What Belize may lack in size is more than made up for in sheer adventure opportunities and stunning natural beauty. Here you’ll find ancient Mayan ruins, lush rainforest, amazing wildlife and even the world’s second longest barrier reef.
Other Tours Feature Writer Kumari Tilakawardane took a closer look, in search of the best places to visit, and the most incredible things to see. Here’s what she found…
Whether you’re on terra firma or taking to the waters around Belize
, you’re sure to see some astounding wildlife.
From manatees and stingrays to crocodiles and whale sharks, the waters are packed with fascinating animals. Go diving at the world-famous Blue Hole sinkhole, or snorkel at Hol Chan Marine Park and around the Barrier Reef. The kaleidoscopic inhabitants of the coral here number over 500 species of fish, including angelfish, clown fish, butterfly fish and parrotfish.
On land, spot howler and spider monkeys high up in the jungle canopy. Birders in particular will find plenty to admire, with more than 500 tropical birds to spot here, including the scarlet macaw and the keel-billed toucan. Spot ocelots and pumas, and visit Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s only jaguar preserve.
This is the adventure capital of Belize, where visitors will discover mysterious caves, cascading waterfalls, ancient ruins and dense jungle. Intrepid explorers can zipline through the jungle canopy or try tubing down the river; scenic rainforest trails can be explored on foot, by cycle or on horseback.
There’s also excellent wildlife spotting; keep an eye out for the stunning blue morpho butterfly and even the elusive jaguar. Visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves to explore the mysteries and secrets of the Mayan underworld.
It’s not just the fauna that’s awe-inspiring here. Belize is home to an incredible variety of plants, including the black orchid (the national flower), and a range of medicinal herbs used since Mayan times. Visit the Belize Botanic Garden, on the banks of the Macal River, for a great overview of Belize’s many native tropical plants.
Sometimes labelled Belize’s ‘forgotten district’, this area is rich in nature, history and culture. The landscapes are sweeping, unspoilt, and bursting with life, and as well as crops like corn and rice, cacao is a big export.
This area has been inhabited by the Maya people since at least 10,000BC, and as such boasts the country’s highest concentration of traditional Maya villages and lots of fascinating archaeological sites. Spend your days exploring waterfalls, ruins and scenic islands just offshore.
Cayes & Coast
Belize is renowned for its beaches – and with good reason. The picturesque cayes (islands) scattered around the coastline boast powdery stretches of white sand. The most famous is Ambergris Caye, a tropical paradise showcasing technicolour houses, shops and bars in vibrant San Pedro town.
Find world-class snorkelling and diving here, with the jaw-dropping biodiversity of the Belize Barrier Reef just 300 metres away from the northern shore. On the mainland, Placencia’s laidback atmosphere and excellent dining scene is a delightful coastal escape.
Orange Walk District
Home to huge biodiversity and Belize’s largest conservation area, the northern Orange Walk District is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Travel to this remote area and you are richly rewarded with over 400 species of resident birds, verdant rainforest vistas and some of the country’s most important historic ruins.
Explore the impressive jungle-clad Lamanai or spend a few nights at Chan Chich Lodge; surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, the lodge is an excellent base for exploring ancient Mayan wonders.
Great for honeymooners, sun worshippers, families, wildlife lovers and adventure seekers alike, Belize really packs a punch. Its small size means it’s easy to travel around, with relatively short road distances and convenient domestic airline flights from Tropic Air across the country.
The Rainbow Tours 11-day Discover Belize itinerary costs from £3,095 per person including flights, transfers and accommodation.
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