Belize has definitely created a name for herself as one of the world’s top emerging destinations, having been recognized by the likes of Forbes and Wanderlust Magazine. And it comes as no surprise. This small country, with its white sand beaches and lush tropical forests, dotted with ancient Maya cities and teeming with biodiversity, is chock full of surprises and memorable experiences to be had. And while it’s difficult to narrow down the list of amazing locales to visit in Belize, you’d certainly be missing out if you didn’t have at least one of these places on your travel list.
Here are ten of Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle’s best places to visit in Belize in 2023.
1.Half Moon Caye
Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll was listed as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s most beautiful places in the Caribbean this year, and with good reason. With the atoll’s colorful reef gardens and amazing dive sites—including the Great Blue Hole—such a nomination comes as no surprise.
The crescent shaped island that is Half Moon Caye is one of the many highlights that comes with a visit to Lighthouse Reef. A historic natural monument, it became Belize’s first-ever nature reserve in 1981. Here, crystal clear waters, diverse marine life, and stellar sunrises await.
2. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary is home to the world’s only jaguar preserve and lies in the Stann Creek District. Made up of some 128,000 acres of jungle, bordered by verdant mountains, it is the perfect place of refuge for the nature lover. It also offers hiking enthusiasts thrilling adventures and spectacular views. At sight to behold during the day, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is even more awe-inspiring during a night hike.
3. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
Embrace your inner eco-traveller in 2023 with a visit to Belize’s magnificent Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. A wide open expanse of towering pine forests, roaring waterfalls, babbling brooks, and awe-inspiring caves, there is just so much to see here. Not sure where to start? Gaia Riverlodge, aptly named after the goddess of the earth herself, can help you connect with nature in all the right ways.
Gaia’s iconic thatch-roof cabanas allow you to completely immerse yourself in your natural surroundings. And , they offer a breathtaking view of the onsite Five Sisters Falls.
4. Billy Barquedier National Park
Hiding in plain sight on Belize’s Hummingbird Highway lies 1,600 acres of lush tropical forest just waiting to be explored. Billy Barquedier National Park is one of Southern Belize’s hidden gems, boasting winding hiking trails with a stunning waterfall and a refreshing swim awaiting you at the end of it all. The park is easily accessible which makes it the perfect addition to any itinerary during a visit to Belize.
5. Victoria House Resort & Spa
This award winning hotel in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is one of the most luxurious resorts in Belize. Here, Victorian-era decor allows you to step back in time while a vast array of amenities will have you living out your island paradise dreams in no time.
6. Glover’s Reef Atoll
Glover’s Reef Atoll offers an isolated island paradise experience that you’ll be sure to remember for years to come. Its clear blue waters are teeming with diverse marine life, making it an ideal snorkeling spot. If you’re looking to escape the crowds somewhere off the beaten path, then this, along with our next pick, is one of the best places to be.
7. Tobacco Caye
The tropical paradise that is Tobacco Caye is perfect for the solo-traveller. Let the sound of ocean waves lull you to sleep as you relax in a hammock at your beachside cabana. Plus, get the chance to break free from the trials and tribulations of living in a digital world, since this island is off the grid.
If you’re looking for some momentary solace during your trip to Belize, then be sure to visit Tobacco Caye.
8. Caye Caulker
One of Travel Lemming’s 50 best places to travel in 2023, Caye Caulker allows visitors to go slow and live their best lives on island time. Additionally, it’s only a short boat ride away from the mainland, making it a great spot for a day trip. Sip on a piña colada at The Split. Explore the Belize Barrier Reef. Or, do nothing at all except lounging on the beach at this popular island destination.
9. Ray Caye Island Resort
Snorkeling and water slides on a private island in Belize? Yes please! Nothing says island paradise quite like Ray Caye Island Resort. So, if you’re looking for a private island experience in 2023, then be sure to visit this eco-friendly, off-the-grid resort. Whether you’re an adventurer seeking thrilling offshore experiences, or a romantic looking for an intimate escape, Ray Caye is sure to have something that suits your style.
Get a glimpse at Belize’s Mayan past with a trip to Caracol. This archaeological reserve, situated in the Cayo district, is home to one of the region’s tallest manmade structures. Climb to the top of Caana (“Sky Palace”) and treat yourself to a view of Belize’s lush rainforests that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
In addition to a seemingly endless list of places to visit, Belize is brimming with rich culture and history. And, visitors here often find themselves charmed by the welcoming hospitality and the tranquil, laidback vibes. Come next year, which of these ten amazing Belize destinations will you have on your travel list?
Featured Image is Glover’s Reef Atoll, courtesy ROEming Belize Travel Agency.