Let’s face it, Belize has it all: beautiful beaches, gorgeous green jungles, soaring mountains, fertile farm land, rushing rivers, idyllic islands, friendly people. What more could you want? It’s the total package and then some! The official national language is English. US currency is widely accepted. And it’s only about a 2-hour flight from Miami or Houston.
What Belize doesn’t have, in my opinion, is also an asset. No big box stores, no mega-all-inclusive-resorts, no franchises or chain restaurants. This is a place of small, and often, family-run businesses and unforgettable adventures. A Belize vacation is one that involves slow travel and authentic experiences.
During your Belize vacation, you may find yourself tempted to spend the entirety of your visit on the beach, but there is so much more in store for adventurous spirits. Here are two things that make Belize a unique and thrilling vacation destination.
1. Bold Biodiversity
Belize’s biodiversity is astounding. For a geographically small country, it is blessed with a wide array of landscapes and geological features. That includes areas both above and below the sea. The World’s second largest barrier reef and the diverse marine life that it attracts is a major draw for divers, fishermen, and even curious snorkelers.
On the mainland, the awe-inspiring Maya Mountains reach up towards blue skies and bright Caribbean sunshine. The mountain range and its surrounding basins are rich in limestone and erodible soil, making the region ripe for the formation of caves. In the West, the remote Maya Mountain Massif area is home to a massive forest reserve and the Chiquibul Cave System. It’s the largest and longest in Central America.
The ancient Maya used these caves for religious ceremonies, and many sacred artifacts remain sheltered within twisting tunnels and secret chambers. The best part is, you don’t need to be a professional spelunker to explore a cave in Belize, since many are easily accessible to visitors. That includes Rio Frio Cave in the Mountain Pine Ridge area and St. Herman’s cave—which is managed by the Belize Audubon Society—on the Hummingbird Highway, both of which you can explore on your own. Excellent guided tours are available through Barton Creek Cave and Actun Tunichil Muknal (often called ATM Cave for short).
Lush jungle, tropical broadleaf forest and spectacular waterfalls dominate the Central and Southern areas of the country. These offer unparalleled excursions to the bravest of visitors. Additionally, flatter areas to the North of the country and along the coast comprise of hardwood forests, tropical pine savanna.
Belize’s agricultural heavy weights, citrus, banana, and sugar cane, lie in the central and northern regions, meanwhile the cacao industry has a home in the south.
2. The Friendliest of People
The friendly people of Belize are just as diverse as the country’s landscapes. Here, visitors are able to witness a melting pot of cultures. That includes Maya, Mestizo, Creole, Chinese, East Indian, Garifuna, Mennonite, and more! This makes for a dynamic atmosphere, an exciting culinary scene and cultural experiences like none other during your Belize vacation.
Whether visiting one of its small coastal towns or energetic islands, you’ll feel right at home in Belize. Check out Hopkins, which has consistently been voted the friendliest village in the country. Or visit San Ignacio, the tranquil town located on the banks of the Macal River.
There’s just so much to love about this tiny Central American country beside the Caribbean Sea!
Feature Image Photo Courtesy: Sleeping Giant