Last week, Mr. Smith and I snuck off to paradise.
You’d think that two business owners living in a fixer-upper wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to paradise.
You might even think you can’t afford a trip to paradise.
I’d hate for you to think that. Especially when an island getaway is closer and cheaper than you think!
So rather than share a slideshow of our trip (snore), here’s how we spent less than $2000 on our island getaway.
So, where did we go?
We spent 4 days and 3 nights in San Pedro, Belize. Four days may not sound like a long time in paradise, but it was just the right amount of time to relax. Any longer and I think our brains would have turned to mush. 🙂
TIP: Before I share the details of our trip expenses, let me encourage you to start a “TRIP FUND.” Since travel is important to us, we put aside money each month in our trip fund. It may be $20 here or $100 there but after a year or so, it adds up into a nice little getaway!
Back in May, Southwest Airlines announced new flight paths to different countries including Belize, a place Mr. Smith has been itching to go for the past couple years.
The price for one round trip ticket from Houston to Belize City was $279. Needless to say we hopped on that deal right away!
Even though this was an introductory special, flights with Southwest are very reasonable–especially if you travel during the off season. We also prefer the service and customer care of this airline.
TIP: Once you purchase your tickets, make sure to “check in” so that you can be entered in the earliest boarding class possible. This way, you get to pick the best seats!
Get this: The flight from Houston to Belize City was only 2 hours! Can’t make it to Hawaii? No worries, paradise is closer than you think.
Once we landed in Belize City, we took a puddle-jumper flight to the island of San Pedro. Look at the teeny tiny place we flew in! (above) Clastrophobes be warned.
A round trip ticket from Belize City to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye via Tropic Air was $158. Flight time was 15 minutes.
We stayed at Ramon’s Village, and though we paid a little extra for the resort treatment, it was worth every penny. (Thanks, Bird, for the recommendation!)
Still, we chose the most inexpensive room which was called a “Jungle Mini” for $170 a night.
TIP: Ask for a list of package deals. We received the “summer deal” which added breakfast for 2 at no cost.
Behold, the charming banana leaf-thatched roof of our Jungle Mini cabana hut:
Rather than paying more for a room right on the water, we chose a room with a jungle view. We were not disappointed.
In fact, I found it thrilling to take a mini safari through our private patch of tropical plants each time we went to the beach.
I mean, how often do you get to pass a banana tree on your way to breakfast?
These delicate purple flowers greeted us each morning. The room staff also sprinkled them around our room.
I cannot say enough about the hospitality of Ramon’s. Walking past other hotels on the beach, I knew we were at the best one on the strip. The environment is so unique, warm, friendly, inviting.
We especially enjoyed the staff at Pineapple’s, the resort’s restaurant. Guests and staff were on a first-name basis and the waiters always greeted us with warm smiles. Meet Chief and Jack, our two favorite waiters.
Since I’m a plant nerd, I asked the bartender how to tell when a coconut was ready to be picked (they had several trees on the resort). One of the servers immediately went to climb a tree for one but the bartender insisted that I enjoy a cold one from the fridge. I had never tasted coconut juice straight from a coconut before. What a refreshing treat! Afterwards, they cut it open for us to enjoy the meat.
If you are looking for a cheaper stay, try Airbnb. We met a couple there who had found a great room for a great price.
If you stay at Ramon’s, however, you have access to their beach, pier, snorkeling equipment, hammocks and cabana seating for free.
Rather than try to learn the intricacies of scuba diving, we opted for an equally-fun snorkeling trip via Ramon’s Village Divers. We hopped on a boat which took us 15 minutes up the island to a section of coral reef where we snorkeled amongst nurse sharks, manta ray, colorful fish and coral reef.
The 2 hour adventure cost $45 per person and included all equipment. Trips can be purchased once you are at Ramon’s.
There is some great food to be had in San Pedro. Most plates will cost $20 USD. Most menu prices are posted in Belizean dollars so don’t freak out if you find that your sushi roll is $40 BZE. 🙂
For delicious drinks in a friendly, light-hearted atmosphere, try out Hurricane’s Ceviche Bar located right on the water down from Ramon’s.
For delicious sushi and other fine cuisine, try out the Blue Water Grill.
And you’ve gotta go to Elvi’s Kitchen for their delicious curry and friendly staff.
Overall, here were our expenses:
-$875 flights for 2
-$558 lodging for 2 (3 nights)
-$90 snorkeling for 2
-$250 meals for 2
-$75 gas to Houston (stayed with family)
Not bad for one of the best trips we’ve ever enjoyed.
Belize is not only a tropical paradise, it’s also close, affordable and full of the most warm and friendly people.
It also has the best sunrises.
Here’s to your future trip to paradise!
For Mr. Smith’s touching account of the hospitality and community in Belize, click here.
Where do you go to get away?
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