Belize Travel Guide
Belize is located on the coast of the Caribbean in Central America. It is the proud owner of the second largest barrier reef in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and some pretty astonishing natural landscapes. Tropical climates with dry and wet seasons contribute to making Belize an attractive travel destination.
The first inhabitants of Belize were the Mayans, whose presence in the territory in the first half of the first Millennium is attested by archaeological remains. Belize was part of an empire that stretched to other territories of Central America, particularly Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. El Caracol, located near the village of San Ignacio Cayo, was the political center of the Mayan empire in the territory of Belize and was called “Oxhuitza” at the time. The Spanish colonists, disappointed by the lack of ore in Belize, quickly neglected the region; it was the British who settled there in the 17th century, and began forestry operations. Belize became independent, as part of the Commonwealth, on 21 September 1981, following an agreement between Britain and Guatemala, which renounced its claims on the country. The country has a population of 300,000 people, which is one of the lowest in Central America, and yet it has a unique and very colorful culture, because it has a mixture of Mayan, British, Spanish, and African influences.
Come take part in the archaeological wonders of the Mayan ruins. Snorkel and dive in the country’s outstanding coral reef. Or if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try kayaking, rafting or fishing in the wide variety of rivers of Belize. Experience an ecological adventure in one of the many jungle and wildlife reserves.
Belize is home to many luxury retreats for romantic getaways, family vacations or luxury breaks, such as Belize Vacations Rentals. Just imagine world-class spas, amazing pools and elegant lodgings, all while gazing at outstanding natural beauty and having exotic birds flying above your head.
What to see and do
Experience one of life’s surreal settings by doing a helicopter trip over the Blue hole, or maybe something more historical like the visit of the ruins of Lamanai, one of the biggest and the greatest Mayan archaeological sites in Belize which are known for their wonderful architecture and the amazing landscape that surrounds them.
For beach bums, the country has more than 386 kilometers of coast and hundreds of pristine beaches, such as the Placencia peninsula, which is the longest continental Beach in the country.
Night Owls can discover a different kind of wildlife in the bars and nightclubs of Belize, while enjoying plenty of delectable dishes served in a myriad of restaurants. If you’re traveling with mates and you’re looking to socialize, Placencia Village is the place to go. It has a good selection of beaches, bars, restaurants, shopping, and clubbing. The cheapest way for you to get there is by bus. Alternatively it can be reached by plane through Philip Golson International Airport.
If you’re into deep sea diving, The Blue Hole reaches depths of more than 120 meters. Divers can explore the coral reefs that surround the hole, but only the experienced ones can dive along the wall to a depth of 40 meters.
Why not escape to a small paradise? Visiting the Islands and islets of Belize is a must for any traveler who loves white sandy beaches, stunning blue waters and deep relaxation. Visitors can choose from hundreds of Islands, more than 450 to be exact, with some more accessible than others. Otherwise you could visit Caracol, one of the most spectacular Mayan sites in Belize, and this is where visitors will discover the great pyramid of Ca’ana. There are in fact 35000 ruins in this site, many of them have not yet been excavated, but those which have are just waiting to be discovered.
For some world class snorkeling, head to the Hol Chan marine reserve, the oldest marine reserve of Belize which offers an unparalleled experience for diving and snorkeling while protecting marine life along the northern section of the barrier reef. To reach it, visitors must rent a boat and a guide.
You still haven’t found what activities you want to do during your trip? Try fishing! The fishermen’s paradise includes 260 km of coral reef, hundreds of square kilometers of wetlands, and dozens of rivers and lagoons in the middle of the jungle – all inhabited by a wide variety of fish. The best time to fish is from May to July, when the weather is warm and sunny.
Nature and Parks
Another great activity in Belize is hiking! It often takes the form of guided walks focused on observing plants and animals (especially birds), and many of the nature reserves and national parks are home to well-maintained trail systems with or without guides, which will allow you to explore the local fauna and flora:
– Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Its well-marked hiking trails are perfect for bird watching, among other animals (although the chances of seeing a jaguar are slim.)
– Mayflower Bocawina National Park: Despite an area of only 28 km2, this park contains 11 km of hiking trails (including access roads) through the jungle, mountains, waterfalls and Mayan ruins.
– Shipstern Nature Reserve: A short hiking trail goes round the visitor center, but to truly enjoy this nature reserve, you will need to take a longer guided hike to Xo-Pol or the Thompson Trail.
– Río Bravo Conservation & Management Area: The largest protected area in the country is home to a beautiful network of hiking trails and forest ranger roads from the two research stations.
If you want to discover a new culture with an ancient history while bathing in pristine beaches and some of the world’s clearest turquoise waters, be sure to book your next trip to one of Central America’s pure gems, and experience the magic of Belize!