Eva Haubrich, freshman, spent her winter break in Belize, taking the summer trip that her family was never able to have.
“My mom was diagnosed with cancer over the summer, so since she didn’t really get a break, we decided to recreate it over the holidays,” Haubrich said.
Belize is a tiny country off the coast of Central America, a seaside community by the Caribbean Sea, its beaches and the famed Belize Barrier Reef to the east. The western side of Belize is flanked by dense jungle. The family stayed mainly in San Pedro, which is a small town in the southern part of Ambergris Caye.
“We stayed in a sort of authentic resort, but it was small and unlike what you might expect. Since Belize is a third-world country, San Pedro and the areas around it are really poor,” Haubrich said. “We would always go into the towns and it was cool to see how differently they live, but also really sad.”
Haubrich made the most of her time so close to the ocean, whether she was relaxing on the beach or snorkeling, which she did when visiting Hol Chan, a marine reservation that includes one of the largest reefs in the world.
“There are sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and sharks. We actually got to swim with nerf sharks, which are harmless and we got to see so many turtles. [The experience] was really vibrant,” Haubrich said.
Jacques Cousteau, famed marine biologist and diver, was drawn to Belize to study these aquatic animals and explore the Giant Blue Hole, a deep marine sinkhole.
Haubrich encountered many interesting characters, natives and tourists alike.
“There were a lot of native kids selling things like woven bracelets, and they were really young. There was one girl who must have been about three and she was with her older brother just walking up and down the beach, trying to sell stuff,” Haubrich said.
The world proved to be small place, as the Haubrichs met three families also escaping the dismal winter of Wisconsin in this sunny paradise.
by Abby Widell