Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Patricia did a beautiful job planning our short trip to Belize. The experience we had was so beautifully customized to our goals and I know that was truly what shaped our experience. Patricia very quickly understood we were looking for solitude in nature, great food, and no busy, touristed attractions, and she absolutely made that happen. Can’t wait to return, next time for much longer!

Travelers Jeremy Silverman and his family taking a selfie in Belize.

Jeremy Silverman and family on their favorite day in Belize.

We had another fantastic family vacation to Belize in December with expert planning, care and support from Patricia and Rachael. We visited Belize for the first time in 2021 — specifically Chaa Creek Resort in the Cayo District and then Ambergris Caye — and fell in love with the country and its people. We marked Belize on our list for a return visit and asked Patricia to recommend a different part of the country for our second Belize vacation — this time we spent 8 days in Placencia and, again, had a wonderful experience. Patricia and Rachel set us up with the perfect accommodations at Naia, the best activities and guides and Rachael was on the ground in Placencia regularly checking in on us during the week, both by WhatsApp and in-person.

Belize is a beautiful and easy-to-reach destination from our home in Atlanta, with a wide range of activities, both on the water and inland. I’ll talk about some specific activity highlights, but what stands out most about Belize is the warmth and authenticity of its people and culture. Belize is an incredible melting pot — Belizeans come from a variety of backgrounds, including Mayan, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite and more, and almost everyone speaks at least 3 languages (including English). This diversity shows through all aspects of Belizean culture, cuisine, art and perhaps is part of why everyone seems so genuinely welcoming of visitors.

In addition, we have found Belize to be the most autism-friendly vacation destination we have experienced. Our 20 year-old son is on the autism spectrum (high functioning) and is a unique and quirky guy. At home in the U.S. and in many other destinations, most people are tolerant of his differences. But in Belize, people consistently embrace and celebrate his differences — they engage with him in a way that’s qualitatively different than anywhere else we’ve been, which is very meaningful for us.

In terms of specific vacation highlights:

– We had a true day-of-days on a catamaran charter to Moho Caye with Nautilus Adventures. This was an epic experience and probably a top-ten day of life so far. The boat and crew were amazing, we caught a fish on the way that Captain Jimmy grilled on the beach for lunch, did some great snorkeling at Moho (a picture-perfect tropical island) and had an otherwise spectacular experience. This is not to be missed.

– We loved our food-hopping tour through Placencia Village, led by Peter, who was our guide for this and another full-day activity and is now our unofficial Belizean cousin. (We are still regularly in contact on WhatsApp)! Peter led us through restaurants and other dining spots that we never would have found on our own (and several of which we returned to later in the week, including to sample desserts being sold on someone’s front porch).

– We stayed at the Naia Resort, which was a great spot for our family of four, including our 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. We rented a three-bedroom private villa right on the beach, with nothing between us and the water other than palm trees and a hammock. The villa provided truly separate living/sleeping/bathing space for me and my wife, our son and daughter, which is key to a great family vacation. The restaurant was very good (don’t miss the fry jacks), the staff super friendly and helpful and the location beautiful. We didn’t mind being 20 minutes from the village, which was easily accessible by hotel shuttle or a golf cart.

– The last experience I’d highlight really captures so much of what’s great about Belize (and an example of what can happen with a WOW Lister planning your vacation). Our last full day was a fishing and snorkeling trip to Laughing Bird Caye. Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal, but we made the best of it and the kids managed to catch a tuna and mackerel on the way back. (Because we had our own tour, we could pull the ripcord whenever we chose.) For our last night, we planned to have dinner at a brand-new sushi restaurant (Koi) that we never would have found without Peter — the restaurant was still in its “soft opening” and appeared in no guides or restaurant lists (yet). We called the restaurant and asked if they would want to use our freshly caught fish for dinner that night. They enthusiastically said yes and we dropped it off on our way out of the village. That night, we were treated to an incredible sushi and sashimi dinner, including the fish we caught earlier in the day, which we shared with the rest of the restaurant. (This meal in Atlanta would have cost 5 times the price). And because this is Belize, who should walk by during dinner — “cousin Peter”!

