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Category: Belize

Travelling solo? 5 things to do before you leave | Fabulous travel guide

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[ 0 ] August 4, 2011

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Bellas Hostel, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Where to stay in Caye Caulker, Belize

[ 0 ] May 16, 2011

Looking for hostels in Caye Caulker, Belize? Tina’s Backpackers is still one of the favourites on the island. It’s just a stone’s throw from the sea and has a relaxed, friendly vibe with hammocks, an outdoor seating area and a communal kitchen.

We loved the murals on the walls and free wifi. Be sure to book ahead as this hostel is popular with tour groups.

Tina's Backpacker hostel in Caye Caulker, Belize - Hostels in Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Mark Firth chills out at Tina's Backpacker hostel in Caye Caulker, Belize

Bellas hostel, a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach, has a more hippy atmosphere and is a great place to party. Make the most of the free kayaks and bike use to explore the island. Dorms can be a little stuffy but if you’re looking for cheap diggs and fun people then this is perfect.

Bellas Hostel, Caye Caulker, Belize - Hostels in Caye Caulker - Fabulous Travel Guide

Bellas Hostel, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

TOP TIP If you’re travelling in a group then it may be cheaper to find a hotel room with 4 beds. It often works out the same price as a hostel dorm.

Looking for things to do in Caye Caulker? Swim with sharks, dive the Blue Hole, enjoy a cocktail at The Split and find out which are the best places to eat and drink on the island.

The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Best beaches in Central America

[ 5 ] March 17, 2011

Planning a trip to Central America? With so many beaches to visit, both on the Pacific and the Caribbean, you’ll be hard pushed to see them all. So we’ve come up with a list of must-see places:

1) Caye Caulker, Belize

Head to The Split in Caye Caulker and enjoy a cold beer on a picnic bench in the sea. Don’t miss the snorkelling trips from Raggamuffin Tours – they’re the best on the island!

The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

2) Playa El Tunco, El Salvador

The black sand beaches on the coast of El Salvador are a welcome change from the rest of Central America. Make sure you hire a surf board and hit those waves – they attract surfers from all over the world.

Playa El Tunco, El Salvador - Picture of the Week - Fabulous Travel Guide

Playa El Tunco, El Salvador - Picture of the Week - Fabulous Travel Guide

3) Tulum, Mexico

The Mayan ruins in Tulum are perched 39ft above sea level on a cliff overlooking the sea. Get there early to catch the sunrise and avoid the tourists.

Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico

Best beaches - Tulum, Mexico - Fabulous Travel Guide

4)  San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

There are several beaches in San Juan del Sur – all great for keen surfers. We love the local beach for its spectacular sunsets and chilled out vibe.

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur - Best beaches in Central America - Fabulous Travel Guide

5) Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Playa Tamarindo stretches as far as the eye can see – making it great for those who like their own space. It’s also a great place to party and meet fellow travellers.

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica - Best beaches in Central America - Fabulous Travel Guide

See more pictures of Central America and book those flights now! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more travel updates.

Travelling solo? 5 things to do before you leave | Fabulous travel guide

Staying safe in Central America

[ 2 ] March 12, 2011

Central America is fantastic place to travel round but some areas, such as Panama City and Managua in Nicaragua, can be really dangerous.

So if you’re travelling alone, or arriving in big cities at night, you’ll need to have your wits about you. Follow these top tips for staying safe in Central America:

* Never travel at night

It’s always best to travel during the day – especially when crossing borders or arriving in busy bus terminals. This gives you time to find a hostel and get your bearings.

* Make sure your taxi is authorised

Look for the driver’s I.D and agree a price before you get in.  Lock the doors once you’re inside – it’s not unheard of for muggers to jump in next to you at traffic lights.

* Don’t carry an expensive handbag

Be wary about getting money out in public places and use an inexpensive bag that you can wear across the body so it’s not as easy to snatch. Take enough money for the day and leave your passport and wallet in the hostel.

* Be careful where you withdraw money

Where possible, withdraw cash from inside a bank. Cloning cards is a common occurance in some places so avoid using cashpoints in dodgy areas and don´t go near them at night.

