PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had one of our best ever family vacations in Belize in December 2021, traveling with our 18 year old son (who is on the autism spectrum) and our 14 year old daughter. We didn’t pick Belize as our vacation destination specifically because it was Autism-friendly, but we definitely felt more comfortable during the planning stages given the guidance and shared experience of Patricia, who also has a child on the autism spectrum.
We absolutely loved our time in Belize and it exceeded our expectations on every level. The activities were amazing both inland at and around Chaa Creek and on Ambergris Caye, including the ATM cave, Xunantanich, Barton Creek and the amazing wildlife on the Chaa Creek property, as well as snorkeling, fishing and just lounging at the beach on Ambergris — especially Blue Bayou at Secret Beach!
But beyond the activities, what stood out most for us was the warmth and genuineness of the Belizean people, including the way everyone we met not only accepted our son, but truly appreciated him and his quirkiness as positives. Every waiter and waitress at both Chaa Creek and Las Terrazas knew him by name almost instantly and warmly greeted him every time they saw him. Our tour guides both on property at Chaa Creek and outside of the resorts embraced his differences and he had the time of his life — he still talks about our guides at Amigos Del Mar on Ambergris, especially Burger and Soup, who nicknamed him El Matador! Our day with them made memories that will last a lifetime.
Patricia did an amazing job curating our trip and experiences, as well as laying a “foundation of understanding” at our destinations. She somehow struck the right balance between informing our hosts of our special needs, without causing anyone to pre-judge our son and what he could do. Having private tours for almost all of our activities made for a more comfortable experience, especially given the exceptional guides for everything we did.
We still daydream about Belize and can’t wait for our next visit!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We had a very relaxing vacation. We know exactly what we want, and Patricia managed to plan all excursions. The excursions and guides were excellent. We spent most of our time relaxing at the resorts. At the planning stage, I did pick out all the resorts, but thanks to Patricia for pointing out features of each resort so that I could make a better decision. Patricia is very knowledgeable and delightful to work with.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Patricia crafted a wonderful itinerary for our family of four in April 2022. She did a great job helping me think through how to spend our week in Belize, and explaining the options for activities and accommodation in various parts of the country. We spent 3 nights in the Cayó district in the west (Mayan sites, caving, canoeing) and 4 nights in Placencia on the beach. Her recommendations were spot-on and the tours/activities she organized were great. Only regret: I wish we had opted for more activity on some days – there was a lot of sitting during driving, canoeing, small-boat fishing – but it felt important when booking to keep things unstructured. Patricia asked all the right questions along the way. We had a fantastic time!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We just spent a wonderful spring break trip the last week of March, 2022, in Belize. Patricia Johnson planned a perfect itinerary for us, with 3 nights in the jungle and 5 nights on a private sailboat charter. She did a nice job of keeping us up to date on the changing covid protocols. We felt confident that we were taken care of and never worried about our safety during the trip as Patricia checked in periodically, everywhere we went the facilities were clean, and covid cautions were part of the routine. We loved all of Patricia’s suggestions for this fun family vacation. Every day was a highlight with adventures and downtime nicely balanced. Favorites included the ATM Cave exploration with an excellent local guide Alexis who was both highly knowledgable and experienced. We literally climbed back in time to learn about the Mayan civilization and rituals. We also had another excellent guide Miguel tour us through the Xunantunich temple site. He generously shared of his own Mayan family history which brought the experience to another level. Patricia spoke with us about our interests in experiencing the local flavor, so she also arranged for us to go to the Saturday market in town, and to eat at her favorite restaurant for lunch. Our family had a great time exploring the colorful booths through the marketplace and felt perfectly safe as everyone wore masks and there were hand washing stations throughout. We seamlessly transitioned to the sailboat and were personally greeted by Rachel Wilson and her darling dog “Cpt. Jack Sparrow.” The crew of our sailboat were great and made efforts to meet all our desires for our time on board. Definitely give them details when you fill out your preference sheets because they really listen! We snorkeled usually twice a day along different coral reefs, and managed to see both populated small islands and deserted private islands as well. Our Captain, Manuel, was a divemaster, and took great care to make sure everyone was safe while in the water. Our first mate Brianna was an excellent cook and a fun addition to family game night (and an excellent karaoke partner!). We ate incredibly well, and enjoyed many a rum cocktail from her festive bartending. The boat itself was surprisingly spacious for our party of 9 passengers and we quickly adapted to life on the water. We felt like the trip was a great balance of everything we were looking for in a family spring break trip – especially after having been unable to travel for so long. Adults and teens had family time as well as private time to do their own thing in safe settings. The activity level was enough to keep us all active but not exhausted – and we ALL welcomed early bedtimes and early mornings (which is quite an accomplishment with teens). When it came time to depart, the crew arranged for a nurse to come to the boat and covid test us for our return to the states. No problems, simply easy and enjoyable – this trip was everything I’ve come to expect from traveling with one of Wendy’s WOW List experts.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My husband and I just returned from a fabulous 10 day trip to Belize. We stayed in 3 different areas and each one was beautiful and interesting with terrific hotels. Since we knew very little about Belize, Patricia was extremely valuable in helping us decide where to stay and in identifying activities and experiences that fit our interests. Patricia arranged for a Garifuna immersion day while we were in Placencia which was very interesting and a lot of fun. We stayed in Chaa Creek Lodge which was gorgeous and where we enjoyed the on-site activities as well as visiting Xunantunich and the Saturday morning farmers market. And on Ambergris Caye, Patricia arranged for a private catamaran snorkeling tour of the famous barrier reef which was perfect for my husband who is not a strong swimmer and was hesitant to snorkel on his own. The crew was fantastic in providing personal snorkeling guides for each of us and preparing delicious food and drinks for us to enjoy. Belize was a perfect destination during Covid given that everything we did was outdoors and all of the staff and guides were vaccinated. Patricia handled all of the logistics which were flawless, including arranging for our Covid tests before returning to the U.S. The trip truly exceeded our expectations!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Rachel and Patricia curated a wonderful trip for us to Belize.
