The Resort town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye in northern Belize sounds the "all clear" after back-to-back hurricanes
September 27, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel NewsSAN PEDRO, Belize - September 27, 2007 After dodging the Atlantic Ocean's worst two hurricanes this season, the expanding eco-tourism industry in Belize remains strong and worldwide interest in a country that is still predominantly in its natural state continues to grow.
Resorts on the island of Ambergris Caye reported only minimal damage and quickly re-opened after Hurricane Dean brushed Belize's northern tip in late August and Hurricane Felix raced ashore to the south almost exactly two weeks later along Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast.
The powerful hurricanes made history as the first two Category 5 Atlantic storms to make landfall in the same season. Remarkably, both largely spared the Central American nation of Belize.
Hurricane experts emphasize that early warnings and advance preparations are key for minimizing damage and casualties from any hurricane, and resorts on Ambergris Caye like Journey's End Resort (www.journeysendresort.com) responded to Dean by evacuating their guests two days before the island's mandatory evacuation orders. Nevertheless, Belize seems to have once again ducked the worst far better than other prime vacation destinations.
Dean brought heavy rains, moderate waves and minor flooding to the Belize coast and the government reported power outages, downed trees and damaged roofs in the northernmost Corozal District. Likewise, Felix brought local flooding to the extreme south. But vacation hotspots on Ambergris Caye such as Caribe Island Resort (www.caribeisland.com) and Journey’s End Resort (www.journeysendresort.com) suffered only minor damage from Dean and were completely bypassed by Felix.
In the wakes of both storms, the Belize Tourism Board quickly declared an "All Clear" within days after each hurricane and reported nearly all hotels open for business. "We are grateful that Belize was relatively unscathed by Hurricane Dean," Director of Tourism Tracy Panton said in a statement on an emergency information Web site run by the tourism board (http://belizeemergency.net). "With no major damages, most of the country's hotels and attractions are welcoming guests merely one day after the hurricane passed."
Historical records reveal that direct hits on Belize have been a rarity in recent years. In fact, only four hurricanes have passed within 60 nautical miles (69 miles) of the town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, since reliable record-keeping began in 1944. Those statistics mean the island has historically been far less vulnerable than more northerly sites like Key West, Florida, the Bahamas, Mexico, and many other Caribbean destinations.
Of course, no one can predict where storms will make landfall in any given year and 2007's Atlantic hurricane season is not yet over. But like that famous real estate adage, Belize may have a big factor working in its favor: location, location, location.
Atlantic storms tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center show that the majority of tropic storms and hurricanes have veered well to the north of the country. And according to the Belize Hurricane Net (http://ambergriscaye.com/hurricane), the Western Hemisphere's longest barrier reef is far more than just an underwater wonderland and world-class diving destination.
"Our reef saves us from utter devastation in big storms and, unlike practically any artificial arrangement, it isn't going to be undercut and washed away," writes the site's San Pedro-based administrator. "Most of the wave force slams into it and goes straight up in the air. Sixty feet or more sometimes."
A spectacle, perhaps, but a welcome one for Belize and the increasingly popular resort destination of Ambergris Caye.
About Caribe Island Resort:
Caribe Island Resort (www.caribeisland.com) is your place for fun in the sun, with 26 attractive vacation suites that offer breathtaking sunrises and amazing views of Belize's barrier reef and our own 200 feet of pristine beachfront. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation, an outdoor adventure, the diving opportunity of a lifetime, or a romantic getaway, our Caribbean-style resort is your ticket to paradise. Whether it's a trip to the mainland for a jungle adventure or an unforgettable snorkeling trip, a private dinner on your verandah or a beachside barbeque, Caribe can make it happen.
For reservations, visit our Web site or call 1-866-578-6386.
About Journey's End Resort:
A welcome escape to rustic luxury, Journey's End (www.journeysendresort.com) offers the best of both worlds. Climb a Maya temple one day, then marvel at the underwater wonders of Belize's famed barrier reef the next day. With a villa, beachfront cabanas and hotel lodging, Journey's End has an assortment of comfortable accommodations to choose from. The only hard choices will be deciding what to do before relaxing at our Smiling Toucan Bar and Restaurant or our La Habana lounge. Journey's End Resort also offers an onsite spa, pool and scuba diving facility all within easy reach. The resort also offers many options for guided fishing, scuba, or adventure tours.
For reservations, visit our Web site or call 1-800-460-5665.