On the eastern coast of Central America travelers will find the diverse, unique nation of Belize.
With the beauty of the Caribbean Sea to the east and Mexico to the north, Belize offers not only a gorgeous getaway but also a welcoming multi-cultural experience unmatched by anywhere else in the world.
Vacationers have an array of activities to do while visiting Belize.
With the second longest barrier reef in the world and tranquil lagoons throughout the region, the nation offers snorkeling, scuba diving, and other aquatic adventures in its waters.
The area also has more than 450 offshore Cays, or islands, that are perfect for fishing, boating, kayaking, rafting, and more.
Take a helicopter tour and absorb the beauty of the landscape from up high or hike the many trails to explore various Mayan ruins.
Belize also has the largest cave system in Central America, making cave tubing one of the most sought out activities to try.
Belize is comprised of Central American and Caribbean culture.
As the only country to have full membership to three regional organizations (Caribbean Community, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Central American Integration System), the nation has its roots in Mayan culture, with elements still in the area today.
For more in depth exploration of Mayan architecture and artifacts, the pyramids of Altun Ha can be found about 30 miles north of Belize City.
The largest of the temples is the Temple of the Masonry Altars, which stands a whopping 52 feet high.
Other spectacular ruin sites include Nim Li Puni and Lubaantun in the Toledo District.
While most historians agree these areas were used for ceremonial purposes, modern Belize has drawn some of its architectural style from these sites.
Belize’s landscape is as diverse as its culture and home to an assortment of exciting animals.
Jungles abound in Belize and are filled with exotic creatures, the jaguar being one of its most famous treasures and the reason for the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary forming in 1990.
Scarlet macaws and other birds can also be observed in various other sanctuaries such as the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
To the north, visitors will find flat, swampy coastal plains and forests while the south boasts the Maya Mountains filled with armadillos, snakes, monkeys, and more.
Marine life lovers can dive with whale sharks and get up close with these gentle sea creatures.
Canoe down the Belize River, where the Mopan and Macal Rivers converge to see even more of the tropical sights and indigenous animals.
Animal lovers must put The Belize Zoo on their list. Initially a refuge for wild animals and known internationally for its unique exhibits, this zoo allows its residents to live in their natural habitats.
You won’t find cells or concrete in their enclosures. Instead, barriers are woven throughout vegetation, keeping the animals as close to their natural setting as possible.
Some animals at the zoo can only be seen here due to their nocturnal lifestyles. Nearby, students and researchers can learn even more about the area’s wildlife at the Tropical Education Center located across the highway.
Stops along your trip to Belize should include Placencia.
Formerly a fishing village, the diverse town now boasts storefronts along its only main road, abundant vegetation, and laidback locals who welcome visitors with open arms to experience their delicious food and relax on their calm beaches.
Travel next to Ixcacao in San Felipe Village in the Toledo District to learn about the history of chocolate and taste some of the highest quality dark chocolate in the world.
To really experience the unique culture of Belize, Hopkins Village is a quaint must-see.
BOOK A VACATION RENTAL IN HOPKINS
Meet the friendly Garifuna people and enjoy their popular Punta music, an Afro-Caribbean style that inspires dance parties on their serene beach.
For a more urban setting, visit the cultural capital, Dangriga, which celebrates the Garifuna tribe with National Garifuna Day in November.