5 Reasons to Visit Belize

A few years back, I spent a couple of months teaching and traveling in Belize. Before I left for the country, I basically knew nothing about it.

For those who have never heard of it, it’s a tiny little country around the size of New Hampshire and with a population of less than 400,000 people. Although it may be small, there’s a ton of stuff to do.

Here are five reasons why you should visit Belize.

 

#1 You Can Get Around With English

For those who don’t speak a language aside from English, traveling in a foreign country can be a little bit intimidating. While many people in a lot of countries speak some English, it can still be tough to communicate exactly what you want or need. However, you don’t need to worry about that if you visit Belize. 

In fact, English is their national language.

As a former British colony, the language that they learn and use in the public school system is English. With that said, you’ll likely hear a bunch of different languages depending on where you are in the country. Belizean Creole is probably the language that’s used most widely, but you’ll also hear a lot of Spanish depending on where you are (in addition to more indigenous languages).

 

#2 The Local Culture is Still intact

In a world that is increasingly globalized (read: Americanized), it’s refreshing to visit a country in which the local culture is still very much intact. In Belize, you won’t find many American establishments.

As of 2016, there were 36,899 McDonalds restaurants in 120 different countries… but not one in Belize.

You can basically count on beans, rice, and seafood everywhere you go. Despite not having the best food scene in the world, you truly leave everything that you have at home and enter into a different world when you travel to Belize.

 

 

#3 The Beaches are Incredible

Whether you’re in the north or south of Belize, you’re always close to beautiful beaches when you visit this country. There are beaches like Placencia in the south with a seemingly endless amount of islands (cayes) that you can visit. I only made it to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, but you also have St. George’s Caye, Tobacco Caye, Long Caye, and many many more.

Also, if you’re into diving, you can also visit one of the most famous diving sites in the world: the Great Blue Hole. Although I didn’t get to visit while I was there, I’ve only heard amazing things.

Seriously, look it up.

 

#4 It’s Easy to Travel

Getting places in Belize is simple.

There are basically only five major paved roads, and the country is tiny. If you need to go somewhere, just hop onto one of the many buses that run throughout the country. On these old school buses from the U.S., you can get almost anywhere in the country in less than a day of traveling, and for a pretty reasonable price too. Just a fair warning though, the buses can get pretty crowded during peak times (and by that I mean strangers basically sitting on top of you).

If you want something more comfortable, you can always take the taxis (or a helicopter if you’re really feeling yourself).

 

#5 Nature

Let’s put it this way; Belize is not developed.

They aren’t really an industrialized nation, they don’t have a ton of commerce, and their population density is super low. While this doesn’t make for a prosperous nation (not yet, at least), it does mean that much of their nature has been left untouched. As wildlife is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in the country, the government works hard to protect their forests, wild animals, and birds.

In fact, Belize is home to the world’s only (as far as I know) jaguar preserve.

If you want to explore beautiful rainforest and incredible animals in their natural habitats, Belize is the place for you.

 

The Takeaway

Although a little-known country to many, Belize is one of the most underrated places that I’ve been. It doesn’t get nearly as much love on the tourist circuit as somewhere like Costa Rica or Nicaragua, but it’s one of the most unique countries in the world in that much of the country is relatively untouched.

If you want a unique, authentic travel experience, you should definitely visit Belize.

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

Top 5 Things To Do In Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is an often overlooked city in the Midwest, but for me, it’s certainly worth a visit. If you find yourself in the steel city, don’t miss my top five things to do in Pittsburgh!

Visit the Phipps Conservatory

The Phipps Conservatory is ranked No. 2 on TripAdvisor for a reason. The place is perfect for a visit when you’re craving some green space in the crowded city. It has rooms full of flowers, stunning glass sculptures, and even a large outdoor botanical garden. When you’re done exploring, make sure you don’t miss the award-winning cafe for a snack before you leave.

Educate Yourself

Did you know Pittsburgh has over 30 museums? No matter what you’re into, the city has a museum to fit your tastes. The eclectic variety includes the popular (and free!) Bicycle Heaven museum, which is billed as “the world’s largest bicycle museum and bike shop.” For history lovers, there’s the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and of course, art aficionados can’t miss the Andy Warhol Museum, which features seven floors of the Pittsburgh native’s iconic work.

 

Discover Events at the Convention Center

Ok, this is a 100 percent true story. When my sister and I visited Pittsburgh, it started to rain, so we took shelter at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It was huge, and we started wandering through it. We walked through empty floors and rooms, and then came out in … the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series. What? It was a serious event, and people were even winning trips to Tokyo! I’ll never forget stumbling across that. If you’re in Pittsburgh, check out some of the unique events on the calendar this year at the Convention Center, like the Pittsburgh Pet Expo or The Fun & Grub Drinkfest aPalooza. And if you’re in Pittsburgh FOR a convention, use this list of hotels nearby to make your stay as convenient as possible.

