No wonder you’re conflicted! Trying to figure out which places in Belize belong at the top of your must-see list can be frustrating—particularly if you’ve a finite amount of time to get yourself to a representative sampling of attractions, sites and events before the real world and stress intercedes. Relax. Breathe deeply. Consider this blog post your Cliff’s Notes, only there won’t be a quiz on the content down the road. We promise.
If it’s June, it’s Lobsterfest and Belize tourism folks know a thing or two about kick-starting the lobster season in style. Side shows associated with this tribute to the king of crustaceans include a Miss Lobsterfest beauty pageant made up of teens who are not shy about dressing in weird costumes to win the crown. Need a place to stay when you’re not dipping lobster morsels into butter or watching pageant contestants strut their stuff? Make it the Chabil Mar in Placencia. You’ll need the peace and quiet once you’ve had a taste of Lobsterfest!
June is the most popular month for weddings and destination weddings in Belize are trending. Water Foot Caye is an ideal choice for a destination wedding since it’s a private island that offers a mix of intimate surroundings plus snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities when couples require a break from other physical endeavors they pursue. Yok Ha Resort wedding planners are at the top of their game, so if you want all of the fun and none of the work that turns engaged couples into Godzilla brides and grooms, book your wedding here.
Not everybody craves silence and a respite from the world. If this describes you, head for San Ignacio Town, known for both luxe resort rooms at hotels like the Cahal Pech Village Resort and fast access to happening tourist sites like the ATM Cave, Tikal in Guatemala, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya Ruins. This place is a perfect pairing of old and new: Find digs loaded with amenities—air conditioning, on-site eatery, palm thatched cabanas and the best bar around—and digs that fall into the categories of ruins, artifacts and skeletons left behind by Mayan populations.
Amble over to Victoria House for a quaint mix of Colonial Belize’s atmosphere amid the excitement San Pedro’s Ambergris Caye. This island getaway offers the intimacy of an inn plus amenities found at larger resorts; Victoria House is small enough to grant you complete privacy and attention from staff yet near enough to nightlife and restaurants that you won’t have to stray far to get your fill of entertainments. Need a boat to indulge in fishing, snorkeling and other water sports? Staff will also get you a captain who speaks English!
When Belize visitors need a full-service tour operator for excursions, they know that they can rely upon Raggamuffin Tours to get them to and from all Belize hot spots reliably and reasonably. Put your schedule into the hands of Raggamuffin tour operators specializing in sailing and snorkeling adventures. You’ll get the boat. The guide. The expertise. And no day trip is complete without complimentary picnic baskets, but don’t expect to find muffins in there unless you ask for them!
Belize’s Stann Creek District is the acknowledged cultural epicenter of one of the nation’s proudest and most colorful populations: The Garifuna. If you know nothing about this culture, make it a point to travel to Hopkins, a little hamlet that’s a repository of this society’s history, music, art and heritage. No tourist with a desire to learn more about the Garifuna will want to take a pass on classes teaching myriad aspects of the Garifuna lifestyle, including drumming, singing and cooking.
If your destination is South Water Caye, book a room at the Blue Marlin Resort, a tropical haven that’s rarely mentioned in travel magazines, despite being so beautiful. South Water Caye is popular with folks eager to escape crowds: at just 15 acres, it’s a surprisingly interesting corner of Belize where you can check on the progress of the nation’s protected fishing nurseries and see exotic marine animals galore. Perched atop the great Belize barrier reef, this jewel belongs near the top of your must-see list if ecology and solitude are priorities.
Dangriga is the capital of Garifuna society and also the capital of Punta Rock, Belize’s fusion music movement that has been known to light up the night with funky acoustic Garifuna melodies rocked by musicians wielding electric guitars. Not interested in the vibrant music scene? You can still get a good vibe by day if you visit Dangriga’s cultural offerings, like the Gulisi Garifuna Museum, Pen Cayetano Gallery and Drums of my Father Monument.
What comes to mind when you hear the words “melting pot”? Find out for yourself what a true melting pot looks like by visiting Punta Gorda, a community that could show the rest of the world how to coexist in harmony. A population of around 6,000 Garifuna, Maya, East Indian, Creole, Lebanese and Chinese Belizeans have put down roots here in the Toledo District, also a gateway to jungles, rainforests and a cave network said to thrill the most blasé traveler.
Sateneja looks as picturesque as the name suggests. Roughly translated from the Yucatec Mayan dialect as “Water in the rock,” this town is nestled along a tropical bay in northeastern Belize. While Sateneja is a relative newcomer to Belize’s tourist scene, travel writers are beginning to discover places like the lush Shipstern Wildlife Reserve, composed of 31 square miles of tropical forest. Though privately owned, this pristine habitat is open to the public, so make this visit a priority if you are eager to see one of Mother Earth’s masterpieces.