Belize’s Hummingbird Highway is perhaps the most scenic route in the entire country. With its winding roads, hugged by rolling hills, and captivating panoramic views, it’s hard to not slow down and admire all that this highway has to offer. There’s plenty to see in Belize, both by air and by sea. But some things are just better experienced with a long, rewarding road trip. That includes this picturesque highway that leads to southern Belize and beyond.
A Scenic Road Trip
Perhaps the best part of the Hummingbird Highway is that you can drive its entire 55-mile length in just about two hours. What that means is that you’ll have plenty of time to investigate the many scenic spots and intriguing attractions that dot the length of the highway. It’s for this reason that travel publication Lonely Planet listed the Hummingbird Highway as one of the best places to visit in Belize. The greatest attraction, however, is undoubtedly the journey down the highway itself.
The drive takes you through the forested mountains, between orchards and Mennonite farms, with stops like scenic cenotes and the best tamales you’ve ever had along the way.
Keep an eye out for the sleeping giant that lives in the mountains near mile 23. It’s a limestone mountain that has taken the shape of someone lying down, and many road trippers make it their goal to catch the slumbering giant on camera. This iconic landmark is actually so beloved that it has even made its way onto Belize’s currency.
On your way down the highway, also make sure admire the breathtaking Hummingbird Gap, located at mile 26. This break in the mountains, at an elevation of 1000 feet, grants a sweeping view of the valleys and wide open plains below.
What many roadtrippers — locals and visitors alike — look forward to during a journey down the Hummingbird Highway are the good eats that await along the way. Most notably, Miss Bertha’s Tamales is a spot you simply shouldn’t miss. Have a rest at this popular eatery, located in Middlesex village. Take a seat under the iconic red and white shed and enjoy a steaming hot plate of tamales. While you do so, listen to the sounds of nature, punctuated only occasionally by the sound of passing vehicles.
Hidden Waterfalls and Hiking Trails
When you’ve had your fill, continue on your journey. And if you’re feeling up for a refreshing dip in cool water, make sure to stop in at Billy Barquedier National Park. This hidden gem on the Hummingbird Highway boasts 1,600 acres of beautiful tropical forest, complete with a moderate hiking trail. At the end of that trail lies the Billy Barquedier Waterfall. Stop to admire the sights and and sounds at the cascading waterfall before taking a plunge into the pool below.
Where to stay: Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
Being the gateway to southern Belize and beyond, the Hummingbird Highway makes for an ideal place to stay. The Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge sits just off the highway, nestled within the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Along with divine accommodations, guests get views just as spectacular as on the highway. That means you’ll get to savor the beauty of Belize long after your roadtrip is complete.
Featured Photo courtesy Tom Hines