BELIZE

WHY IT’S HOT: THE WORLD’S SEC­OND­LARGEST REEF IS BOUNC­ING BACK.

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Wonderlust Travel Hot List 2019 -

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.

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