When traveling to Belize you run the risk of dealing with the rainy season to save money or waiting until the high season that begins in mid November -- when tourists flock to this Central American Xanadu and prices go up, up, up. As loyal readers know, we always choose the former. What's a little water? Look to these recently announced fall fares and package deals.
American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300; www.aa.com) has some special fall fares to Belize and other Central American destinations. A round-trip fare from Baltimore to Belize City starts from $240; from Charlotte $336; from New York $364; and from Washington, D.C. only $247. These fares are good for travel from August 29 to November 11, 2005. Reservations must be booked and tickets bought within 24 hours of the reservations, but no later than midnight September 30. A three-night minimum stay is required with a maximum stay of 30 days allowed. Security fees and departure taxes of up to $157 are not included in the base price of flights. To see the full listing of sale fares, simply click here to head to AA's site.
Once in Belize, you can puddle jump to most inland and island destinations in the country. A few of the very tiny cayes can be reached only by boat. Start your Belize experience at www.travelbelize.org. The site, which has vastly improved over the past two years and had a recent redesign, is the official site of the Belize Tourism Board. It lists activities, maps, airline information for getting to Belize and hopping around once you arrive, has a hotel search engine, and provides links to some travel operators.
The Toucan Trail (www.toucantrail.com) is a budget travel site to Belize that has over 160 hotel properties coming in under $60 a night. While most of the hotels are Spartan, you don't need much in Belize. Telephones are rarely in the rooms, and guests are advised to go through the front desk for their stateside calling. Rates at hotels such as Ruby's Beachfront Guest House (tel. +011 501/226-2063; www.toucantrail.com/Rubys-Hotel.html) on Ambergris Caye, the most popular and crowded island in Belize, range in price from $20 to $49 per night. Located on Ambergris Caye's main thoroughfare, Front Street in San Pedro Town, the hotel sits in the middle of the major tourist scene where you'll find dining and drinking options. Waterfront rooms look out on the Caribbean and Belize's claim to fame, its great barrier reef. As with most to all hotels on Ambergris Caye, the staff can hook you up with daytrips to neighboring cayes for fishing, SCUBA diving and snorkeling.
Shark Ray Alley (www.ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/parksharkrayalley.html) is a particular unnerving section of the barrier reef where snorkelers can swim amongst harmless (but huge) nurse sharks and gigantic stingrays. While in Ambergris Caye, the food is a simple blend of Caribbean and Mexican flavors with a tinge of Jamaican spice. Be sure to hit the Jambel Jerk Pit (tel. +011 501/226-3303) for some jerk shrimp. You can also bite into the Thai chicken wings by the pool at the luxurious Victoria House (tel. +011 501/226-2067; www.victoria-house.com), by far the island's most beautiful hotel property. Be advised, flip-flops are dressy on Ambergris Caye, where tourists and Belizeans alike putter around on electric golf carts.
For a more remote island getaway, Caye Caulker (www.gocayecaulker.com) is a bohemian escape where the no-shoes, no-shirt rules don't apply. The water is so clear around Caye Caulker you can spot a starfish from twenty feet away, and you can walk the entire length of the caye in half an hour. Hotels on Caye Caulker are more like boarding houses. The Auxillou Beach Suites (tel. +011 501/226-0370; www.auxilloubeachsuites.com) is a quiet place (all the hotels on Caulker are quiet), where during the dead of night -- which happens at about 9pm -- you can hear the gentle sway of the Caribbean. Fall rates at the hotel from September 1 to October 31, 2005 start at around $80 per night. An eight-day/seven-night "Inland and Island" package starts from $999 per person based on double occupancy includes all accommodations at the Auxillou, a full day of manatee watching, a snorkeling trip, cave tubing and a full-day tour of a Mayan ruin site. Air transportation from Belize International Airport to Caye Caulker on one of Belize's two inland airlines, Mayan Air or Tropic Air, is also included in the price. (Please note: airfare to Belize is not included in this price). Go to www.gocayecaulker.com/serv.html for a full listing of Caye Caulker hotels. You can also reach Caye Caulker via Belizean Water Taxi or boat. When on Caye Caulker, you should catch local troubadour Dennis Wolfe's show at the Oceanside bar. Wolfe's tune Just Another Gringo Belize is a sort of autobiographical ode to saying sayonara to life in the big city and choosing a life strumming away at the guitar in the Caribbean.
Chat it up with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Belize Message Boards today.