The newest edition of Moon Belize is a gem

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!

GADLING’S TAKE FIVE: Week of September 17

Hear ye, Hear ye it is time again for another weekly glance at some spectacular plugs you may have missed. Just make sure you don’t miss them this time. Or else!

5. Cool Subways:
Long ago I mentioned the cool underground transportation scene seen in Tehran, Iran, but in this piece Erik points us to some so-called “Cool” subways in destinations like Moscow, Munich and Stockholm. If you’re not in rush to get to your final stop; check them out. That goes for the real thing and his blurb here on the web.

4. Puerto Rico Island Hopping:
Ah, Puerto Rico! With a light hurricane season and considering hurricane season is almost officially out of here who wouldn’t want to go island hopping in Puerto Rico? Thanks to Iva we’re one step closer in making the dream come alive or deciding which method or hopper plane works best for you.

3. Red Corner: The Horrors of Flying in Russia:
I’ve never been to Russia or flown on one its friendly planes, but I’m hearing more and more stories like the one Neil points us to in this scary piece. If you’re making St. Petersburg or Moscow a must-see destination sometime soon check this article out to shake yourself up a little.

2. Medieval Trials in Modern Day India:
Culture pieces are my favorite and this one is pretty interesting. Learn how to find a thief in India by reading this hot topic. After knowing how trials in modern day India work you’d think no one would steal, but it sadly looks as if that’s not the case.

1. Gadling Podcast: Joshua Berman:
Podcast time and with this one Erik delves into the world of guidebook writing with Joshua Berman who writes for Moon Guides, but recently published Living Abroad in Nicaragua released by Avalon Publishing. If you’re curious to know what it takes or Joshua’s take on the world of mattress flipping, sniffing and reporting (a.k.a. travel writing), tune in, plug in, and give it a listen.