If you enjoy being able to choose between exploring ancient ruins, trekking in a jungle, climbing mountains or scuba diving among incredible coral reefs, you’ll love the exploratory nature of Belize. This small Central American country boasts a number of attractions, including centuries-old Mayan cities, 240 varieties of wild orchids, 500 species of birds and some of the world’s best dive sites.
Belize is known for its adventurous spirit, and many travelers take advantage of the opportunity to y through the treetops on a zip line or cave tube on a mysterious winding river.
St. John’s Cathedral, in Belize City, is the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America, built in 1812. Visit the wellpreserved Government House museum, dating back to 1814, or the Belize Zoo, which is home to more than 150 birds, mammals and reptiles. Be sure to check out the National Handicraft Center on North Front Street, where vendors sell wood and slate carvings, black coral jewelry, pottery, paintings and baskets.
Nature lovers also will appreciate the Community Baboon Sanctuary, in an 18-square-mile reserve created to protect 1,500 black howler monkeys, and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, a 160-square-mile tropical forest established to protect endangered jaguars. Belize’s underwater attractions are equally impressive, featuring canyons brimming with marine life, including 70 types of hard coral and more than 400 species of colorful sh.
The Belize countryside abounds with archaeological sites such as Altun Ha and Xunantunich, left over from when the Maya lived there thousands of years ago. Watch archaeologists excavate priceless pottery shards and skeletons, or climb to the top of a centuries-old stone pyramid for a bird’s-eye view of the jungle. Either way, experiencing the Mayan ruins in Belize is a once-ina-lifetime adventure.
Taste of Belize City
For a taste of Belizean culture, try a helping of traditional rice and beans. This national dish is cooked a very specific way, the beans and rice boiled in coconut milk, and is often served with sh stew or mashed plantains.