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May
30

Cheap Tickets to Belize-Experience the Carribean for less

Okay, okay, okay…ever heard of Glover’s Reef? Named after a pirate. Water as clear as an aquamarine. Eco-conscious. Cheap. Not full of drunk women with fake boobs and guys with wallets full of ones. Hello!!! It’s time to book your family cheap tickets to Belize City for the most lovely, relaxing vacation of a lifetime.

glovers reef atoll

glovers reef atoll

Glover’s Reef, about 28 miles from the coast of Belize, is one of the only true atolls in the Atlantic Ocean. Easy as heck to get there too, especially when we have cheap tickets to Belize City. Did you know It’s also the site of Belize’s largest “no-take” marine reserve, a 17,500-acre zone where all types of fishing are prohibited. The no-take zone makes up about 20 percent of the wider 87,000-acre Marine Protected Area here. Within 75 percent of the reserve, some types of fishing are allowed, although there are restrictions on the type of gear that can be used.

According to scientists here, the marine reserve at Glover’s Reef offers a test case for the viability of similar reserves around the world. They are now hoping to apply some of the conservation strategies here to make other places succeed.

protected sharks

protected sharks

Glover’s Reef is the southernmost of Belize’s three atolls. It’s 80-square-miles of a nearly continuous ring of brilliant coral, flanked on its southeastern curve by five tiny islands. The atoll is 18 miles long and 6 miles across at its widest point; to the east, the ocean bottom drops sharply and keeps on dropping, eventually to depths of 15,000 feet at the western end of the Caiman Trench, one of the deepest in the world.

Belize is known for its deep trenches and of course its water. The color of the water here is of a different caliber- like Hawaii on acid. it is becoming a serious travel hot spot, book your flights to Belize City before it becomes overdone.

Divers and snorkelers will find a fabulous wall surrounding the atoll, plus more than 700 shallow coral patches within the rainbow-colored lagoon. There are wreck dives and an abundance of marine life, especially turtles, manta rays, and all types of sharks, including reefs, hammerheads, and whale sharks.

belize

belize

The names of the dive sites speak for themselves: Shark Point, Grouper Flats, Emerald Forest Reef, Octopus Alley, Manta Reef, Dolphin Dance, and Turtle Tavern.

There is also fantastic paddling, sailing, and anything else you can dream up and for prices you would NOT associate with the Caribbean, especially if you go off-season. Here are the places to chose from:

Southwest Caye

isla marisol-pier-cabana

isla marisol-pier-cabana

The first bit of land you’ll reach from the mainland is owned by the Usher family, which runs the high-end, full-service Isla Marisol Resort (www.islamarisolresort.com) for serious divers and sport fishers. There are comfortable, equipped cabanas, or stay in the reef house. Many all-inclusive packages are available, so after you book your cheap tickets to belize city, check it out.

While you’re there, be sure to call Island Expeditions ( www.islandexpeditions.com), an adventure travel outfitter with a tent camp on the north tip of Southwest Caye. It’s a well-run, professional operation and its great to meet other travelers doing the same thing. Especially if you’re single.

Middle Caye

middle caye

middle caye

No accommodations here, unless you’re a Belize Fisheries Department ranger or a marine biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. If staying on one of the surrounding cayes, ask your host to come and see this incredible spot of pure paradise. Just to swim around this is worth a few flights to belize-city I swear to you.

Long Caye

Slickrock Adventures

Slickrock Adventures

Okay, now this looks like a blast! The 13 acres here form the gorgeous backdrop to Slickrock Adventures’ thatch-roof base camp (www.slickrock.com).  Slickrock has a veritable armada of kayaks, sailboards, and other water toys for beginners and experts alike. Guests stay in very private rustic beach cabins overlooking the reef and equipped with kerosene lamps, foam-pad mattresses, and great views. Outhouse toilets surrounded by palm leaf “walls”offer possibly the best views from a WC in the entire country. Book a trip to the island, or link the trip with wild inland adventures.

off the wall dive center

off the wall dive center

Off the Wall Dive Center (www.offthewallbelize.com) is a PADI 5-Star Resort, where you can stay on Long Caye in an ocean-front rustic cabana with access to a top-notch dive shop, gift shop, and yoga deck. Maximum capacity is 10 guests. Package prices include seven days’ lodging, boat transport, meals, diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaks, and stand-up paddle board. Many people book flights to belize city and come out here for the whale shark trips and PADI scuba certification courses.

Northeast Caye

Glover’s Atoll Resort and Island Lodge

Glover’s Atoll Resort and Island Lodge

This island is owned and run as Glover’s Atoll Resort and Island Lodge, a primitive island camp run by the Lomont family, which also has Glover’s Guest House in Sittee River (www.glovers.com.bz). Their 68-foot catamaran takes you from Sittee River to Glover’s most remote caye, where you will camp or shack up for the cheapest  and most amazing weekly rates on the atoll: US$149 for a week of camping, US$199 to stay in the dorm, US$249–299 for rustic thatch cabins perched over the water. These per-person prices include transport, a week’s worth of primitive lodging, use of the kitchen, and nothing more, not even water.

Show up at the guesthouse in Sittee River at 7 a.m. Saturday, and be prepared for the week. It’s best to bring your own food, drinking water, and a few camping basics or pay at least US$30/day to be served. I’m going with the $30 to be served. A dive shop and kayak rentals are also available and the snorkeling is out of this world.

But be prepared this is not an experience for everyone. You cannot be a prima dona out there. But if you’re interested in restoring your live of life, then book your cheap flights to belize city and head out to Glover’s Atoll.

Pamela hafekost manages the information team, responsible for developing find someone to write my college paper the careers service website and creating interactive resources

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