Belize is a tiny country bordering Guatemala and often combined with it for a fantastic Latin America holiday. 3000 foot high mountains, jungles and waterfalls, stunning wildlife and rich Mayan culture and history makes this tropical country a fabulous nature holiday destination with a strong Caribbean influence.
English is widely spoken and Caribbean traditions abound. There is a good internal flight network making jungle trips to isolated lodges possible and this is a great place for natural history holidays with nature being the biggest attraction to Belize. Tropical forests are home to rare orchids, brightly coloured butterflies, jaguars, toucans, monkeys and lizards and the country is home to a staggering 570 bird species.
Belize is one of the world’s diving hot spots with 300km of coral reefs, cayes and submerged islands and has the second largest living barrier reef in the world which runs the entire 185 mile length of the country. Highlights for divers include the famous ‘Blue Hole’ and three coral atolls – Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Islands. One of the main tourist destinations for divers is Ambergris Caye with access to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Placencia, along the south coast, has the nicest beaches in the country and is a gateway to the offshore cayes and atolls.
Journey into the interior of Belize for unspoilt landscapes and quiet Mayan historical sites including the partially excavated Caracol, Xunantunich and Altuyn Ha. There are sugar cane fields and wildlife sanctuaries to the north of the country and you can see the Mayan city of Lamanai which sticks its head up above dense jungles. Towards Guatemala the Cayo District along the Macal River offers a great way to travel and explore forests, gorges and ancient mountain peaks. Explore some of the vast cave systems and glimpse the Maya underworld with artifacts, fire pits, skeletons of human sacrifices to be found. Activities here can include canoeing, tubing, canoeing and many treks and guided walks in forests and around ruins plus excellent bird watching and wildlife tours.
There are a few wonderful places to stay, deep in the jungle but not far from Belize City, such as Chan Chich Lodge or The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Beautiful remote properties offering comfortable accommodation surrounded by birds, monkeys, pools and forests. Head for the town of San Pedro to explore its sand streets, art galleries and a few beach bars over the water; golf carts serve as transportation. The Cayo District, on the western border with Guatemala, has a tropical rainforest and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The town of San Ignacio is the base for many adventure tours.