Find paradise at Belize’s top beaches
Belize is unlike many other Caribbean destinations, where it’s easy to isolate the best beaches of a particular island. The mainland coast of Belize is a tangle of mangroves, which is about as far as a person can get from ideal beach conditions. Not to worry, Belize has literally hundreds of cayes (pronounced keys, as in Key West). These offshore cayes, or islands, are where beaches of all sizes can be found, although almost all have to be accessed by boat. While the country has a handful of mainland beaches, these cayes are where beach lovers should be concentrating their search for the ultimate Belizean beach holiday.
The country’s best mainland beaches can be found along the 18-mile Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize. Often referred to as the “caye you can drive to” the eastern Caribbean side of Placencia has a wealth of golden sand beaches, while the western side of the peninsula has a protected lagoon-like bay (there are crocodiles in the bay, so swim at your own risk).The peninsula, which stretches across three villages — Maya Beach, Seine Bight and Placencia Village — is itself only about a mile wide. Along the palm-fringed shoreline are restaurants and resorts, including some high-end properties, such as Chabil Mar Villas and Laru Beya Resort. The water on the eastern side is crystal clear, creating prime conditions for snorkeling. Placencia is also a good jumping-off point to explore the more secluded beaches of the Silk Cayes and Laughing Bird Caye. During May and June, Placencia offers visitors an extra thrill: this is when huge 20-ton whale sharks come to the waters to spawn. Tour operators offer excursions to snorkel among these gentle giants, which are harmless in spite of their name.
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