Looking for a getaway to unplug, reconnect and relax under the warmth of the sun? You'll find it all in Belize. This Caribbean locale is idyllic for all, from adventure seekers to nature lovers and everyone in between.
Whether you're looking to explore Mayan ruins and hike along rigorous trails or you can't wait to visit the local museums and experience traditional flavors each time you dine, Belize is sure to be a vacation spot you won't soon forget.
With its amazing, warm climate, you'll want to spend as much time outdoors as you can, and Belize features a host of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to explore. You can see more than 500 species of birds as well as monkeys, crocodiles, lizards and other native creatures. There's also plenty of space to hike or bike and beaches to relax on. Belize is also an excellent spot to learn about history, as it was home to one of the world's most mysterious civilizations - the Mayans.
Things to Do in Belize
- Belize Barrier Reef: Explore the world under the sea at the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second longest in the world. It's home to more than 100 types of coral and 500 species of fish, making it a huge attraction in Belize. Plan a snorkeling adventure to swim through the gloriously turquoise waters as you marvel at the cornucopia of life below the surface. As you get deeper, you can even check out underwater caves and walls, as well as the famous Blue Hole. On the surface, you can take out a kayak and paddle around from one islet to another, try windsurfing or simply lounge in the sound, listening to the relaxing sounds of the water.
- Altun Ha: Altun Ha is the most popular Mayan ruin to visit and easily accessible from Belize City. Here you'll find temples all around that provide plenty of information on the history of the Mayan culture. For 25 square miles, you'll be surrounded by forests and vegetation as you explore. In the Temple of the Masonry Altars, which is the largest, you'll find a jade replica of a Mayan sun god. This temple was used for religious rites and activities, and there's evidence of bloodletting and ceremonial sacrifices. The Temple of the Green Tomb is known for being a place where a Mayan priest-king made his funeral chamber, and it was found filled with treasures and offerings. It's called the green tomb because 300 jade pieces were discovered there.
- Museum of Belize: History buffs will love a visit to the Museum of Belize, which collects, preserves and displays objects with artistic, historical and scientific interest. You'll have the chance to see Belize's earliest stamp depicting Queen Victoria from 1937, a preserved jail cell and inmate, a Buenavista vase depicting the mythical Mayan hero twins doing a victory dance over the Lords of Xibalba and much more about the past and culture of the area.
- Xunantunich: This ancient archeological site is situated atop a ridge over the Mopan River. Xunantunich, which means stone woman in the Mayan language, is a major center for ceremonies that you can tour. It's accessible by ferry daily, and its name refers to a ghost woman many people have claimed to see who continues to haunt. She's said to be dressed all in white, but her most noticeable feature are her fire-red, glowing eyes. She's been known to appear in front of El Castillo, climbs the impressive stone staircase, then disappears into a wall. Take a tour here to see her for yourself!
Dining in Belize
- Riverside Tavern: One of Belize's most popular dining locations is Riverside Tavern, where you can enjoy a meal both indoors and outdoors. Steaks are a specialty here, but there ribs are just as tasty. For something a little lighter try the seared tuna, coconut or jerk shrimp, or grilled snapper. It's a laid-back sort of place, but after dark, shorts, sleeveless shirts and sandals are discouraged. So, put on your nicer dinner attire and treat yourself to a lovely meal overlooking Haulover Creek.
- Bird's Isle: Another favorite dining destination in Belize is Bird's Isle in Belize City. Step inside and it will feel like an oasis that locals and visitors alike enjoy. Sip on fresh-squeezed juice in the morning or a cold beer later in the day as you sample a stellar burger or snacks like conch fritters. Thursday nights there's karaoke, so warm up those vocal chords and get ready to belt out your favorite tune. Some nights there's also live music, so wear your dancing shoes just in case.