Doing workaway programmes is a great way to travel cheaply by staying somewhere for longer, getting to know local life and learning new things. They are often described as cultural exchanges between locals and travellers. When I arrived at mine, I firstly met the lovely people I'd be working for, and was then unceremoniously dropped of at the volunteer house, on my own, to then find no wifi and a large ant infestation. It's all cultural, right? This preceded a week of bugs, no water and working in 35 degree heat.
If you head down south, away from the Caribbean vibes and backpacker hotspots of the islands, you'll find the petite village of Hopkins. This string of local houses, beachfront cabanas and vibrant bars and restaurants is lined with a long sandy beach and crystal clear water. With access to nearby national parks, a serene river trail and an abundance of diving and snorkeling, it's a brilliant place to visit.
Something that was high on my Belize Bucket List was diving on the reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. I definitely ticked it off and completed my Open Water PADI training throughout six dives on this stunning reef. I completely fell in love with diving, and with the small, characterful island of Caye Caulker, where I spent almost a week. I filled the rest of my days with hammocks, puppies and yoga and I loved it.
Sarteneja is affectionately known as the place where the sun sets on the water. It's the only place in Belize where you can witness this and it gave me some of the best sunsets I've ever seen. Not only that, this small fishing village, visited by few tourists, is a quiet respite from the bustling islands and vibrant towns around the country. There are only boats, animals and jungle here, and it was perfect.
San Pedro gave me my first impressions of Belize, ahead of spending almost 2 months in the country. Snorkeling in the area is well worth it for the abundance of life you'll see, mixed with the gorgeous clear water and a few cups of rum punch on board the boat.
In the past four and a half years I have been incredibly lucky and travelled to a number of different countries, enjoying so many brilliant experiences. My trips have ranged from a few days to three months and I have never found it difficult to pack my bag and leave home for the next adventure. The only troubles I've had were on my return when it pained me to leave a country I had so desperately fallen in love with. This time felt a little different.
Reefs, ruins, rainforests and rivers: the four features the tiny country of Belize is known for, and are four of the many reasons I chose it as my next destination. Central America has always fascinated me, and Belize has been finding its way to the top of my bucket list for the past few years. Now that flights are booked and plans are roughly sketched out, it's finally becoming a reality.
Letter 157 In the space of a year, or 40 letters, my plans have completely changed. Plans for work, for living and, most importantly, for travel. It's strangely apt that I wrote letter 117 about my travel plans after university, and letter 137 about how they've changed and how much travel I would be doing … Continue reading My travel plans have COMPLETELY changed.