JAX FAX Magazine was the trade sponsor for Belize’s biennial tourism show - BETEX. This year, 400 travel agents attended the tradeshow, meeting with over 50 Belizean suppliers. The agents also had the choice of several themed, 3-day post show fam trips. All of the agents JAX FAX spoke with were impressed with the event and the Belize tourism offerings. Following the BETEX tradeshow, delegates were flown to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye for a final dinner and reception at the Sunbreeze Resort.
a Water Sport Haven
Ambergris Caye, located just a 30 minute flight from Belize City, is the kickoff point for water sports enthusiasts. Just one mile offshore is the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef, providing excellent opportunities for scuba, snorkeling and fishing. Golf carts, bikes and boats are the primary means of transportation on this island, which has a decidedly laid back vibe. Mornings filled with water sports are followed by afternoons floating in an inner tube with a cooler of beer at JAX FAX favorite - Palapa Bar. Since we first reported on Ambergris 15 years ago, the sand streets have been paved in cobblestone and a bridge now connects the Northern part of the island, once accessible only by boat. Most accommodations on Ambergris are beachfront with easy proximity to town, including the Mayan Princess, which offers an in-town location and a beautiful stretch of sandy beach.
Caves Branch is in the interior of Belize, about one and one half hours from Belize City. Adventure activities here include: cave tubing and exploration, zip lining, rappelling, horseback riding, wildlife/birding tours and archeological tours. This trip, JAX FAX went cave tubing for the first time, and it is highly recommended. Access to some caves is water level dependent, but in all cases, it involves a float down a river into the mouth of a cave. Once in the cave, provided headlamps are activated and an exploration into Mayan culture begins. This can involve both tubing and climbing through the caves to view Mayan fire pits, sculptures and even skulls and bones. Lunch inside the cave is usually included as well.
Placencia - The Best of Both Worlds
Placencia is south of Belize City on the coast, and until recently was only accessible by air or four-wheel drive. A new highway has been completed and the sleepy fishing village is waking up. New developments line the highway leading into the town, yet the town itself still has a very quaint feel. Numerous dive shops take scuba and snorkel enthusiasts to uninhabited cayes and other dive spots located several miles offshore. JAX FAX spent the day at Laughing Bird Caye, a government owned small island with strict regulations to protect the reef ecosystem found off its shores. A 45-minute boat ride from Placencia, this is a great spot for your clients to practice their snorkeling and beach lounging skills. Other activities in Placencia are sport fishing, both deep water and flats, and sea kayak camping, which involves sea kayaking to, and camping on offshore cayes. Placencia is also less than an hour drive from the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, home of the endangered Belize jaguar.
Belize has something to offer everyone who enjoys adventure travel, and it is easy to experience the different faces of Belize in one trip. A minimum of a 7-night trip is recommended, spending 3-4 nights either on Ambergris Caye or in Placencia, and another 3-4 nights in the interior in Caves Branch for adventure activities, or San Ignacio for archeological tours. For information contact the Belize Tourism Board at www.belize