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Discover Magical Belize

Belize has a diverse society, with many cultures and languages. Originally part of the British Empire, it shares a common colonial history with other Caribbean countries. From 1862 to 1973, its name was British Honduras. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1981.

Magical Journeys to Belize

Popular Destinations: Belize CityThe CayesSan Ignacio… and more

• Belize City

Destination Guide Belize City, Belize

Often the first stop for visitors to beautiful Belize, Belize City is buzzing, and acts as the central hub for business and travel around the country. But before taking off to explore, take time to appreciate all that Belize City has to offer. Explore the natural beauty of Belize by heading to the caves in the Belize rainforest …

• The Cayes

Destination Guide The Cayes, Belize

Just 35 miles northeast of Belize City, Ambergris Caye is Belize's largest and most populated offshore island. It's also the primary tourism destination, receiving over 50 percent of annual visitors. It's no surprise--'la isla bonita' has much to offer …

• San Ignacio

Destination Guide San Ignacio, Belize

San Ignacio is a charming town located in the heart of Belize's often visited green and hilly, western Cayo District--home of Mayan sites and caves amid a lush interior of mountains, rivers, pine forests, waterfalls and citrus plants. One of Belize's crown jewels of tourism …

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» Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal, San Ignacio, Belize

The Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre) is the most well known cave in Cayo and the most popular tour just outside of San Ignacio: the entire experience is an Indiana Jones type of adventure, where you'll wonder if you will make it in and back out. Reaching the best parts of the once sacrificial cave requires hiking through a rainforest for an hour and a half, crossing three rivers on foot, swimming through parts of the cave and even going up a narrow ladder to reach the deeper, darker chambers …

» Altun Ha

Altun Ha, San Ignacio, Belize

Altun Ha is the site of the ruins of an ancient Mayan city, and covers about 5mi (8km) squared. The central area of the site has over 500 historic structures to visit, mostly built during Maya Classic era (200-900 AD). Take a step into history at this extraordinary site, and examine the way the 10,000 inhabitants lived in the area. The site is divided into two main clusters, Plaza A and Plaza B, each with its own special attractions. Plaza A features the mysterious Temple of the Green Tomb …

» Barton Creek Cave

Barton Creek Cave, San Ignacio, Belize

A unique site among all the Mayan caves in Belize is Barton Creek, a tall river cave that was once used for sacrificial purposes and can be explored only by canoe. The striking features of this site and the adrenaline of touring it are the low stalactite, so low you will have to occasionally bend back into the canoe to avoid getting struck. Over seven miles long, the ride to the very end is well worth it, if seldom done by tour guides, with sightings early on of Mayan ceramics high up on ledges, including human bones and a child's skull …

» Big Rock Falls (Rio on Pools)

Big Rock Falls (Rio on Pools), San Ignacio, Belize

Big Rock Falls is a large waterfall located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve that attracts a number of visitors who enjoy swimming and cliff jumping. Part of the Vaca Plateau, the falls can be reached via a short, but somewhat difficult, 15-minute hike. The trek is pretty much straight down and includes a fairly steep section with a not so sturdy railing and a rope to hold on to and aid in the climb down. Once at the water level, you must walk over slippery, uneven slabs of granite rock. The deep emerald pools are perfect for swimming or cliff jumping …

» Blue Hole National Park

Blue Hole National Park, San Ignacio, Belize

Belize's Blue Hole National Park (officially St Herman's Blue Hole National Park) sits near the capital city of Belmopan and is home to two cave systems (Crystal and St. Herman's), along with nature trails and the jungle pool that gives rise to the park's official name. The caves are the main attractions in the park, with the cave and hole connected by an underground stream. The Blue Hole pool was formed by an underground limestone cave that collapsed, creating the sapphire blue pool at the bottom of the cenote. Visitors also typically visit Crystal Cave …

» Caracol

Caracol, Belize

Caracol is the single largest archeological site in Belize, and one of the biggest Mayan structures in the world. Discovered in 1938 by loggers, the Classic Period complex covers over 30mi (48km) squared of land, including over 35,000 structures, five plazas, and some of the most beautiful jungle in Central America. Occupied as early as 1200 BC, dozens of hieroglyphic texts have been discovered in the ancient city, carved into altars, walls, facades, capstones, and ball-court-markers …

