Belize from North to South: Here’s An Experience for Every Belize District

by Khaila Gentle

Looking for fun experiences to add to your bucket list? Consider exploring all of Belize. From north to south (and east to west), this dually Central American and Caribbean nation is as eclectic as it is beautiful. And what that translates to, most of all, is unforgettable experiences no matter where you choose to visit. Here’s a list of what fun and memorable activities await in each of Belize’s six districts.

Corozal: Visit Shipstern Nature Reserve

Photo by the Belize Tourism Board

Belize’s northernmost district is more than just a gateway to southern Mexico. Corozal boasts beautiful seaside views and memorable experiences that are off the beaten path. Fall for the quiet charm of this mostly Mestizo district and it’s many quaint villages like Consejo and Sarteneja.

The Shipstern Nature Reserve is found just outside the picturesque Sarteneja village. Described by Fodor’s Travel as “a paradise for birders” it is made up of 31 square miles of tropical forest.  Enjoy botanical trails, the popular butterfly farm, and explore the blue-green waters of the Shipstern lagoon.

Orange Walk: Climb Lamanai’s High Temple


Photo by Ayinha

The Orange Walk District’s claim to fame is more than just having the (undisputed) best tacos in the country. A journey into Belize’s Mayan past, a glimpse at the lives of the country’s unique Mennonite community, and, yes, amazing eats are just some of what await in this quaint but beloved region.

The Lamanai archaeological site sits rights beside Orange Walk’s New River Lagoon. An awe-inspiring architectural wonder, its name translates to “submerged crocodile”. And while it can be reached by road, one of the best experiences to have in northern Belize is riding a boat up the river to get to the site. One of Lamanai’s highlights is the High Temple. Climb to the top of this towering monument for panoramic views of the dense forest canopy. Also not to be missed is the Temple of the Mask which features an intricate stone carving of a mask.

Belize: Explore the Belize River Valley

Photo by Jabiru Travel and Tours

Sure, Belize’s cayes are some of the most popular attractions in the entire country. But there’s much to be seen and admired on the mainland of the Belize district as well. That includes the highly underrated but vibrant Belize River Valley.

The Belize District is one of the main hubs for Kriol (Creole) culture. That is especially the case when it comes to the River Valley. It’s made up of some of the oldest villages in the entire country, all with their own unique histories and traditions. Visit the wildlife sanctuary in Crooked Tree. Go searching for the fascinating Howler Monkey in Bermudian Landing and Isabella Bank. Or, witness Afro-Belizean culture at its most preserved in Gales Point Manatee.

Cayo: Go on a Road Trip

Belize’s Hummingbird Highway. Photo by Tom Hines

The Cayo district is Belize’s largest district. It includes Belize’s capital, Belmopan, the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the Hummingbird Highway, and countless other attractions. That makes it difficult to pick just one experience to be enjoyed in this vibrant region.

With a road trip down Cayo’s Western and Hummingbird Highways, travellers get the chance to witness the beauty of Belize’s diverse landscapes. These two roads are some of the most scenic in the entire country and the countless options for stops along the way make for quite the memorable experience.

Explore Spanish Lookout. Visit Guanacaste National Park. Take a photo at St. Herman’s Blue Hole Gap. And, of course, enjoy some of Belize’s most delectable dishes along the way.

Stann Creek: Admire Belizean Art & Culture in Dangriga

Photo via The Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery on Facebook

Home of Belize’s culture capital, the Stann Creek district is perhaps one of the country’s most vibrant and culturally rich. Immerse yourself in the culture of the country’s Garifuna people when you visit Dangriga Town or Hopkins Village.

In Dangriga, visit the home of renowned Belizean musician Pen Cayetano. Known for being the father of punta rock music, Cayetano is also a famed artist. And his work can be admired right at his home, which doubles as an art studio. The Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery opened in 2009 and is one of Dangriga’s most beloved highlights. On display are artwork by Pen himself as well as his wife Ingrid.

Meanwhile, at the Pelican Beach Resort, admire the artistic prowess of photographer Tony Rath. Opened in 2021, the photography exhibition showcases Belize’s natural beauty as seen by land, air, and sea.

Toledo: Attend Belize’s Cacao Festival

Throwback to the Chocolate Festival of Belize. Photo courtesy BTB

The journey to Toledo district is a long but scenic and rewarding one. And what many travelers may not realize is that there’s much to do in this unspoiled paradise. From spice farms and botanical gardens to seaside views in Punta Gorda, the Toledo district is the ultimate off-the-beaten-path destination.

Belize’s southernmost district is an under-appreciated hidden gem teeming with culture, history, and wildlife.  The Toledo district is also the home of Belize’s cacao industry and the eponymous Cacao Festival. Get to revel in all things cacao when you visit the town of Punta Gorda in May. Enjoy two full days dedicated to the aptly named “food of the gods” when you make the journey south.

Featured Photo of Lamanai in the Orange Walk District courtesy Belize Tourism Board. 

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