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departures | dispatch


RED TAPE


n FLIGHT TIME: Connections to Belize are slowly improving with recent increased air services from Los Angeles and Newark. Flights from Dallas take 2h45m; from Miami 2h5m. n VISA REQUIREMENTS: None required, with 30 days granted on arrival on presentation of passport and return ticket. n JABS: No special jabs are required, unless visiting for a long period or heading for malarial regions. Consult your doctor about malaria and rabies immunisation. n PITFALLS: Poverty and street crimes are problems in some urban centers such as Belize City, but the vast majority of visitors to Belize have trouble-free trips. n WEATHER: Subtropical, with rain possible year-round, and storms during the hurricane season. The dry/high season is November to May. Temperatures vary by only a few degrees between the coolest and hottest times of year.


GIMME 5: MUST SEES


1. THE CAYES: These small islands off the shore of Belize are tranquil, safe and ideal for an indulgent spa and foodie break, or as a base for short rides out to the reefs — there’s also good sport fishing off the cayes. If you want amenities and adventure, head for Ambergris Caye, where you can bird watch, walk nature trails or have a go at parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking or catamaraning. You can also catch a boat or plane to nearby Caye Chapel, a par-72, 18-hole golf course on its own island.


2. THE REEFS: The coral reefs and atolls off Belize are alive with fish, turtles and whale sharks dropping by between March and June. Snorkelers will have time to be close to manta rays and nurse sharks, while scuba divers can go out to the far edge of the reef to hammerheads, blacktips and the unusual yellow sharks.


3. HOPKINS: The little coastal village of Hopkins on Belize’s eastern coast is ideal for soaking up


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some sea breezes and authentic Garifuna culture, with a range of accommodation options, from basic beach shacks to luxury dive retreats. Visit the Lebeha Drumming Center to join a class or catch a performance, or take a day trip to the nearby town of Dangriga to see the intriguing Garifuna Museum.


4. CAYO DISTRICT: This sprawling region lures wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers and also anyone interested in Mayan ruins. San Ignacio is the capital of this mountainous, forested area, home to several upscale as well as more accessible jungle lodges.


5. THE SOUTH: Often overlooked by tourists, this wild, uncluttered region is home to both Maya and Garifuna communities; visitors can broaden their culinary skills with a Mayan cooking course, hear rousing Garifuna drumming performances or simply get away from it all at a peaceful, rural retreat.


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