The only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize offers a unique combination of experiences.
Dive the northern hemisphere’s biggest barrier reef, wander through the region’s largest concentration of historical Maya sites, hike in exotic jungle or relax on tropical islands.
These seven destinations will allow you to experience the incredible diversity and breadth of this small country.
1. Ambergris Caye
Explore the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere in Ambergris Caye, just off the coast of Belize. The UNESCO World Heritage site has more than 100 types of coral and some 500 species of tropical fish, making it perfect for snorkelers or divers. A complete tropical paradise, it’s one of the most popular destinations in Belize but it also manages to not feel super touristy.
Wander the cobblestone streets of bustling San Pedro, the main city, enjoy cocktails under the shade of coconut trees, try out some water sports or ride a bike along the beach path.
2. The Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef
Visit Lighthouse Reef to see the world-famous Blue Hole Natural Monument, a large natural sinkhole that’s the result of a cave that collapsed centuries ago off the coast of Belize. This natural wonder is believed to be the world’s largest natural blue hole formation of its kind, with its near-perfect circle measuring 300 metres across and surrounded by a ring of coral. It offers a once-in-a-lifetime diving (or snorkelling) experience.
Placencia is great for its laid-back ambience, beachside relaxing and some of the best restaurants in Southern Belize. Visit a cacao farm and learn everything about the history of chocolate and how it’s made. Dive with whale sharks in the Belize Barrier Reef or head inland to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve, the only jaguar reserve in the world.
Explore Maya ruins at Belize's largest and most important Maya site in Caracol. Once among the most powerful cities in the entire Maya world, this ancient city near the Guatemalan border is now covered in thick jungle. Climb to the top of Caana (Sky-Place), which was built in about 800, to see one of the best views in all of Belize. On the way back down you’ll explore four palace compounds and three temples, and spot hidden tombs.
5. Caye Caulker
This small limestone caye is a popular stop for those who want to experience local Belizean culture while also having a relaxing tropical holiday. Just five miles long and with less than 2,000 inhabitants, its primary transport options are golf carts and bicycles. The local’s favourite phrase is ‘go slow’, so embrace this philosophy with a chilled day. Cool off at ‘Split’, the channel that divides the island in two, and enjoy some bar food and drinks. At night, try some local food at the street stalls that sell barbecued meat or fresh seafood like ceviche or lobster, and enjoy some reggae music in a local bar.
For those travelers looking for a little more activity, there are plenty of watersports to keep you occupied, like snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, or boating along the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.
6. San Ignacio
The main population center of Cayo, San Ignacio is situated on the banks of the Macal River. It’s a great place to explore the surrounding countryside - visit the Mayan cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal, containing relics dating back 1,400 years, or wander the ruins of Xunantunich. Visit the butterfly gardens, look for black howler monkeys in the rainforest, or go tubing or canoeing through the natural limestone caves of the region.
7. Altun Ha
Visit Altun Ha and you’ll likely recognise the Maya ruins that have inspired Belikin beer labels and Belizean banknotes. Altun Ha was a rich and important Maya trading and agricultural town which existed by at least 200 BC and flourished until the collapse of Classic Maya civilisation around AD 900. Explore the spectacular temples with a guide, who can explain and point out important details for you.
A world of wonder awaits
With so many different experiences on offer, from history and culture to Caribbean beach time to jungle hikes, Belize offers a trip that truly has it all.
Been to Belize? Share your experiences with us below.
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