Here are Four Must-Do Activities When Visiting Northern Belize

by Giulissa Hernandez

When it comes to Belize, most travelers flock to the sparkling shores of the Caribbean coast. But hold on to your bathing suits – we’re taking a detour up north, where the magic of Belize shines through off-the-beaten-path adventures. Northern Belize is an underrated destination, brimming with fantastic activities that will leave you with a perpetual grin. Cast aside all the popular tourist spots to explore the hidden treasure troves of the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. From exploring ancient ruins to mingling with wildlife, here are four must-do activities that are sure to add a sprinkle of whimsy to your Belizean adventure. 

1. Explore the Mystical Lamanai Ruins

Of course, you can’t have a trip to Northern Belize without exploring its captivating ancient ruins. Just an hour away from Orange Walk Town, the Lamanai Archeological Reserve awaits your visit. Dive into the mysterious world of the ancient Maya. This isn’t your average history lesson, though. Brace yourself for encounters with howler monkeys, parrots, and crocodiles as you journey through the dense jungle to reach this awe-inspiring site.

You can opt to drive the hour journey or–for a much more interactive voyage– hitch a boat ride to the ruins. Countless tours leave hourly and as you glide on the New River, keep an eye out for sunbathing crocodiles. It’s Indiana Jones meets a Disney safari adventure – that’s Lamanai for you!

2. Connect with Nature & Wildlife at Rio Bravo

Photo by Duarte Dellarole

Calling all bird enthusiasts and whimsy seekers! Northern Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise, teeming with colorful and exotic avian wonders. Slip into an immersive respite in nature at Rio Bravo’s Conservation & Management Area. Unplug from the world for as long as you need and make connections with a myriad of different species.

Currently, a total of 350 bird species have been recorded at Rio Bravo. Grab your binoculars and join guided birdwatching tours where you’ll spot toucans, parrots, keel-billed motmots, and countless other feathered friends. You can even spot some four-legged friends such as deers, jaguars, monkeys, and tapirs. Rio Bravo is a jewel hidden deep in the jungles of Orange Walk. Its countless critters invite you for a visit. The vibrant plumage and enchanting songs of these birds will make you feel like you’ve stumbled into an animated Disney musical. 

3. Take a Dip in Corozal Bay


Views of the northern coast. Image via Gisselle Hernandez

It’s time to unpack those swim trunks and Hawaiian shirts because Corozal Bay is all seaside vibes. Even if you’re not itching for a swim, a day spent on the shores of the Caribbean Sea is enough to quell any worries inside you. Known to be perpetually windy, Corozal Town is quaint, quiet, and calm. Relax and snack on some ceviche at a beachfront restaurant or, pitch your lounger and blanket and make it a picnic day. Sit back, unwind, and read a book to the sound of crashing waves. If you’re lucky, catch the attention of an elote vendor or ice cream trolley passing by. These snacks amplify a day at the beach for sure! 

4. Embark on a Nighttime Safari Expedition Down the New River


A crocodile catches some rays. Image by Lamanai Landings

It’s time to test your courage with a nighttime safari and some crocodile spotting. Are you willing to forgo any fears, conquer the dark, and come out victorious? Not only is this activity thrilling, but you’ll also be learning the tricks guides use to handle these reptiles. The New River in Orange Walk is Croc Central, and you’ll have more than one interaction to boast about. Whether you’re willing to handle one or not, simply gliding down the river and observing these creatures from afar is enough. Don’t forget the added thrill of the dark! See how many shining eyes you can catch in the dark. 

Northern Belize offers as many interesting activities as the other regions of this magnificent country. You can get a bit of everything; Maya history, swimming in the Caribbean Sea, and interacting with wildlife. Follow the off-beaten road into an adventure you definitely won’t forget about any time soon.

Featured Photo by the Belize Tourism Board

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