Anyone who has visited this small Central American destination will be able to answer the question of why is Belize a perfect vacation destination? For such a small country, there is plenty to see and do, and Belize boasts some of the world’s best diving spots, friendly and welcoming people and some of the most spectacular Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula. In addition, Belize is one of the safest and most stable of the Central American countries, English is widely spoken and the local cuisine is delicious – a blend of Caribbean, Spanish and African influences, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.
The country is also easy to reach from just about anywhere in the US. There are direct flights from several cities, including Miami, Houston, Atlanta and Dallas; flying time from Miami is just two hours. Although you could spend weeks enjoying the range of outdoor activities available in Belize, you can also sample the country as part of a cruise. Over a million cruise ship passengers disembark at Belize City every year, to enjoy a variety of excursions from the capital. The country’s climate is similar to that of southern Florida and the warm winter months provide a great excuse to escape from the cold American winter.
Belize has become one of the world’s major destinations for diving and snorkeling, and many divers spend their time around the Belize Barrier Reef; only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is larger. However, there are plenty of other exciting places to explore the ocean, which appeal to experts and beginners alike. As the name suggests, Shark-Ray Alley is one of the best places to see sharks and stingrays, while Gladden Spit is the perfect place to see whale sharks, which feed and gather close to the surface. Ambergris Caye is also a popular spot for diving and relaxing on the beach, although the area also has some of the best nightlife and bars in Belize.
Many divers will tell you that the best diving spot is the Great Blue Hole, a huge natural sinkhole located about 60 miles off the coast. If you dive here, you can expect to see various species of sharks and tropical fish, as well as enjoy the beautiful coral formations and the crystal clear waters. The hole, which was formed thousands of years ago during the last ice age, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and divers can enjoy it at their own pace, or join one of the many dive excursions that take in the Great Blue Hole.
However, Belize offers much more for lovers of the outdoors than just diving, and the country is the perfect vacation destination for anyone wanting to enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, sailing and exploring the country’s network of caves. Many US tour operators offer organized adventure tours, which are a convenient and affordable way to enjoy everything Belize has to offer. Most of these tours have the advantage of allowing you to travel with like minded people in small groups, and benefit from the advice of an expert tour guide. For anyone concerned about the environment, Belize is a well known eco-tourism destination, and nature-friendly lodges offer an opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy wildlife and bird watching.
Centuries ago, the Mayans occupied this corner of the Yucatan Peninsula and left behind some impressive monuments. Altun Ha is easy to reach from the capital, Belize City and features two large central squares, and dozens of tombs and temples, many of which are still being excavated. Caracol is the largest Mayan site in the country and is the site of over 100 tombs, as well as the country’s tallest man made structure, the main pyramid standing almost 140 feet high. Lamanai is considered to be one of the most picturesque of the ruins, and features three large and distinctive pyramids. You can easily visit the ruins on your own, or as part of an organized tour.
Spectacular diving, Mayan ruins, a wide variety of outdoor activities, great beaches and delicious food, and a safe and welcoming country; it is easy to answer the question of why is Belize a perfect vacation destination?