Sitting at the intersection of Latin America and the Caribbean, Belize is a small country with fewer than 400,000 residents. But don’t let the small size of Belize fool you. The country has more ancient Maya sites than anywhere else, hundreds of offshore islands, the second-biggest reef in the world, and plenty of adventures to enjoy.
Although the country can be reached via a short flight from the United States or Canada, Belize feels like a world apart. Pristine, untouched natural areas, animal sanctuaries, and national parks make up more than half the country’s territory, a diverse landscape of mountains, rivers, jungles, beaches, rainforests, and wetlands that are teeming with exotic wildlife like jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, giant iguanas, manatees, whale sharks, and sea turtles.
Once known as British Honduras, Belize gained independence from Britain in 1981. Its long history is reflected in the people who inhabit this beautiful land, including the Creole descendants of African slaves, Mestizos, the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna people, East Indians, Chinese, European Mennonites, and the living descendants of the Maya who built hundreds of spectacular ancient cities across the country.
Some of the top destinations in the country for travelers interested in relaxing on the beach include the Placencia Peninsula (also known as “The Caye You Can Walk To”), Ambergris Caye (featured in the 1986 hit Madonna song “La Isla Bonita”), Caye Caulker, the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, and the spectacular beauty of Glover’s Reef and the outer atolls.
Some of the top activities to enjoy on the reef include scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, stand-up paddling, sea kayaking, windsurfing, and enjoying a barbeque of fresh-caught seafood right on the beach. Of course, some travelers come to simply work on their tan and relax in a hammock strung between two palm trees.
Popular adventure activities include exploring Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, a vast underground site still containing the bones of humans sacrificed by Maya priests, the colossal city of Xunantunich, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal (just across the border in Guatemala), the lush botanical gardens at Caves Branch, cave tubing (floating down underground rivers on an inner tube), diving with whale sharks, and zip lining through the jungle canopy.
Getting to Belize in 2018 is now easier than ever. Major airlines such as Southwest, American, WestJet, Air Canada, COPA Airlines, United, and Delta are now competing for business, offering huge discounts and special deals. And business is expected to grow as Fodor’s recently included Belize as a top 10 destination on its “Go List” for places to visit in 2018.
Caves Branch Lodge is Belize’s premier jungle lodge. Located in the heart of the Belizean jungle near Belmopan, the Jungle Lodge offers travelers a variety of Belize all-inclusive vacations perfect for honeymooners, adventure travelers, and families on vacation. Caves Branch offers travelers five-star accommodations in lovely suites or gorgeously appointed tree houses commanding excellent views of the surrounding countryside.