The accommodations were first-rate. Each place at which we stayed was beautiful and serene. At The Lodge at Chaa Creek no matter where we stood the view was picture perfect. Further, at each of the five places we stayed, the service matched the setting. We were treated very well.
We experienced once in a lifetime activities. The highlights were the ancient Mayan sites of Tikal and Xunantunich, Che Chem Ha Cave, a visit to the San Antonio Women’s Group Center, and a back street food tour in San Pedro.
Our guides were consistently good which substantially enhanced the activities we were offered. Brainerd in and around San Ignacio was excellent, and Eder at Xunantunich was fabulous.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we were able to meet, spend time with, and learn from many wonderful people. Gonzo, Andrea, and Calliandra of Che Chem Ha were enchanting. Callie is the definition of precocious and a treat to be around. Timotea and the other members of the San Antonio Women’s Group Center were gracious, committed, and knowledgeable. Eder and his father El Fego at Xunantunich made us feel welcome and taught us much. Don Eladio took us for an educational and entertaining romp through his organic farm, Victoria taught us much as she prepared our lunch, and her children Christian and Tristan made us part of the family for the day. Axel, Vickie, and Isien of Manta Island Resort were so good us that, even in the age of covid, hugs were essential. And then there were the two anonymous guests (fishermen we surmised) who ate dinner at the table next to ours two nights in a row at the Copal Tree Lodge. Their unselfconscious, almost childlike joy (even choosing the entrée for dinner was an adventure to be savored) underlined for us how fortunate we were to be there at that moment.
Rachel and Patricia provided us with many such moments, and for that we are very grateful.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We enjoyed the trip, especially to Cayo, very much. Thank you for your assistance.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Patricia Johnson is my new best friend. We told her that our trip to Belize was to celebrate our wedding anniversary. She listened to our wants and needs and more than delivered. She suggested that we split our trip between inland and the coast and set us up with activities that satisfied both of our desires since they were not necessarily the same. The bonus was introducing us to Brainard August who was our guide and driver for the first half of our trip. My husband wanted to play golf and Patricia made the arrangements for him. She satisfied our interest in culture and history with the Garifuna Cultural immersion. Additionally, while my husband played golf, she arranged a tour for me of the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and a day at the San Antonio Women’s Co-op to learn about the ancient Mayan life. Patricia joined me for my tour of Xunantunich and my husband was jealous that he didn’t get to meet her in person. On the coast we both wanted watersports. She arranged 2 wonderful boat/snorkel adventures for us and one included a barbecue of freshly caught fish. Yes, my husband had the opportunity to reel in one fish while we were on the boat. She is wonderful and caring. When my husband had a health issue and we had to cancel one day’s activity she asked if Brainard should come and take him to a doctor. Thankfully it wasn’t serious and no doctor was needed. We had a couple of small issues and Patricia immediately responded to our WhatsApp cry for help. I cannot say enough good things about how we were treated by Patricia, our guides, the staff of the hotels that she recommended and the activities that she arranged.
Part of her job during this time was to keep us informed of Covid 19 testing requirements and restrictions. We followed her advice and there were no issues. She even gave us face masks that we happily are wearing at home and hand sanitizer with tropical scents.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We almost never return to the same country. As we confronted the possibility of trying to travel between Christmas and New Years in 2021, we decided to make an exception to our ordinary rule and return to Belize. In 2019, we took a fabulous family trip to Belize with the assistance of WOW Lister Patricia Johnson and her team. Everything about that 2019 trip was superb and really easy. Given that we were traveling during Covid, we wanted easy again.
The wisdom of that choice was completely validated by our experience the second time around. First, Patricia and the team knew us well and planned a great itinerary, which was helpfully provided to us on an app on our phones. Our family of 5, with our three active teenagers, spent 4 nights at The Lodge at Chaa Creek in the jungle, and 7 nights at the beach resort at Las Terrazas on Ambergris Caye. While based in the jungle, we kept our three teenagers busy with horseback riding, cave tubing and visiting the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. We enjoyed fantastic gourmet meals and even squeezed in some time at the spa and the pool. While based at Ambergris Caye, we had many leisurely days at the pool and beach, but also enjoyed two special days of snorkeling, fishing and barbequing on the beach with the same wonderful boating captain we’d had two years earlier. One of those two days was with close friends from our hometown who also planned their trip with Patricia Johnson upon our recommendation.
The highlight of the itinerary was the unexpected “WOW Moment.” Knowing that we have a strong interest in learning about local culture, Patricia arranged with the Black&White Garifuna Restaurant to come to our hotel for a private, immersive evening focused on the Garifuna Afro-Caribbean culture. We were treated to a magical singing and dancing performance, and then got dancing lessons and drumming lessons. We also received short, digestible lessons on Garifuna history, language, holidays and cuisine. After we wore ourselves out dancing, we were guided to a beautifully laid table on the beach and served an extraordinary 6-course private dinner prepared by O Restaurant at Las Terrazas resort. While we dined, the singing and dancing continued. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The excellent itinerary was matched by superior management of all logistics. Everything went smoothly and just as planned. We were met on time at every spot by drivers with signs with our names, and all of the guides were first-rate. Importantly, Covid safety protocols received the attention they deserve. We stayed only at hotels with the strictest Covid policies and appreciated the ease of getting Covid antigen tests on the day before departure through the hotel. Prior to departure, Patricia promptly answered all of our questions about Covid requirements and safety conditions. We definitely felt safer in Belize than we did at home.
