How Slowing Down Leads To Experiencing More

by Carolee Chanona

Rising through the ranks of a mental Rolodex of destinations, Belize is here to fulfill the solemn promise (or rather, epiphany) of last year: meaningful experiences and authentic escapes will weave through all future travels. The inevitability of change has transformed the way we think of—and plan—our future holidays, our dream destinations, and our escapes. The common thread? Ethical, “slow” travel.

Choosing a new ‘business as usual’ means practical and personal shifts to travel better—and to travel with an impact. Emphasizing a connection to local people, cultures, food, and music, slow travel relies on the idea that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact. Not only in the present moment but also for the future, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.

By embracing the growing ethos of slow travel in a destination that supports the preservation of its incredible biodiversity—in both natural and cultural landscape—Belize is here to make your escape all the more enriching. That by supporting community-based tourism, you’re unmistakably being more respectful. By supporting small-scale, you’re leaving cash in local pockets while being treated to authentic, soul-lifting encounters that promise the longest-lasting memories. And instead of racing to do it all, investing your time in quality experiences over quantity pays off tenfold in the end. I can’t explain the physics involved, but time is altered: the minutes become more valuable, and how we spend our days is an investment itself.

Paths less traveled may ask the extra mile, like getting to the Snake Cayes off the coast of Toledo, but each soft ripple of the Caribbean Sea will pacify your every woe. Learning how to make shuut during your Maya home-stay is a priceless keepsake from Belize’s indigenous knowledge, directly from the generations themselves. And how conquering jungle cascades on a hike within a wildlife sanctuary is not only rewarding in itself, but it’s an investment in their very own conservation.

It’s both calming and exhilarating that our wanderlust for a change of scenery and opportunities to experience something new— standing as the essence of travel—has not been extinguished by a global pandemic. Even more so now, it is underscored that travel is a luxury and an investment in the communities and ecosystems—an economic boost, a tonic against small-mindedness, and even an antidote to the mundane.

 Even environmentally, we as travelers hold an individual power to provide demand for regenerative solutions—not just to ensure the sustainability of our current travel model, but to restore and improve our footprint on a destination long after we’ve left. And after our collective time in place gave prominence to the notion that travel is not a commodity to use and overuse.


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One of Belize’s most important selling points for a nation that’s more than 40% reliant on tourism is the integrity of its natural resources and the authenticity of its product. There are no cookie-cutter resorts, few multinational businesses, and—most crucially for the sake of COVID—the lowest population density in Central America at 45 persons per square mile. But after the pandemic shuttered businesses across Belize, it was those community efforts that buoyed hope during the height of the storms of uncertainty. It doesn’t get much more real than that.

That’s why it’s never just a trip to Belize — a peaceful gallery of jungle panoramas and patches of coral reefs — but it’s also the immersive cultural experience that comes with the journey.

Slow down and savor it.
Written by Carolee Chanona for the 2021/2022 Belize Gold Book.
Feature photo and all photos within this article are © Tom Hines. Article found on page 6 of the 2021/2022 Belize Gold Book. Read more articles from the #BelizeGoldBook below:

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