Adventure Responsibly and Off-The-Beaten Path in Belize

by Larry Waight
caracol roeming belize

Everyone should visit Belize at least once. Not only is it blessed with abundant natural beauty, it also provides visitors with many experiences. Best of all, it’s one of the safest places to visit during the pandemic.

This is thanks to the vigilance of the government and citizens, which quickly got in front of the curve to minimize the number of cases among citizens and to screen and protect travelers. Everyone in the tourism industry was given access to free vaccinations within the first phases of Belize’s roll-out program, as frontline workers. 

Additionally, one of the key features that helped slow the spread early on was the Belize Travel Health App; however, thanks to the success with which the coronavirus was contained, Belize no longer requires the Belize Health App. By mid-February of this year, new cases were numbering only in the single digits.

Travelers are still required to show proof of vaccination or have a negative Covid-19 test before they can enter Belize, and there are still protocols followed in many places that visitors must adhere to.

All of this makes Belize not only a beautiful and exotic locale but also a safe one. Here you will find activities and attractions that will thrill you no matter what your interests are.

For those who love the water

Belize is a paradise for those who love the ocean and the beach. It has many beautiful spots where you can relax on immaculate sand or play in gentle waves. Placencia, in particular, has miles of gorgeous beaches. Snorkel, sunbathe, swim and sail to your heart’s delight.

ray caye belize duarte dellarole water

The shores of Ray Caye, Belize. Image courtesy Duarte Dellarole

If scuba diving is more your thing, the Belizean Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world.

You can scuba dive among rays and sharks at Shark Ray Alley at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye. The gentle nurse sharks and curious rays will safely interact with you as you swim among schools of brilliant fish. You might even spot a vivid green moray eel!

belize blue hole

The Great Blue Hole in Belize. Photo courtesy Belize Tourism Board

Of course, for true adventure you cannot beat a trip to the Great Blue Hole which lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll about 40 miles from the mainland. This amazing formation is over 1000 feet wide and 400 feet deep. It is a World Heritage Site and was declared by Jacques Cousteau to be one of the top five dive sites in the world.

For those who love history and ancient cultures

xunantunich belize duarte dellarole

Xunantunich Maya Site. Image courtesy Duarte Dellarole

There are amazing underground systems throughout Belize which were part of the fabric of the ancient Maya Empire. Traveling through these systems you will discover artifacts and learn about a once great civilization.

One such cave system is the Actun Tunichil Muknal “ATM” Cave. This archeological site has a wide variety of remains, including not only ceramics and stoneware from ancient times but also Maya skeletons.

It is easy to get a guided tour of the ATM cave from San Ignacio in the Cayo District. During the walk, you will enjoy spelunking as well as a jungle walk as you go back in time to view skeletons that are over 1,000 years old. The most famous of these is the “Crystal Maiden,” who was thought to be an adolescent girl that was sacrificed in a religious ceremony.

nohoch che'en cave tubing kayaking belize cave

Nohoch Che’en Cave. Image by Henry Georgi / Getty Images

If you’d prefer a more relaxing and less active experience, try tubing along a gentle river that flows in and out of cave passages at the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. To access, you will need to walk for about 45 minutes along a flat hiking trail. Then you will enter an inner tube and simply float through two cave systems.

You can sit back and relax as the river meanders and carries you along. You will learn about the geology and ancient history of these caves carved from the limestone as well as many details about ancient Maya culture and the inhabitants who used the caves for ceremonial purposes for millennia.

For those who love food, music and people

Belize is a great place to connect with people. Belizeans are generally very friendly and open to visitors and enjoy sharing their local traditions and unique experiences with new friends.

Here are some ways you can connect with local traditions.

  1. Visit the Belize Chocolate Company in San Pedro. Here, you can learn how to make chocolate the way the ancient Maya did and truly appreciate the rich history of this ancient food.
  2. Take the Marie Sharp’s Factory Tour. Marie Sharp’s is quintessential to Belizean cuisine. The small group of workers at the factory will make you feel welcome and enhance your appreciation of these delightful habanero-based sauces.
  3. Take part in local festivals, such as the Lobster festivals, now in July. Plan your trip around local festivals so you can enjoy local live music, dancing and contest as well as tasting various treats.
  4. Stay in a Maya village. For a truly unique experience, get away from the metropolitan areas and stay in traditional places where the pace of life is very different and the people are amazing.

Hopefully you feel inspired to visit Belize soon. As you can see, there are so many types of experiences you can have while staying very safe. 

Header image courtesy Roeming Belize

Related Articles