Photo: Image Broker/Alamy
With global travel on pause and almost everyone stuck at home, we know you’ve been dreaming about where you’ll go as soon as you can book that next flight. To help give you some inspiration, we’re asking our well-traveled staffers about their best trips. Here, photo director Jessie Adler tells us about her adventure-filled trip to Belize.
1. What about the destination made this your favorite trip?
I feel like every trip I take is my favorite! But one that sticks in my mind is a vacation to Belize—the first my husband and I took after we got married. It wasn’t technically a honeymoon, because we had planned to go before we even decided to get married. We went scuba diving, spent time in the rainforest, and even went on a crazy caving adventure—all of which were super memorable.
2. Can you pinpoint the moment when you fell in love with the place?
Other than being immersed in the beauty of the rainforest and loving the place where we stayed the first few nights (an eco-retreat called Black Rock Lodge), I’ll never forget our tour of Crystal Cave. We had seen photos of it that looked amazing, but the tours were a bit pricey, and we didn’t really want to spend that amount of money. But my husband found a solution: He’s a bit of a card shark, so he found a casino not too far from the cave, and after 45 minutes of poker, he won the money we needed for the cave experience! It was truly beautiful, though exhausting—the tour included a five-hour, kinda-dangerous hike, but it was totally worth it, and we still laugh about that day.
3. What was your favorite tourist attraction?
The scuba diving was really great. We saw all kinds of fish, coral, nurse sharks, an eel, and sea turtles while we were snorkeling. While we were diving, a fish that looked like a small shark came up and attached itself first to my husband and then later to me. We had no idea what it was at the time, but it tickled like crazy while it was suctioned to us, so we went from terrified to laughing in seconds. It turns out it was a remora and totally harmless, but it did give us leg hickies!
Back on land, our favorite spot was this narrow waterway surrounded by gorgeous beaches called The Split in Caye Caulker. It’s a great place to get drinks, sit on the docks, and watch the sunset. We went a little off-season, so there were a bunch of locals hanging out and it wasn’t overly crowded with tourists.
4. What was the best meal you had on the trip?
We went to a little seafood shack in Caye Caulker (I think it was called Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen) and got a fresh-caught lobster. It was delicious, the owner of the shop was super nice and patient with our Spanglish, and the place was relaxed and chill—just what we wanted.
5. Did you meet any cool people?
We met several cool people, but one in particular who stands out was this guy, Sean, who was from Ireland and traveling the world for a year. We connected with him one night at a bar and then spent some of the next day hanging out with him and sharing beers on a beach in Ambergris Caye. We traded emails with him a few times after returning home, too—this was pre-WhatsApp!
6. Did you bring back any neat keepsakes?
We brought back a hand-painted wooden tiger that we are still in love with to this day. We found it at a beachside shop on Caye Caulker. It sits on display on one of our kitchen shelves, so we admire it every day.
7. What’s the first thing you’ll do when you go back?
I’d go right back to Black Rock Lodge in the rainforest near San Ignacio and stay there for longer than we did last time. It was so relaxing and beautiful, and we loved our little bungalow with a hammock right outside. A river runs through the property, and you can go tubing down it; if you survive the last rapid without falling off your tube, they give you a free drink—or at least they did seven years ago when we were there. (I got a free drink; my husband did not!) The only thing I’d change is that I hope we don’t have any run-ins with a tarantula this time…