Though smaller in size and population than any of its Central American neighbors, when it comes to unparalleled diversity and superlative value Belize punches well above its weight class. From the island jewel of Ambergris to the placid peninsula of Placencia, Belize offers coral sand beaches and sparkling Caribbean waters with a distinctly tropical village vibe. Though our more well-known beachside spots are rarely crowded, visitors hoping for a more private experience needn’t look to far. Belize’s 450+ offshore cayes offer everything from private luxury resorts to Robinson Crusoe camping amidst coconut trees.

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Kayaking at Glover’s Atoll

With the awe-inspiring Barrier reef running the nation’s length (and three of the Caribbean’s four Coral atolls just offshore), Belize offers the best scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities in the western hemisphere. A Belize vacation gives you the chance to swim alongside the underwater denizens of Shark-Ray Alley one day, visit the marine-life rich underwater alleys of Hol Chan Marine reserve the next, and (if you’re an advanced diver) challenge your nerve and skill in the dark depths of the Blue Hole. Many of our most beautiful underwater spots lie close to shore, so expect to maximize your time under the waves.  

As the birthplace of eco-tourism, vast swaths of our nation are protected nature reserves containing Central America’s most beautiful landscapes. Visitors to Belize are able to hike through jungle inhabited by Jaguars, get close to rare and beautiful species of birds like the famous Scarlet Macaw and fall asleep in jungle lodges to the strangely soothing growls of howler monkeys in the distance. Our underworld is equally awe inspiring, and Belize is well known as being home to a vast network of caves offering everything from unparalleled Indiana Jones spelunking adventures to more sedate cave-tube floats through underground rivers and caverns.  

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Crystal Cave, Jaguar Paw

When it comes to culture, Belize is the most ethnically diverse nation in Central America (and the only Central American nation who’s official language is English, though Spanish is also widely spoken thanks to Belize’s large Mestizo population). Expect to hear English mixed with the Garifuna language in the southern coastal towns of Hopkins, Dangriga and Punta Gorda, where drummers play rhythms brought from West Africa by their Garingu forefathers and pass the secrets of drumming and drum-making to the next generation and guests alike. And of course, Belize vacations offer an amazing opportunity to step back in time and revisit the ancient Maya kingdom, whose majesty can still be experienced from atop the grand pyramids of Caracol, Xunantunitch and Lamanai.

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Exploring Xuantunich

Offering breathtaking jungle and majestic underwater reefs, ancient pyramids and underground cave networks, backpacker chic and luxury eco-lodges, Belize awaits all with tropical smiles and open arms. 

 By Joshua Samuel Brown for Belize Travel Magazine.

 

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