Belize is probably not on everyone's wish list yet. A missed opportunity. Nature is surprising and unspoiled, on the coast you walk on pearly white beaches and the country also has beautiful Mayan temples that are not yet visited by masses of tourists. Finally, you will find many beautiful luxurious and comfortable accommodations where you will be completely pampered. Belize is the surprise of Central America.
Combine Belize with Guatemala
If you want to visit Belize, we advise you to do so in combination with Guatemala. The countries fit nicely together. In Guatemala the Maya culture is still rich, the jungle connects both countries and in Belize you have a beautiful ending of your trip to one of the dream beaches. This combination is also interesting from a practical point of view. It is not possible to fly from the Netherlands to Belize City in one day, a transfer with an overnight stay in Panama or America is always necessary. You can fly to Guatemala in one day, which leaves you with more days for your trip.
In this blog we convince you with 5 reasons why you should visit Belize!
1. Canoeing or rafting in the Mayan caves
If you cross the border from Guatemala to Belize you will end up in the Cayo District, the inland of Belize. The Cayo District is a vast area of rainforests, cattle ranches, pine trees and some of the most rugged, remote places in the country. It is a region where you go for nature and adventure. The area has several caves that used to be used by the Mayan people for performing rituals and ceremonies. Most famous are the ATM cave, for real adventurers and the Barton Creek cave. During my visit to Belize in May 2018 I visited the Barton Creek cave:
"After breakfast, we drive to Barton Creek. The cave is hidden in a green environment and at the foot of a paradise puddle. It is not possible to visit the cave by foot, because it is a 1.5 kilometre long meandering river. At the entrance of the cave we board our canoes, turn on our headlights and slowly start paddling towards the cave. As we paddle deeper through the cave, our guide tells us about the impressive geology, archaeology and Mayan history of these caves. For a moment we turn off all our lights and are enveloped in black darkness, knowing that this cave was used by the Mayans thousands of years ago. Extraordinary!"
2. Impressive Mayan Ruins
To be honest I first sighed a little when I heard that we were going to visit another Mayan ruin. In Guatemala we had visited Tikal and Uaxactún and I thought the rest of the Maya sites would fail with these two special places. However, nothing could be further from the truth. At the border with Guatemala lies the Maya ruin Xunantunich. This archaeological site was a big surprise for me and without a doubt one of my favorite Maya sites I saw during my travels through Latin America. It was very quiet and the 6 large squares with 25 temples are very well maintained. We decided to climb the largest temple after which we were rewarded with a great panoramic view over the site and the surrounding Cayo District. Besides Xunantunich the old Mayan cities of Caracol and Cahal Pech are also worth a visit.
3. Discover the gold of the Mayans in the south
In the south of Belize lies the unknown fishing village Punta Gorda in the Toledo district. Are you looking for off-the-beaten-track experiences? Then you've come to the right place in this region. Although you will also find other population groups here, the area also has a strong presence of the Maya. They are happy to show how the Maya people lived 50 years ago. An important part of this is cocoa, the 'Gold of the Maya'. During my stay we were taken to a cocoa farm for a chocolate making workshop. First we were explained how the plants grow and where the beans come from. Then it was explained how chocolate is made from the beans. These people are very proud of the way they make chocolate and know how to communicate this enthusiastically and with a lot of interaction. We were also allowed to taste chocolate and afterwards we got a lunch with chicken in chocolate sauce.
4. Spotting birds and wildlife in the jungle
For spotting birds and other wildlife in the jungle you travel to the northwest of Belize. The Orange Walk region is home to flowing rivers, pristine wildernesses and exotic wildlife. With more than 400 registered bird species, this area is a paradise for bird watchers but also for other animals this is the place to be. One of our clients who visited this area last year wrote the following about it:
"In the jungle of Lamanai, part of my heart has remained. I lay in my hammock on the terrace for less than 5 minutes when the first toucan landed on a branch above me, while a family of monkeys in the tree next to me was eating peacefully. The almost constant presence of these monkeys, and their impressive roar, gave magic to these days. And then I haven't mentioned the snakes, tarantulas, crocodiles and the evening trips over the lagoon and under the indescribably beautiful starry sky.” Read their whole story here.
5. Explore the underwater world of the second largest reef in the world
With the second largest barrier reef in the world, it is no surprise that Belize is seen as a Diver's Paradise. Not far from the coast are the beautiful coral reefs where you can see a lot of marine life with just your snorkelling gear. Are you a real diving fanatic? Then you can visit the famous Blue Hole from here. The Blue Hole is about 70 kilometres off the coast and is a round hole more than 300 metres wide and 124 metres deep. This cave was formed during the different periods of ice age when the sea level was much lower. When the waters rose again, the cave was flooded. Besides walls full of coral, exotic fish and turtles, the sharks really make this ultimate destination worthwhile. Big nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks but also other reef sharks like the blacktip shark and the Caribbean reef shark, come to this lonely depth to cool off.
Would you like to make a trip through Belize yourself and visit the Cayo District? Then take a look at the travel itineraries that we have put together for inspiration. You can book these trips directly, but we are also happy to create a personal programme based on your wishes and ideas.
Do you have a question? Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 6204 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help.