Thursday, December 22, 2011

Belize to El Salvador - Only a quick 50 minute flight!






Last week my wife and I went on a week long get-a-way to El Salvador. Although we have lived in Belize full time for 9 years we really haven't explored the surrounding countries too much (except for Mexico which we've traveled in extensively).

It was VERY easy to get to El Salvador. Taca Airlines has a direct flight that leaves from BZE and flies direct to San Salvador in less then an hour. The flights usually run around $400 including all taxes but we paid a bit more since we booked last minute.

If you make this trip hope for a clear day. The flight hugs the coast of Belize and you can make out the many towns and landmarks of Belize if you happen to sit on the right hand side of the plane.

It will be dark when you fly into El Salvador but you'll still be able to make out the many volcanoes in this country. The landscape is beautiful and stunning!

El Salvador is a very modern country. The have McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, plus major discount chains and a host of other American stores. The malls there rivaled malls I've seen in North American and Europe. 3 story malls with all the shopping you can handle.

The ocean is located on the far west of the country. While its beaches weren't what we were used to here at home on Ambergris Caye it was neat to see another part of the world. The ocean there is darker and the beaches very rocky with dark sand. The waves are big enough for surfing to be popular there. We strolled the beach, ate great seafood and walked through the fish market at Puerto de Libertad.

We had a great time and it was neat to experience another culture. There was a lot to like about El Salvador but there is also plenty to be wary of. If you go, try to hook up with friends or locals you trust as we did. It made for a safe experience.

For more details about our trip send an email to: info@belizeislandsrealestate.com

Keep traveling!

Dennis Kay II
RE/MAX Island Real Estate

P.S. - If you "Like" my facebook page you can register to receive a free snorkel trip to 2 the next time you're on island. Check it out at: www.facebook.com/BelizeIslandsRealEstate.com

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Manhattan - New York City's Energy is Incredible






New York is just one of those cities that vibrates with energy. I love it! There is so much to do and so much to see packed into such a small area. One day my wife and I walked 11 miles from mid to south Manhattan and felt like we'd been on a trip around the world.

Highlights of this trip were walking around Times Square, visiting the World Trade Center Memorial Site, eating incredible food (Joel Robuchon's at the Four Seasons, real Korean food in Korea Town and of course the street vendors), and walking the streets of New York where each block brings new discoveries.

New York is a world away from our quiet home at the Belize Yacht Club on Ambergris Caye but its a nice change of pace. Everyone asks me where I go on "vacation" since I already live in such a beautiful location. I tell them that I enjoy BIG cities. But after a few days away I'm always ready to get back to our island home. While we enjoy our world travels there is nothing like the feeling when our Tropic Air flight lands in San Pedro....ah, home sweet island!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Playa del Carmen - An Easy trip from Ambergris Caye




Yeah, yeah. I know what you are thinking and I hear it all the time. "You live in paradise! so why would you leave Ambergris Caye to go to another beachside town just up the road?"

Well, the reason is "Because I can". I love Playa del Carmen. Sure its touristy and you get hassled walking on 5th avenue by every shop keeping looking to sell you something. But I love the big beaches, beach clubs, dining choices and even the fact that I can get just about any kind of fast food I want there. (NOTE: There are no McDonalds, Burger Kings or Starbucks on Ambergris Caye).

Plus, its nice to get off the island for a few days. Every time I do I come back with a renewed appreciation for just what a great place Belize is to live. I like vacationing in Playa but I wouldn't want to live there.

To get there from here is easy which is another reason why we go up there so often. You just catch a water taxi right from San Pedro that goes to Chetumal, Mexico. From Chetumal you catch a nice ADO express bus and about 4 hours later you in playa ready to hit the town.

Some people make this trip to take advantage of cheap flights going to and from Cancun. It does add another travel day onto your trip but if you get a good deal and especially if you have a large family sometimes it can be worth it. In another post I'll give the details of how to make the trip up and back (Going from Ambergris Caye up to Playa del Carmen or Cancun and return).


Krakow Poland and Auschwitz






My grandfather came from Poland....that's about all I knew about the country. It never really called to me so it never made my short list on countries and places to see. But then my wife started a research project on the holocaust and the largest concentration camp was Auschwitz which is close to Krakow. So in booking our last trip to Europe we included Krakow in our itinerary.