Catch a Game

I’m from Ohio, so I’m a diehard Bengals fan, and the Steelers are our biggest rivals. However, cheering against a team is almost as much fun as cheering for one, which is why a visit to the Heinz Field for a football game is definitely on the list. If football isn’t your thing, you can also catch a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game or see the Penguins play hockey at the PPG Paints Arena.

Eat and Drink!

No one does craft beer like the Midwest. If you’re a beer buff (like me!), you’re in luck. There are tons of different breweries to try, and even whole tours dedicated to taking you behind the scenes at the best ones. Pittsburgh’s food game is on point as well. Enjoy an Italian sandwich at the world-famous Primanti Brothers, and, of course, don’t forget to try the Pittsburgh staple: pierogies!

 

Pittsburgh isn’t just a steel city anymore. There are many amazing parks, museums, restaurants, and events to make a weekend in the city well worth the trip. Next time you visit Pittsburgh, cross my top five things to do off your bucket list!

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

Detroit’s Best Breweries & Cafes: Drinking My Way Through the Motor City

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news, but Detroit is now a food mecca. Earlier this year, National Geographic listed Detroit as one of the world’s “6 Unexpected Cities for the Food Lover,” and media blew up with stories of the city’s food revival. I’ve been singing the praises of Detroit’s best breweries and coffee shops for years, though, so I was not surprised.

Detroit’s economy has recently been doing better, the crime rate has dropped, and new development is popping up all over the city.  After decades of decline, this really is something to celebrate. And how to do I usually celebrate good news? By visiting Detroit’s best breweries and cafes to grab a drink of course! There are no shortages of amazing craft breweries and coffee shops throughout the Detroit Metro for you to explore and fall in love with.

 

Detroit’s Top 4 Craft Breweries

Starting in the Grosse Pointes you’ll find my absolute favorite brewery in the region (and honestly, maybe in the world): Atwater in the Park. I’m working on trying every beer on their rotating list and can so far highly recommend their Whango Mango Wheat and the Nitro Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. Atwater in the Park is one of Detroit’s best breweries because it has fabulous outdoor seating, trivia nights, and the most sumptuous giant soft pretzels you will ever come across in your life. Oh and did I mention it’s in a converted church? Doesn’t get more hip than that! 

Up in the hipster, hippy city of Ferndale, Axle Brewing Company’s new Livernois Tap has a to-die for brunch menu. I couldn’t stop exclaiming out loud in joy when chowing down on their French onion eggs rolls which paired well with a Dual Citizen cream ale. Livernois Tap also has great outdoor seating which obviously is a prerequisite for my favorite breweries.

Another one of Detroit’s best breweries is in the suburb of St. Clair Shores. Whenever I’m passing through, I like to stop at Baffin Brewing Company. Though they don’t serve food in house, there are often food trucks parked right outside for a quick bite. At the Baffin Brewing Company I usually go for a Backcrossing Baffin Brown and sit right at the window for people watching.

Finally, back in Midtown Detroit, my happy place is Motor City Brewing Works. This place has is all: outdoor seating, good views, piping hot brick over pizza, and an ice-cold pitcher of Ghettoblaster, an English style mild ale. Honestly, what’s not to like?

 

Detroit’s Can’t Miss Coffee Shops

Now on to my other favorite brew: coffee. By far and away, Detroit’s hippest coffee shop is Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown. This cafe has amazing lavender lattes and is a good place to study in the day. In the evening, you can also go for wine or a craft beer. Essentially Great Lakes Coffee hits all my favorite things.

Also in the neighborhood, Fourteen East is a cute cafe to get delicious chai lattes or French press. 

A few blocks away is Avalon International Breads. This popular coffee shop serves famous (and delicious) sea salt chocolate chip cookies that go great with hot coffee.

Downtown, my favorite place to go is Urban Bean Co. My favorite aspect of this cafe is the lofted seating, which makes a perfect place to people watch, study, and enjoy a cappuccino.

In Indian Village, a beautiful neighborhood on the east side, The Red Hook is where it’s at. Make sure to check out the murals both within the café and across the street.

Further east in the Grosse Pointe suburbs, Cornwall Bakery and Morning Glory Café are my go to hangout spots. Cornwall features Rendezvous with Tea, a local brand sourced from all over the world and has amazing shortbread. Morning Glory Café has beautifully decorated cupcakes along with great outdoor seating.

 

There you have it, Detroit’s best breweries and cafes. If you are not packing your bags for Motown after reading this post, well, you can’t be saved.  Detroit has to be seen to be believed. Follow your heart (and your stomach) to a region that’s finally experiencing their much deserved renaissance and rebirth, where the brews flow freely and the patios are always packed.

-R

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

Why You Need to Visit Colorado’s Garden of the Gods

The short answer is because it’s amazing. The long answer is below…

 

 

Colorado’s Garden of the Gods is a free city park outside of the city of Colorado Springs. If you are based in Denver on your trip, the Garden of the Gods is only a short drive away. Like Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park, the destination makes for an easy day trip.