» Caves Branch Outpost

Caves Branch Outpost, Belize

About an hour outside of Belize City, Caves Branch Outpost has become the adventure capital of Belize. Perched on the Caves Branch River, the outpost offers a range of outdoor adventure activities, including cave tubing, kayaking, horseback riding, zip lining, rock climbing and rappelling. One of the most popular and unique activities, cave tubing, sends visitors floating on inner tubes through ancient caves filled with stalagmites, stalagtites and other crystalline cave formations. This subterranean exploration is best combined with a bird's-eye view …

» Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker, The Cayes, Belize

Home of the motto "Go slow," Caye Caulker is a prime Caribbean island with a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful ocean and excellent oceanfront restaurants and bars that make it one of the best places to visit in Belize. In addition to lounging on the docks, the most popular Caye Caulker activities are snorkeling and diving. Explore the beautiful reefs either independently or with one of the many excellent tour groups. Most tour companies offer both half-day and full-day snorkeling tours, highlighting the Coral Garden, Shark and Ray Alley and the local reef …

» Crystal Cave (Mountain Cow Cave)

Crystal Cave (Mountain Cow Cave), San Ignacio, Belize

Crystal Cave, also known as Mountain Cow Cave, is located within the Blue Hole National Park near Belmopan, Belize's capital city. To get to Crystal Cave, you may have to start with a moderately challenging, 50-minute hike through lush rain forest and steep terrain. Depending on your entrance point, you then descend by rope for 15 feet to drop into the mouth of the cave. Ancient Mayans believed this to be the domain of their gods, earning it the name of Xibalba. Mayans said this is the portal between the tangible human world and the invisible world of the gods …

» Great Blue Hole

Great Blue Hole, The Cayes, Belize

Belize's most popular emblem is the holy grail of diving. Recognized as one of the world's top dive sites and a World Heritage Site along with the Belize Barrier Reef, the stunning, deep blue circular sinkhole is located on Lighthouse Reef atoll, one of three atolls in the Caribbean, all of which are in Belize. About 1,000 feet in diameter and with a depth of over 400 feet, the Blue Hole is a geographic phenomenon unlike any other. The once-dry and above sea-level cave collapsed centuries ago …

» Green Hills Butterfly Ranch

Green Hills Butterfly Ranch, Belize

It's hard to imagine biodiversity that's greater than Green Hills Butterfly Ranch. Though the focus here are the 30 species of butterflies that are researched and reared in the flight area, the ranch also featured over 120 plants species and hundreds of species of birds. Over 230 different bird species have been spotted here on the 100+ acres, and species of spider that was new to science was discovered right here on site. The wealth of biodiversity aside, it's still the thousands of colorful butterflies that command most visitor's attention …

» Green Iguana Conservation Project

Green Iguana Conservation Project, San Ignacio, Belize

There are few animals more iconic to the Caribbean than the lazy green iguana. Equal parts fearsome, fascinating, and cute, the iguana is a camouflaged symbol for wilderness, wildlife, and beauty. Unfortunately, development, hunting, and loss of habitat have caused the number of green iguanas to slowly and steadily decline. In an effort to raise the public's awareness about the reptile's importance, the Green Iguana Conservation Project was started at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel back in 1996 …

» Half Moon Caye Natural Monument

Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, The Cayes, Belize

Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is located off the coast of Belize in the southeastern part of Lighthouse Reef Atoll and belongs to the Belize Barrier Reef. With the introduction of the National Parks System, the tiny island was classified as a natural monument and has since served as a bird sanctuary. The western part of the crescent shaped island is covered by dense coastal forest mainly made up of the orange-flowered Ziricote trees, which are the preferred nesting ground for many migratory birds, such as the red-footed boobies and magnificent frigate bird …

» Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve, The Cayes, Belize

Located four miles south from the shores of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the most visited snorkeling and diving area in Belize. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef, the reserve covers approximately three square miles and is divided into various zones according to marine habitat. The most popular zone is called Hol Chan or 'small channel' in Maya -- a 30-foot deep 'cut' in the reef where all sorts of marine life have now gathered in one area, making it one giant aquarium …

