Belize Vacation spots
Belize is known as the gateway of the Caribbean. (Photo: beach in belize image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com )
Belize lies on the eastern coast of Central America bordering Mexico and Guatemala. Known as the gateway of the Caribbean, its attractions include tropical rainforests combined with historical Mayan sites and temples and white sand beaches. It also has a 174-mile long barrier reef teeming with aquatic creatures. The natural beauty, available leisure and sport activities and diverse accommodation options make this South American country a popular vacation spot.
Isla y Marina
Isla y Marina, the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, boasts numerous coral atolls, mangrove-covered islands and colorful underwater habitats. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve has seven marine reserves, all declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The barrier reef measures a total of 185 miles and includes more than 70 varieties of hard corals and almost 500 species of fish, dolphins, whale sharks, sea turtles and manta rays. Activities for travelers include swimming and snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing and kite surfing, kayaking, fly fishing and sport fishing. Tourists can visit the Blue Hole dive site, a nearly perfect circular hole measuring 1000 feet in diameter and 412 feet deep. A number of resorts and accommodations sit on the different cays surrounding the barrier reef, including popular Ambergris Caye.
Placencia Village sits on a slim peninsula in southern Belize and enjoys a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. With 16 miles of coastline and white-sand beaches dotted with small restaurants, bars, gift shops and art galleries. Placencia Village is also famous for its narrow sidewalk mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the narrowest street in the world. The village hosts several events and activities throughout the year, including an annual Dive with the Whalesharks activity from February to May and a Lobster Festival each June. Accommodations options abound in the area, including hotels and guesthouses ranging from simple one-bedroom cottages to luxurious villas. Activities in the area include kayaking, boating along the Monkey River, sailing, cave tours, snorkeling and diving in the reefs, and land tours and jungle trails to Mayan ruins and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary—the world’s first jaguar reserve.
Cayo, with its capital of Belmopan, is the largest district in Belize and lies approximately one hour from Belize City. Known for its ecotourism adventures and trips to its many nature reserves and national parks as well as its extensive number of archaeological sites, Cayo’s visitors can tour the towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena as well as the border town of Benque Viejo del Carmen. All these villages are gateways to the pine forests, rivers, caves, waterfalls, limestone cliffs and Mayan temples in the area. There are a host of lodging places and accommodations in the locales, ranging from four-star hotels in San Ignacio to jungle lodges along the creeks and Macal River. Mountain Pine Ridge, which showcases caves, natural pools and waterfalls, also has lodging accommodations.