The park is called the Garden of the Gods because the surveyor who discovered it thought it would make a great place for a beer garden (it really would tho). His partner disagreed, and stated that if it was a beer garden, it would be a garden fit for the Gods, and that’s how its name came about. The park was actually kept as private property for years, until 1909 when the owner died and donated his land to the city of Colorado Springs. Now, it’s one of Colorado’s most beautiful features, and an awesome day trip from Denver.

 

 

Reasons to Visit Colorado’s Garden of the Gods

  • It’s FREE
  • It’s unique and one of a kind
  • It’s a beautiful place to hike and climb
  • It’s less than an hour and a half drive from Denver
  • It’s open late, so it’s a perfect place to watch the sunset or enjoy a nighttime picnic
  • Inside the park, you can also visit the “Balancing Rock” and “Siamese Twins” formations
  • It’s close to Colorado Springs, so you can visit the city for dinner and drinks after you trip
  • Pikes Peak, on of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountain range, is only an hour drive from Garden of the Gods, making it the perfect second spot to combine with your day trip.

 

 

Daniel and I had an amazing day trip to Colorado’s Garden of the Gods during our November honeymoon. If you’re in the Denver area, don’t miss this beautiful and unique city park!

 

 

 

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

The Perfect Day Trip to Boulder, Colorado

My one year wedding anniversary is coming up, and with it I’ve found myself reminiscing on my wedding and my absolutely perfect honeymoon. Daniel and I had a fall wedding (of course, it’s the best season of the year). Afterwards, we flew out to Denver, Colorado for our six day honeymoon ’cause all inclusive resorts just aren’t really our thing. A day in Rocky Mountain National Park was the main draw for us, but all of the small towns, hiking, parks, and breweries in Colorado are amazing. There is so much around Denver to see and do. One of my favorite excursions from the city was our day trip to Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder is known for being a college town, and definitely has a major hippy/artsy vibe going on. It is only an hour drive from Denver, so we decided to check it out. Here are my tips for having a PERFECT day trip to Boulder, Colorado.

 

Day Trip to Boulder: Our Itinerary

Daniel and I started our day trip to Boulder with a late brunch at Snooze cafe. The breakfast food was phenomenal and super filling. I had the eggs benedict on hash browns (yum) and Daniel had a mixed platter with different flavored pancakes, like sweet potato and apple pie. Seriously delicious!

 

 

After we were stuffed to the brim, we decided to check out downtown Boulder. The main strip has tons of amazing cafes, bakeries, restaurants, breweries, and shops selling handmade art, foods, drinks, and other interesting things. Parts of it are closed off to traffic too, making it super communal. It had a great atmosphere even on a November weekday, so I can only imagine what the vibe is like on summers and weekends. Wandering down the cobblestone streets and through the little shops was one of my favorite parts of our day trip to Boulder.

 

Next, we left downtown and drove just up the street to visit the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. Maybe this is just a quirk of mine, but I love visiting college campuses in new cities when I can. They’re always manicured to perfection and boasting beautiful buildings and happy students. It’s hard not to feel as carefree as they are when exploring a new campus! UC Boulder is no exception, and we had a great time walking through the green space and enjoying the views of the city and surrounding mountainsides.

 

Afterwards, we decided to head out to the famous flatiron mountains, which somehow looking back I failed to get a photo of (I am so ashamed). They’re very unique looking and look like they we’re sliced in half. Definitely a must see on your day trip to Boulder! There are also hiking trails around the mountains, but it was too late in the afternoon for us to start one so unfortunately we had to give it a pass.

 

 

The flatirons are right near Flagstaff Road, one of Boulder’s well known scenic drives. We took it up into the mountains for awesome views of Boulder, the valley, the flatirons, and surrounding peaks. The lookouts along the drive offer some amazing views and photo ops, especially as the sun started to set.

 

 

As evening set in, we returned to Boulder. For dinner, we hit up Riff’s Urban Fare for their amazing cocktail hour. It’s on the main strip in the heart of downtown, so we sat by the large windows watching the world go by. I splurged on the salmon, which was amazing, but they also had four, five, and six dollar plates to pair with their selection of $6 happy hour cocktails for a lighter option or shared dinner.

 

 

If you’re spending the night in Boulder, there are also tons of craft beer breweries to check out in the small town. If you’re not spending the night, Denver is only a one hour drive away, and has it’s own beer scene to tempt you 😉 Either way, a day trip to Boulder is a must do when you visit Colorado, and was one of my favorite days of my honeymoon! Don’t miss it!

 

All my love,

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

Rocky Mountain National Park Photo Diary

Did you know Daniel and I went to Colorado for our honeymoon? Yep, the flights were only $26 so it was a no brainer! When we arrived in Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park was our first stop. The park was only a two hour drive from the city, and is definitely one of the most stunning places I have EVER been in the United States. If you haven’t planned a trip to hike and camp in Rocky Mountain National Park yet, check out my photo diary and definitely add it to your bucket list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Out Our Latest Posts!

Pin It on Pinterest