All in all, the trip was an A+. We had quality time as a family, and interesting, memorable experiences in a beautiful, diverse country. Thanks to Patricia Johnson and the team for making it all so easy. We are very grateful.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We used Patricia Johnson for our trip to Belize 12/16-23, 2021. This was our family of 5 (Mom, dad and 3 older teens) first trip to Belize. As an active family, we decided to split our time in half, between the jungle and the beach. Patricia added so much value in picking our activities and lodging in both locations. We had private transfers and activities to minimize exposure to others in close spaces. Our private jungle river pontoon day, we didn’t see another boat or person. But we climbed waterfalls, rope swung into the river and saw amazing wildlife (crocs and iguanas were our favorite). The other popular attractions like the ruins and ATM cave were timed just right by Patricia and her team so that we’d encounter the least amount of people and even had some to ourselves most of the time. Pandemic travel or not, I always like feeling like we are the only ones there. Patricia added a lot of value arranging the transfers from the hotels to the airports big and small and coordinating all that timing so I didn’t have to do it. The beach part of our trip was more laid back, but we made time for snorkeling with sharks and even a food tour in San Pedro. If we could have a do over, it would be to do the food tour first since we found so many amazing places, we wished we’d had more time to go back and enjoy our favorites again. The day before our flights home, she had our covid tests done in the lobby of our hotel, so we could keep enjoying happy hour on the beach just outside of it. Barely an interruption to our trip at all. She and her team were available on whats app on a moment’s notice if I had a question. I’m already trying to figure out when we can visit Belize again and let Patricia plan some more amazing places for us to visit there.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Patricia interviewed me over Zoom and it was clear that she would give me all the time I needed to describe our family’s interests. She promptly sent several proposed itineraries that included time in the jungle and at the beach. She sensibly included downtime so we wouldn’t overdo it, and also warned us about long drives and bumpy roads for some of the excursions. Our first destination, Chaa Creek, was outstanding. The staff and the food were excellent and we enjoyed the on-site activities. The off site guides were experienced and a lot of fun. We felt safe and appreciated all they had to share about Belize, as well as their senses of humor and photography skills. Our second destination, Las Terrazas, was also good and away from the noisy downtown. Belize’s Gold Standard Safety precautions were followed by all of the people we had contact with, inside and outside of the hotels. Belize in general seems to take Covid very seriously and that was a relief to all of us. It was also very convenient and stress-reducing to have someone come to our hotel room to give us the rapid antigen test the day before departure.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I can say with confidence that planning this trip with Patricia and her team was a pleasure in addition to being completely stress-free. Our family (my husband and I plus our three college-aged kids) has enjoyed many trips together; on our survey, I was able to describe those trips and what we enjoyed about them and from this information, Patricia put together an ideal itinerary. For example, I mentioned that we liked adventurous things but also wanted some downtime to enjoy the beach. She suggested that we spend time at the beach and the jungle to really see the best that Belize has to offer. Our accommodations were top-notch: We had a private villa at Victoria House on the beach in Ambergris Caye with our own plunge pool. Having the extra space with young adults really made a huge difference in our enjoyment of our time together. The food at Victoria House was excellent, plus they prepared the fish we caught for our dinner one night. Our scuba/snorkeling excursion with Amigos del mar that Patricia arranged was so much fun; the reef and all the sea turtles, rays and nurse sharks were awe-inspiring. After four nights at the beach, we took a short flight and about a two hour drive to the Lodge at Chaa Creek in the jungle. On the way there, we stopped to do ziplines and cave tubing, both of which were great experiences. We enjoyed another private villa at Chaa Creek which may be the most luxurious place we’ve ever stayed. The balcony with its private plunge pool overlooking the jungle was one of my favorite things. We were able to relax at the pool while enjoying a family of howler monkeys playing in the trees just a few feet away. While at Chaa Creek, we enjoyed a Mayan cultural immersion tour and loved being in the homes of Belizeans. Covid tests were provided at our hotel for our return to the US, so that was easy to get done. Patricia and her team prepared everything so well that we had no complaints about our trip. I heartily recommend Patricia and her team to anyone looking to plan the perfect vacation in a tropical paradise.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL I found out about the beautiful country of Belize from another family who rated their trip on WendyPerrin.com. Before seeing the review, I had very little knowledge of Belize. The review caught my attention because it featured traveling on a private sailboat and, consequently, traveling safely during Covid. When I got the a-okay from my husband to start booking a family vacation in Belize, I jumped at the opportunity.
My contacts for the trip planning process were Patricia Johnson and Rachel Wilson. We had a couple of phone calls in the planning stages to go over options. Rachel suggested the new boat in their fleet called “Nowhere” because it could fit my family of 9, plus the captain and chef, onboard. My family had so many personal complications happen right before our trip. We were praying every day leading up to our departure that everything would work out alright. Patricia stayed positive during the weeks of stress and consistently encouraged me. I named her “my angel in Belize.” They were awesome in so many ways!
We arrived in Belize a day before we were planning on boarding the sailboat. We stayed in a resort in the jungle along the river, and we loved it. It was very secluded, and the hotel staff made us feel so welcome. The morning after we arrived, we went on a cave tubing trip. We had a blast! It was incredible to experience.
We then were on our way to set sail. We boarded Nowhere and met our captain, Rueben, and chef, Christie. The sailboat was beautiful, and Rueben and Christie immediately made us feel like we were at home. We sat down for our first meal from Christie and knew that we were in for a fantastic trip. Her cooking was incredible throughout our trip. She never failed to deliver wonderful meals from a variety of different cuisines. Our family consistently joked about bringing her home with us, and we are still missing her cooking.