Back in Atlanta, we operate as the unofficial Belizean tourism board and have encouraged several other families to visit and they’ve all been very happy they did. We are already looking forward to our next vacation to Belize — for the next time, we are planning to do a multi-day catamaran trip with private chef via Patricia and Rachael!

We had the most incredible trip to Belize, thanks to the guidance and expertise of Patricia. Prior to getting in touch with her, I wasn’t very familiar with Belize and all that it offered, beyond the fact that my family (myself, my husband, our 15-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old son) could experience a mix of adventure and relaxation. I reached out to Patricia’s office at the recommendation of Wendy Perrin’s WOW List very early, almost a year in advance, and the entire team was beyond accommodating and responsive at all times.

We loved our time at Chaa Creek, and Patricia’s recommendation for the Spa Villa was perfect. Everyone at Chaa Creek was so accommodating. We had significant delays coming to BZE, arriving at the airport 6 hours later than planned. The team there made sure to have dinner available to us when we arrived past 9:30pm and worked with us to reorganize our excursions so we could have a day to recoup. We participated in many once-in-a-lifetime activities due to Patricia’s recommendations, including touring Xunantunich, where you can take a small hand-cranked ferry. Additionally, the ATM Cave Tour is an experience that I don’t think you can fully understand until you have actually done it. It was unique and beautiful, and it is definitely a memory that our family will never forget. On the way back to the airport in BZE to catch our flight to San Pedro, we decided to stop for a few hours of cave tubing, and we were so happy we did. It was a wonderful way to break up the drive and a great way to complete the first part of our trip on the mainland.

We spent the second half of our week at the Alaia Hotel in Ambergris Caye, and it was exactly what we needed. We had a few days of relaxing at the pool and the beach. My husband and son went fishing one day, and our snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley was beautiful. We also loved exploring the island in a golf cart!

We are grateful that we were able to experience both the jungle and the beach areas of Belize, and we are so appreciative of Patricia and the entire team for helping us make this trip such a fantastic experience!!

We are just back from a phenomenal multi-generational family trip to Belize that Patricia organized to perfection (taken in February, 2024). It was one of the best family trips we’ve ever taken.

We were traveling with our immediate family (me, my husband, and our two kids ages 4.5 and 7), my sister, and my mom, so Patricia had to coordinate a trip that worked for people from ages 4 to 70+. She did it flawlessly.

Our trip started with four days in the Cayo region, where we stayed at Chaa Creek. What a lovely hotel! Situated on a large nature reserve, we woke to the sound of howler monkeys hanging out in the trees outside our villa and enjoyed the noise from various birds throughout the day.

We rented the Ix Chel Villa for our immediate family, and a cottage for my mom and sister. Both rooms were lovely and spacious and clean. The Ix Chel Villa was great—with a private plunge pool, hot tub, and expansive patio—and I would highly recommend it if it falls in your budget. It also came with a “butler” and Candi was ours—she was exceptional! Every day she would set up our dinner meal in a new spot at the hotel; she greeted us when we arrived back from a day of touring and my kids loved to guess what color drink she’d have waiting for us; she set up spa treatments for me on short notice; she took us up to the butterfly farm after it had closed for the day because I mentioned I was bummed we weren’t going to get to see it. And, in conjunction with Patricia, she helped orchestrate an incredible WOW Moment (thank you Wendy for it!)—the hotel set up a private sunset dinner atop the highest hill in the reserve, with stunning 360-degree views. We had a charcuterie platter and drinks to enjoy while we watched the sunset before moving on to a full meal and ending with s’mores at our private fire pit. It was truly magical. And then we had fun being transported back to our rooms via the hotel’s off-road vehicles—my kids loved it when we had to stop to let a tarantula finish crossing the road!

