Belize

Belize Travel Guide

Activities in Belize tend to focus around the country's natural wonders. Divers, snorkelers, and canoeists in particular are drawn to the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the world's second largest barrier reef. Along the southern coast of Belize is Glover's Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's widely regarded as the most fascinating place in the world to scuba dive.
There are also plenty of things to do in Belize that don't require getting wet. The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Centre is spread over 29 acres of tropical savannah; there, you'll be able to marvel at more than 125 animals, all native to Belize, including rescued animals, as well as animals born at the Zoo.
Travel to Belize's countryside to see what remains of the Mayan civilization. At the lost city of Lamanai, formerly a large Mayan city with three temples, there's an onsite that explains the 3,000 years of history on display - see if you can find some copper relics while you're navigating the grounds. After you've explored the pre-classic Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial buildings, take a dip in one of the several refreshing swimming holes. All of that history works up a sweat!

Reggae music blares from the speakers outside this tiny store; inside there's an assortment of Caribbean-music CDs. Look for Belize-based label Stonetree
Records, which specializes in homegrown genres such as accordion-centric brukdown
and infectious punta rock.

Wander the streets of Fort George, a residential neighborhood of clapboard houses on stilts and yards lush with banana trees and bougainvillea. Look for the giant wooden barrels behind the buildings, relics of a time when rainwater was fastidiously collected for household use.

The 120-year-old dry-goods store is still the go-to emporium downtown. Its atmospheric interior has cast-iron Doric columns, and aisles are stocked with skillets, bath towels, and more than a dozen kinds of rum.

The stately oceanside mansion was the British governor's residence from 1812 to 1961; it now offers a look at an elegant, bygone era. Cases filled with royal-monogrammed china and silver platters sit next to 19th-century mahogany sideboards and handcaned chairs.

The three-square-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve was created in 1987 to protect marine habitats in Belize’s coral reef, seagrass beds, Mangrove beds, and Shark Ray Alley. The reserve can be reached by a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro.

Years as agent: 10. Specialties: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize. Consultation fee: Varies.

Skip the predictable coconut-shell earrings and head straight for this souvenir store's real draw: locally made condiments and spirits. Pick up jugs of sorrel wine, jars of mango jam or habanero jelly, and bottles of Belizean entrepreneur Marie Sharp's renowned hot sauces.

Belize City has no naturally sandy stretches, but the man-made Cucumber Beach, five miles outside of town, is a sugary expanse that's worth a visit. In the lagoon-like saltwater pool, kids bounce on a floating trampoline and jump from rope swings as lifeguards supervise the goings-on.

This open-air, beachside restaurant at the exclusive, dual-villa Azul Resort sources locally-grown, seasonal ingredients.

Founded in 1983 by an American biologist who had 17 semi-tame animals on her hands after filming a documentary about rain forests, the Belize Zoo is a highly respected institution.