We always recommend spending some time in a place before you commit to buying property. This gives you an idea of what a country is like, and how you will fare. Try living like a local as much as you can. But it’s still important to get out and see what a country has to offer. Here are 10 things to in Belize.
The Blue Hole is a sinkhole in the coral reef off Belize. Around 40 miles out to sea, it is the largest sea hole in the world. The Blue Hole is one of Belize’s most recognizable landmarks and a big tourist attraction. There are many myths and legends associated with the hole. These range from it being an interdimensional portal, to the home of giant sea monsters big enough to take down boats.
The two ways to visit the Blue Hole are by the air or by sea.
If you choose to go via charter plane or helicopter then it’s expensive. However the view is spectacular and you get the chance to take some incredible photos. It’s also a fairly quick turnaround. If you’re pressed for time, you can visit the Blue Hole in a morning if you go by air.
Going by sea takes a full day but it’s far cheaper. You also have the advantage that you can get out of the boat for a swim or dive at the Blue Hole. To SCUBA there you will need an advance PAD certificate though.
The journey out can be choppy so take a sea sickness tablet beforehand if you suffer.
The Blue Hole is a popular choice for SCUBA diving in Belize. Diving down 124 feet into the depths is a unique experience. You can see Parrotfish and reef sharks near to the surface. The bottom is completely dark and you’ll need a torch to explore.
The Belize Barrier reef is the second largest coral reef in the world. There are thousands of different dive site along the reef. There are efforts being made to conserve the reefs and they are teeming with life. The Caribbean waters are warm and clear as well as the brightly colored fish you can see dolphins and even whale sharks.
The best time to SCUBA in Belize is during the dry season, from December to May. During the rainy season the water can get murky with rain water running into the reefs from the land.
Once you have handed over the money for your fishing license, you will find that Belize is an exceptional place to fish.
Fly fishermen come here for the flats where they can fish for Tarpon, Bonefish and Snook. Belize has a reputation as one of the best places in the world for Tarpon fishing. Tarpon in Belize reach more than 100 lbs.
Belize is also a great place for offshore sport fishing. Sailfish season peaks in April and May and fish weighing 50 lbs are not uncommon. The deep waters are home to monster tuna too. Blackfin, Yellowfin, and even the occasional Bluefin have been caught off Belize.
Visit Maya Temples
Belize was at heart of the Maya empire and has many sites intact today.
Xunantunich is one such site. Close to San Ignacio, this is one of the easiest Maya sites to get to. Admission is less than US$10, which is a bargain. The site has been made tourist friendly, which is not usual in Belize. Some of the Maya temples can be tricky to get around.
Caracol is much more difficult to reach. The journey here can be part of the attraction though as it winds through the jungle. The Caracol temple was re-discovered in 1938 and is the largest Maya temple in Belize. It’s also the largest manmade building in Belize. You can combine a trip to Caracol with a swim in the nearby pools that are filled by a waterfall.
Lamanai is another interesting site to visit. This one is dedicated to crocodiles, with representations of the croc all over the site. The nearby rivers are full of crocodiles, if you take the boat here, you will see plenty of them basking on the banks.
Ambergris Caye is Belize’s most popular tourist and expat destination. The main town of San Pedro is full of bars, restaurants, hotels and cafes. The Caye itself has miles of quiet white-sand beaches and palm trees.
Ambergris Caye is not for everyone, it’s the most expensive part of Belize, and has a more touristy feel than other parts of the country. But if you’re looking for a fun night out it’s the best place in Belize.
It’s also a good place for booking expeditions from. Most of the attractions on this list will meet you at Ambergris Caye.
Cave Of Crystal Maiden
An hour’s drive from San Ignacio is Actun Tinichil Muknal Cave. The ATM cave was a sacred place to the ancient Maya people. It’s here that the priests would make their sacrifices to their Gods. They believed that by performing these sacrifices the Gods would protect them and grant them good harvests. So far at least 14 sacrifice victims have been found, as well as sacrificial altars.
The cave today contains the skeleton of a young woman believed to be about 18 years old. Over the centuries her skeleton has calcified and today it is covered in crystals.
To enter the caves you must come as part of a guided tour. The guides are knowledgeable and will explain the history of the caves and the region. The cave has been largely untouched since it was discovered in 1989 it’s possible that it has hardly changed in centuries.
The best little zoo in the world is actually a rescue center. It was opened in 1983 to give a home to some native animals that had been used in films. They had nowhere to go and could no longer survive in the wild, so the zoo was setup.
Today the zoo takes in injured animals that are in need of protection. Its goal is to educate the local community about the animals that live in the jungle. This is the best place to see elusive animals such as the jaguar and ocelot.
Belize zoo is one of the few places to successfully breed jaguars in captivity. This is helping to repopulate the numbers of an endangered species.
Snorkel With Rays, Manatees, Sharks
Snorkeling in Belize you can be sure of seeing something interesting. The amount of sea creatures that live in the warm Caribbean waters is astounding.
Shark Ray Alley is probably the most famous snorkel spot. As the name suggests, this is the place to see sharks and rays. The shark species include lemon sharks, reef sharks and nurse sharks. The rays are stingrays, manta rays and eagle rays.
The best thing about snorkeling in Belize is that you can see something wherever you go. From turtles to manatees, tropical fish and coral reefs.
Cave Tubing is another way to explore Maya ruins. The best cave to go for this is the Nohoch Che’en Cave, also known as the Jaguar Paw cave. To get here you will need to make your way to Belize City, and a taxi will take you from there.
All equipment is provided, and after a hike through the jungle you arrive at the river. You can float down the river, through the caves, and take in the caves and the Maya artifacts that you can see. Bring old clothes and shoes for this trip through the jungle.
Enjoy The Food
Belize is famous for its lobster, and if you come during the month of June you can take part in Lobsterfest. During these weeks lobster is on the menu absolutely everywhere, served in all kinds of imaginative ways. Seafood is popular in Belize and the ceviche is fresh and perfect with a cold beer.
You can also enjoy traditional food that goes back to the Maya times. Roasted pork cooked on a wood fire and served with tortillas one dish that remains popular today. There are plenty of street food stands serving tasty and affordable dishes.
Rice and beans is the staple food of the country and different to other parts of Central America in that the beans are cooked in coconut milk. They make up the national dish which is called 1, 2, 3. This is rice and beans, a stewed meat, and potato salad.