Rich with breathtaking natural scenery, Belize presents a magnificent setting for exploring the outdoors. Swim with colorful marine life amid pristine coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea. Traverse national parks and protected jungles in search of Belizean wildlife. See archaeological ruins that provide insight into the country’s Mayan and indigenous culture.
A major highlight of Belize is its 240-mile (386-kilometer) Caribbean coastline. Here, you’ll find the Belize Barrier Reef, a remarkable collection of islands and coral reefs, known locally as “cayes.” Enjoy excellent snorkeling at Ambergris Caye. Swim with nurse sharks and stingrays at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Try windsurfing and kitesurfing at Caye Caulker. Plunge into a 407-foot (124-meter) deep sinkhole on a scuba tour of the Blue Hole.
A national conservation program means that Belize’s interior landscapes remain largely unspoiled. The Cayo District is home to rainforests, cave systems and Maya ruins, including Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Actun Tunichil Maknal and Caracol. Spot birdlife, such as the rare jabiru stork, in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary and jaguars in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Join canoeing and rafting adventures on the Macal River and Mopan River.
Historical and bustling Belize City presents an intriguing alternative to the country’s natural attractions. Admire fading colonial architecture, visit museums and experience a culture that blends African, Asian, European and Latin influences. Visit Dangriga, an artsy town and home of the Garífuna African-Caribbean indigenous group.
Toward the south of the country is Placencia Peninsula and a stretch of powdery, white-sand beaches dotted with beach resorts. Try snorkeling at Tobacco Caye and swim with whale sharks at Gladden Spit from April to June.
Belize is more expensive than most other Central American countries, although budget travelers can get around using a reliable and cheap network of public buses. Belize’s main language is English, however Spanish is also widely spoken. The country’s natural beauty, consistently warm temperatures and welcoming locals make it a great place to visit year-round.