*Don´t fight back

If you´re unlucky enough to be targeted by thieves, stay calm and cooperate. Never resist or fight back and give them everything they ask for. Don´t be clever by giving them the wrong pin number – it’s simply not worth it.

* Cover up

It’s fine to wear tiny shorts to the beach – but make sure you dress respectably in large towns and cities. Otherwise you’ll attract unwanted attention – not something to be doing when you’re travelling alone.

* Don’t leave valuables in your backpack

You’re usually asked to leave your backpack under the bus on long journeys so carry anything of value  (such as passport, wallet, credit card etc) with you. Don´t put your bag under the seat as it can be taken (or cut open) when you’re sleeping. The best thing to do is put your passport and cash in a money belt under your clothes.

*Trust your instincts

Look around you – if shops are boarded up and there’s not much street lighting, leave immediately. Even in broad daylight you are an easy target. Don’t wander into quiet areas on your own and if you ever feel vulnerable get straight in a taxi.

TOP TIP Some girls carry pepper spray with them for protection. It may seem a little extreme but if you’re getting hassled by anyone it will give you time to make a swift exit.

Planning a trip to Central America? Get tips on crossing borders safely and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice - Fabulous Travel Guide

How to cross borders in Central America

[ 6 ] March 4, 2011

Planning to travel through Central America? Crossing borders is fairly straight forward but occasionally tourists have trouble. Read these top tips for crossing borders safely:

* Avoid crossing borders at night

There’s usually a fair bit of walking to do between immigration offices so don’t leave yourself in a vulnerable position by arriving at night. You’re an easy target.

* Get stamped

Make sure you get stamped in and out of countries – this is really important as you could get refused entry/exit.

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice for crossing borders - Fabulous Travel Guide

Crossing borders in Central America - Tips and advice - Fabulous Travel Guide

* Keep tourist cards and documents safe

It’s a good idea to buy a passport wallet so you can tuck away forms and tourist cards.

* Proof of onward travel

Read the latest entry requirements before travelling. Some countries, such as Costa Rica and Panama, require proof of onward travel. So print off flight documents or bus tickets ready to show them.

* Ask for receipts

There is usually a departure tax/entry fee when crossing borders in Central America. However, always ask for a receipt (see Spanish phrases) as tourists are often ripped off. It’s a good idea to carry extra cash in case of emergencies.

* Change your currency before you get to the border

You’ll get a better deal if you change your currency before you reach the border.  If you do need to change money, make sure you know the exchange rate before you start negotiating.

* Be wary of fraudsters

Don’t hand your passport over to anyone until you’re safely inside the immigration building. Some fraudsters try and get you to ‘buy’ a stamp outside and insist you give them your passport. Don’t!

* Don’t leave valuables in your backpack

If you take a bus over the border it will usually drop you off at immigration and drive through separately. Don’t leave any valuables in your backpack – keep them on your person at all times (a money belt is a good idea).

* Travel in a group

You’re less likely to get ripped off if you’re in a group. If you’re travelling solo don’t worry, there will always be other people crossing at the same time as you so try and stick with them.

* Don’t carry drugs!

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s surprising how many travellers get into trouble because they forget to check their pockets.

Planning a trip to Central America? Get more tips for travelling safely abroad and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Oceanside nightclub, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Best places to eat and drink in Caye Caulker, Belize

[ 0 ] February 12, 2011

Planning a trip to Caye Caulker in Belize? This little island is a dream come true for seafood lovers.  Every night locals serve fresh lobster, mouth-watering shrimp and barbecued snapper at rock-bottom prices.

Afterwards, everyone heads to the beach to dance under the stars and sip on cold Cubre Libres. Read on to see the best places to eat and drink on the island…

The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

The Split, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Where to drink

Head to The Split (pictured) on the northern tip of the island to enjoy a cocktail at the Lazy Lizard. Picnic benches sit in the shallow blue waters, reggae beats keep the barmen swinging and friendly faces will ensure you stay there all day. Look out for the guy who sells delicious shrimp kebabs nearby (5 Belize dollars).

