Why you should go south when visiting Belize
The Many Charms of Southern Belize
Almost all international visitors to the country arrive in Belize City with plans to head to some of the crowded attractions in the north like Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker or sites out west in Cayo District. However, the southern part of Belize offers savvy travelers a chance to get off the beaten path to explore some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches, nature reserves and top attractions of the south.
Attractions in Southern Belize
There truly is a never-ending source of amazing things to do and see in southern Belize:
Parks and Nature Preserves
There are seven parks in southern Belize and world-renowned sites like the Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve offer visitors a chance to see waterfalls, hike through pristine rainforests, and marvel at exotic wildlife like howler monkeys, giant iguanas, jaguars, toucans, and parrots.
Ancient Maya Ruins
Belize was the epicenter of the ancient Maya Empire, and today visitors can explore famous sites like Nim Li Punit and Lubantuum in southern Belize.
This unique culture is an amalgam of African and native Caribbean influences, still preserving much of their heritage like drumming, boat building, and craftsmanship in villages like Hopkins and towns like Dangriga.
The season for harvesting these tasty crustaceans is strictly regulated in Belize but visiting places like Placencia for their annual lobster festivals should definitely be on every traveler’s agenda.
The largest fish in the ocean, whale sharks can weigh up to 20 tons and measure up to 40 feet long. These gentle giants visit the waters off of Gladden Spit from March to June every year, a unique opportunity for divers to interact with these playful creatures of the deep.
Often called “sea cows”, these peaceful animals are a true delight to see and swim with in sanctuaries like Gales Point or the Placencia Lagoon.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
At places like Ranguana, Glovers Atoll, and South Water Caye, snorkelers and scuba divers can see a rainbow of underwater marine flora and fauna. Glovers Atoll was rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the Top 10 dive spites in the world. A UN World Heritage Site, the atoll offers wall diving from 40-60 feet and a chance to see wrasse, turtles, and rays wending their way through the coral structures.
Where to Stay in Southern Belize
Whether you prefer a gorgeous beachfront resort or the unique experience of staying near a coastal village, there are plenty of options for lodging in southern Belize.
Hopkins Bay Resort
Situated near the iconic Garifuna village of Hopkins, the three well-appointed beach houses of the Hopkins Bay Resort are a great place to relax in luxury or partake in adventures like kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and scuba diving.
Belize Ocean Club Resort
Located on Maya Beach, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Placencia Peninsula, the Belize Ocean Club Resort features luxurious suites, a swim-up bar, and two restaurants just minutes away from Placencia Village, the gateway to the Belize Barrier Reef.