Belize is a beautiful Caribbean getaway where tourists can laze away on white sandy beaches, dive in the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, hike through lush jungle, and explore ancient Mayan ruins all in one vacation. It is ideal to explore Belize. Here are the best places to visit in Belize you should know.
Best places to visit in Belize
1. Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometer (190 miles) long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
It is Belize’s top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling, and attracting almost half of all its tourists. A large portion of the reef is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which includes 7 marine reserves, 450 cays, and 3 atolls. The reef also includes the Great Blue Hole, the most famous dive destination in Belize.
2. Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker may not offer the beautiful beaches of Ambergris Caye, but it’s a casual atmosphere, cheap prices and abundance of bars and restaurants draw numbers of backpackers and tourists who are looking for a break from traveling around Central America. A small island accessed by a small plane or water taxi from Belize City, Caye Caulker is not a place for sightseeing, but rather, a place to simply hang out and relax.
The most popular activities on Caye Caulker are diving and snorkeling. The island’s closeness to Belize Barrier Reef offers some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.
3. Placencia Peninsula
Snuggled on the end of a 26-kilometer sandy peninsula, Placencia is a popular fishing village and beach resort. Travelers come here to bask on some of the best beaches in Belize, eat fresh seafood at the excellent restaurants, fish, kayak the lagoon, and dive and snorkel in the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve.
In the village, brightly colored clapboard houses raised on stilts line the narrow concrete path where fishermen used to transport fish in wheelbarrows.
Near Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with hiking trails and coral reefs. Swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and diving are popular things to do here.
The traditional Garifuna village of Seine Bight is also located on the Placencia Peninsula and offers a glimpse into the unique culture of these fascinating people of Amerindian and African heritage.
4. Turneffe Islands Atoll
A paradise for divers and anglers, Turneffe Islands Atoll encompasses more than 200 coral islands surrounding a lagoon. It is one of three atoll reefs in Belize’s waters.
Seascapes here range from crystalline flats to creeks and lagoons. Corals shimmer in the clear waters, and the atoll is a nursery for many different marine species, including grouper, snapper, and trunkfish. The atoll is also home to the famed bonefish, which lures saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts from around the world. In particular, the vast flats on the eastern side of the atoll are ideal for casting a fly line or snorkeling in the shallows.
Divers will find some excellent wall and current dives around the atoll and the varied marine life include eagle rays, nurse sharks, dolphins, conch, and turtles.
One of the best places to visit in Belize is Caracol. Situated high on the Vaca Plateau, 500 meters (1650 feet) above sea level, Caracol is the largest Maya site in Belize. It was once one of the largest ancient Maya cities, with an estimated population of about 150,000, more than twice as many people as Belize City has today. Its greatest period of construction occurred between 484 AD and 889 AD when over 40 monuments were built.
The largest pyramid in Caracol is Canaa (Sky Place), at 43 meters (143 feet) it is still the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.
6. Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Facing the southern edge of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the oldest reserve in Belize. Its name translates to “Little Channel,” in reference to a coral-filled gap in Belize’s immense barrier reef. Encompassing 3 square miles, this densely populated aquatic zone is a sanctuary for stingrays, eels, and sharks, among other creatures.
The reserve is separated into four parts: the mangroves, the reef, the sea-grass beds, and the most recently added Shark Ray Alley. Because of its diversity, the reserve has flourished as a hot spot for scuba divers and snorkelers. Recent travelers said Hol Chan Marine’s crystal clear waters and abundant sea life make it a prime spot for snorkeling and diving.