When it comes to travel, there’s nothing quite like visiting the places that evoke such awe you can’t help but utter the word “wow”. Those places, with their unmistakable wow-factor, are sure to have you returning over and over again. And even if the feeling of amazement shrinks in intensity over time, it usually never goes away. In Belize, there are quite a few places that evoke that feeling. If you’re looking for some amazement during your next vacation to this small but eclectic Caribbean country, here are five places in Belize that definitely have “wow” factor.
1. Gaia Riverlodge (Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve)
Fittingly named, Gaia Riverlodge sits perched atop Belize’s Five Sisters Waterfall, overlooking a wide expanse of pine and broadleaf forests. At the heart of the lodge sits the eponymous Five Sisters Restaurant, where the word “magnificent” does very little to describe the view guests are treated to.
Through wide open floor to ceiling windows, watch as the morning fog rolls over the tops of towering pine trees. If you listen closely enough, you might hear the sweet call of a bird or two. The restaurant comes complete with an outdoor deck, strategically positioned for a picture-perfect view of the rushing falls below.
In the evening, sip on a sundowner while watching a vibrant orange sun set behind rolling mountains. Enjoy it all with the soothing sound of the roaring waterfall in the background.
The view at Gaia alone oozes “wow factor” but there’s much more to appreciate about this cozy Belize resort. With its location inside the lush and isolated Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, it offers you the chance to witness all the amazing natural wonders found in the area. Big Rock Falls, Rio Frio Cave, and Thousand Foot Falls all lie just minutes away.
2. Elijio Panti National Park
A hidden gem that’s far off the beaten path, the Elijio Panti National Park is sure to wow anyone with even an inkling of a love for nature. It was inaugurated in an effort to preserve and protect the indigenous land within that had been facing threats of poachers, hunters, illicit land grabs, and more.
The wow factor of this Belize destination comes courtesy of its hiking trails, many of which lead to stunning views of the valley below. Plus, the park, which was named after a renowned Maya Shaman, is teeming with wildlife, ancient ceremonial caves, and lots of swimming spots.
3. Victoria Peak
What was once Belize’s tallest peak before Doyle’s Delight was discovered, Victoria Peak offers stunning vistas alongside an experience that certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon. At 3,688 feet (1,124 meters), hiking up this (literal) giant is no easy feat – it usually takes three to four days – but the less than 200 people that have accomplished it can attest to how rewarding it is.
Hiking Victoria Peak, an activity primarily done by Belizeans, isn’t the only way that you can appreciate its wow factor, though Depending on where you are in the Stann Creek District, you can admire the mountain in all its glory from afar.
4. Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
One of Belize’s most iconic mountain ranges, the Sleeping Giant, is an indelible sight on the journey south. When driving along the Hummingbird Highway, many slow down and set their sights on the rolling hills in an effort to spot the natural monument that resembles a man, or perhaps a guardian of nature, lying on his back. It’s a memorable view, and at the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge, the beauty of one of Belize’s most beloved sights is amplified ten fold.
Admire the sleeping giant in an entirely different way when you visit this Belize Collection Resort: up close, and with a hot cup of coffee or a refreshing cocktail. Sleeping Giant Lodge further ups the “wow factor” by being surrounded by nature. Here, your closest neighbor might be a friendly jungle critter.
5. The Great Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef Atoll
While exploring its depths is a magical and bucket-list worthy experience, there’s nothing quite like admiring the Great Blue Hole from above. This world-renowned sinkhole is found inside the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which was just recently named one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean by Conde Nast Traveler. These two epic destinations (three if you include Half Moon Caye) are not to be missed, especially if you’re a fan of marine adventures.
6. Actun Loch Tunich
Belize’s lesser-known sinkhole, Actun Loch Tunich also known as the “Black Hole Drop” is a breathtaking experience for anyone daring enough to take the 300 foot plunge. Known as the “mother of all caves”, it resembles a bottomless dark pit from above. Upon rapelling down, thrill seekers will find themselves treated to spectacular scenery.
It takes about an hour and a half of uphill hiking to reach your destination. From there, there’s nowhere to go but down. You’ll rappel down the face of a cliff for the first ten feet. Then, you’ll step off onto nothing. Slowly, your guide will lower you down as you sit and admire the surrounding natural beauty.