Rueben was an excellent captain. He always kept us up-to-date on where we were headed. Reuben took us to beautiful destinations in the south bit of Belize. He took us snorkeling, spearfishing, and deep-sea fishing. He set us up with our scuba diving tours. Rueben was always cracking jokes and creating adventures for our family. He got us safely to every destination and made it fun along the way.
One of my main goals for our vacation was to scuba dive. This was our first experience of scuba diving with the whole family together. We did 2, 2-tank dives, so 4 dives in all. They were all so incredible. The underwater life in Belize is extraordinary! Every chance my kids had to jump in, swim, snorkel, spearfish, or dive, they were doing it.
Our trip was spectacular. Saying goodbye to Rueben, Christie, Nowhere, and Belize as a whole was challenging. We made so many memories on our Belize trip that we won’t forget. My family is convinced that we must go back and visit the northern parts of Belize with Reuben and Christie. Who could say no to another round in Belize on a private sailboat with an incredible crew?
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Patricia and Rachael were amazing. Patricia quickly responded to all my questions leading up to the trip with helpful answers. She helped me figure out the best itinerary and activities for our family. She was extremely helpful and made the whole process and experience seamless. I would strongly recommend both Patricia and Rachel to anyone.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We visited Belize in June 2021 with our extended family. Patricia Johnson found the perfect place for us – Sofia’s Beach House at the fabulous Turtle Inn in Placencia. The resort is luxurious, but not pretentious. Patricia planned day trips of snorkeling and island hopping which we all enjoyed immensely. We also did the ATM cave tour – which was an incredible adventure for our family. The staff at the Turtle Inn wore masks, but because of the open air environment, we felt perfectly safe. We would definitely go back!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL The big question was where to go once we had been vaccinated. Belize seemed a great choice with a level 2 rating, easy entry with a vaccination certificate and direct flights from Newark airport which by definition would have passengers on board who had either been tested or vaccinated. We immediately contacted Wendy’s recommended travel agent, Patricia Johnson, and set up zoom calls. She could not have been more helpful and we ended up staying in three places.
Her first recommendation was Cayo Espanto, a private island with a few luxury villas and with two butlers assigned to each villa. It could not have been a better choice, with great private snorkeling trips, bone fishing and water sports at the island. She then arranged a charter flight on Tropic Air to take us over the Blue Hole (well worth doing) and then to fly us out to Hidden Valley. A highlight there was a WOW Moment when we were driven to a pool by a waterfall where lunch had been set up with table and chairs, sparkling wine in an ice bucket, a hammock, and towels for bathing. We transferred from there via the Mayan site of Caracol to the Lodge at Chaa Creek, a magical place we last visited 25 years ago. It may be more modern, but it is still magical with the same owners who live on site. There Patricia organized a birding trip for us with a local expert, we canoed on the Macal River, lounged in our private plunge pool and hiked throughout the property.
Patricia kept in touch with us by text throughout the trip and met us at Chaa Creek. It was a great 8 day trip and we felt very safe there with all the staff we interacted with being either vaccinated or in the process of being vaccinated. Finally we flew home on a plane with 13 passengers on board!
Tony & Jane Ford-Hutchinson trip from April 17th-24th 2021
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We can’t say enough good about our recent trip to Belize. Patricia was amazing to work with and her recommendations of the Lodge at Chaa Creek and a private yacht charter were the perfect combination for our family of five.
We were scheduled to begin on the water but due to some unforeseen flight changes, Patricia recommended that we start on land and made all arrangements for us.
The experience at Chaa Creek was incredible… from our outing to the ATM caves (one of the most amazing things we’ve ever done) to a very special horseback riding morning and WOW Moment overlooking the entire property along with an outdoor cooking experience, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. The horseback ride and gourmet feast set in a truly stunning locale was an experience we won’t soon forget. We are truly appreciative of this incredible experience and all of your help in planning a memorable vacation for our family of five.
From the jungle, we headed back towards town to meet our catamaran and crew. As new “sailors” we can’t say enough about this adventure. Our chef Ellen fed us better than we could have imagined all while giving us a taste of local flavor including conch ceviche and conch fritters. Our Captain made the adventure especially fun for our 11 year old son by allowing him the chance to help on the boat with the anchor, fishing rods, etc…
We are truly appreciative to Patricia and her team for this wonderful introduction to Belize. We can’t imagine a more perfect pandemic getaway.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL It is difficult to put into words how wonderful this vacation was. We thoroughly enjoyed both Matachica and our private yacht charter! My daughter and I both teared up at various times, shaking our heads and looking at each other as we were just overwhelmed at how special the whole trip was for us.
I also feel like we got some insight into the Belize people and culture along the way, and both were enjoyed and admired.
We are already in talks with another couple to try and find a way back for another go at it.
Things that stood out to us at Matachica were:
The attentiveness of the staff. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and always willing to help out or offer suggestions.
Soup, our tour guide to shark alley was enjoyable and was helpful and informative.
The nice quiet atmosphere and the condition of the grounds, it was clear that upkeep was important, the place looked lovely!
Breakfasts were our favorite meal, they were very good!
Azul South…we loved our accommodations, beds were comfortable!
Visiting the Myan ruins. They were fascinating to see, and our guide was very informative and kind. In fact we really enjoyed our guide! Yet another nice person.
Stopping at a roadside restaurant that our guide had arranged after we had mentioned that we had not had breakfast and were hungry. The food was awesome and he had actually called ahead to ask if they could open early for us!!
The yacht charter…..
