With sub-tropical climate year-round, the Caribbean country of Belize also offers tourist its colorful culture, barrier reefs, beaches, extensive caves, scuba diving, flora, fauna, varied cuisine, snorkeling, birding, Mayan Ruins, chocolate making and delightful places to stay, including luxury resorts, jungle lodges, hotels, condominiums, vacation rentals, guesthouses, live-aboard vessels, campgrounds and more. Following are the first six places to consider going while in Belize.
Known for its rainforest and remote jungle land, this area enables honeymooners, or those celebrating anniversaries, to get off the grid for a while to focus on romance. San Ignacio is a town in the Cayo District of western Belize, on the banks of the Macal River. It's the second largest in the country, after Belize City. Complete with hanging bridges, hiking and kayaking, the area's residents also are eager to teach visitors about the rainforest. Chaa Creek Resort is rated one of the world's best eco lodges and a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981, owners Mick and Lucy Fleming sum up their philosophy of this jungle resort that's located in the heart of Maya civilization as "wildly civilized." This spot is recognized as one of the best examples of sustainable, green tourism.
Ambergris Caye/San Pedro
The area is known for the Blue Hole in the center of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a 1,000-foot circular coral reef that drops 400 feet into an incredible cavern. Visitors can transport themselves around with golf carts, taking in excursions including fishing or swimming with sharks. Victoria House Resort & Spa is located on a breathtaking, private island. This boutique resort features 42 rooms offering a variety of world-class accommodations that pamper guests--whether in a pool villa, luxurious suite, stateroom, or a romantic tropical casita.
Turneffe Islands Atoll
Considered a paradise among divers and anglers, Turneffe Islands Atoll encompasses 200-plus coral islands surrounding a lagoon. It's one of three atoll reefs in Belize's waters. The reefs of this region are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system on Earth.
Lamanai Archaeological Reserve
Lamanai means "Submerged Crocodile" in one of the Mayan languages, and images of crocodiles have been found on the excavated buildings, pottery, and figurines at this famous archaeological site in northern Belize. It's one of the largest ceremonial centers. Traveling to the site is an adventure in itself, including an hour-long boat ride up the New River, which provides frequent wildlife sightings. The dense jungle lends a wild feel to these ruins, which are still not completely excavated. Lamanai reportedly was occupied the longest of any Mayan site.
A long, narrow peninsula of sandy white, palm-lined beaches hugging Belize's Caribbean coastline, Placencia is a popular destination for sunshine lovers. Its brightly colored neighborhoods and rustic, beautiful vibe woos visitors into walking barefoot on the boardwalk while enjoying gelato. Personable and intimate Naïa Resort and Spa serves as a natural playground, or the 28-room, charming seafront hideaway Turtle Inn offers unspoiled beauty.
Once a Mayan fishing village, Belize City was the country's capital until 1970 after Hurricane Hattie wreaked havoc. Today, it's Belize's largest city and commercial center; a busy port, which welcomes cruise ships; and the country's main gateway.