Belize Jungles vs Belize Beaches: Which Is Best For You?
Belize may not be the biggest country in Central America, but it’s home to an incredibly dense ecosystem that always seems to be hiding more natural delights just beneath the surface. You could spend a lifetime exploring Belize, but most visitors don’t have that much time. As a result, visitors often find themselves choosing between the two most prominent and stunning habitats within Belize — the jungle or the beach. Each have their own advantages, but it’s well worth it to pick out what suits the needs of your vacation.
Belize’s Beaches: Miles of Paradise, Each One Distinct
Fishing and tourism are two of the biggest industries in Belize, so following the coastline often means following the path of civilization. Some of the most interesting settlements hug the Belizean coast. Hopkins Village offers a unique look into the lives of the indigenous Garifuna people, while the Placencia peninsula distinguishes the Southern tip of the country by offering miles of land where the beach is never more than a half mile away.
Renting a car and cruising down the beaches of Belize’s east coast are an effective way to check out the country, but that means missing out on some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Roughly 200 islands on the Caribbean Sea belong to Belize, and at least 20 of those are occupied. You’ll find islands where practically every inch of sand is dominated by opulent resorts, abandoned islands that offer a sense of solace for chartered tourists, and everything else in between. Many visitors come to Belize just to stay at the popular beaches on Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker.
And if you do decide that the beach is the route for you, getting around doesn’t need to be a hassle. Most visitors will arrive in Belize City, and this city offers regular ferry rides from the city itself to the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Once on the islands, you can generally get around via golf cart or bike and never even have to worry about coordinating a rental car or more complicated forms of getting around.
Belize’s Jungles: A Wild Frontier for the Most Adventurous Travelers
The promise of Belize’s interior might not have the immediate appeal of endless and sandy white beaches, but there’s a whole lot to do within the tropical rainforest that constitutes much of the country’s mainland. Zip-lining and horseback riding are some of the more popular ways to explore Belize’s jungle, but more meditative travelers will love the opportunity to catch sight of Belize’s rich bird population. Over 500 species of birds can be discovered in the country, and some of the most interesting can be found in the jungles of the mainland and the surrounding islands.
The coolest parts of the jungle to explore may be the parts where the natural world brushes up against dead civilization. Belize was once an important part of the extensive Maya Empire, but many of their old settlements are surprisingly intact even as the jungle has swallowed them. Former cities like Caracol and Altun Ha are a reminder of the technical engineering possessed by older civilizations, while sites like ATM Cave — once a site used for human sacrifice — are more sobering reminders of how societies have changed. In either case, these networks of jungle caves offer an exceptional way to stay cool and go tubing.
But just because you choose to venture out into the jungle doesn’t mean that you have to do without modern amenities. Despite the fact that these adventures take you out into largely wild territory, it’s never hard to find a lodge that can offer you Wi-Fi and all of the other modern expectations you’d expect to find back at home.
May We Suggest Both?
The great thing about Belize is that neither jungle or beach is ever too far away. Access from the islands to the mainland rarely requires that much time, and there are plenty of resorts throughout the country that offer both jungle and beach excursions. In other words, you don’t just have to choose one or the other — and you even have the flexibility to plan both jungle and beach trips without having to be meticulous with your vacation planning.
And the best part is that you can often save money by going on joint excursions that offer the opportunity to explore both the jungle and the beach. Combo packages are cheap and thorough, and they’re a popular choice for both honeymooners and wedding parties. And thanks to the ecologically-conscious attitudes of Belize, you can continue to explore both without worrying about it slipping between your fingers. Over half of the country is jungle or rainforest, and the government owns three-quarters of that land for the sake of preservation.