Belize is a beautiful anomaly in central America. It is the only primarily English-speaking country, it has the lowest population density and it is a leader in protecting sensitive habitat. Yet is it also one of the least visited countries in the region. With highly diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems preserved from human interference, Belize offers a huge number of exciting activities for nature enthusiasts.
- Dive the Belize Barrier Reef
A stunning diversity of colorful underwater life lays just offshore of the small and relaxed island Ambergris Caye. This 298 km long reef offers a myriad of diving and snorkeling opportunities to both beginners and experts alike. Local guides will provide equipment, boat transportation and excellent insider information about deserted coves and rare species. Commonly seen marvels include the majestic manta ray and the spotted eagle ray while exceptionally lucky divers will see a hammerhead shark, a Caribbean reef shark and even a whale shark.
- Spend a Night at the Zoo
Located just outside of Belize City, the country capital and international flight hub, is the Belize Zoo Jungle Lodge and Tropical Education Center. This wildlife centre is both a safe haven for rescued wildlife and an opportunity for visitors to experience Belize’s native species close up. The centre offers overnight accommodation that allows visitors to tour the zoo at night when many tropical, nocturnal animals are at their most lively. Guides explain in detail about the native habitat, the eating habits and the person stories of each animal living at the zoo on the nightly zoo tour. It is a once in a life experience!
- Hike in National Parks
With a network of over ninety five nature reserves and national parks across the country, there is a near unlimited number of outdoor recreation opportunities in Belize. Most parks offer an education center, basic facilities and routes with marked and/or maintained trails. At larger parks, you can hire a guide and equipment to venture on multi-day, backcountry routes. The forests of Belize contain many dangerous creatures and poisonous plants so caution is encouraged when leaving the central areas. Bird watching tours are a common activity due to the diversity of endemic species and are best joined in the early morning.
- Explore a Cave
Hundreds of cave systems wind their way underneath the ground of Belize. Adventurous travellers can join caving expeditions that feature black hole exploring, river rafting and ancient Mayan history sightings. It is important to always be accompanied by a guide when entering an unknown cave as well as wearing appropriate clothing and having a light.
- Float Down a Lazy River
In the heart of the Belize jungle is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. This huge 400 square kilometre preserved area is known for its extensive and unique flora and fauna. It is occasionally called The Jaguar Reserve as it is one the first, and best, jaguar sanctuaries in the world. One of the most entertaining ways of exploring this area and seeing the landscape is by coasting slowly along the South Stann Creek in an inflatable tube. You can rent a tube at the top of the river near the information centre and slowly make your way downstream where local transport is available to bring you back to the center. It is a relaxing and refreshing break from the other more adrenaline-filled pursuits on offer.