Fancy a big night? I&I is a great place to meet fellow travellers and you’ll soon be up on the dance floor or chilling out on one of the swings by the bar. Afterwards, head to Oceanside (pictured below), the only club on the island. On Wednesdays girls drink free and on Thursdays you can sing your heart out at karaoke…

Oceanside nightclub, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Oceeanside nightclub, Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Another great place to spend the evening is at Bellas hostel on Crocodile Street. This hippy little hangout hosts regulalr bonfires, late night parties and stunning views of the ocean.

TOP TIP Drugs on Caye Caulker are rife – you only have to walk down the street and you’re bombarded with offeres of ’snowflake’ (cocaine) or weed. However drunk you get, don’t touch it – police come down hard on tourists and you’re a long way from home if you need a lawyer.

Where to eat

Most restuarants offer guests two free sides, rum punch and a starter with the barbecue, so check out the competition before you settle at one particular bar. We loved Rose’s Bar & Grill – you can even choose which lobster you want…

See more pictures of Caye Caulker and check out the best snorkelling on the island. Been to Caye Caulker? Connect with me on Twitter and let me know what you thought!

Snorkelling trips in Caye Caulker, Belize

Snorkelling trips in Caye Caulker, Belize

[ 7 ] January 27, 2011

Caye Caulker boasts some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. Tours leave the island every day, offering 3-day sailing trips, sunset cruises and countless opportunities for snorkelling.

We loved the Raggamuffin tours, which can be booked on the seafront. The Hol Chan snorkelling trip is one of the best we’ve seen and costs 90 Belize dollars for a full day. Not only will you visit 3 of the best snorkelling destinations in Caye Caulker, all food and drink is included so you can enjoy cerviche for lunch, cocktails at sunset and fruit in the morning.

Raggamuffin tours - Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Raggamuffin tours - Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is one of the most popular snorkelling destinations on the island. Since no fishing is allowed, it’s teaming with schoolmaster snappers, blue-striped grunts, moray eels and angelfish. You’ll stop here for about an hour and you’re free to explore as much as you like.

Shark and Ray Alley

Always wanted to swim with sharks? Now’s your chance. Located 3 miles south of the marine park, Shark and Ray Alley guarantees a close encounter. Nurse Sharks swim in and out of the darkness and stingrays hover above the seabed. Keep an eye out for the huge barracudas – they seem to enjoy catching you off guard.

Coral Gardens

The Coral Gardens, 2 and a half miles west of Shark and Ray Alley, are a brilliant way to end the trip. Guides will accompany you as you swim with moray eels, dive into underwater caves and snorkel with schools of fish. Be careful not to touch any of the coral – or kick it with your flippers. You’ll be called ‘Coral Killer’ for the rest of the trip…

Find out how to get to Caye Caulker and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Go slow in Caye Caulker, Belize

[ 5 ] January 26, 2011

Caye Caulker is the ultimate backpacker destination for 2011, with budget accommodation, beautiful beaches and enough marine life to entertain even the most advance divers.

Just 30 minutes from Belize City, this little island is packed full of character and is relatively untouched by tourism. Sand-swept streets give way to colourful market stalls, turquoise blue waters and palm-fringed beaches.

Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Caye Caulker, Belize - Fabulous Travel Guide

Don’t be surprised to hear locals telling you to ‘go slow’ – on this island no one moves in a hurry. The only method of transport is by bike, canoe or boat – so go with the flow, sit back and let the reggae beats take over.

How to get there

Chetemal (Mexico) - Caye Caulker:  Take a taxi to the port (pay no more than 40 pesos per car and grab some other travellers to make it cheaper) and then a ferry to San Pedro. It takes 1 hour 30 mins and costs 500 Mexican pesos. You’ll then change to get a water taxi to Caye Caulker (30 mins).

Before you get on the boat you’ll need to go through passport control so have all the right documents ready and remember to keep hold of any forms you’re given and fill them out on the boat.

Belize City – Caye Caulker: Catch a boat from Belize City for around 25 Belize dollars. It takes around half an hour and will take you direct to the island.

Find out more about Caye Caulker, from where to stay to the best places to party, in our essential guide. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more travel news and tips.

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