The first things that come to mind when I think of Belize: Mayan ruins, world-class diving, bird-watching, and hiking through nature. Sounds like a vacation in paradise, if you ask me – and I’m from Hawaii. Joshua Berman, a travel expert to both Nicaragua and Belize, recently revised the 8th edition of Moon Belize, and the result is a comprehensive, informative guide for any kind of traveler.
Seeing the best of Belize is a piece of cake, but what makes Moon Belize such a rich resource is Berman’s behind-the-scenes knowledge of the country. The 24-page front section of the book offers fantastic itinerary ideas – my favorites being “The Mundo Maya” (scattered across the inland part of the country are over thirty Mayan ruins), Belize’s “Best Dive Sites” (live-aboard to your heart’s content, or visit one of the country’s many atolls, reefs, and cays), and two off-the-beaten-path nature guides.
The main and middle portion of the guidebook is a comprehensive 230 pages of country information, broken up in seven parts: the Belize District, the Northern Cayes, Belmopan and the Hummingbird Highway, Cayo and the Mountain Pine Ridge, the Southern coast, Punta Gorda and the Toledo Villages, and Northern Belize. Each section begins with a handy “Highlights” guide and map and contains well-written, informational insets featuring local lore or facts where you can learn about such things as the cashew nut, jaguars, and manatees. There are also helpful walking guides within town centers or ruins for those wanting some direction and not wanting to pay for real tour guide.
The back section of the book provides helpful historical information, environmental background, and travel tips – all catered to the informed traveler. Berman leaves no stone unturned: he even writes about “Gettin’ Hitched and Honeymoonin'” in Belize on page 314 (my sister’s best friend had her destination wedding in Belize, so the book really is spot on in including such details). Berman adds personal touches to this edition as well, with a generous first-person Foreward and first-hand accounts sprinkled around the guide and back sections too (check out the cool interview on whale sharks on pages 210-211 and “The Future of the Reef” interview on pages 266-267).
The newest edition of Moon Belize really is a gem. With over 40 maps, a colorful front section of suggested itineraries, readable and informative guide, and amazingly detailed background information, Berman produced a true traveler’s notebook.
You can purchase this latest version of Moon Belize on Moon’s website. While you’re there, stop by Berman’s Moon Belize blog, or visit his Tranquilo Traveler blog if you are a fan – which you will be.
Also, stay tuned to Gadling for a special “Talking Travel with Joshua Berman” and Moon Belize book giveaway!