Best Places to Visit in Belize that will Take you to paradise
Located in the southernmost part of the Caribbean Sea, Belize is an amazing tropical paradise where visitors can relax on pristine beaches, scuba dive in the world’s second largest coral atoll, hike through lush jungles, and visit ancient Mayan sites.
A Spanish-language country with a diverse population and an active tourism industry, Belize has a lot to offer visitors. It boasts gorgeous beaches and diving sites, plus hundreds of tiny islands and cayes where you can enjoy nature at its finest.
Best places to visit in Belize
Belize City is one of the largest cities in Belize. It lies on a small island at the mouth of the Hurricane Creek. It was the country’s capital until floods and other damage from hurricanes forced the government to relocate to Belmopan in 1975.
Most tourists use Belmopan as a transportation hub and stay there for most of their trip. However, Belmopan is still the cultural center and has a relatively large selection of cultural attractions.
The small village of Hopkin’s, south of Dangigu and stretching along a beach, is probably best known as the cultural center of Garifuna people in Belize.
The Garifuna people are descended from Africans, Islanders, and Arawaks. They celebrate their independence day by hosting drum ceremonies that go until early hours in the morniing.
Garifuna continues to be widely used here and the village is an excellent place to study this unique culture.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Cockscomb basin wildlife reserve, also know as the Jaguar Reserve, has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Although roughly 60 of the country’s 700 jaguars are thought to be living there, the chances of seeing any are very slim.
It’s an excellent place to spot birds, seek out other wildlife, and hike through some of the most beautiful scenery in Belize.
If you’re up for it, you could also go hiking for four or five days and climb to the top of Victoria Peak at an elevation of 3670 feet.
Tobacco Caye is an island located at the northern tip of South Water Caye Marine Park, approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the town of Dangriga.
Visitors to this Caribbean destination can stay at six different small and modest hotels where they can relax and unwind.
Because Tobacco Caye lies within a marine reserve, it is well known for its excellent shore diving. Over the past few decades, this island has become a popular destination for backpackers and snorkeling and scuba enthusiasts.
Located about 35 kilometers (22 mi) from Belmopan City, San Ignacio is an easygoing, relaxing town with a pleasant climate, good restaurants, affordable hotels, and frequent bus connections.
Located near several lakes and surrounded by forests, it’s an ideal place for exploring the Mayan sites and nature reserves nearby.
San Ignacio is located at the intersection of two major highways, one going north to Guatemala City and another heading south towards Antigua. It is often called “Cayo” by local residents, which means “island”.
Ambergris Cay is the largest island of the country of Belize, which is situated northeast of its main land, in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) long from north to southern, and one mile (1.6 kilometers) wide.
The very top of Isla Mujeres almost touches Mexico; being separated from Mexico by just a narrow strip of water.
The island is mostly made up of white sandy beach and turquise sea water around mangroves and lagoons in its central part. Most of Ambergriscay is reserved as national park.
Located to the north of the main city of San Pedro, Secret Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Belize yet, due to its limited development, a place of seclusion and beauty.
The main attractions include trips to the Belize Barrier reef and its diving, snorkling and beaches. Cayes have a small airstrips that can be reached by planes from Belize City aswell as by numerous fast sea ferry services.
Located at the southern end of the Yucatan Peninsula, Placencia is one of Belize’s most popular destinations for tourists and nature lovers alike.
Placencia comprises the three villages of Maya Beach, Seine Bight and Placencia Village.
The most popular activity in Placencia Village involves walking down its paved sidewalk, which is lined with stores and numerous bars and restaurants, and enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding nature.
The Placencia lagoon is a great location for kayaking or canoeing. It has lots of wildlife including manatee, dolphin, crocodile and bird species.
Located at an elevation of approximately 1,650 feet above sea level, Caracol is one of the largest Mayan sites in Belize.
It was once one among the largest ancient Mayan cities, with an estimated population of about 150,000 — more than twice as many people as Belize City has now.
It was during its peak period of construction from 484 AD to 889 AD that most of the structures in Caracol were built. The largest pyramids in Caracol are Cancal (Sky Place), which measures 43 metres (143 feet) tall, and Chan Chich (House of God).