Our days in the Cayo were spent with Patricia’s excellent guides in the area, specifically Oscar and Darryl. They were amazing and I would request them both when I return. Darryl spent three days with us and handled our airport transfers, which were quite an experience with my tired four-year-old. He was a wealth of knowledge on the days he spent with us, trying his best to spot a crocodile on our pontoon boat and ensuring we hit the highlights of the Belize Zoo before the crowds (and talking our way into some animal experiences there when my youngest was a bit too young for them). He was wonderful taking us to the Barton Creek Caves (and again, getting my youngest in when he was questionable on height requirements), and just such an enjoyable person to spend time with. He even offered to go out of his way and drop our car seats off at Patricia’s office at the marina so we didn’t have to take them with us on the catamaran. Likewise, Oscar—who was with us one day to explore the Mayan ruins—was engaging with our kids, full of interesting information, and patient when our boys wanted to run around or play dinosaurs at one of our stops. Outside of the guided tours we did with Darryl and Oscar, we also enjoyed a few activities offered at the hotel: a night walk critter search through Chaa Creek, and the complimentary morning birdwatching walk—both were such fun and I’d highly recommend them.

The Cayo was absolutely fabulous and we barely scratched the surface of things to do there—if our kids had been a bit older, we could have tried many other wonderful adventures. I wish we’d had more time there and I would absolutely recommend including it on any planned trip to Belize.

After four lovely days in the jungle, we transferred down to Belize City, where Patricia had smartly arranged a flight transfer for us out to Ambergris Caye. The pilot on our flight took extra time to give us the “scenic” route and pointed out sights as we flew over them. It was such an unexpected pleasant addition to our trip, and much better than taking the water taxi.

When we landed at Ambergris, we transferred to the nearby marina where Eric and Hannah, our captain and first mate, were waiting aboard the Nowhere, a 50’ catamaran that was to be our home for the next five nights. A catamaran charter had not been on my radar, and I had my concerns—having two young children on a boat for five days, in such a small space, seemed like it could go sideways quickly—but Patricia was absolutely right in her recommendation and it truly was a superb experience. Eric and Hannah cared for our whole family with such kindness and positivity, and by the end of the trip we felt like we had two new friends. The food Hannah prepared was incredible—I wish I could get her recipes!—and Eric was a superb snorkeling guide. He was very patient with my seven-year-old when he was hesitant to get in the ocean, and then when he knew my seven-year-old was interested in eels, Eric found an eel and coaxed it out of the coral. He also caught fresh lobster for our meal, let my four-year-old help drive the boat, and went out of his way to try to spot manatees for us (no luck, but I’ll just have to return and try to spot them next time). Hannah kept the entire boat spotless and ensured we had everything we needed—often before we even knew we needed it. And she even offered to watch our younger son on board the catamaran so that both my husband and I could go snorkeling at the same time with our older son—we came back to see them playing games together at the table on deck…truly above and beyond! They were a fabulous team.

The catamaran itinerary was excellent and, again, Eric and Hannah went out of their way to make every stop special for our family. They took us to spots where they knew stingrays would appear, so my kids could pet them. On Rendezvous Caye, Eric knew the caretaker and the caretaker was happy to cut up a fish for us so we could all try feeding the stingrays. At Goff’s Caye, Eric introduced us to Gilroy, who taught my kids how to hunt for hermit crabs—they loved having hermit-crab races on the beach. Hannah consistently packed snacks for our excursions, had amazing appetizers and drinks waiting for us upon our return, and was so accommodating of our kids’ limited palates.

It was truly an outstanding trip, flawlessly executed and one of the best values for the money that I can think of in terms of our travels. Every one of us had an amazing time and I’m surprised Belize isn’t on everyone’s radar, as this little country offers so much in terms of natural beauty, activities, hospitality, and friendly people. We all cannot wait to return (and we will absolutely do the catamaran cruise again—I’m hooked!)!

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