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Dampness Problems and the Methods to Solve Them

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Dampness is caused by many factors and it is oft quoted that Surveyors mis-diagnose the causes of dampness. Personally I do not believe this but what I am convinced is true is that a home owners tend to either ignore damp and mould, a strange and self-defeating stance, or become paranoid and seek to completely eliminate all traces of moisture (which is not always a wise thing to do).

Nothing could be worse than ignoring the problems because they usually get worse. Our second reaction is often to get a specialist Damp Proofing contractor involved. Although this can be correct and proper it is my experience such salespersons often sell a solution that is not needed, and which costs you a small fortune. That solution usually means chemicals will be injected into the house walls and in this eco-world this cannot always be correct.

It is all subject to scale and degree but the wisest course of action is usually to get your local Chartered Surveyor in to inspect and advise you. I can be accused of profiteering here but I reject I am biased. Dampness can be caused by so many differing factors that a true analysis is absolutely essential to ensure the solution is sustainable. Where does damp occur, why and does a repair need to be completed?

The best way of preventing damp is to design an adequate barrier and to install it effectively during construction of the building. Otherwise a retrofitted system must be considered and such systems are often disruptive and costly.

Also one must consider a further serious problem in the industry of damp diagnosis – often the cause of the dampness problem is mis-diagnosed and this can lead to much unnecessary expense or, even worse, duplicated costs over a period of years as a second solution is then tried.

Condensation is often the actual problem and this can be associated with a lifestyle problem rather than a building defect: indeed, it is my experience that the large majority of dampness that as been rectified by chemical injection systems (see below) are, in fact, a combination of inadequate insulation and a lifestyle issue revolving around your own actions and methods of living in that particular building.

On top of these issues is the danger that historically the observed dampness may have brought with it minerals from the ground. These can migrate up and into wall-base plaster in your lower rooms. This contaminated plaster usually needs to be removed (but not always) and the affected rooms then replastered at high cost and disruption. The dampness may have also started the process of joinery or floor decay that may not manifest until many months later and so it usually pays to expose and lift floorboards before any works are specified – hense my assertion that it usually pays to get an experienced Home Surveyor to check out the home before works are started.

The Dampness Diagnosis Industry is one that is driven by a Free Surveys by the Company competing for retrofit remedial work. Often conflicts of interest result in misdiagnosis and all for the sake of home buyers or owners saving a few pounds by not calling for paid opinion from a local, independent Chartered Surveyor.

So, what are the main types of remedial system if an actual rising damp issue has been correctly diagnosed? Here is a basic list —

Chemical retrofit injection systems: these place chemicals within a wall such that the micro-porous structure of the masonry cannot take in moisture and this solidity prevents capillary attraction and so damp cannot rise into your home. Small holes are drilled into wall bases (usually outside but an interior system can be designed in some cases) and a chemical solution is then systematically injected into masonry until saturation point is reached.

Electro-osmosis: if a small electrical current (equivalent to that used by a doorbell) is passed through a wall it affects the rate of potential capillary attraction that causes water to rise in a wall (like a tree sucking water out the ground). This system typically has a Control Unit (an adaptive power source), Anodes drilled and set into the outside wall-bases plus, finally, an Earth Rod. These are provided externally and are effective if the circuit(s) is not broken or the power supply interrupted.

Physical = the introduction of a new barrier such as bitumen felt, plastic (polypropylene, EPDM or re-cycled), dense (engineering grade) brick course & mortar, lead or natural slate. Any physical barrier will need to be linked to any flooring membrane and be at least 150mm above outside ground levels. The precise position of the barrier must also ensure that embedded, suspended floor joists ends are protected from damp and resultant decay.

Schrijver System: (a proprietary brand product used as an example to identify any such system – a specialist physical system) = this relies upon inserted special devices placed inside a wall (inserted from the outside by a drilling process) that create cold spots to which water is drawn. That moisture is then collected and drained away safely.