Our captain Ruben and cook Kainie were beyond expectations. They both were clearly very competent, but even more pleasing was the personality of each. We enjoyed their company very much, and yet they also allowed us our space for family chat, a difficult road to navigate I think, but they did it expertly. They were attentive without smothering. On the downside, … we found it very difficult to say goodbye to them, after 4 days at sea, we all had become very attached to them. They were clearly just very good people, which is no small thing.
Things that stood out to us during our sailing:
Food, of course. Kainies cooking was so good, I am quite sure we all gained weight!
The small islands, especially rendezvous key. The best snorkeling of my life.
Playing volleyball on a remote island
sailing and seeing the ocean… there is nothing like it.
Mornings with a cup of coffee watching the sun rise.
Playing liars dice with Ruben and Kainie.
Watching Ruben and his expertise with the boat.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL So many amazing things to mention on our recent trip (March 2021) to Belize! Maybe I will start with empty airplanes so each of us had our own row…. and customs being empty too! I am already trying to book my next trip before things pick up!!! We were near San Ignacio at chaa creek and portofino on San Pedro island and both were amazing! We had a portable service come to us to do our covid test prior to leaving the United States and they were so sweet with my 2, 6, and 8 year old! The truly amazing parts were seeing my girls ride horses, hold iguanas, attempt to snorkel for their first time, and at the butterfly house at chaa creek when hundreds of butterflies landed on them. My husband and I swam with sharks, Eric and Carlos were so sweet with the kids! They let them feed the sharks because they were too afraid to jump in. The glass bottom boat was perfect. Portofino’s food was awesome and I think I gained 5 lbs on this trip. We had a tour cancellation and the concierge at chaa creek booked chocolate making instead. Mayan chocolate is amazing! The whole trip was incredibly amazing! I can not say enough good things! We went to the Mayan ruins and we had the whole place to ourselves! It was unreal. Usually it is shoulder to shoulder with tourists! I can’t wait for our next adventure!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL An un-BELIZE-able family vacation
Choosing to travel internationally as a family during the pandemic was not an easy decision, but after hearing Rachael Wilson discuss the health and safety measures she was taking during one of Wendy Perrin’s Zoom sessions, we decided to explore the possibility further.
The attraction to us was being socially distanced by miles versus feet. The yacht would serve as our accommodation, dining venue and entertainment for our 10-day vacation.
Another reassuring factor is that the country of Belize requires a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours to enter. American Airlines offers PCR Covid testing through a partnership with Let’s Get Checked. Passengers booked on AA flights are “guaranteed” results within 72 hours. We were pleased with the Let’s Get Checked process and liked that they require you to take the sample while on a video chat with a health care professional.
Traveling during the pandemic does take additional planning. There were no last-minute trips to the store to pick up items as we self-quarantined for 2 weeks prior to our trip. In addition to the Let’s Get Checked test, we took several local PCR Covid tests in the weeks prior to our travels. To minimize transportation exposure, we drove ourselves to the airport and parked in the short-term parking lot. My husband parked the car and walked across the street to enter the airport – well worth the additional cost. We chose flight times early in the morning and late in the evening to avoid the crowds at the airport. Wendy’s seat selection recommendations were greatly appreciated. In our opinion, American Airlines did a wonderful job ensuring everyone was wearing their face mask properly.
If for some reason we would have been unable to travel, we had the option to reschedule the vacation within a year. A very generous offer that put our minds at ease when booking. Rachael and Patricia were very prompt in replying to our e-mails and providing additional information. They even tracked down poker chips at the last minute to add to our yacht – remember, I couldn’t go to the store.
Joining us in our yacht bubble, were 2 wonderful crew members, Eric, the captain and Andrea 1st mate/chef. Whether it was playing silly reindeer games on a rainy Christmas day, spending extra time fishing for the prize catch or cooking up the prized catch, their dedication and attention really made the trip special. They covertly decorated the yacht for our 25th wedding anniversary while we were out kayaking. Andrea even found time to stealthy make a cake from scratch.
We are a SCUBA diving family and diving in Belize has been on our wish list for a while. Rachael and Patricia worked closely with us to arrange private dives and diving equipment that we could procure at the beginning of the trip and keep for the duration. The Amigos Del Mar dive shop in San Pedro were top notch!! We had 7 wonderful SCUBA dives with Carlos and Alex. Having private SCUBA diving excursions limited our exposure to others and ensured we were typically the only boat at the location. Also, it afforded us the opportunity to feel comfortable taking our 12-year-old son to the Great Blue Hole! An amazing experience and bucket list worthy location that not many young divers can say they have accomplished. The juvenile nurse sharks were quite playful and joined us on several of our dives. They showed us around their swim throughs ensuring we all stayed together. In our many years of SCUBA diving, we have never had the wildlife engage with us so much – I think they were feeling neglected with the lack of tourists.
In addition to SCUBA diving, we enjoyed the yacht activities of paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, exploring deserted islands, spotting the rare red-footed boobie bird, star gazing and quality family time. My 12-year-old and I had an engaging conversation for 2 hours one evening while we gazed at the galaxies – a moment in time that I will treasure.
We will be talking about this vacation for years to come! Thank you to Rachael and Patricia for helping us feel safe while traveling during the Covid pandemic and making family memories that we will forever cherish.
