Squeezed between the Caribbean Sea and Central American jungle, Belize is a tiny nation, dotted with numerous national parks and islands. The country’s diverse culture, historical importance, abundant wildlife and adventure-sports are the main reasons why people visit Belize.
The Belize Barrier Reef is the world’s second-largest barrier reef and houses about 100 types of coral and 500 species of tropical fish. This UNESCO world heritage listed site is a paradise for snorkellers and divers. Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System protects a large section of the reef, which include several marine reserves, cayes and atolls. The Lighthouse Reef – an atoll in the Caribbean Sea is known for Blue Hole Natural Monument (also known as Great Blue Hole). This giant marine sinkhole can be viewed from the air, or you can go diving and explore its underwater world. Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and is the main tourist hub of the country. You can indulge in various activities – from diving to riding a bike – or spend some lazy time relaxing on the beach. Though the island welcomes large numbers of visitors, you can still find a laid-back vibe. In contrast, the island of Caye Caulker – located south of Ambergris Caye – is a tiny car-free island. The island is one of Belize’s best budget places to base yourself. Further south, the Turneffe Atoll is known as the largest and most biologically diverse atoll in the Western Hemisphere. It is often referred to as the fictional island of Neverland from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Tinker Bell books. The partially submerged atoll Glover’s Reef is located almost 45 km east from the mainland. This is a great place to escape from the crowd and unwind amidst palm-fringed white-sand beaches. The coastal villages of Placencia and Hopkins are worthy locations to visit. While Placencia is known for its palm tree-lined beaches, Hopkins makes a great jumping-off point for water-based activities in nearby cays, atolls and reefs, or to explore the mountains and jungles of the mainland.
Though Belize was not the birthplace of Maya civilization, there are plenty of Maya ruins scattered throughout the country. Altun Ha, Xunantunich, Lubaantun and Caracol has some of the greatest Maya ruins in the country. Out of these, the ruins in Caracol are considered the most extensive and important. Located near the Guatemalan border, the jungle shrouded ruined-city of Caracol was once one of the most powerful cities in the Maya Kingdom. However, due to its remote location, people often choose to skip it and visit the more accessible Xunantunich ruins instead.
Belize’s City – the country’s capital – is a vibrant city located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. Even though the city houses a few attractions, most visitors often tend to skip the capital altogether in favor of the country’s atolls and reefs, and wildlife packed jungles of the mainland.
Belize is a beautiful country with rich history, bio-diverse forests and waters. From excellent underwater activities to hiking in the jungle to discover ancient Maya sites, it is a perfect adventure destination in Central America.
The UNESCO listed Belize Barrier Reef is the world’s second-largest barrier reef.