Palliative measures – in essence these work on the principal that the damp is not the problem; instead you tackle and neutralise the effects of dampness rather than prevent the source(s) of damp (provided no serious consequence results from such proposals) — 1. Create a new inner skin with damp-membrane and insulant but with a vented space between damp old and stud new inner walls. Possibly complete this work in tandem with outside land drainage works. 2. Changes in occupants’ lifestyle patterns. 3. Provide better insulation and/or improve heating and venting of the building environment (or simply improve the control of such factors).

Arguments exist for each type of theory of repair, or action to combat dampness and its effects (mould, decay, health problems….). Factors to decide the best solution for you may include:—

• The robustness of the correct diagnosis of damp. This factor cannot be overplayed in importance as the large majority of dampness cases are initially mis-diagnosed by Surveyors.

• Whether the degree of damp warrants any actions at all.

• How green you require your repair solution to be.

• The effectiveness and longevity of the various types of solution.

• The costs, direct and indirect, of your preferred repair solution.

• Whether guarantees are issued, and upon what terms (such as being Insurance backed?).

• Whether it is wise to repair damp at all – eg: Cob walled buildings must be damp to remain structurally safe: eg: flint walls cannot be injected: eg: usually slim wall forms of Period Buildings need to breath and this precludes most remedial work methods.

• The peripherals such as the degree of Repair Company expertise required, whether Building Control Approval is need, length of time needed to complete the repairs, what conditions are placed on each repair method, any adverse effect on saleability or mortgageability of each type of repair system, etc……

• Sometimes remedial works might effect an adjoining structure and so the cooperation (sometimes mandatory under the Party Wall Act) of the adjoining property owner is needed before anything can be done.

In seems that the Industry has lapsed into saying the solution is a chemical injection remedial treatment, now what is the problem? Until we can get a little more sophisticated we will continue to complete unnecessary works and/or use chemicals when often we shouldn’t.

The crux of the matter often revolves around two factors (1) whether wall plaster needs to be removed and replaced as this greatly increases costs and length of contract, plus (2) are you prepared to accept that the way you live within the dwelling has caused the damp and mould and you may have to make lifestyle changes: (the latter scenario is real and it is my experience occupiers often will not believe the problem is self-inflicted. This plays into the hands of the rogue specialist damp companies).

It really is quite simple – as every home and method of occupation are so variable no one-solution-fits-all exists and therefore you need good quality advice. So, will you take advice from an impartial Chartered Surveyor or rely upon Bob the Builder or a company salesperson from a Dampness Contractor? The choice is yours.



Tantra – Experience Ecstasy – Explore the Sensory Awakening Ritual

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What makes Tantra unique from most spiritual practices is that Tantra embraces the senses as a path to the Divine. It sees the body as a temple for Consciousness to play and explore the material plane. Tantra uses the senses to expand awareness. One way this is done is through the Sensory Awakening Ritual. You and your partner explore the art of giving and receiving pleasure by activating the senses. There is something profound about surrendering totally and allowing all your senses to respond and be awakened. It is a sensuous process that can be light and playful or erotically charged. This ritual is a wonderful way to begin a romantic evening or weekend with your beloved. 

Create a Sacred Space

Turn your room into a temple. Begin by removing the clutter and creating an altar. Light some candles, add a vase of flowers, crystals, a photo or object that honors your relationship to the Divine. Then, gather the items that can be used to awaken all the senses during the ritual. Some possibilities might be massage tools, fur, feathers, fruits, chocolate, flowers, essential oils, music, bells, rattles, and eye covers. Bathe and dress in ritual clothes. The ritual begins by blessing the space. This can be done with sage, incense, bells, songs or calling in the directions. Put on some beautiful music.

The Bubble

Now, create a bubble around you and your partner. Do this by waving your arms around to define the shape of the bubble that surrounds both of you. Take turns releasing one thing at a  time that might keep you from being fully present in the ritual. As you say the thing you are removing, (the past, distractions, anger, worry, etc.) make a gesture as if removing an object from your bubble. Next, state the things that will enhance your connection (love, willingness, presence, trust etc.) and gesture, as if bringing these things into your bubble.

Share Your Desires, Fears and Boundaries

Once the bubble is created, share your desires, fears and boundaries related to this practice. First, one person speaks while the other person listens without judgment or commentary. Then, you switch roles. Here is an example:

“My desire is to stay present, open and connect deeply to your soul.” “My fear is that I will get self-conscious and shut down.” “My boundary is that we both turn off our cell phones.”