Caye Caulkin’ may not be as pretty as Ambergris Caye but its laid back atmosphere, low prices, and abundance of bars and restaurants attract lots of backpackers and travelers who want a break from traveling around central America.
Located off the coast of Belize City, Cayo Caulker is an idyllic tropical paradise where you can just chill out and enjoy yourself. The most popular activities here are scuba diving and snorkelling.
The island’s proximity to Belize Barrier Reef makes for some of the best diving in the Caribbean.
Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier reef is a 300 kilometre (190 mile) long stretch of the Mesoamerica Barrier Reef System, the 2nd largest coral reef system in world after the Great Barrier reef in Australia.
It is Belize’s most visited tourist attraction, known for its scuba diving and snorkleing and attracting almost half of its visitors.
Most of the coral reefs in Belize are protected by the Belizean Barrier Coral Reserve System, which includes seven marine reserve sites, 450 cays, three atolls, and one barrier island. The system also includes the Great Blue Holes, the world’s second largest underwater cave.
Altun Ha Ruins, Belize District – an important historic attraction to visit
A beautiful place to visit in Belmopan, this is around an hours drive from Belize City is Altun Ha, which is the ancient Mayan Ruins.
It was hidden for centuries, but today, there are 3 sq miles (8 km²) of pyramids and temples rising from the jungle. You can easily walk through the site without seeing another person. There’s lots of room to explore and admire the ancient ruins.
You’re free to wander at leisure, but if you want to fully enjoy the ruins, hire a private English-speaking tour. At the entrance, there are vendors selling genuine local crafts and art.
The Belize River, Belize District – one of the best places to visit in Belize
The Belize River begins at the confluence of the Mopan and Macal Rivers near San Ignacio, Caye and flows for approximately 180 miles (290 km) across the heart of the country to the Caribbean Sea.
It was used for trade and communication between the interior of the country and the coast until well past the 20th centuries and has long been associated to forestry of logwood (to produce dyes) and of mahogony which survived in small patches.
Ecotourists can now visit Belize River, which used to be part of the fishing sector but is now an ecotourist destination where they can view animals such as iguanas, crocodiles, and birds.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, Cayo District – one of the most popular archaeological sites in Belize
About 10 miles west of San Ignacio, near the Guatemalan borders, are the ruins of Xunantunichen.
The experience starts at the small town of San José Sucotzá with a hand-powered boat crossing the Mopán River, followed by a 1 mile walk through the woods up a gentle hill to the site.
At the end of this journey, you’ll arrive at a place where there are six large plazalike structures surrounding more than 26 enormous temples and palatial buildings. From atop one of these huge structures, you’ll be able to see across the jungle of Belize and Guatemala from above.
Get a guidebook for the visit – you’ll get offers at the port and at the archaeological sites themselves – because the structures are massive and complex. After your trip return to the port and enjoy the excellent cafes and eateries of the small village.
Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve – an incredible World Heritage Site
Glover’s Reef has the greatest variety of coral reefs in the Western Caribbean. It is an important spawning ground for the endangered Nassau Grouper.
It is one of only two viable breeding grounds left for lobsters, conches, and fish.
It was declared a protected area in 2002, permanently closed to fishing activities.
It’s not easy to get here but if you want to see the most beautiful beaches in the world, then this is the place for you!
Glover’s Atoll consists of a large blue lagoon with a few small huts on stilts located on an island, where the clear waters, cool breeziness, and endless horizon combine for the ultimate beach vacation
What is the best time of the year to go to Belize?
During the months of December through April, Belize has its driest period. This is when there aren’t too many clouds and the weather is usually sunny with clear blue skies. The average temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where do tourists stay in Belize?
Most tourists visit Belize for their beaches, islands, and jungle. In that order. The most popular destinations in Belize are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Glover’s Reef. Other popular cayas include Tobacco Caye, and South Water Caye.
Hopkins and Placencia are two of the most popular beach towns on Belize’s coast. They’re known for their beautiful white sand and turquoise waters.
San Ignacio is the main town on the island of Caye Caulker, which grants access to the many ecoadventure activities offered by the Cayo District.