Patricia Johnson and Rachael Wilson are both knowledgeable travel specialists, they provided invaluable assistance in planning every aspect of our trip from drivers, to excursions, perfect lodging at Chaa Creek and a pimped out Villa at Matachica. With only a week for our family vacation, we were trying to insure we maximized our time between the jungle/mountains of Belize to see the wildlife as well as Mayan Ruins of Tikal in Guatamala and the ATM Cave excursion. Highly recommend Chaa Creek as a fabulous eco-lodge with exceptional employees who really catered to all our needs, the food and activities were terrific as well as their our guides. Rachel and Patricia also assisted Wendy in selecting the perfect WOW Moment at Chaa Creek. Patricia even met us at the airstrip as we departed Chaa Creek for Ambergis Caye, which was so wonderful. At every point of the vacation she was responsive to each question along the way and provided terrific advice for a full day snorkeling trip on a semi-private catamaran that I would highly recommend. Matachica Resort was also perfect destination to relax and enjoy the barrier reef views, visit secret beach & truck stop via golf cart and snorkel. The staff and food were also very good and highly recommend. Patricia and Rachel helped make this a once in a lifetime family trip. Highly Recommend!
We recently worked with Patricia Johnson and Rachael Wilson. They both did an excellent job. We wanted to have a trip that included sailing and some time at a beach resort. They were able to find the perfect itinerary, sailing vessel, and crew. I would not hesitate to use Patricia Johnson and Rachael Wilson again.
Here are a couple specific examples of the service we received from Patricia Johnson and Rachael Wilson:
– While we were on our vacation, the coronavirus/COVID-19 dramatically struck the United States. Patricia Johnson emailed me during our vacation to check on the status of the resort where we were staying, and to help alleviate any concerns about our trip back to the United States. This level of service – and individual attention to clients who were in Belize during a global pandemic – was very welcome and helpful.
– One member of our travel group has mobility issues, and we were concerned about boarding the sailboat. Patricia and Rachael were very knowledgeable about the vessels, and they were able to specifically explain features on the sailboats to help access. We were very thankful for their knowledge of Belize and knowledge of the charter vessel we reserved.
Overall, they did an excellent job.
This is our first trip to Belize. Patricia did an amazing job planning our catamaran/beach trip.
Patricia was a pleasure to work with. She was always available to answer our endlessly questions.
We went to four different islands and did two days of snorkeling on a catamaran. Captain Eric and First Mate Christy were amazing and fun to hang out with. Together, we enjoyed watching beautiful sunset, swam at a private island, grilled lobster, and snorkeled in the beautiful reef. They took good care of us. Christy is a great cook and Eric is a master at the grill. What a match!
At the end of the week, we stayed at Matachica. Everyone at the resort was amazing and attentive. They took care of our every needs.
On our last night, we had our surprise WOW Moment gifted by Wendy, arranged by Patricia, and executed by the staff at Matachica. It was an unforgettable WOW Moment (more “WOW evening”) from the sunset cruise with champagne and delicious ceviche, to the romantic candlelight dinner on the beach, everything was arranged perfectly. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable.
We were sad to leave Belize.
I highly recommend Patricia’s services and her team of safe drivers, knowledgeable boat captain, and friendly first mate/chef. We can’t wait to plan our next trip to Belize with friends.
We had a wonderful Belize experience! We spent Christmas day on a guided snorkel at Silk Cayes, which was great as he helped identify and explain many of the beautiful sea treasures along the reef. We even swam with giant turtles and nurse sharks. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Umya resort and highly recommend it, and Patricia, if you are headed to Palencia!
This trip far exceeded our expectations and was quite possibly one of our favorite trips ever. This was our annual mother-daughter trip. We spent four days in the jungle and four days at the beach. It was the perfect blend of activities and relaxation. Our guides were amazingly knowledgeable and the resorts (particularly Blancaneaux) were fabulous. All aspects provided too-notch customer care and attention, with no detail overlooked. We are already looking forward to returning to Belize and exploring more of this beautiful country with the help of Patricia and Rachael.
Our trip to Belize was extraordinary, thanks to Patricia and her team. We spent several days in the jungle (Gaia River Lodge) followed by five days at the beach at Ambergris Caye. I can say with confidence that we would not have had the same experience without their support. In addition to planning for unique needs in advance of the trip (my son runs competitively in college and needed to be able to train on vacation), she also managed unexpected complications due to heavy rains which made some of the roads near our resort impassable. She was in contact with us throughout our stay; having a local resource in Belize made a huge difference. Patricia went above and beyond, meeting us on Christmas morning during our transfer to the airport, just to check in and make sure everything was going well.
If traveling to Belize, I would highly recommend Patricia and Rachael. I can’t thank them enough for planning this amazing trip.
We had a great experience with Patricia Johnson. Patricia was wonderfully responsive, and helpful us design the perfect itinerary for our family of 5. We loved the two hotels she recommended – Chaa Creek (A+++) and Portofino. All of the recommended activities were outstanding, as were the private guides. Our teens particularly loved the snorkeling trip, the tour of the ATM Cave and the trip to Tikal. The itinerary she prepared was detailed, and all of the logistics went smoothly. Patricia left special notes and treats for us at each stop in our itinerary. She was a joy to work with and highly recommend her.
Patricia was a pleasure to work with and helped plan an awesome honeymoon trip for my son and his new bride! She made some terrific recommendations then helped us alter the itinerary several times until it was exactly what the newlyweds had in mind. Excellent service and attention to detail – would highly recommend Patricia and her team to anyone visiting Belize.
Patricia did an amazing job planning our beach/jungle trip to Belize. She listened closely to what we wanted and helped us make a perfect plan! She has an extensive knowledge of Belize, incredible patience and wants you to enjoy her country, it is all a wonderful combination! She even came to meet us at our jungle lodge bearing souvenirs, (and was as terrific in person as she was on the phone)!
Our overall favorite part of the trip was our guide Darryl, who was all Patricia’s idea. If you go to Belize and can have Darryl as your guide – do it! He is so charming, knowledgeable (like a walking history book) and helpful you wish you could have someone like him on every trip!