Why boundaries? Boundaries are not walls, they are bridges. Bridges help to bring people together. Intimacy happens when people have healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to feel safe, stay open and be present. Boundaries are dynamic, so it is important to check-in periodically with yourself to see if your boundaries have changed. If they have changed, update your partner so he/she can honor your new boundaries. Here are a couple of examples:

“I am getting tired. I want to end by midnight.” “I am sensitive to perfumes, so don’t use them, please.”

Once you’ve shared your desires, fears and boundaries, offer each other a blessing, such as “I want to bless your hands for all they do for others.” Then, decide who will receive first and cover his/her eyes with a blindfold. Help the receiver to lie down and get comfortable. The giver begins the ritual by stimulating the senses in whatever way feels right, as long as it honors the boundaries of the person receiving. Come from a place of devotion as you awaken and arouse your partner. Take your time. Be playful and creative.

The Power of Sight

In this ritual, we limit the vision with a blindfold to enhance the other senses and add an element of surprise. Also, the removal of the blindfold and restoration of sight at the conclusion of the exchange often lends itself to a fresh appreciation of the experience of seeing by the receiver. It’s as if the world is once again being seen through the eyes of a newborn baby. 

The Power of Smell

Scent is an important component of pleasure. Your olfactory nerves pick-up chemical messages from the air you breathe and conduct them quickly to the brain. Smells are often associated with memories. A whiff of a particular food, perfume or place can immediately transport you into a moment from the past associated with that scent. Pheromones are chemical messages we send and receive. They affect who you are attracted to and are an important factor in whom you pick as a mate. Smell is a great awakener.

The Power of Touch

Touch is a basic human need. We live in a culture where many people are often touch-deprived. Touch creates connection at the most basic level. The skin is your biggest organ. It feels good to be massaged, kissed, caressed and held. The skin is sensitive to many types of sensations. Explore nibbling, biting, and pinching if you want to add more excitement. Exploring what excites and arouses you and your partner can be fun and bonding.

The Power of Sound

Sounds create a mood and affect the emotions. They can be intrusive or soothing. Pleasant sounds can help us to relax, be present and open. Stimulating sounds can enliven the body and mind. Music and song are a great gift that can heal and transform. Use music that is sensuous and arousing.

The Power of Taste

The mouth is a very sensitive sense receptor and highly developed in most people. Food is associated with survival as well as pleasure. Our taste buds detect sweet, bitter, salty and sour. Use a variety of your favorite tastes and textures-salty, crunchy, sweet, juicy, to tantalize the lips and tongue. The Sensory Awakening Ritual is a great way to open and expand your senses. It allows you to surrender into the pure joy of Consciousness celebrating in  human form. It is a gift to be able to connect and experience pleasure and ecstasy with your partner. In a world where people are mesmerized by the incessant stream of thoughts flowing through their head, it is refreshing to let go of the mind and rediscover the pleasures of the body.    

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Colocation Vs Cloud – Do You Know the Difference?

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When it comes to choosing the best way to store your data or to manage an effective disaster recovery program, then you really need to understand the difference between colocation and the cloud. Each one provides you with benefits, yet they are both different in how they are managed and how you can benefit moving forward.

As a business owner, you need to have a set budget in mind on how much you are willing to spend on your data storage or disaster recovery. With a budget in mind, you can identify which of these options you feel is the right match for you now and moving forward. Colocation vs Cloud is definitely something you need to look into, learn as much about as you can and then identify which one you will choose based on your company’s unique needs and requirements.

Looking a colocation, you will need to find a reputable data center company that can provide you with this service. If you’re wondering how colocation vs cloud, then you will find that with this particular option you buy and maintain your own hardware. The data center will rent you space, you share a building with a host of other companies, each of you having your own space to store your infrastructure from your server to switches and computers.

With colocation you are responsible for meeting the data centers protection and compliance regulations. This can work out more expensive for smaller companies as you rent the space, pay for power usage and you buy and maintain your own hardware. It is ideal for companies who want to store all their data at the center on their own protected servers away from the office environment.

