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Put “Snorkel and Chill in Belize” on Your List

This story is part of a series from our recent travels to Belize. Click here to start at the beginning.

We wanted the full Belize experience. All five senses. We were willing to wake up early and get off the beaten path and push the boundaries of our comfort zone. And the day we spent on the water, I think I smiled the whole time. I’m no beach bum, but there’s something about the ocean that is pure magic. It’s full of unbelievable creatures who live in unbelievable conditions — and it’s all hidden from view if you stay in the boat.

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Instead of flights and transfers and a series of logistics, this was the day we walked straight out of our room, met a catamaran at the end of the dock, tossed our shoes into a bucket, and stretched out in the sun. We were in for a full day of sun, snorkeling — and rum punch.

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Dre, Bird Man, and Gilbert — our hosts and crew — spent the day telling us and showing us how much they love this place they call home. Their Belizean pride came through loud and clear as they described the reef — the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia — the people, the weather, and the imaginary cultural line they draw between the “intensity” of the Latino culture in Mexico and Guatemala — and the laid-back, Caribbean chill of Belize.

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Maybe my favorite photo of all time. It makes my heart smile.

Maybe my favorite photo of all time. It makes my heart smile.

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We stopped two different places south of Ambergris Caye to try our hand at snorkeling. Jeff had been before but Buddy and I were both newbies. Friends hooked us up with dummy-proof snorkeling gear before our trip and we were all set.

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First, at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the current was STRONG. Buddy didn’t love having to stay in a life jacket, tethered to Bird Man, but he enjoyed his first snorkeling experience. Second stop was a place known as Shark Ray Alley, filled with rays and nurse sharks showing off for us. The water was calm enough Colt could swim on his own. It was incredible.

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It won’t be my last snorkel, I assure you. And our underwater photography skills leave much to be desired… but WOW.

Back in the boat, it was nearly time to stop for lunch at a smaller island named Caye Caulker. As we pulled up to the dock, Dre urged us to gather ourselves and have a plan — storm clouds were rolling in.

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And just like that, the sky OPENED UP. We grabbed our shoes and the dry bag and hurried down the dock at Caye Caulker — looking for the nearest place we could hide from the storm and grab some lunch.

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The storm moved out nearly as quickly as it had arrived, and we settled into our table on the sand. Liz got her hair braided and we ordered three forms of lobster from the menu while the boys played in the water waiting on lunch.

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We took our sweet time enjoying lunch and drinks and by the time we headed back to the dock, the place was nearly empty. What had been standing room only as we hurried out of the rain, had cleared out and back into the sunshine.

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Now it was time for the long afternoon sail back to Ambergris Caye. We napped, we sang, we drank rum punch. We used all five senses to enjoy a beautiful Belizean day on the water.

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Dre, Jeff, Brian, Gilbert, Bird Man — a motley crew indeed.

It was the most chill day we spent in Belize. And one of the more chill days I’ve spent in a long time.

We may lose and we may win
though we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy
– The Eagles

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This story is part of a series from our recent travels to Belize. Click here for the next chapter.


We booked our excursion itinerary through Tuff E Nuff Dive Shop and Tours in Ambergris Caye, Belize. They “office” out of Coco Beach Resort, where we stayed, but they conduct tours across the area and into the mainland. They are AMAZING. We had to reschedule and rearrange after lost luggage, we were a sizeable party of six (including two kids), and they were incredible to work with. Jeff and I have hired guides many times in many places — and we know a professional, reliable group when we meet them. I would recommend the guys at Tuff E Nuff to anyone headed to Belize. Tell Rico Sarah sent you.

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