledges, resulting in hugely diverse world class saltwater fishing.” Be still my heart. We’re talking wahoo, marlin, sailfish on the charters, snook fish in the mangroves, snapppers and jack fish near the reefs, and so much more. You can spear fish, shore fish, kayak fish, and/or buy a ticket for a charter trip where they often combine some snorkeling, lobster, or conch fishing. So many decisions, and that’s just choosing what I want to fish for! Of course, I’ll probably do them all, and then some. So I need to pick my fishing adventures, and also buy a fishing license. I also plan to fish without guides most of the time (all except for the big guys out on the ocean), so I’ll need to figure out where to buy some tackle, and rent kayaks for the areas like the mangroves.
- Zip lining and Cave Tubing. Seemingly unrelated activities, but they’re bundled together on Expedia, so why not! I hope I zipline by some sloths!
- Mayan ruins… YES! I love historical stuff. When I saw petroglyphs in Moab, my mind was blown. Even old cemeteries are interesting to me. To be in a place you could reach out and touch something that was created in a completely different time is so fascinating to me.
- Food and drink. Yeah, I’m gonna food, and I’m certainly going to drink. I don’t plan to plan for this… I’m just going to let it come at me. Come what may, I will be full and buzzed for most of this trip. God bless Belize!
- Other things? Yeah, there will be other things for sure. I plan to visit the zoo there, which is well known for their humane practices, and high rate of rehabilitation and release of animals that come to them. Sunbathing. Snoozing whenever I want by crystal clear water. All of these things are on the list.
Those were the big things to consider while I was scrambling to get everything in order for this impulse purchase. Of course I had to buy some clothes for sun protection, I have to make sure to refill any prescriptions before I leave, and of course find a babysitter for my furry kids! Well, at this point, I’m pretty much all put together for the trip, and will soon be in beautiful Belize! I can’t wait to share the photos and stories of my trip to Belize with you! Until then, tight lines!
*Update: The typhoid vaccine has some common side effects, it turns out. On the third pill I had a fever, a pounding headache, and was clammy for two days. When I asked Alexa what the side effect were, she assured me that the side effects of the vaccine were way better than actually getting typhoid… so Alexa kinda called me a baby, and is definitely a pro-vaxxer. You learn something every day!