Belize

Belize Travel Guide

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.

Set on a tranquil plot dotted with teak trees, the steepled 1826 church is the oldest in Central America, and the only Anglican building outside of England where kings have been crowned (four Mosquito Coast regents).

Run by a nonprofit group promoting contemporary Central American and Caribbean artists, this shop features an impressive range of work, from quirky wire-and-masking-tape sculptures to large-format fine-art photographs.