Cloud on the other hand can save you money and is the ideal choice if you are simply looking for a disaster recovery solution. With the cloud, the data center will be responsible for the infrastructure and maintenance thereof, which can save you time, money and resources in the long run.

The provider will manage all the hardware, servers, storage, cooling and power, which is so beneficial. You simply pay for the space you need. Most of the cloud services are modular, so you can start with the amount of data storage you believe you need and increase it when you find you are running out of space.

When it comes to colocation vs cloud, you will find that both providers work in a similar pattern in terms of what they do provide. Both will provide you with storage space, both will provide you with power and good up time. They will also both provide chilling, ensuring systems run smoothly at all times.

Many company owners are still concerned about using the cloud due to safety reasons. With advances in technology and anti-virus, you will find that whether you choose colocation or cloud, your data will be safe, only accessed using your passwords that you have set up. Of course the benefit is that every staff member that is given access has their own password, so teams who do sales will not be able to change accounts, while accounts departments will not be able to go through the management reports. You remain in complete control at all times.

This is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Speak to a professional data service provider and identify which of these two options is going to be more beneficial to your company in the long run.

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Virgin Mobile Phones: Mobile Phones With Lecherous Looks Are Proving Their Worth on Virgin Network

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Virgin is one of the best mobile network service provider in the country. It is offering its services since 10+ years. Nowadays, there are plenty of mobile manufacturing companies like Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, HTC, Apple, and Blackberry, which are launching smart phones. However, there are only few mobile phone manufacturers which gives importance to the looks, and features of their mobiles. Nokia, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung are some of the mobile manufacturing company, which believes in producing smart phones with tempting looks, and features.

With lecherous looks, and tantalizing features, various new phones are proving their worth on Virgin network. Virgin phones always provide satisfactory services to its customers, and it always introduces many scintillating offers for them. Mobile of all leading mobile manufacturing brands are available on Virgin network. Some of the latest mobiles which are being provided on virgin network are HTC Wildfire, Blackberry 8520 Curve, Nokia 6700 Slide, Nokia E72, and Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition. People can easily select or get their favourite mobile phone on Virgin’s contract plan, pay as you go plan, and moreover if the customer has already purchased a SIM free phone he/she can also get the SIM of Virgin network from various attractive SIM only Deals.

Virgin phones can be bought on contract through various cheap contract deals which are being provided in huge quantity. Moreover, customer might also get their favorite mobile with many titillating offers like they can get certain free minutes, free texts, free connection, free unlimited internet, certain cash back, certain free gifts which could be anything, and they might also get the phone for free.

Virgin Phones can be bought through numerous mobile deals. These deals are being provided on various online portals for 24 x 7.

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Useful Tips That You Can Employ to Earn a Degree Online

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There are people who are caught between the idea of obtaining degree or not. Are you one of them? Possibly, you have started it already and are thinking of finishing that particular degree. Either way, here are three main reasons why you must consider earning a degree. And if it is so, would you like to earn a degree online?

– To advance the education

Yes, college graduates can be employed after their graduation, enjoy better career, are more likely to stay in high level company positions and obtain higher salary and gain greater promotion outlooks due to their superior education level. Thus, when you need to obtain associate or master’s degree, considering an online degree must be considered.

– To do a good turn for the community

A better education work force can also make a stronger democracy.

– To earn an online degree while working

Earn a degree online while you are working. Yes, it is highly possible. Surely, you do not just want to quit your job just because you want to study. This is the best thing about earning a degree online. You get to hit two birds with one stone – you maintain your work and you earn from it and at the same time, you are also starting earning a degree online.

Perhaps, becoming a triumphant web developer in the near future is one of your dreams. Or, do you ever dream of having your very own web development company which will be able to create large income that you can realize during your retirement? Maybe yes. But before you venture in these endeavors, this is the best time to ask the most essential question of all, and that is – how will you be able to earn a degree through the internet?

Here are some tips which you can ponder on.

