Winter Getaway

Wilderness Inquiry offers real adventures in the outdoors. Photo courtesy WI.

Are you tired of the long, cold winter? A trip to Belize — perhaps the Caribbean’s best-kept secret — might be your answer

Belize, a neighbor of Guatemala, offers sun-drenched beaches, caves, jungles, mountains, Mayan ruins and wildlife areas. You can drive over the border into Guatemala and visit Tikal, the largest Mayan ruin, which has more than 17,000 stone buildings. No wonder it is often called “the New York City” of the Mayan empire! What happened to the Mayans centuries ago? This is the place to find out.

Wildlife fanciers can enjoy a guided tour of the jungle at the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve. Run by the Belize Audubon Society, the basin is one of the last refuges for jaguars, as well as many other species of birds and animals.

For water lovers, South Water Caye Marine Reserve is said to offer fine snorkeling. The barrier reef of Belize is pristine and huge.

What’s the weather like in Belize and Tikal in late winter and spring? Temperatures can range from 60° F. at night to 95° F. during the day at the coast, and from 50° F. at night to 85° daytime in the mountains. Rainfall varies, but you can expect some precipitation during portions of several days.

You can enjoy all this on your own, or you can leave the planning and details to professional travel planners. One such expert is Wilderness Inquiry (WI), a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis. WI offers real adventures in the outdoors —not prepackaged tours that happen on a schedule. WI provides outdoor experiences that inspire personal growth, community integration, and enhanced awareness of the environment. Their outings encourage people to open themselves to new possibilities and opportunities.

More than 30 years ago, WI Executive Director Greg Lais and Bill Simpson took a group of young students on a winter camping trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota. In 1977, a trip to Boundary Waters organized by Lais and a college friend, Paul Schurke, involved two wheelchair users and two people who were deaf. That trip opened new possibilities and changed many lives.

WI became a nonprofit in 1978. It has served more than 250,000 people on canoe, kayak, dogsled, horseback, and hiking adventures throughout North America and the world.

Dates for WI’s next adventures in Belize and Tikal are Feb. 2–9, and March 27–April 3, 2013. The trip to Belize does involve hiking, but no previous experience is necessary. Some areas are not very wheelchair accessible, so contact WI about making accommodations.


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