WHY IT’S HOT: THE WORLD’S SECONDLARGEST REEF IS BOUNCING BACK.
We say: While little good news surrounds the Great Barrier Reef, it is a different story over in the Caribbean Sea. Here the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, part of the Mesoamerican Reef that runs 1,000km north from the country, has finally been removed from UNESCO’S ‘endangered sites’ list after the government passed laws to prevent oil exploration and protect coastal mangroves.
It’s great news for a country that still flies below most travellers’ radars. Inland lie jungles prowled by jaguars and the chance to canoe ancient Maya caves and explore ’lost cities’ such as the little-seen Caracol – larger than Belize’s modern-day capital.
The coast is the real lure, though. Snorkel or dive among its reef sharks and parrot fish, or explore the white sandbanks of Glover’s Reef by kayak, while few sights match the sapphire iris of the Blue Hole marine cavern. Don’t miss: Around 1,000 manatees live off the Belize coast, with Manatee Lodge (manateelodge.com) running trips to the South Lagoon where many gather.