It’s small in size yet vast in beauty, with tropical forests, coral reefs and rich Mayan culture. With an average yearround temperature of 29 degrees Celsius, this balmy country is tucked along the Caribbean coast of Central America, with Mexico’s Yucatán
How to enjoy this southern comfort
BEST ACTIVE HISTORY
Delve into the history of Mayan civilization with a walk through the ancient city of Lamanai or, closer to San Ignacio, contemplate the aweinspiring temples and palaces of Xunantunich. Adventure seekers will be thrilled to hike, swim and scale their way into Actun Tunichil Muknal, a veritable living museum and sacred cave used by ancient Mayans for ceremonial purposes, while Barton Creek Cave is equally remarkable to explore and relatively simple to paddle through in a canoe.
From Canadian-owned G Adventures and National Geographic Journeys, Explore Belize is a 10-day expedition in and around Belize City, Burrell Boom, San Ignacio, Hopkins and Caye Caulker. Tour groups are small, allowing for unique interactions and hands-on experiences to transpire. Planeterra Foundation is the charitable branch of G Adventures, with two active projects and communitydevelopment initiatives woven into the fabric of this itinerary, including lessons in traditional arts and tortilla making at San Antonio Women’s Pottery Cooperative and Bike with Purpose cycling treks led by students enrolled at Caye Caulker Ocean Academy.
Located about 34 kilometres from Belize City and accessible by water taxi or a quick flight, the peaceful and petite island of Caye Caulker is about as laidback and unhurried as it gets. After a day spent exploring the island, indulging in fresh seafood or lounging by the pool, you can bask in the mellow vibes at Iguana Reef Inn and enjoy the most spectacular sunset views imaginable.
BEST SEA VOYAGE
Consisting of seven protected marine reserve zones and several hundred cays, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System represents the world’s second largest coral reef system and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. A tremendous draw for snorkellers and SCUBA divers alike, these crystal blue waters are home to manatees and turtles, along with hundreds of species of fish and coral. Raggamuffin Tours on Caye Caulker will have you by the reef in no time, with options ranging from snorkelling day trips (with stops at Coral Gardens, The Channel and The Shark Ray Alley) to overnight excursions with plenty of islandhopping along the way.
A beloved condiment for more than 30 years, Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce is a treat for anyone who takes pleasure in fiery foods. Made with locally farmed and hand-cut peppers, Marie Sharp’s signature Habanero Pepper Sauce can be found on just about every restaurant tabletop throughout the country. For sweet versus heat seekers, there are luscious tropical jams and jellies to choose from.
HOPKINS SAN ANTONIO WOMEN’S POTTERY COOPERATIVE BARTON CREEK CAVE
BELIZE LAMANAI RUINS
MARIE SHARP’S HOT SAUCE
SNORKELLING AT CAYE CAULKER