Adventurous Outdoor Getaway to Belize
Belize is not your typical Caribbean destination. Between the incredibly diverse ecosystem of its barrier reef, the endless opportunities for scuba diving expeditions and the impressive Mayan ruins, this under-the-radar country is a dream destination for adventure seekers.
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Where to stay in Belize
Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
Within the Sibun Nature Reserve, this secluded hideaway sets the scene for rest, relaxation and knockout jungle views.
Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club
Sun-kissed enclave on 60 mangrove-filled acres, with a prized private beach club a boat ride away.
Caribbean Beach Cabanas
Placencia’s only adults-only resort, with colorful boho-luxe decor and a beachfront restaurant.
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Things to do in Belize
Diving and snorkeling are by far the most popular activities in Belize (thanks to its barrier reef, which is the second largest coral reef system in the world). The marine biodiversity is truly spectacular: expect to see sharks, turtles, stingrays and even manatees if you’re extra lucky. Because the reef is so vital to the country’s tourism and fishing industries, the Belizean government has taken several measures to protect this natural treasure, including banning offshore oil drilling within one kilometer of the reef.
Experienced divers will enjoy a trip to the Great Blue Hole, a location where you can dive much deeper than in the reef.
Back on firm ground, go explore some of the country's Mayan ruins. While these archeological sites can be found all over Central and South America, the ruins in Belize stand out by their variety and the sheer number of them. A top favorite is Lamanai. To visit it, you’ll travel by water taxi through the tropical rainforest before arriving at the site, where you’ll admire pyramids with intricate carvings and wander down the trails with a guide.
Near the Guatemalan border, the city of San Ignacio is a great base for a variety of adventures, from ziplining to kayaking to hiking.
Exploring the country’s many caves is also a must-experience. The most famous one is Actun Tunichil Muknal, also known as ATM. Going through the maze in the water is a lot of fun, but it offers a lesson in history too as you’ll discover artifacts from Mayan times, such as ceramics and skeletons.
For even more diving trips and stunning beaches, consider hopping around some of Belize’s dreamiest islands, such as San Pedro, Silk Cayes or Caye Caulker.
Last but not least, animal lovers will enjoy a trip to the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center. More than a zoo, it’s a sanctuary for injured and rescued animals which can’t be released back into the wild for their safety. Here you’ll spot species you might not otherwise see in the wild, such as jaguars and toucans.
Places to eat & drink in Belize
Note: All of these places are vegan-and-vegetarian-friendly.
Iguana Juan’s Restaurant & Bar: Located in San Pedro, this restaurant offers a good variety of burritos, traditional Belizean food (which centers around rice and beans), as well as juices, smoothies and sweet treats. The staff is super friendly and the prices are reasonable.
Juice Dive: You’ll find this casual spot inside Parham Plaza Hotel. It’s perfect to grab breakfast or lunch on the go as it offers a range of smoothies, wraps and sandwiches.
El Fogón Restaurant: A more formal sit-down restaurant serving a mix of Belizean and western dishes.
Elvi’s Kitchen: This locals’ favorite has been around for 40 years and is always packed. A must-try!
Wild Mangos: Come here for a romantic night on the beach and stay for the amazing food.
Hidden Treasure Restaurant & Lounge: A wonderful fine dining experience awaits in a refined yet casual atmosphere. Everything is great from the service to the food to the ambiance.
Need to Know
Belize is a developing country, with somewhat limited infrastructure. If you’re renting a car, make sure to fill the tank whenever you can, as gas stations can sometimes be hard to find.
In general, prices for food (among other things) are on the higher side of what you’ll find in other parts of Central America.
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, as English is the official language of the country, which makes it easier to communicate with the locals.
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