Just back from: Guatemala and BelizeSophie Barber - Travel Expert
Our Real Latin America Expert
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Senior Travel Consultant Sophie tells us all about her recent trip to Belize and Guatemala.
What country/countries did you visit?
How did you get there?
I flew with United Airlines via Houston. I was a bit worried about the transit via Houston but it worked out well and was easy to follow, if a little onerous going through US passport and immigration!
We flew into Guatemala City and headed to the colonial town of Antigua before flying north to the Mayan site of Tikal. Then we crossed the border into Belize to explore the forest and jungle, ending up on Ambergris Caye - a Caribbean island paradise!
Have you been before?
Only to Antigua about 12 years ago.
Which are your favourite...
Place: Tikal - it is one of the most impressive ruins I've ever seen. Standing on top of one of the giant pyramids overlooking the jungle canopy was very impressive.
Hotel: Victoria House on Ambergris Caye. The hotel is just beautiful and there didn't seem to be too many people there so we had the infinity pool to ourselves most days.
Excursions: Snorkelling in Shark Ray Alley near Ambergris Caye. Even though the sharks are harmless nurse sharks and not interested (or so I was told) in a human snack for lunch, it still got the adrenalin pumping to be swimming with 6 feet long sharks.
What was the most memorable moment?
Flying into Ambergris Caye on the short hop from the mainland is exactly how I imagined paradise to be, clear blue water stretching for as far as the eye can see lapping up against the white sandy beaches just inviting you to relax.
Were there any surprises along the way?
Crossing the border from Guatemala to Belize was so much easier than I thought. Our Guatemalan guide dropped us off, we walked with our case to get our passports stamped and then walked through to Belize to meet our Belizean guide!
What tips do you have for travellers wanting to visit the same destinations?
Pack lightly - you end up not needing all the clothes anyway as it's usually warm.
Is there anything indispensible to pack or prepare for?
Insect repellent. Even though we didn't encounter too many mosquitoes, the sand flies in Belize can be a bit of a pain, so protecting against them is a good idea.
Any local snacks, dishes or drinks that should be sampled?
Belkin beer in Belize. Seafood in general is very fresh.
Any restaurant or bar recommendations?
Near to Victoria House is a roadside shack called Robin's Kitchen that serves the most delicious jerk and curried chicken. It's cheap and cheerful but very tasty!
Sum up your trip in a sentence?
Colonial towns, Mayan sites, Belizean jungle and Caribbean beach - what a combination!
Visit the same places as Sophie on our Signature Guatemala & Belize: Culture & Caribbean holiday.