There are so many incredible things to do on a trip to Belize. So when you visit, you need a bucket list! Famous for it’s top scuba diving sites such as the world-famous Great Blue Hole, tropical jungles (home to jaguars) and the Mayan ruins. Whether you choose to explore Belize City or top up your tan in the Placencia Peninsula, Belize has something for everyone. So here is what we consider to be the top things to do on a trip to Belize, certainly worthy of a place on your Bucket List anyway.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do on a trip to Belize
The Great Blue Hole
One of the most famous diving sites in the world, The Great Blue Hole, located off the coast of Belize, is one of the world’s biggest ocean sinkhole and a true natural wonder. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a world-class destination for recreational scuba divers attracted by the opportunity to dive in crystal-clear waters and see myriad species of marine life including tropical fish and spectacular coral formations.
Towards the west of Belize City lies a cluster of Mayan sites amid rolling hills, serene butterfly gardens and jungles. In the center of the Cayo District, you will find San Ignacio, a small town that offers excellent food and affordable accommodation. Once the heart of the Belizean Maya world, it’s rich with pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Cayo is known especially for the ruins of Xunantunich, with its 39m-high El Castillo pyramid, and Caracol, the country’s largest Mayan ruin.
This beautiful island is about 25 miles long and has an array of outdoor sports to offer including diving and snorkeling. Ambergris Caye welcomes a large number of visitors looking for easy entry into the barrier reed around the island. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is an excellent spot for divers and snorkelers, and many shops related to the activities are found at San Pedro. There are some diving schools and tours too, the prices of which depend on the length and type of the tour.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Towards the southern part of the Ambergris caye lies the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which is Belize’s oldest Reserve. The name means ‘little channel’ which refers to the gap filled with corals in the vast barrier reef. This zone is densely populated with aquatic animals including eels, stingrays, sharks and many other creatures. The reserve is divided into four parts, the mangroves, the seagrass bed, the reef, and the shark ray alley.
This is another lively island located nearly 20 miles to the north of Belize City. This sun-soaked atoll boasts excellent snorkeling and diving spots and a tranquil atmosphere. Although the island is not frequently visited by many tourists, the restaurants, hotels, and shops are always busy with locals. Adventure sports enthusiasts love Caye Caulker for the scuba, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and fishing available here.
This 11 mile strip of land sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the Placencia Lagoon is an easygoing beach town that attracts lots of visitors with it’s beautiful beaches, diving, snorkeling, and saltwater fly fishing. With the look and feel of an island, it’s no surprise that Placencia is often described as the “caye (island) you can drive to.”
Belize Zoo is covers an area of roughly 29 acres and almost resembles a jungle. The zoo is home to nearly 45 species of animals including keel-billed toucans, jaguars and scarlet macaws. Amid the thick canopy of trees, you might get a glimpse of the howler monkeys or tropical parrots, a tapir, harpy eagle or Jabiru Stork. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the big beautiful cats that Belize is famous for.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
This vast reserve was built in the 1980s to protect the endangered species of Belize. Today many species including pumas, ocelots, tapirs, peccaries, otters, armadillos and king vultures inhabit the basin. There are several nature trails that visitors can follow, but be aware that these trails are quite challenging. Visit Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary at the beginning of the rainy season to spot more animals.
The meaning of Lamanai is ‘submerged crocodile’ in Yucatec Mayan, and this Mayan site sprawls across 960 acres of land and is located on the New River Lagoon in Belize’s north. You will come across artifacts depicting images of reptiles including crocodiles crawling on the river bank to laze in the sun. The compound also has three Mayan pyramids, remains of a church and a few temples and plazas dating back to the pre-classic Mayan rule.
Hike Altun Ha
Altun Ha is another well known Mayan Site that is dotted with tombs, temples, and pyramids. This was the trading hub of the Mayan empire during the Classic period. Altun Ha means ‘Rockstone Pond,’ and its main feature is an artificial lagoon. Explore the Temple of the Green Tomb which is the burial ground of the top-most priest-kings. Altun Ha also has a population of deer, foxes and birds and even crocodiles inhabit the pond.
Other cool things to do on a trip to Belize
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There is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Plan ahead so that you can take your time exploring and be prepared to be flexible because sometimes travelers you meet along the way will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and awesome things to do on a trip to Belize.
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