Why Belize is the ultimate wellness destination
Belize has always served as an escape from the mundane, an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the world. In that regard, many seek the Caribbean country for its affinity to better one’s mental and emotional wellbeing. It’s easy to see why – with its lush rainforests, paradisical beaches, and warm people. All of these and more have made Belize the go-to destination when it comes to inner healing. As more people look to prioritize their mental health, their needs around vacations shift. According to a global survey by American Express, 68% of travelers said they’re likely to base their next trip around improving their mental wellbeing. If you happen to be a part of that percentage, you don’t need to look further than tropical Belize.
Encased in Nature
More than half of pint-sized Belize is covered in lush jungles and rainforests. When looking to start your wellness journey, spending time in nature is at the forefront. Many studies have reported that spending an hour or two in nature has amazing benefits to one’s mental health. It not only reduces stress but also allows your mind to be free of worldly worries.
A great place to test this is at Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge region. The forest reserve boasts more than 100,000 acres of jungles – and you can enjoy it all when staying at Hidden Valley Inn. Considered the inn’s backyard playground, Pine Ridge (as the locals call it) was made for detoxifying. Cascading waterfalls, sloping valleys, and a plethora of wildlife call the area home. To kickstart your wellness journey, visit any of Hidden Valley’s yoga platforms peppered throughout the vast 7,200-acre reserve. You don’t necessarily need to do yoga to enjoy the view at the Awat Balam platform. Sit with yourself while overlooking Tiger Creek Falls, the only sounds are the gushing of the waterfall and the swaying of the broadleaves. If you’d like something more high energy while still surrounded by wilderness, opt to hike through one of the many trails available on-site. Keep your eyes peeled for agouti, birds, kinkajou, and perhaps even jaguar pawprints!
Just a few short hours in the Belizean jungle are bound to lift your spirits and instill a new sense of wonder within you.
Nurturing one’s wellbeing goes further than being happy in solitude. Oftentimes, it involves making new bonds with others. Belize is teeming with diverse cultures and lifestyles you wouldn’t come across anywhere else. By coming into contact with them, your mind opens up to new perspectives. You become a well-rounded citizen of the world, gaining confidence and empathy.
To give you a sense of what that experience would look like, Hidden Valley offers visits to nearby San Antonio Village. This small community is a Maya stronghold and home to many cultural experiences. Spend the day learning the customs of the Yucatec Maya, such as making corn tortillas from scratch or creating pottery pieces. Chat with the locals and learn of their past, what drives them today, and how to help keep the culture alive. Here, you’ll forge new connections not only with the people of Belize but within yourself. You may be surprised with which skills come naturally to you, or that some activities bring about a certain stillness in your soul.
A Shift in Perspective
While bettering one’s mental health is about being comfortable in your own skin, sometimes it means doing uncomfortable things. Step out of your comfort zone when in Belize to help you dispel fears and any trace of insecurities you may have. You’ve always wanted to feel what it’s like to fly, so why not try ziplining? Or maybe you’re curious about what lies within dark caves, so cave tubing is the way to go. You may be hesitant about these experiences at first, but only because you are not familiar with them. Trust us, by the time you feel the brush of the rainforest canopy beneath your feet when ziplining or see the crystals glinting within caves, you’ll want to do it all over again.
Practicing self-care may not be a new concept, but they say the trend will be taking over 2022 by storm. Gone are the days when travelers only cared about Instagrammable itineraries and cookie-cutter experiences. This year, wanderlusters crave something deeper in their travels – and Belize is more than ready to oblige.