Exploring our backyard in a whole new way.
Imagine waves crashing at your doorstep, the Caribbean breeze as your air conditioning, and the Maya mountains as your wallpaper. Waterfalls are your private shower, and your back doors open directly onto a forest or a spectacular sunset. Living by campervan has been our liberator, taking us one step closer to the nature spectacle that is Belize.
As bloggers, my girlfriend Amber and I travel around the country a great deal. By the middle of 2017, however, the commute had become too frequent. Renting cars, paying for hotel rooms, and traveling back and forth to our home on San Pedro was taking its toll. We decided to change the way we adventure around Belize. Without much thought, we bought a campervan complete with a kitchenette, sofa beds, storage, and solar power, and we completed the gutting, insulation, and paneling. In January 2018, our van life explorations kicked off. The highlight? Experiencing the diverse cultures around the country. Belizeans are indeed a lively and welcoming bunch, and our campervan has brought us even closer to our people.
New eyes on Belize
Hopkins has the perfect streets with access to the water’s edge. Our van’s doors open wide to let the Caribbean breeze into our bedroom. The views keep us from doing anything but relaxing in this tranquil fishing village; no porch needed. Nearby, we take our kitchen onto the banks of the Sittee River and pitch a picnic on the grass beds. After stringing our hammocks high above the river, we watch canoes drift as fishermen cast their hand lines. Roaring Creek, inside the Belize Bird Rescue Sanctuary, gives us the privacy of a natural outside bath without worries of onlookers. The water is cold, but the nature views are worth it; no plumbing needed. In the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, we park next to a creek, cook in the wilderness, and marvel at the ceiling of constellations and galaxies in the clear night sky; no lights needed.
Every moment has been an incredible experience, and the three of us living in such a small space—including our 12 year-old Madi—challenging, but fun. Traveling around Belize is easy. Getting lost is part of the adventure, as we discover new destinations.
An ideal family getaway
Belize was made for family vacations, and we enjoyed them long before we started the van life. Outdoor activities and tours for children abound, even if the beaches could easily keep them busy. We’ve never had issues traveling with Madi—hotels and tours are accommodating for the most part, providing extra beds and carrying small-sized equipment, while numerous restaurants offer kids’ meals. Below are just a few of Madi’s favorite adventures to help you plan a memorable family trip.
Madi is 12, but younger children can zipline accompanied by an adult or a guide. Madi chickened out the first time we took her, but now she wants to go over and over again. Zipline over valleys, rivers, and high above the jungle canopy.
The Belize Zoo
Madi got to interact with the Tapir and Lucky Boy the Black Jaguar at “The Best Little Zoo in the World.” It’s a super cool zoo that rehabilitates injured wild animals.
Your kids will be dazzled at the sight of crawling iguanas at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel’s Green Iguana Conservation Project, an initiative to conserve the endangered green iguana. Ask about their “Adopt an Iguana Program” and the Iguana Kids Club, both of which raise funds to sustain the project and fund scholarships.
Madi loves the sea; if she could, she’d swim all day, every day. She enjoys snorkeling activities around the country, but her favorite sites are Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. It’s the best place to see nurse sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and schools of colorful fish.
Vacationing at home
Our family is Belizean, but we vacation in our country—a small speckle in the world, it’s filled with things to do and see, and diverse people to meet. We get excited when the weekend nears—sometimes we have an adventure planned, and other times we jump into the van and hit the highway. We may not know where we’re headed next, but we know Belize is perfect for family fun, and there’s always a great time waiting for us out there.