Tours/Activities

Your Ultimate Belize Bucket List!

By outsidepursuits.com 6/3/2020 5 minutes

Belize is a beautiful Caribbean nation with a presence in the Central American mainland. Its many archaeological treasures and diverse ecosystems lure visitors from all around the world! For the best vacation in Belize, check off these add these activities to your Belize bucket list and check them off one by one!

Scuba Dive in Coral Reefs

The 190-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef is an ideal location to explore the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and admire the colorful corals as well as over 500 tropical fish species that dwell there. The 407-feet-deep Blue Hole, Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve are just a few of the spectacular dive locations in Belize. There's no way that you can skip out diving, or at least snorkeling, from your bucket list while in Belize!

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is Belize’s most liked dive site! Hol Chan means “Little Channel” in Mayan and refers to a gap in the reef called Hol Chan Cut. Colorful corals cling to the Little Channel’s walls and support a diverse range of marine life. The seagrass beds also found in the reserve house southern stingrays and nurse sharks, which is why that area is known as Shark Ray Alley. 

Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced diver, there are diving schools and watersport equipment hire businesses that can get you into the water. The easiest way to explore is on a scuba tour because a local expert can guide you to the most captivating places. If you’re diving deep on your own through the Little Channel, use a dive computer to ensure your safety.

At night, bioluminescence transforms the corals into an eerie alien landscape inhabited by glowing moray eels and other shiny creatures. Bring an underwater light to navigate your way then switch it off to appreciate the magical transformation.

Maya Ruins

Throughout the years, the astonishing Maya ruins of Belize have caught people’s imagination. Large cities lost in the jungle until rediscovered in recent times. Belize boasts hundreds of Maya archaeological sites. Some sites contain large pyramids surrounded by complex urban structures, while others are sacrificial cave systems.

Xunantunich is one of Belize’s most-visited Maya sites, partly because it is situated only 70 miles west of Belize City. From 1000 BCE to 1000 CE, the city reached its peak between 700 and 850 CE. The city complex of Xunantunich focuses on a 130-feet-tall pyramid built around 800 CE, called El Castillo. The top of El Castillo features elaborate sculpted friezes and benefits from superb panoramic views over the impressive ancient city.

Only 25 miles south of Xunantunich is the enormous city of Caracol, which is twice the size of Belize City and its people and dates back from 1200 BCE to 1050 CE. The largest building in the city is Caana (Sky Palace), built between 650 and 696 CE. Caana is 141 feet high and still the tallest building in Belize. Caracol serves to remind us of how powerful and accomplished the Mayan Civilization was in its prime.

Belize Bucket List

Caving

Belize boasts an astounding selection of cave systems that are fascinating to explore, such as the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM). This cave complex contains Maya skeletal remains that are over 1,000 years old and believed to be sacrificial victims. The most notable remains are of the Crystal Maiden, the skeleton of an 18-year-old woman that has calcified within the limestone cavern. The ATM Cave is a must for your Belize bucket list!

Barton Creek Cave is another ancient Maya site containing the remains of 28 people and many archaeological artifacts. You can only visit the water-filled cave on a guided canoe tour. Inside are beautiful stalactites and stalagmites as well as bones, skulls, and pottery shards.

You can find St. Herman’s Cave inside St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. You enter this cave by following a path beside an underground river. The Blue Hole is a 25-feet-deep swimming hole about a mile away from the cave. You can visit both attractions with the same entrance ticket, so explore the cave, then enjoy a refreshing dip in the fresh jungle pool. 

Ziplining

If you want to combine an adrenaline rush with an opportunity to explore the jungle canopy up close, go for a ziplining adventure in Belize! There are many locations where you can try your hand at ziplining, such as the Mayflower Bocawina National Park.

This zip lining tour glides you through the canopy of a Caribbean tropical rainforest. The entire course at Mayflower Bocawina National Park is 2.5 miles long and includes twelve platforms with eight zip lines! The national park contains three Maya ruins and some great hiking trails. There are several striking waterfalls in the park, including the 1,000-feet-tall Antelope Falls and the scenic Three Sisters Falls.

Birdwatching

Ecologically diverse Belize is a paradise for birdwatchers. There are over 570 bird species found around the country, and the many national parks house large quantities of our feathered friends. Hummingbirds are especially common, so watch out for them on coastal walks, trails through the rainforest, or even on the grounds of your hotel.

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is a fantastic location for birding! Within the park’s 16,400 acres, you’ll find creeks, lagoons, swamps, pine savanna, and broadleaf forest. The diversity of habitats attracts an extensive range of bird species such as herons and Muscovy duck, and the Jabiru stork, which is the biggest flying bird in the west!

The Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is an island popular with birdwatchers because of its rare population of red-footed boobies. Around the colony, you’ll also see Allison’s anole lizards and the endemic Belize leaf-toed gecko. The beaches on the southeastern side of the island is a sea turtle nesting ground from May through November. If you’re lucky, you might see green, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles on the beach. 

Horseback riding

The best way to explore Belize is on the back of a horse. On a guided horse trail ride, you can explore the beautiful countryside and enjoy an elevated view of the jungle, pine forest, and savannahs. So when you go to visit the astonishing Maya ruins around Belize, combine this journey with a horseback riding adventure. In this way, you can explore the ancient cities in the same way as the earliest European explorers who gaped open-mouthed as the awe-inspiring pyramids and grand structures.

Belize Bucket List
Belize Bucket List

Sea Kayaking

The crystal-clear Caribbean waters are perfect for sea kayaking adventures. From inside your kayak, you can peer down at the reefs and also spot sharks, rays, and turtles below the waves. Paddling a kayak is a fantastic, environmentally-friendly way to explore the many small islets along Belize’s coastline and around the Belize Barrier Reef. Paddling is also a great exercise to help keep you healthy. You can use a silent and low-profile kayak to get closer to some of the rare waterfowl found in Belize during your birdwatching adventures.

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