» Lamanai

Lamanai, Belize City, Belize

Meaning "submerged crocodile" in Yucatan Mayan, Lamanai is perhaps the most fascinating of all of Mayan sites in Belize if only because it is not yet completely uncovered. See history in the making as you visiting the excavation site, and prepare yourself for amazement when you realize that the hill you're looking at is actually a temple, still buried underground. The temples you do get see, however, are equally incredible. Rising all the way from the jungle floor to above the canopy, …

» Lighthouse Reef

Lighthouse Reef, Belize City, Belize

Lighthouse Reef is an incredible atoll, a coral island encircling a lagoon, in the Caribbean Sea, and was made famous by legendary sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, who rightfully declared it one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Follow in Cousteau's footsteps by diving in the Great Blue Hole, the underwater sinkhole in the center of the lagoon. Interact with the fauna of the coral reef, including amazing Caribbean reef sharks, Blacktip sharks, barracudas, stingrays, turtles …

» Macal River

Macal River, San Ignacio, Belize

Running through the beautiful Chiquibul Rainforest, the Macal River is one of the most diverse ecological areas in Belize. Being home to more than a dozen endangered species included the jaguar, the tapir, the scarlet macaw, and the black howler monkey, the Macal River Valley is heaven to any nature lover. Some sites along the river worth visiting include Cahal Pech, an ancient Mayan city, the Belize Botanic Gardens, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, and the city of San Ignacio …

» Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Mayflower Bocawina National Park, San Ignacio, Belize

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the natural landscapes, stunning waterfalls, indigenous wildlife and numerous bird species that make Belize's Mayflower Bocawina National Park a Central American destination. Visitors to this tropical gem can navigate well-marked trails through dense forests in search of rare and colorful birds or take a dip in one of the swimming holes filled with clear blue waters from rushing falls. Mayflower Bocawina is also home to a handful of ancient Mayan ruins, including Mayflower Plaza and the Maintzunun temple mound, making it a perfect stop for history lovers …

» Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, San Ignacio, Belize

Established as a reserve in 1944, the over 100,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge is easily the most breathtaking scenery in all of the Cayo District, if not Belize. The Chiquibul Road will lead you through pine forests, waterfalls, cascading water pools over granite boulders and the Maya Mountains in the distance - it's a sight to be seen. Touring the area can be done from San Ignacio by car, as there is no public transportation out this way …

» Rio Frio Cave

Rio Frio Cave, Belize

There's something ominous and strangely scintillating about approaching the mouth of a cave, where you don't know exactly what lies within - but for some reason are tempted to explore. At the Rio Frio cave in Belize, the massive, 65 ft. entranceway is as alluring and enticing a cave entrance you'll find in any jungle. Though the cave is only half a mile long and light filters in from both ends, the mouth of the cave is the largest in Belize and makes for a grandiose entrance …

» Turneffe Atoll

Turneffe Atoll, Belize

The largest of three atolls in Belize and the Caribbean as a whole, Turneffe is known for offering some of the best diving in the country, thanks to deep walls filled with marine life. The most famous dive site is The Elbow, a steep drop off inhabited by beautiful eagle rays, snappers and other creatures. The atoll is also a top Caribbean fly-fishing destination, where anglers try to achieve the 'Grand Slam'--catching bonefish, tarpon and permit in one day. While most visitors day-trip to Turneffe, there are options to stay overnight …

» Xunantunich

Xunantunich, Belize City, Belize

Overlooking the beautiful Mopan River from a stunning hilltop, the ruins at Xunantunich are some of the most visited Mayan sites in the world. Located in the Cayo region, Xunantunich, which means "stone woman" in Mayan, dates back to the Classic Era, about 200-900 AD. The complex is made up of 6 groups and about 25 different temples and palaces, and is dominated by the astonishing El Castillo, which stands 40m (130ft) tall …

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« BELIZE • Discover Belize

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Dabbling its toes in the Caribbean Sea, Belize has more in common with its island neighbours than with the fiery volatility of Central America. Its history is thoroughly coup-free. Spanish and British influences remain: the population are English-speaking. Creole and Mestizos ethnic groups dominate, and this tiny country has an atmosphere so very laid-back it's almost comatose …

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Belize is the only country in Central America that has English as its official language; Belizean Creole and Spanish are also commonly spoken. Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. …

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