Affectionately called ‘cayes’, Belize is home to over 200 islands that dot its coastline. This means you can visit a variety of different islands and go from a bustling developed caye to a small island with one or two coconut trees surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters. In the North, the laid back island of Caye Caulker is one of my favorites for an overnight stay. Only a 15-minute flight from the Belize International Airport or a water taxi away – it’s easy to get too. The motto here is ‘go slow’ and the sandy streets, laidback atmosphere amazing sunsets and easy access to incredible snorkeling makes for a really relaxing tropical stay. The island has a sort of rustic charm and you get around by bike, foot or golf cart. My top tip is to make sure to spend some time at ‘the split’ – the beach area there is well worth willing away an afternoon.
In the South, The Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve is by far one of the most beautiful places to go snorkeling or diving. Crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life and a lack of tourists make for a spectacular day out. On your snorkel trip you can be sure to spot sea turtles, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays and a range of beautiful fish. Also during the months of April – June you’ll have the chance to see whale sharks, with the reserve being one of the main spawning aggregation sites.
Belize was once the heartland of the Maya. Countrywide, Belize is believed to have over 1,000 Maya sites. Today, these ancient sites remind us of the Maya’s past. Xunantunich located in the Cayo District is a favourite of mine and one I recommend often for its historical significance and stunning structure. To get there you must first take a hand-cranked ferry across the Mopan River. Once on site, you can explore archaeological structures like El Castillo Temple decorated with intricate hand-carved stelae. Also, it’s one of the few sites where you can climb to the top and take in a 360-view of Belize’s jungle below.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, located in the West of Belize in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve, Cayo District is a cave unlike any other. Ranked by National Geographic in the top 10 sacred caves in the world – visiting this cave you’ll know exactly why! You’ll start your journey to the underworld with a refreshing swim into the cave. The journey requires some physical strength as you do a mix of swimming and climbing. Once inside, you can see pottery shards back to dating back to 250AD. Used as sacred grounds for the Maya, one of the most treasure sightings of all is the crystallized skeleton known as the “Crystal Maiden”. This cave’s beauty, cultural significance and rich history make it one worth visiting.
Hidden amongst Belize’s lush jungle you can find stunning waterfalls that are definitely worth chasing. Venture off the beaten path in the West and in the South and you can find many hidden gems – most unexplored and uncrowded. Big Rock Falls located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo District is my favorite! A short hike down, you arrive at a beautiful waterfall roughly 150ft tall. Spend the day having a picnic in nature on the rocks, and when it gets too hot enjoy a refreshing dip in the waterfall’s usually icy water.
Ah, lobster! Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, enjoying seafood is a must when in Belize! As of June the lobster season opens in Belize. Trying these delicious crustaceans and other amazing local seafood dishes is a must. If you have an adventurous spirit spend the day out at sea catching your own fresh fish. Apart from seafood, Belize has various cultures adding a unique flair to its cuisine.
Belize may be small, but it’s pack with amazing adventures. Your dreams of a long-awaited getaway are inching closer to reality as the Belize International airport is set to open as of August 15, 2020. Get in touch to start planning your dream vacation to Belize