We also loved our beautiful accommodations and the staff who took care of us at Matachica and Chaa Creek – special mention to Amy and Jordy at Matachica and Keri and Candy at Chaa Creek.
Of course Belize has awesome activities and experiences (Mayan ruins, snorkeling, cave tubing, golf cart driving, bird watching, etc…) but I think our favorite moment was after Darryl dropped us off at Chaa Creek for our last night. We had finished cave tubing just in time to miss the heavy rain, and after he dropped us off we went to our upgraded villa which had an outdoor hot tub. So there we were on our last night in the jungle in an outdoor hot tub with cool rain falling on our heads as the prelude to our scrumptious organic dinner- it was otherworldly!
Since this was our third trip to the beautiful country of Belize, we wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. This is where Patricia stepped in with her recommendation to charter our own luxury sailboat to visit the islands (Cayes) along the southern coast.
Each of the four remote islands, where our captain suggested that we drop anchor, were unique in their own way…from watching the sunset from a deserted island, visiting a local beach bar on Tobacco Caye, lounging by the pool before dinner on Ray Caye (thanks Patricia for arranging this with the resort), to spending the day beach combing and picnicking on our own deserted island (our favorite). We would have never seen such beauty from a resort along the coast.
Our four days of sailing on Flojo, the newest catamaran in the fleet of their sister company, was spent eating gourmet meals prepared by Karla, snorkeling in remote reefs with abundant sea life, playing board games under the stars, swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays, sunning on the net at the front of the boat, and catching fresh fish off the back to eat later for dinner. Definitely worth every penny!
After reluctantly getting off the sailboat in Placencia, we enjoyed a few nights at the lush jungle resort, Copal Tree Lodge, near Punta Gorda. We toured their extensive organic farm, kayaked down the Rio Grande River, lounged by both beautiful pools, relaxed with a world-class massage, and listened to the howler monkeys while bathing in the outdoor bathtub (yes, they are very loud).
I highly recommend Patricia’s services and her team of safe drivers, knowledgeable boat captain, and friendly first mate/chef. We can’t wait to plan our next trip to Belize with friends.
Patricia organized an unforgettable trip for me, my husband and 3 boys. A heartfelt thank you! She seamlessly organized lodging, a private guide and driver and flights. She listened to our desires and created the perfect itinerary for us. I highly recommend her!
We worked with Patricia to plan a special vacation to Belize with our adult children and a girlfriend. We could not have been more pleased with every aspect of our trip. From the planning months in advance to the trip itself, we loved literally every minute. If there is one aspect of the trip that deserves special mention it is our WOW Moment at Naia Resort in Placentia. We really didn’t know what to expect as we were escorted down the beach until we could hear the beating of the drums and see the flaming bonfire awaiting us at sunset. Richard and his family taught us about the Garifuna people and their very interesting history and culture. The many dances including the “Go Mommy” chant for my wife Julie’s birthday were so much fun. The entire resort came out to watch and dance with us. It was quite memorable and was truly a very Wow moment.
We loved both properties that Patricia booked for us. Naia on the beach and Ka’ana in San Ignacio in the jungle. A perfect trip planned to perfection. We highly recommend Patricia.
We had a wonderful trip to southern Belize. We very much enjoyed traveling along the reef in the boat and loved the snorkeling. The food was delicious! And being able to fish off the back of the boat was an unexpected bonus. And then we could eat what we caught! Without Patricia’s input, I would never thought of chartering a boat. The southern reef is about an hour’s ride from the mainland and we got to just be there! The skies cleared in time for the lunar eclipse, and the stars were spectacular. We were happy to head south out of Belize, there were very few others, it was magical!
We had some weather issues getting to Belize and my husband’s bag didn’t make it on our flight. We feared we wouldn’t be able to get it for days as we were on a boat along the reef! The second night, on Tobacco Caye, in the dark, a power boat appeared and threw his bag on board! Thanks to the TTE and the captain, it was only a minor inconvenience!
Naia resort also worked out well. The 3 bedroom house was perfect for us, and we loved having a kitchen so we could just all hang out together. The chocolate tour was very interesting.
We canceled the trip to the jaguar reserve, we were not interested in driving that day, and it was fun to cruise around Placencia – I hadn’t realized that there were so many shops and bars along the sidewalk. Patricia made the change in plans easy.
Our WOW moment was really cool. We were in a dinghy on our way to go snorkeling and there was a plastic bottle floating in the water. I asked if we were going to pick it up, and Captain Dan said no, we’re going lobster hunting! Those who wanted to, free dove with a spear and shot lobsters (it took me five tries). Then Kainie made ceviche and served it with all the fixings, and a bottle of Prosecco. It was a really great experience that I’ve been sharing with friends and family.
We are all very happy with our trip, it was a really great family vacation! And doing the boat first, and resort second was just right.
Patricia was delightful and very knowledgeable. We are a family of four, two parents and two adult children in their late 20s. We love to travel and we wanted to have a nice spot to relax by the beach along with scuba diving and snorkeling. We also wanted to visit a Mayan ruin and spend some time in the jungle. The hardest part of the trip was deciding on where to go in Belize. We looked at a lot of different places and she recommended Placencia based on our criteria of wanting to be off the crowded spots. It was perfect for us. Very laid back with wonderful beach bars featuring delicious fish tacos, conch fritters and great drinks. Los Porticos is ten mins out of town, very small and private, and has a lovely small private beach and pool. Our two-bedroom condo was well appointed and had a lovely outdoor patio overlooking the beach and ocean. We took cabs in and out of town every day and the town is basically one street and one interior sidewalk with water on both sides featuring great bars and restaurants and little shops. We loved it. We went on a three dives and my only disappointment with our location is the distance to the best diving spots. If you are really going to Belize to dive, stay close to the dive sites. We wanted to do both diving and “chilling” so Placencia worked for us, but it was over an hour by boat to get to the dive sites.
