Belize is a small country on the Caribbean side of Central America, sharing borders with Guatemala and Mexico. The country is famous for its lush jungle, abundant wildlife, gorgeous deserted islands, and its cultural diversity. From reading on the beach to trekking in the rainforest, Belize offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it a perfect holiday destination. Read on to discover the best places to visit in Belize.
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Things to do in Belize – Beach destinations
1 – Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is a small island attracting more and more tourists every year. It’s a great base-camp to go diving or snorkeling to the nearby reefs. There, you’ll find the world’s second-biggest barrier reef. The visibility is as good as it gets, the corals incredible and the sea life amazing,
It’s also the perfect place to just chill in a hammock, eat fresh seafood, and have a drink or two watching the sunset. There are a lot of fun things to do in Caye Caulker.
2 – San Pedro
San Pedro, also known as La Isla Bonita after Madona’s song, is another tourist destination in Belize known for the diving and snorkeling opportunities offered nearby, The island is bigger and busier than Caye Caulker and has tons of resorts, bars, and restaurants.
There you should rent a golf cart for the day and explore the island. Don’t miss Secret Beach (not so secret anymore) and spend the day relaxing at the beach, swimming in the turquoise water.
3 – Placencia
Placencia was my favorite beach in Belize. It’s quiet, yet there’s a lot of activities to do there and places to chill. The beach is amazing, the only place I’ve been in Belize where there were almost no seaweeds. Just grab a good book and head for the beach.
Related article – Best things to do in Placencia
4 – Sapodilla Cayes
These 8 remote islands are a true paradise on earth. White sand and crystal clear water await for a day of island hopping and snorkeling.
To get there, you’ll need to join a tour from Punta Gorda and charter a boat.
5 – Laughing Bird Caye
The Laughing Bird Caye is another Belizean paradise. This small deserted island can be visited as a day trip from Placencia and is well worth adding to your bucket list.
6 – Glover’s Atoll
Glover’s Atoll is Belize’s best-kept secret. Pristine water, white sanded beaches on deserted islands, and unbelievable snorkeling spots await. A true paradise on earth. Apart from a resort and a few fishermen, the islands there are uninhabited, making you feel like Robinson Crusoe.
7 – Tobacco Caye
Tobacco Caye is a small island and fishermen village. Tourism is starting to take off there, but it still feels authentic. You can easily get there from Dangriga and spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the island’s laid-back vibe.
Things to do in Belize – Mayan Sites
8 – Lamanai
Located deep inside a lush jungle, Lamanai, an ancient Maya city, stands. Pyramids emerge here and there through the dense vegetation. Lamanai used to be a major trading city and reached 35 000 inhabitants at its pinnacle.
Lamanai is one of the largest Maya sites in Belize, thousands of structures have been identified, but only a few have been fully excavated. Today, several pyramids have been excavated as well as huge “masks” on the side of one of the pyramids. Each king would add a level and have his face carved on the building.
9 – Altun Ha
Altun Ha is also a must-visit archaeological site in Belize. The ancient city was an important town part of the Tikal confederation.
Archaeologists came upon several jade sculptures while excavating the site. Around 300 jade objects were found, the biggest was found inside a tomb, weighing 10 pounds, making it the heaviest Maya jade object discovered so far.
10 – Caracol
Caracol, an ancient Maya city, located deep into the Belizean jungle, is a fantastic place to discover. A lot of structures are yet to be excavated, but what has been unearthed so far is breathtaking. Buildings are usually organized around a plaza. On some of the pyramids, you reach the top only to discover another plaza and more buildings.
The view from the highest pyramid is well worth the climb up. You’re literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature and birds singing.
11 – Xunantunich
Xumantunich is another exceptional Maya site to visit in Belize. Also surrounded by jungle, when you go up the main pyramid, you’ll get a breathtaking view over the surrounding villages and endless nature.
The structures have been well restored, and on one of the pyramids, you can see incredibly well-preserved carvings on each side.
12 – ATM Cave
One of Belize’s best attractions, the ATM is an intricate cave system and sacred place for Mayas. Apart from the natural beauty of the cave, the highlight of the visit is the human remains found there. Mayas used the cave to make human sacrifices and worship the Gods. One of the full skeleton found inside the cave is called the Crystal Virgin because of the way the bones were calcified.
A lot of artifacts such as pottery are also found inside the cave. To protect it, the number of people allowed in each day is limited, and you cannot bring anything inside the cave. Even shoes are forbidden.
13 – Rio Blanco National Park
Rio Blanco is one of the many National Parks in Belize. Located in Southern Belize, the park is easy to access, and the trails are well maintained. Because it’s far from any other tourist attractions, it’s usually far from being overcrowded.
There are several trails you can choose from, or you can just chill at the waterfall. It’s also a good place to see birds.
14 – Blue Creek Cave
Blue Creek, located in the Toledo District in Southern Belize, is a great place if you like the outdoors and adventures. There you can trek along the river all the way to Hokeb Ha Cave and swim in one of its many pools.
15 – Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Created in the 80s, Cockscomb is the first jaguar preserve in the world. It’s a fantastic place to trek, watch wildlife and go river-tubing. There are several trails, from easy strolls to more advanced ones, most of which require a guide. Chances of seeing jaguars are slim, but sightings happen from time to time. Most frequently you might see smaller mammals such as tapirs or ocelots, birds, and reptiles.
16 – Saint Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
Saint Herman’s Blue Hole, located south of Belmopan, is a beautiful cenote you can swim in. It’s usually really quiet and you might have the place all to yourself as I did. There’s also a cave not far you can explore and where you can do cave tubing, a super fun activity.
17 – Barton Creek Cave
Barton Creek Cave near San Ignacio is an enchanting place if you like nature. Kayaking on the Barton Creek river, surrounded by the jungle, you’ll see Mennonite villages, birds, and some reptiles. Once you reach the cave, which you can enter with the kayak, you’ll see amazing concretions.
18 – Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole is probably Belize’s most famous landmark. This incredible cenote located two hours away by boat from the coast is a natural wonder. You can either join a snorkeling or diving tour or best, take a plane or helicopter ride to see it from above.
19 – Monkey River
Traveling up the Monkey River near Placencia is a unique experience where you’ll get the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife such as turtles, crocodiles, birds, iguanas, and best of all the howler monkey.
Howler monkeys are known for the way they protect their territory from other dominant males: screaming loudly. When you’re walking in the jungle and you start hearing them you won’t believe it, it’s like being transported into a Jurassic Park movie.
What about you? Have you been to Belize? What was your favorite place?
Related articles to help you plan your trip to Belize:
- Hopkins – Heart of the Garifuna culture
- Must-see Maya ruins in Belize
- Packing hacks – Items to help you save space
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