It’s 40 years since Belize was granted independence from Britain, which seems as good an excuse as any to plan an activity filled trip to this far-flung natural paradise.
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize lies on the eastern coast of Central America. The topography is varied, with the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea to the east, dense and enclosed rainforests to the west and, just offshore, the Belize Barrier Reef which teems with rich marine life.
With something to keep everybody entertained, here are five things we think should be included in any Belize-based itinerary…
Located just 18 minutes from the village of Placencia, Bird Island’s beautiful, protected waters and total privacy make it a spectacularly secluded spot. With no neighbours or staff, the island hosts up to six guests at a time and guests can snorkel and kayak over the multi-coloured coral or take out a fishing boat and attempt to catch their next meal.
Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world, is a haven for marine life. From schools of fish to turtles and even the occasional nurse shark, there’s so much to explore among the reefs and atolls. Guests can scuba dive or snorkel the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is within a 15-minute boat ride from Ambergris Caye.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves
For adventure-seeking visitors, a day out in the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave system, comprising various rivers, sinkholes, and tunnel ways is a must. An active guided tour will show you the artefacts, skeletons and the caves historically used by the Maya for sacrificial ceremonies. A moderate level of fitness is required and the tour involves some swimming.
Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
Nestled in the foothills of the mountains alongside the Sibun River, the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge offers 31 suites and rooms in their 10,000-acre reserve. The surrounding green tropical foliage provides a sanctuary for many native birds and wildlife and an exciting retreat for those wishing to truly head off-the-beaten-track. With Belize activity choices including caving, tubing, hiking and horseback riding on offer, guests can enjoy small group or even private tours with expert guides.
Bocawina Forest Zip Line
Belize is home to Central America’s longest zip-lining course located in the Mayflower Bocawina National Forest. With the course covering 2.5 miles, visitors can experience the excitement of zip-lining both by day and by night. At night, visitors can experience the forest come to life with the sounds of the native nocturnal wildlife.