5 Hidden Gems Found Only in Belize
If your travel style is more “off-the-beaten-track” than “veg on a sandy beach,” there are five places you must see during your Belize holiday.
Every nation gets bragging rights when calling attention to its natural wonders, wildlife, and cultural diversity. But given Belize’s small size, even neighboring countries admit that Belize is packed with hidden gems. Where to start your tour of discovery? With five of the most written- and talked-about places in the nation. There’s only one complaint you may make after reading about these gems: You’ll wonder why we didn’t list more than just five!
Hidden Gem #1: The Belize Blue Hole
For diving enthusiasts eager to up their TQ (thrill quotient), time spent exploring this 150,000-year-old limestone cave just off the coast of Belize is essential. It’s part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a favorite of iconic diver Jacques Cousteau. Explore this bold circle sitting amid turquoise waters by diving into its depths or just snorkel around the hole for an unforgettable adventure.
Hidden Gem #2: Caracol Maya Ruins
When a prestigious publication like “Conde Nast Traveler” promotes an already-popular destination to “7 wonders of the world” status, how could you say no to visiting it during your Belize stay? Read the article on the plane, bring a camera and your curiosity. Even jaded travelers are awestruck beholding this ancient settlement.
Hidden Gem #3: Belize Barrier Reef
The second-longest barrier reef on the planet is hardly hidden at 185 miles in length, but no hidden gems list would be complete without it. Indulge your imagination beneath the water’s surface once you encounter coral gardens, brilliantly-colored fish and magical underwater scenery that seems unreal. It is real, of course. Swim. Scuba dive. Fish. Or sail by. Most of all, appreciate the fact that Belize makes Herculean efforts to keep the reef healthy so future generations can visit, too.
Hidden Gem #4: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
The wildlife of Belize holds a special place in the hearts, minds, and history of this nation and on a single visit, you can see much of this wonderland for yourself. As the world’s premier jaguar preserve, these endangered cats share sacred space with mountains, birds, tapir, wildcats, dramatic waterfalls and trails, offering panoramic views of the nation’s riches. Thanks to endless exotic species of plants and trees, this bio-diverse park is a treasured ecosystem that deserves a place on this list.
Hidden Gem #5: Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM)
ATM cave is the pride of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology and a fascinating journey deep into the earth to a Maya underworld revered by those who came to practice ancient rites and rituals. It’s not easy to reach the depths of this sanctuary; you’ll hike through the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, wade through water, swim and squeeze into the opening that admits you to this mind-blowing sanctum sanctorum. A visit is worth every second of the effort you make to reach this fantastical destination.
Have we whetted your appetite? Are you ready to experience five places that represent the nation of Belize’s heart and soul? Regularly scheduled flights get you to Belize in just a couple of hours. Which one will you visit first?
Written by Larry Waight