– Begin with a survey about the field of study you want to embark on

Essentially, it is very important to obtain a good quality of education through enrollment at accredited online universities and colleges. As a student, you have to have a certified course for you to accomplish your goals and realize your dreams. Thus, begin conducting a survey among schools which offer the course that you want. This information may be acquired over the internet. It can be obtained for free or you can feel free to buy university and college directories in certain bookstores.

– Second, obtain an overview of significant scripting languages. Some scripting languages which are required to be learned within an online web development learning. Thus, every university and college has its own modules for enrollees who have the fundamentals of several rack up languages such as:

– fundamental HTML language

– common scripting language that include: JavaScript, CSS and; Action script.

– The personal time management is essential in order to uphold balance between study and work time. On top of that, an effective time management is able to improve productivity since you can provide more time on preparing for your study prior to the start of your online course. Be sure that you are also able to find out the computer programming basics with ordinary scripting languages.

Preparation allows the students to expand an appropriate study habit in order to conquer the difficulties of studying the advanced lessons. With it, you will find out how to work on the framework of server side that use matters such as: JSP, Perl, PHP, .NET, and; Python.

It is basically about management information on database either you are within an external system or on web servers.

– Be able to think ingeniously

To be a web developer, you also need to give emphasis to web designing which concentrates on the outlook of a certain website. You also need to remember that well-designed websites are able to catch the attention of a lot of visitors and augment the integrity of that particular website.

There are still a lot of tips that you can find from forums and other links. These will guide you to select the best online institution where you can earn a degree online.

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Blackberry Phones – What is Blackberry RAD

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Blackberry RAD (Rapid Application Deployment) is a method of connecting to a web service and making use of the facilities on offer. If all you want is a user to visit your website then RAD and all of the facilities it offers might not be for you; there are simpler means of achieving this. Think of RAD as the means by which you can interface your Blackberry smart phones’ run time environment (operating system) with back-end web services – thus making the application available to the phone user.

So how does this all work? Well you are going to need an internet based web service for the Blackberry smart phone to communicate with. This will have been created using Web Services for Java (from Sun Micro systems) or Web Services for .NET (from Microsoft). Once you have created the web service, your Blackberry needs a means to communicate with the service and exchange the information to make the application actually work.

This is where the RAD run time environment, called the “BlackBerry® Mobile Data System (BlackBerry® MDS) Run time”, comes into play. This is installed onto the smart phone either locally by the user, OTA (Over The Air) or by an enterprise administrator. Once you have this installed on the Blackberry, you can then run the application developed for the smart phone, called a Blackberry MDS Application to complete the loop and start communicating with your Web Service.

You would have any number of Blackberry MDS Applications, depending on the Web Services you have designed and want to exchange information with. These applications would have been created using either the standalone BlackBerry MDS Studio tool or the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio. Both of these tools offer advanced GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) allowing the swift and efficient design of your application, to give the user the best possible result.

Blackberry RAD (Rapid Application Deployment) gives the developer the best of both worlds – it is simple and therefore quick to learn, yet also powerful to give the means to produce effective applications. Mix in the ability to communicate with both web services developed under Web Services for Java and Web Services for .NET and you have true flexibility.

Blackberry addicts become acquainted with the new concept quickly and enjoy the added versatility provided by using RAD to promote better communication both for commercial and private use, reaching faster and more targeted communication levels and producing better productivity, which turns higher and faster profits with prolific use.

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What Do You Know About Belize?

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Today Norm Goldman, Editor sketchandtravel.comand is pleased to have as a guest Joshua Berman,co-author of Moon Handbooks Belize. Joshua is an expert on traveling in Belize, and recently chose this tiny Central American country for his own honeymoon; he has also lived in and written extensively about Nicaragua and Honduras.

Welcome to and Joshua and thanks for accepting our invitation to be interviewed.


Please tell our readers something about yourself and your expertise pertaining to Belize.


I have been living, working, teaching, and traveling in Central America since the U.S. Peace Corps sent me to Nicaragua in 1998. I have been returning to the region ever since to write guidebooks, lead service trips, and visit friends and adopted families. Last year, I was asked by Avalon Travel Publishing to take over Chicki Mallan’s Moon Handbooks Belize, which, when it first appeared 15 years ago, was the first and most acclaimed guidebook to the country. I gladly accepted and proceeded to research and write the sixth edition, which was released in early 2005.


