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Belize Part 1

Belize as a country is slightly bigger that Wales or the US state of Massachusetts. It was a former colony (British Honduras), gaining independence in 1981. While the Queen still looks out from the Belize dollar notes, it's currency is pegged to the US dollar (2 for 1).

We crossed the border with Mexico in the north of Belize and made our way to Copper Bank, a small rural community reached across a hand cranked floating bridge - hard work in the jungle heat, but not for us!.

As the wind was favourable, we decided to drop to Belize City and jump on a ferry to Caye Caulker, the best place to kite in Belize. You can probably tour Caye Caulker in less than 2 hours, but it's a laid back place to relax and enjoy. We managed to get out on the water kiting, sampled some great food and spent a great morning snorkelling on the local reef, amazing coral, colourful fish and a chance to get up close to sting-rays, nurse sharks, jacks and barricuda (but no photos!). Belize is a diver's paradise and has the world's second largest reef.

As the wind died and our 5 days enjoying island life came to a close, we tracked back up north to take a river tour down the New River to Lamanai, an impressive archaeological site on the New River Lagoon. An overnight stop at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was quiet as it was the wrong time of year for the birdlife or the cashew nuts for which this place is famous, but a convenient stop-over for Altun Ha, another site where a large carved jade head of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau, was found. This too looks out from all the bank notes.

Having visited much of the north, we headed for the south, along Humming Bird Highway, stopping at St Herman's Cave and then the Blue Hole for a cooling swim. We stopped briefly in Dangriga before heading to the Kismet Inn in Hopkins. Trisha and Elvis fed us freshly caught snook and we enjoyed the laid-back, artistic retreat created by Trisha.

In Placencia there was no wind for kiting so we enjoyed a few days relaxing by the pool at a lovely resort - Mariposa - run by a very welcoming Canadian couple who offered the only camping in town.

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