Explore the Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef stretches along most of the coast of Belize, making it the longest Barrier Reef in the Western or Northern hemispheres. See it close up by snorkeling or diving. The reef is the sea's rain forest. More than 300 species of fish, 65 kinds of coral, plus sea turtles, manatees, and other sea life call Belize's reef home. Much of the reef is still in good condition, though it is threatened by climate change and development, and in 2009 it was put on UNESCO's watch list.
Lobsterfests, celebrating the all-too-delicious Caribbean spiny lobster and generally scheduled soon after the annual opening of lobster season June 15, are held in several areas including Caye Caulker, San Pedro, and Placencia. There are other fests, too: Cacao Fest, highlighting local chocolate, is held in Punta Gorda annually in May, and the Cashew Festival is observed in Crooked Tree Village, also usually in May.
Ride the Hummingbird
Belize's most scenic roadway begins at Belmopan with rolling hills, then cuts through the lush green Maya Mountains before gradually dipping to sea level as it approaches Dangriga (technically, the last few miles are the Stann Creek District Highway, but most people consider it all the Hummingbird.) The highway is paved and in good condition. You can drive it or go by bus.
Experience Belize the Way It Used to Be
Visitors flock to popular destinations like San Pedro, Placencia, Cayo, and there are good reasons to spend time in those areas. But if you want to experience Belize the way it used to be, head to the edges—south to Toledo or north to Sarteneja. You'll find few tourists and a lot of beautiful scenery, friendly folks, and inexpensive lodging.
Put Your Money in ATM
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) is more than a caving experience. It's a visit to the Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. You'll see ancient Mayan artifacts and human skeletons. While not cheap (a guided, full-day tour starts at BZ$160 per person) and requiring a little hiking and swimming, the ATM trip is one-of-a-kind. Many visitors consider it the highlight of their entire Central American experience. Due to the risk of damage to the cave and to the priceless Mayan artifacts there, we're not sure how much longer the Belize government is going to permit access to ATM. Go, while you have the chance. You won't regret it.
Stay in the Jungle
While many visitors come to Belize for the diving, snorkeling, and other adventures on the Caribbean Sea, the Belize experience is only half-complete without a stay in a jungle lodge. Just to hear the jungle at night—the rumble and roar of howler monkeys and the songs of tree frogs—is unforgettable. Jungle lodges come in all price ranges and in several parts of the country, including Cayo, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, and Toledo districts.
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