It may be an underrated region, but Northern Belize holds natural gems and stunning attractions that have been on savvy travelers’ itineraries for years. More than just breathtaking Lamanai, more than tasty tacos, more than its beautiful coast, Northern Belize will make any seasoned visitor swoon. But when heading to the districts for the very first time, there are certain activities that act as rites of passage for a Belize traveler. Some things in Northern Belize you simply can’t miss, and we’ve outlined the very best of them below.
Belize is rife with Maya sites as it was once the epicenter of the ancient civilization. One of the most remarkable structures in the country, Temple of the Mask, is at Lamanai, Orange Walk District’s very own pride and joy. But traveling to Lamanai is a wildlife adventure and historical journey rolled into one. To get there, travelers embark on a boat from Orange Walk town and speed along the New River for 1.5 hours. You’ll spot monkeys, crocodiles, egrets, and more before you even set foot at Lamanai.
The lightly trafficked La Milpa sits inside the Rio Bravo Conservation Area about 1.5 hours from Orange Walk Town and is operated by the Programme for Belize NGO. La Milpa is considered the third largest Maya site in Belize, yet not many know the wonders this archaeological relic holds. More than 85 structures, two ball courts, and 20 courtyards were home to thousands of people at one point.
Take a dip in Sarteneja.
Bejeweled by the sun, Sarteneja’s shores glisten with lapping cerulean waves that beg for a swim. This small fishing village in Northern Belize holds some of the most unspoiled swimming spots in the country. A couple of hours away from Orange Walk Town, Sarteneja is for those looking to kick back and melt into a small yet beautiful corner of the world. It may be too quiet for some, but the ocean views at sunset are more than rewarding.
Since you’re already in the area, it wouldn’t hurt to drive to the Cerros Maya site, which is the only ruins that sit directly facing the Caribbean Sea. Some of the structure is said to be submerged, but you can still climb and explore the 40-plus acres of lawn and hillside that house the central plaza and other pyramids. Tip: We recommend travelers bring bug spray since the mosquitoes here can get quite friendly.
Who would’ve thought that Northern Belize would be the center of disc golfing in Belize? The master-planned community at Cerros Sands boasts its own disc golf course with an 18-hole public course for both the pros and beginners to enjoy. The best part? You’ll get to throw your discs against the backdrop of azure waters from the Caribbean Sea. Once you’ve got all your discs in, head to Blackbeard’s Beach Bar at the Royale Resort in Corozal for a celebratory drink.