Regarding the jungle, we stayed at Gaia River Lodge, recommended by Patricia. We loved it. It’s beautifully manicured and landscaped and sits above an amazing river with waterfalls and rock pools. Just gorgeous. The staff could not be more welcoming and accommodating. The rooms are lovely and comfortable. The food was also excellent and we were there for New Year’s eve and they created a really fun party for the guests.
One note: the drive between Placencia and the jungle is just shy of four hours with the last hour being a very bumpy dirt road. Our car and driver were fine, but it was lengthy. Some of the scenery is really beautiful and we stopped and had lunch in a lovely town and restaurant. All in all, we really loved our ten days in Belize. Thank you Wendy and Patricia!!
Patricia Johnson did a great job in selecting a Belize destination that fulfilled our desire for both rainforest and water experiences, The Copal Tree Lodge in Punta Gorda. She arranged activities tailored to our interests and hobbies. She listened well and was timely in her responses to our questions. We would use her again and recommend her without reservation.
The Copal Tree Lodge was great. The food was farm-to-table delicious, and the room was spacious and comfortable. The staff was the highlight. Warmer and more helpful people we have never met at a hotel setting before.
All of the activities were excellent, the Snorkel with the Chef experience was unique in that they moved us to Wednesday due to bad weather on Monday. We found out later that this was not a day they usually do this activity so we ended up getting a private experience, which was wonderful. The cave swimming day and the Bean to Bar workshop were also well executed and remarkable.
Due to rain, the staff was very flexible in rescheduling our activities several times so we did do everything we had planned.
Rachel and Patricia stepped right up and helped us organize a last minute trip to Belize over the holidays. They were communicative, thorough, and detailed. We stayed, at Patricia’s recommendation, at the Turtle Inn which is fabulous. Seriously fabulous. I have never met nicer and more competent staff in any resort. Melvin, our naturalist guide, is encyclopedic on bugs, birds, Mayan ruins, plants, traditional herbal remedies, and any number of Belizean topics. Our only wish that would have improved the trip was to have known to bring anti-bug remedies and clothing. They are voracious and we were unprepared. But the Turtle Inn had supplies and remedies readily available. So all went well. Thanks for the wonderful experience.
Patricia did an excellent job of planning our trip to Belize. She put together a fun and adventurous itinerary with some time allowed for relaxing too. She called me just before we left to go over any last minute itinerary questions and to make sure we had all the details that we needed. She was very quick to respond during our trip to last-minute additions and questions we had while in Belize.
My husband and I took our 13-year-old granddaughter who loves the sea to Belize. Patricia planned 3 destinations for us – Hatchet Caye in the southern cayes, then Kaana Resort near San Ignacio and Turneffe Island Resort in the northern cayes. Each was a beautiful and interesting place. She also planned all the transportation within Belize which worked perfectly – small planes, vans, and boats. Patricia arranged a snorkel trip, a climb of a Mayan temple, ZIP lining and canoeing through a cave. We were met at each stop by a driver/guide all of whom were courteous, pleasant and full of information. The only glitch was that we were not told that we needed a letter of permission to take our granddaughter into a foreign country. After 30 minutes of talking with different customs agents at the airport, we were able to get a letter and ID emailed from our daughter in the states and we were able to enter Belize. It was a great trip and we would recommend Patricia Johnson.
Patricia was helpful, informative, thorough and patient while we were booking our family trip to Belize. We loved both places she had us stay (Chaa Creek, Turtle Inn), and the guides and recommended activities were excellent. She checked in with is several times during our trip and answered on the spot questions quickly! We had no logistical problems at all. We would book with her again in a heartbeat.
Patricia really came through for us when we suddenly needed to plan a trip to Belize and only had a month to do it. And it was during spring break – not an easy task! I initially thought I could book a place online myself but quickly saw most places were already booked. So we contacted Wendy Perrin in desperation who connected us with Patricia Johnson. She found a wonderful place for us in Placencia – “Chabil Mar” and we couldn’t have been happier with the resort or location. Also, she was able to reserve 3 separate tours for us with guides on very short notice. We really enjoyed our last guide, Blasio, on a Mayan ruins tour. In fact, we found out he was also an expert in birding so requested a tour with him the next day to go to yet another nature reserve. We contacted Patricia and her team was able to arrange it for us for the very next morning, with no issues. All of our tours and guides were excellent, as well as all the various transports, including airport transfers. If we go back to Belize in the future, for possibly a snorkeling trip, we would definitely use Patricia. It was a memorable trip!
My husband and I worked with Patricia to plan a trip that we were leaving on in 4 weeks. She put together a plan that we went to Tikal in Guatemala, then to Belize and stayed in the mountains. The guides to the Mayan sites were wonderful, knowledgeable, prompt, and very personable. From there we went to Ambergris Caye and went snorkeling on the reef in several places and had a day to explore the island via golf cart! So much fun! We did have a local concierge try and change our plans, saying that we couldn’t do what was planned. I contacted Patricia and she promptly straightened everything out and sent me a detailed instruction on the plan- it worked perfectly and was much better than what the local concierge wanted us to do.
She had arranged for fantastic guides who also worked with us. They were very knowledgeable, friendly, flexible with the plan, and worked with the weather.
The unplanned, but the wonderful opportunity that came up that we took hold of and did. A charity that was making a gift delivered to a local, small school and we got to go with and assist! Such a Blessing and a highlight of the trip! Thankfully our guide was flexible enough to let us enjoy this …and then our vacation continued with more wonderful things to see and do down by the sea!