Where is Belize?


Belize is tucked into the northeast corner of Central America, bordering Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to the north, Guatemala’s Petén wilderness to the west, and the Caribbean Ocean to the east. Culturally however, Belize and its hundreds of cayes (islands, pronounced keys ) is more Caribbean than Latin. English is spoken everywhere (along with seven other languages). The diversity is astounding, especially considering there are only 260,000 people in the entire country.


Would you consider Belize a good choice for a romantic getaway or wedding and honeymoon destination? Why?


Absolutely. Belize’s tourism board actively markets the country as a lovers’ destination, and there is no shortage of special honeymoon and romantic packages from which to choose:

They can rent their very own waterfall for the day at Hidden Valley Inn.

Couples can get Mood Mud Massages at Maruba Resort Jungle Spa.

They can rappel into a vertical cave shaft together, at the bottom of which they’ll find a flower strewn bed next to a subterranean spring at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch. The list goes on and on.

Belize’s size (smaller than Massachusetts), easy access (only a two-hour flight from Miami or Houston), and astonishing selection of small, intimate resorts and lodges seal the deal. In order to solidify my endorsement of Belize as a romantic destination, I even took my own bride here on our honeymoon (ah, the work never stops)


When is the best time to visit Belize from the point of view of weather, costs, crowds, and the availability of flights from the USA, Canada and Europe and Australia, etc?


Some resorts distinguish holiday season from the normal high season, with even higher prices and lower availability around Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter be sure to make reservations during these periods. High season (re: more tourists and hiked prices) is generally mid-December through April; this is also the dry season during most years, although December, January, and even February can play to host to cool fronts that either blow right through or sit around for days.

Your best bet-be prepared, both with clothing and attitude! A week of stormy weather may ruin a vacation planned solely around snorkelling, but it could also provide the perfect setting for exploring the rainforests or enjoying a hot tub and fireplace in the Mountain Pine Ridge.

June, July, and August technically fall in the rainy season, and travelers during this time are rewarded with significantly discounted prices at most accommodations rain during these months may mean just a quick shower each afternoon, or it may go on for days. August is the big month for European backpackers and travelers, while December and February are dominated by North Americans. Some tourism businesses shut down completely during the months of September and October, the peak of hurricane season.


Could you give our readers an idea of the costs involved if travel originates from the USA, Canada and Europe and Australia?


Conventional traveler wisdom calls Belize the cheapest Caribbean vacation spot and one of the most expensive Central American. There are plenty of mid-range and upscale accommodations throughout the country, running from US$25 to hundreds of dollars per night. Exact hotel rates are an elusive thing in Belize; seasonal fluctuations are compounded by various taxes and service charges, sometimes by as much as 25 percent additional. Always make sure the rate you are quoted is actually the same amount you will be asked to pay. And, of course, great deals are abundant in the low season (May through November), when room rates plummet across the board.

For food, budget travelers can get by on less than US$20 per day, but you’re on vacation, right? Entrées run from US$5 to US$25, depending on where you are; at the trendiest restaurants in San Pedro, a fancy dinner can cost up to US$75 per person. A few resorts include meal prices in their nightly rates, which can be a good deal.

Don’t forget to budget an extra US$40-80 per person per day for activities like scuba diving, sailing trips, and guided tours of Belize’s rainforests, ruins, and fascinating cave systems. Experienced, independent travelers can get around for less, but transport can be a hassle.

US$10 per person per night is the bottom line for budget lodging, and it’ll get you anything from a cramped, stuffy concrete box in most towns to a generous wooden cabin at the Trek Stop (in Cayo) and other backpacker hotspots.


If you had to choose 5 unequalled venues in Belize for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or wedding destination, what would they be and why?


First of all, remember that selecting a place to stay has a lot to do with where you want to be and what activities you would like to do during your stay: beach or rainforest? Diving or hiking? Reef or ruins? Do you want to get pampered with massages or get sweaty and muddy with your loved one on a jungle trek? Get an idea of what kind of trip you and your honey are looking for, then dive in and book it. Following are only a few of Belize’s upscale romantic accommodations that stick out in my mind for quality and intimacy. For more on Belize’s ample budget options, flip through a copy of my book, Moon Handbooks Belize.

