Where will the road take YOU?

Destination Diaries

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By Angela Ash

Belize is located in Central America, nestled between Guatemala and Mexico, with lush, tropical vegetation and some of the most impressive Mayan ruins in existence. With jungles brimming full of life and the Barrier Reef to explore, there is also never a shortage of activities for the nature lover. 

And yes, it is also home to the beautiful beaches of San Pedro, immortalized by Madonna's hit song "La Isla Bonita".

With so many exciting options, it is difficult to decide exactly how to spend a week, much less a day.  However, the history buff that lives inside my brain begs for Mayan ruins.



Xunantunich is a true wonder to behold.  Perched atop a hill and overlooking the Mopan River and the Cayo District, this site is literally surrounded by natural beauty.  However, it is for its history that visitors flock to Belize to witness its majesty.

Xunantunich was a Mayan ceremonial site during the Classic Period, and hosts more than 25 temples and palatial dwellings.  The largest structure is 130 feet tall and is called "El Castillo", or most fittingly, "the Castle".  From the top, visitors can even see into neighboring Guatemala.

Visiting such a place fills one with absolute awe.  It is amazing to think that the ancient Mayans built such magnificent offerings, with only their hands and a few crude instruments.  Climbing them and looking in detail at each stone... each symbol... is truly breathtaking. 

And getting there is an adventure in itself.  Vehicles and passengers on foot are carried across the river to Xunantunich by means of a hand-cranked ferry. 


A visit is like stepping back in time to a place where even the ordinary is extraordinary and magical. 

The next attraction on the list is simple.  Known for having the world's only jaguar preserve, I am just dying to see them up close, and I know just the place.



The Belize Zoo is the zoo that you always imagined, bust somehow just never managed to stumble across. This wonderful habitat was founded in 1983 as a place to house a group of animals used in documentary film making.   

Today it houses over 150 animals over almost 30 acres, and the coolest part is that they are all native to Belize!  And in staying with its origins, it keeps animals that have been abandoned, orphaned, injured and unable to be returned to the wild, or sent to the Belize Zoo. 

This is not your average concrete and faux swimming pool establishment.  Expect to see animals in their natural surroundings, often just feet away.


Make this a definite stop on your Belize to-do list, and fall in love with jaguars, monkeys, and macaws... oh my!


Now, if you are in Belize and hunger calls, then you have no choice but to visit Hode's Place, the absolute best food in Belize!

Hode's Place is conveniently located in San Ignacio, close to several attractions, as well as in proximity to the Market.  The setting is beautiful, with a real "island flair".  There is even a playground for the children! 

But what sets this eatery apart is the food! With everything from steaks, seafood, fajitas, burritos, and burgers, the variety is fantastic, offering something for everyone.  The dishes are all prepared with fresh ingredients, and come to the table begging to be devoured. 


A daily special is also offered, and we just happened to be lucky enough to dine on glazed chicken day.  The sauce was literally mouth-watering!

For a better peak into the sumptuous food offered, take a peek at the full MENU.

Remember, when in Belize, visit Hode's Place.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to leave with an empty stomach!


                                                                                                                              Lascelle Tillett  

If you are even thinking about visiting Belize, your very first contact should be with S & L Tours and Travel!

I can not even begin to express how impressed I am with this company.  Our professional guide, Lascelle, was waiting early for us to arrive, and already had a plan to stop for plenty of water for our tour.  This was just a small indication as to the level of personal attention that we would receive throughout the day. 

Belize is a beautiful, exotic location that could fill a thousand picture postcards, and S & L Travel and Tours knows exactly where to go, when to avoid the crowds, and how to experience Belize to the fullest with the time that is available.  They have been operating for over 30 years, and it is easy to see why they have won award after award.  They not only offer day tours for the cruise passenger or the day tripper, but extended vacations, airport transfers, and all types of travel.  Whether you want to spend the afternoon cave tubing or exploring long-forgotten cities, S & L Travel and Tours has the itinerary to fit your needs!


To find even more information on Belize, visit the Belize Tourism Board.  This has got to be one of the most extensive, informative, user-friendly travel sites available.  Filled to the brim with everything that anyone could possibly need to know about beautiful Belize, there is even a fantastic Travel Guide that visitors can download. Really... how cool is that? 

Whether you are visiting Belize for the day as a port excursion, or you have a month-long getaway in mind, have no doubt that you have selected the perfect destination!