Effortlessly Go From Beach to Rainforest on a Road Trip in This Central American Country

by Khaila Gentle

For some of us, there’s a certain allure to driving the open road and taking in the scenic views. From being able to go at our own pace, to getting the chance to fully immerse ourselves in a destination, road trips make for pretty memorable experiences, no matter where in the world we are. Found in Central America, right below Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Belize is an underrated gem when it comes to hitting the road. Think winding highways flanked by mountains in the south, wide open plains and pastures up north, and mesmerizing brick red roads up in the forest reserves. Plus, striking coastal views abound in places like Hopkins, Placencia, and Punta Gorda.

For a country so tiny, the options for exploration can feel surprisingly endless. But the good thing about traveling across Belize is that you can get a glimpse of it all in just one day. Here’s how you can effortlessly go from beach to rainforest on a Belize road trip.

Similar: Why the Hummingbird Highway Is the Best Route for a Road Trip

Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds in Southern Belize

hopkins bay myo'ono resorts

Photo by Hopkins Bay, a Muy’Ono Resort.

Unhurried, uncrowded, and unpretentious, the communities and towns that dot the districts of Southern Belize are rich with culture and heritage. Many of them sit flanked by the Caribbean sea to the east and the Maya Mountains to the west. This makes them one of the best places to enjoy both beaches and jungle, too.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve. Photo by Oliver Pilcher
An aerial of Placencia Peninsula's pointe. Photo by Belize My Travels (@belizemytravels)

Perhaps the prime example of this is the sleepy Hopkins village. A burgeoning slow travel destination, Hopkins sits on Belize’s southern coast. But, it’s also just a few miles away from the verdant Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The same can be said for Placencia Village, which sits just a bit further south.

A Belize Road Trip: Memorable and Bucket List Worthy

Photo by Tom Hines

Got a few hours to spare? This Belize road trip, whose starting point can be either Hopkins or Placencia, is one of the country’s most scenic.  Make your way onto Belize’s Southern Highway, also known as the T.V. Ramos Highway, and head north. On this first stretch, watch as pristine powder sand beaches slowly turn into silhouettes of rolling hills. Citrus groves, savannah grasslands, and plenty of small villages are also a treat.

Stops along the way: Mayflower Bocawina National Park, The Ya’axkin Butterfly Farm (Maya Center), Mayan Sky Adventure Park Entrance (for a photo op), Xaibel Shell Service Station.

From the Southern Highway, make your way onto the Hummingbird Highway. There, enjoy mile after mile of gorgeous scenery. The winding roads of this Belize Highway are one of the most scenic in all of Central America. From mountains and valleys to one-lane bridges running over babbling brooks, the Hummingbird Highway is often the highlight of any Belize road trip.

Stops along the way: Miss Bertha’s Tamales, The Hummingbird Gap, Billy Barquedier National Park 

End your your trip with a stop in at one of Belize’s national parks like the Billy Barquedier National Park or the Blue Hole National Park. Both locations offer beautiful views with a refreshing dip at the end. Or, go further and explore the country’s capital, Belmopan City, where you can grab a bite to eat or do some more sightseeing.

Featured Photo by Hopkins Bay, A Muy’Ono Resort 

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