Last year, while I was still living in Guatemala, I spontaneously took a five day trip to Belize. Reasons I was going for:
- Visa renewal
…not in that order. As you may know, your tourist visa for Guatemala will get you three months. You can get a three-month extension in the capital once, for 115GTQ, but then you have to leave the country for 72h. El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua are in the same visa zone as Guatemala, so to renew your visa you have to go to Mexico, Belize or Costa Rica. Mexico would have certainly been the cheapest and closest option, but I had been wanting to see Belize for a while and I was also going to be visiting a school there for work. In between, I’m took a few vacation days!
I thought I’d show you what I packed, because I personally love reading blog posts about packing to get inspiration.
Here are the bags I took:
A Deuter ACT Trail Pro 38 SL (fit for women) as my main pack – I bought this pack before coming to Guatemala because I knew I’d have to take a few shorter trips, and it turned out to be ideal for that purpose. It is really comfortable and has an integrated rain cover, which is really important for countries like these (with heavy rain falls).
In addition, to not take another backpack, I opted for a beach bag I bought in Ecuador a few years back.
Let’s move on to clothes:
Bikinis – a must for a destination like Belize (or Guatemala). Some of my clothes got “misplaced” in one of the lavanderias (laundy service) here, including one of my favorite bikinis, so I got myself a new second one. I think it’s important to have two to not always have to wear a wet bathing suit if they don’t dry in time!
Microfiber towels – They are the best. They come in different sizes and take up so little space, dry very quick and are light. Technically, you only need one, but I have long hair so it’s much more comfortable for me to have an extra small towel.
Chitenge – I bought this in Zambia. It’s the traditional fabric that comes in all patterns and colors – women usually wear it as a skirt, a headband or to carry their children, but you can also use it as a scarf, blanket, beach towel…the possibilities are endless. I have several, and this one goes with me everywhere!
Tops – The weather forecast says it will mostly be above 30°C on average, so of course I will mostly be wearing sleeveless tops. I also had to bring something nicer for when I visit a school for work.
Shorts – I didn’t take a lot with me to Guatemala in the first place, so I’m taking two.
Dresses – It’s nice to wear a dress after a long day at the beach or just when you wander around town. I took one normal dress and a maxi dress.
Comfortable thin cotton pants – for the trip back and to protect myself from attacking mosquitoes in the evenings.
Flip Flops – No need to explain that one!
Teva Sandals – I will probably mostly be wearing my flip flops, but in case I want to do an activity where I need to have shoes strapped on, I’m packing these. They were excellent footwear when I did the cave tour (through lots of water) in Semuc Champey. Can only recommend this brand! (Update: I did not end up using them. However, if you plan on doing a cave tour on the main land, I highly recommend you take a pair!)
Travel sheet – Ever since I’ve dealt with a massive bed bug problem (let’s talk about that another time…) I’m happy to bring a mummy liner. I’m fully aware that that doesn’t deter bed bugs from crawling in, but it’s just for a general feeling of safety. Plus, that way you don’t have to wonder about weather the hostel really washed those bed sheets, and mosquitoes are less likely to bite you!
Denim Jacket – Just in case it gets a little cooler/windier at night. December/January are usually pretty windy months in Central America.
For the long bus ride to get here, I wore:
Leggings and a stretchy skirt – The most comfortable option for traveling, never too hot, never too cold.
Light sweater – this is really only for the bus ride, because boy, do they turn up that A/C sometimes!
Toms – My favorite travel shoes. They might not have the perfect development model (at least they have one), but they are amazingly comfortable!
Moving on to toiletries:
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Tangle Teezer – instead of a big hair brush. It takes up less space and although it’s not as thorough as a brush, I’m fine with beach hair
Makeup – Mascara, BB Cream, eye liner and concealer. I won’t be wearing much makeup anyway.
Hairties – a must-bring for boat rides and dives
Sunblocker – for obvious reasons.
Shampoo, conditioner and bodywash – all in travel size. I have refillable tubes.
Vitamin B – supposed to help against mosquitoes
Extra contact lenses, solution and eye drops
Last but not least, miscellaneous items:
Notebook and some pens – mostly for work and if I want to jot down some journaling notes. Always bring pens! Latest when you get to the border and have to fill out visa forms you will need them.
Cheap cell phone – I always bring one in case my smartphone gets stolen.
Small bag – I usually just walk around with my money and my camera, so it’s nice to just take a smaller bag.
Kindle – I got the new Paperwhite and am in love with it!
iPod – can’t go without music!
Headlamp – ever since I experienced hour-long powercuts in Zambia, I bring this. It’s also extremely helpful in hostels to look for your stuff in the dark, or if you’re reading either a real book or a Kindle with no backlight!
GoPro & Accessories, Camera
Powerbank – nothing worse than a trip and no charge on your phone/camera/Kindle
That’s about it! What do you bring on your week-long island trips?