Moon Handbooks Belize by Joshua Berman
Reviewed by Volker Poelzl
Having just traveled extensively in Belize a few months ago, it is a pleasure for me to review Joshua Berman’s Moon Handbooks Belize. Still closely remembering my own experiences in Belize, I can definitely attest to the fact that this book is a very complete and useful guide to all that the small country of Belize has to offer. Berman considers activities covering a variety of interests, budgets and ages, which makes the Moon Handbooks Belize a great companion for almost any traveler. You will find in-depth information about nature reserves, national parks, ecotourism, wildlife sanctuaries, and community tourism, as well as Mayan archeological sites, diving, snorkeling, nightlife, and entertainment.
Joshua Berman reveals his expertise and knowledge of Belize, as he covers every nook and cranny of the country worth exploring, from remote Mayan temples to little-known diving spots along the world’s second largest barrier reef. Berman provides a well-rounded guide on Belize for a variety of travel interests and budgets. You can find listings of great budget hotels as well as luxury resorts.
The book is well organized using tabs which allow the reader to quickly locate any of the seven regions described in the book. As all Moon Handbooks, the Belize guide also has a useful section with practical information located at the end of the book. The “Background” section provides information about the history and culture of Belize and its people, and the “Essentials” section offers useful information about practical travel matters.
I was particularly impressed by how much attention the author pays to outdoors activities and ecologically oriented travel, especially since environmental protection is one of Belize’s strong points. Belize is perhaps best known for its barrier reef and small islands--which have become popular destinations for beach tourists--but Belize has a wealth of natural and ecological treasures and a biological diversity rarely found in such a small country. A visit to Belize is not complete without exploring some of its natural treasures and wildlife, and Berman’s book lists plenty of destinations and excursions to explore the country’s rich natural environment.
Moon Handbooks now contain a colored overview map illustrating the different regions covered in the guides, which is a good way to get an initial idea of the lay of the land and start planning an itinerary. In this introductory section, readers get an idea of the country and learn about its most beautiful and interesting destinations before delving into the detailed descriptions in the corresponding chapters. The book also provides a useful Planning Guide, showing all the different vacation and travel options in Belize, from Diving and Family Adventures, to Bird Watching, the Mayan World, and Off-beat destinations. The Belize Handbook also covers the culture, customs, arts, and ethnic groups of Belize, providing useful background information that will enrich every visitor’s travel experience.
Avalon Travel updated their travel guides to a new format a few years ago, and this format is more user-friendly and easier to navigate than previous editions of the series. The paper is slightly thicker and the print slightly larger than in other travel guides, making it easy to browse through the book and find the relevant listings you are looking for. The clear layout and structure make it easy to quickly go to the region you would like to read about and find the desired information. In this regard Moon Handbooks are among the most user-friendly guidebooks on the market. In its seventh edition Moon Handbooks Belize continues to be an indispensable companion for independent travelers in this beautiful and hospitable country.