Belize is a vibrant hub for nature and adventure. With one foot in the Caribbean and another in Central America, the pocket-sized nation brings to the table an eclectic mix of experiences. It offers an astounding diversity of experiences with wild interiors, breath-taking seascapes, Ancient Maya sites, a vibrant culinary scene and rich culture. Indeed – Belize is a prime spot for discoveries for all traveller types. But where to start?! Local travel expert Louise Roe, from ROEMing Belize, shares her top experiences and activities for the Best of Belize.
Belize is home to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world, which cuddles the coast for 185 miles. So it’s no surprise, this is my top recommendation for all travellers when visiting Belize. Snorkel, dive, fish, sail, swim or simply bask in the sun – our reef and pristine waters make Belize a paradise for water lovers.
But where to base yourself to take full advantage of the water? In the South, laid back coastal villages such as Placencia and Hopkins act as the perfect base for all your marine adventures. From here, you can cruise or sail to off the beaten path islands such as South Water Caye and Laughing Bird Caye. Snorkel, dip or dive the vibrant waters that surround these palm studded islands, setting your sights on an abundance of vibrant coral and marine life and meeting local underwater residents from loggerhead turtles and nurse sharks.
Opt for the islands in the North of Belize, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. A short 15 minute flight from the Belize International airport or a picturesque ferry ride and you have arrived in paradise. The Belize Barrier Reef is situated less than a mile from the shores, allowing you to take your pick of marine adventures.
If I had to choose a bucket list experience –A full day trip to dive or snorkel the world renowned Great Blue Hole, in Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Choose to see this giant sink hole from below with a dive or above with an incredible helicopter or airplane ride. Both are unbeatable.
My top tip: Head a little further South to Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine reserve during the months of March to June to experience a once in a lifetime dive with Whale Sharks. Craving a location with a bit more hustle and bustle?
For the nature enthusiast, Belize’s interiors brim with everything wild and free. Approximately 60% of Belize’s land is rich jungle with over 28% protected as nature reserves. Head to jungle-clad Western Belize and base yourself in the Cayo District. Here, you can explore mysterious caves, ancient Maya Sites, and waterfalls all tucked within Belize’s lush jungle.
Avid hiker and adventurer? Mountain Pine Ridge is a must on your Belize list. Remote in nature, the forest reserve is teeming with gushing rivers, natural pools and waterfalls. Hike dirt trails to mystical waterfalls such as Big Rock Falls or looking for something a little less strenuous set your sights on Thousand Foot falls, known to be the tallest waterfall in Central and South America.
My top tip: Adrenalin lovers with an interest in history? Plan a visit to Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM). Considered one of the most important sacred caves in the world by National Geographic, it’s exploration combines adventure with archaeology. Highlight of the trip includes seeing artefacts and skeletal remains known as the “Crystal Maiden”.
Further south, verdant vistas and wildlife await. Hike paths the elusive jaguars and the tapir do at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Considered the world’s first jaguar preserve, this reserve is a safe haven for all of Belize’s wild cats including Puma, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguar, and Jaguarundi. Make sure to pack your binoculars, and take the dirt trails-the reserve offers exceptional birding. 128,000 protected acres making it a wildlife paradise.
Inland or Island? Or both! Unique to Belize’s beauty is its size, which allows you to experience the best of both worlds with ease. By morning, wake to the sounds of howler monkeys from your tree top villa in the jungle, by afternoon unwind to the sound of the Caribbean Sea from your oceanfront cabana.
Short domestic flights allow you to fly to and from destinations all under an hour. For those with more time, driving and the routes themselves serve as part of your experience. Travelling North to South or East to West, each day in Belize is promised for new experiences, discoveries and memories to last a lifetime.
ROEming Belize Travel Agency