We just come from France, Morocco, Italy and German and Poland was our last stop on this trip. I really didn't know what to expect but I have to say that Krakow is now one of my favorite cities in Europe. The food, fashion, style and feel of the city is fantastic...all at prices much much lower then in western Europe. We stayed right in the city center and could walk everywhere. The whole place had a clean, safe feel to it. My only regret is that we didn't stay a few more days.

Our main reason for going to Poland was to tour Auschwitz. It is the historical sight of the abandoned Nazi concentration camp. During 1942 this camp was the main headquarters that was used for the mass extermination of the Jews and other groups that Hitler had no use for. Over a million people were murdered at this site. The details of the place were graphic and hard to comprehend. But I feel it was beneficial to see first hand this type of history. Doing so changes a person in ways they can't really explain. For more info on Krakow and Auschwitz just email me.

Now that we have seen the southern part of the country we are looking forward to going back again to see the capital Warsaw. Anyone have any tips for us?

Munich Germany and Dachau Concentration Camp





We chose to visit Germany to see first hand the history of World War II and the concentration camps used by the Nazi Regime. That and to drink German beer and eat real German food.

Basing ourselves out of Munich we had a very enlightening time which left us with a mix of emotions.

The city of Munich itself is beautiful, clean and easy to explore. The food was a huge highlight as was visiting the outdoor beer gardens. It was fun to see little old grandmas drinking these hug mugs of beer while the grandkids were running around the park and playing. Now that is my idea of babysitting!

A good way to see this city in a short period of time is to take a Segway tour. We saw all of the main highlights in just a few hours. It's a nice way to get an overview so that you can go back and explore certain areas in more depth later.

Our tour of the Dachau concentration camp was of course an experience in itself. So much history there, much of unspeakable in its cruelty. We have researched the holocaust for some time but there is nothing like standing before a gas chamber in real life.

But through it all you see the desire of man to live despite enduring all sorts of atrocities. I think everyone should visit such places to think and meditate on the real meaning of life and how best to use it. It makes us appreciate what we have.

From Ambergris Caye to Positano Italy (one paradise to another)




We had already been to Italy so when I told my wife I wanted to go back she was a little reluctant. With so many other countries to explore why go back to the same one twice? I assured her that the area I wanted to take her was unlike the northern part of the country which we had explored some years earlier.

The place that had caught my attention from reading several travel magazines and blogs was the Amalfi Coast. We both love being on the water, any water. We love little lakes, big lakes, clear rivers, the oceans, lagoons and seas. So when I saw pics of this village called Positano that had breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea I knew we had to go. Plus my wife love collecting sea glass and I had heard the the beach in Positano had some of the best anywhere.

What I found in this small resort like town was the stuff dreams are made of. Incredible Italian food, even more incredible vistas and some of the best shopping I've seen anywhere. We spent our days exploring the winding roads, eating and drinking and even took a day trip to Capri. If you've been to Italy and have done the big three (Rome, Florence and Venice) and are thinking that is all there is to see...think again. Give yourself a full week at least to explore the Almafi coast and you'll want to go back again and again.

Marrakech, Morocco (We aren't in Belize anymore!)






I have always loved exploring different cultures and found Morocco to be one of those fascinating places that I always wanted to see but hadn't yet. So last year when we booked a week stay in a riad in the middle of Marrakech we were extremely excited.

Marrakech is a city that is FULL ON for the senses. Everything seems intensified. The smells, the sights, the taste, the sounds. During the day as we explored the old city we were constantly overwhelmed (in a good way) by everything. But it can wear you out so it was nice that back in our quiet riad there was peace and serenity.

The food here is incredible as is the shopping, which my wife took full advantage of. One of the highlights was driving up into the Atlas Mountains and visiting Berber villages and riding camels on a dry river bed. Not to be missed!

We highly recommend Marrakech to anyone who has traveled to the usual places but who are now ready for something a little more unique. If you are looking for something a little different but not totally out there crazy then give Morocco a try.

From Ambergris Caye Belize to Paris France





















































While Ambergris Caye is and always will be "home" we love to travel. Especially in Europe. It's a nice change of pace from our island life. We trade walking the beach and drinking mojitos with shopping, museums and fine wines.

Paris is our favorite place outside of Ambergris Caye. It's very easy to get to from here. American Airlines flies from Belize to Miami, then its a short layover before flying direct to Charles de Gualle.

We wake up looking at the reef and palm trees and in less then 15 hours we are eating fresh croissants and drinking french wine on the Champs Elysees.


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