Off the Beaten Track in Belize
Belize may be smaller than its neighbours but, for a small country, it certainly packs a punch when it comes to excitement and adventure! From its lush, dense jungles and cool Caribbean coastline to its rich culture and ancient ruins, it is no wonder that Belize is high on many people’s bucket lists. If you’re planning on visiting this special country, read on to find out some of the unique things you can do while you’re there.
Visit the animal shelter
Belize is home to a number of animal sanctuaries and zoos which are all worth a visit, but the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter is an absolute must for any animal lover. Run entirely through donations, this shelter provides a safe and loving space for cats and dogs before they are rehomed. An afternoon spent here playing with the dogs and helping to feed the animals is an afternoon well spent.
Seek out food stalls
One of the best things about travelling abroad is getting to experience tastes and flavours unique to the country. Almost every country in the world has a national dish, cherished by those who cook and eat it. The nearby Bahamas have their beloved conch, the Cayman Islands have turtle stew and Belize has rice and beans. This dish is made using coconut milk and is served with potato salad and ripe fried plantain when in season. There are many food stalls along the roadsides and in the towns that serve rice and beans along with plenty of other mouth-watering dishes.
Wander the Botanic Gardens
Belize is home to a stunning array of native plants and trees. The Belize Botanic Gardens originally began as a 45-acre cattle pasture which was landscaped and developed in 1993. Visitors can meander through the gardens on a self-guided tour, spotting the 2,000 species of plants that live here. From the Native Orchid House filled with stunning orchids to the Mayan House which contains traditional medicinal plants, the gardens are ideal for anyone with a keen interest in botany and wildlife.
Caption: Food stalls harbour some of the best food in Belize
Take in the Caracol Mayan Ruins
Belize has plenty of Mayan ruins worth exploring, but if you’re looking for something a little less crowded then head to Caracol. The largest Mayan ruin site in Belize, it once held a population of more than 100,000 people. The site is a part of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, a park that covers more than 30 square miles. The park is filled with tropical rainforest and over 35,000 buildings built by the Mayans. The largest is the Caana, which means “sky palace”, an enormous pyramid which also happens to be the tallest building in Belize.
Spot a jaguar
If big cats are your thing, then head to Cockscomb Basin to take a tour around the world’s only jaguar preserve. Jaguars are an endangered species, so this wildlife preserve has been set up to provide a safe space for them to roam and thrive. However, the entire preserve covers an area of around 150 square miles and there are only 200 cats, so your chances of spotting a jaguar are on the slim side. The good news is that the preserve is also home to plenty of other wild cats and wildlife that will make the trip worthwhile.
Take a boat to Caye Ambergris
The wonderful thing about being on the Caribbean coastline is that it’s possible to visit some of the nearby islands by simply hopping onto a boat. Caye Ambergris is the largest island off the Belize coast and is home to stunning white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, ideal for all types of water sports. The Maya Mountains and Pine Ridge are also perfect for anyone looking to explore and go on adventures. But the most alluring part of this island has to be the amazing coral reef system, which is the second-largest in the world and is perfect for snorkelling or deep-sea diving.
Whether you’re looking for action and adventure or rest and relaxation, Belize has everything you could need and more from a holiday in the sun. Your only problem will be working out what you want to do first!