Starting on swanky Ambergris Caye, just inshore from Belize’s famous barrier reef and three miles north of San Pedro village, you will find Capricorn Resort, offering intimate beachfront seclusion in one of three bright and tasteful cabanas. Capricorn’s restaurant is one of the best (considered the best by many) on the island.

Situated on 7,200 acres of private property in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Hidden Valley Inn is a quiet paradise for hikers and birders who will have a blast exploring the resort’s 90-plus miles of walking trails and old logging roads and then cozying up in front of their cottage’s fireplace, listening to the birdsong outside (especially nice during the cool, misty, rainy season). The property encompasses lush broadleaf forest and pine tree habitat. The two diverse ecosystems are divided by a geological fault line, which marks the edge of a towering 1,000-foot escarpment. Numerous watercourses spring from the mountain and then cascade down the steep slopes, often into deep, inviting pools; Hidden Valley’s trail system runs through it all.

On Placencia Peninsula, Kitty’s Place is one of the best and most unpretentious resorts on this long strip of beach resorts call it “low-key luxury,” and check your shoes at the front desk. Be sure to schedule a day trip or overnight on Kitty’s private isle, French Louis Caye, 12 miles offshore with great snorkelling and upscale accommodations.

Two of Belize’s most romantic, beautiful, and expensive options are Francis Ford Coppola’s gorgeous pair of resorts: Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge, located on the Placencia Peninsula and Mountain Pine Ridge, respectively, and offering a number of collective packages. Both places feature breathtaking architecture and artwork from all over the world, and top-notch service and facilities.

Located about an hour north of Belize City, Maruba Resort Jungle Spa pampers the body and soul, as evidenced by its acclaimed spa treatments and unique focal points spread around the grounds: A tiny, glass-decorated chapel; a palapa-covered stone chess table; two pools that seem to spring from the jungle complete with waterfalls. The rooms are spread out for privacy and are addressed by name Moon, Fertility, and Bondage, to name a few. All boast an eclectic neo-primitive motif carved masks, mosaic tile floors, standing candles, cement fountains, tiled tubs, screened shuttered windows and fresh flowers on the massive feather beds and in the bathrooms.


What should people know about celebrating a wedding in Belize from the point of view of requirements, experience of the various hotels, etc.


Belize is gaining quite the reputation as the perfect place to tie the knot. A growing number of resorts cater to weddings of all sizes, some quite creatively (such as ceremonies underwater or atop Maya pyramids). If eloping, you must be in Belize three business days before submitting your marriage application to the Registrar General’s Office (tel. 501/227-7377, not open on weekends or local holidays). You get the paperwork back the following business day for your ceremony. If you have been divorced or widowed, bring a photocopy of the death certificate or divorce decree. The Government of Belize charges US$100 for the license and you’ll need a birth certificate or passport.


How far in advance should a couple prepare themselves for their honeymoon, romantic getaway or wedding in Belize?


Honeymoons and getaways are easy and do not need much advance time when booking, except around the holidays and at the more popular resorts. If you are planning a wedding during the high season that will require numerous rooms for guests, book a year in advance if possible. Otherwise, a few months are usually sufficient.


What resources are available on the Internet pertaining to weddings and honeymoon vacations in Belize?


Several wedding specialists can facilitate paperwork, ministers, flowers, book hotels, celebrations, etc. including Katie Valk for anywhere in the country, Iraida Gonzales on San Pedro, and Lee Nyhus in Placencia.


Is there anything else you wish to tell our readers that we have not covered?


Yes, keep an eye on my WEBSITE for new links and developments regarding romance in Belize and beyond; I have the most popular Belize forums and news posted on my links page. Also, MY PUBLISHER’S SITE will soon feature sample itineraries and other excerpts from my book, to make planning your Belize trip even easier. Lastly, remember the words of Kurt Vonnegut’s prophet, Bokon: Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.

Happy trails, everyone, Joshua

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