Belize has the best of both worlds; the jungles of Central America and the clear blue Caribbean ocean. And, in both of these worlds, there are more than plenty Belize adventures to be had.
Full of culture, Belize was first inhabited by the Mayans and has over 900 sacred ruins. Belize is also home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. To get a better idea of what that might look like in size, imagine 170 miles in length, which is the length of both Belize and its reef. Pretty impressive! Hundreds of species of tropical fish and over 100 types of coral can be found there. If you’re an avid diver, I can bet you’re excited at the thought of it. Because the reef has some of the greatest diving and snorkeling sites, a large amount of the almost 1 million annual visitors flock to Belize for this reason.
You might not think that Belize would be a place packed with adventure, but there are some incredible experiences to have. Some are more intense than others, so, keep reading to learn more about my top 5 picks. Maybe one or two will appeal to your inner Indiana Jones.
In no particular order…
5 Ultimate Belize Adventures
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
This marine reserve in Ambergris Caye is a haven for certified divers. The water is translucent, luckily, because there’s so much to see! Corals of all kinds, fish of every color and size. Eager for a night dive in the company of eels? Well, that’s an option here, too, because the reef is just as active at night. It truly is a testament to Belize for having a protected reserve like this. Think of all the generations to come that will know and experience such natural beauty. (Granted that we take care of our planet!) Even if you’re not a certified diver, snorkeling is an excellent alternative. This is a once in a lifetime unforgettable Belize adventure.
Shark Ray Alley
And if you’re feeling fearless, head over to Shark Ray Alley which is just a mile South of the Hol Chan Marine reserve. The entire area is over 1200 acres and has become a top snorkeling destination in Belize. Here you can get the rare opportunities of snorkeling with stingrays while surrounded by nurse sharks. It’s a safe, family-friendly activity that isn’t as scary as it sounds. The marine life could care less about you because they’re constantly being fed salmon (referred to as “chum”). Although, if you’re even considering the alley as one of your Belize adventures, you probably don’t have the word “fear” in your vocabulary. All joking aside, this is one of THE experiences for most all visitors. Be brave. Go for it.
The Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef
Discovered by Jacques Cousteau, the most famous diving site in Belize is the Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef. Take a dive into the “hole” from the sheer wall to the overhang for an incredible underwater experience. Depending on your certification level, there are certain depths that you can swim. The structure itself is very impressive, but a little on the deep side for just snorkeling. So, go to one of the go-to snorkeling spots instead. At Half Moon Caye, you’ll see huge schools of fish swimming over and around you. You can then have lunch afterwards and watch the iguanas, hermit crabs and the Red-Footed Booby Birds!
Xunantunich is one of the 3 most popular Mayan ruins in its country. The real Belize adventure lies in climbing to the top of this beautiful, sacred site. Don’t be intimidated! The view will be worth it and breathtaking. You’ll get to see the other ruins and the entire surrounding area, including Guatemala. This Mayan ruin is near the border of Belize and, while you can take a self-guided tour, the guided tour would be your best bet to learn some fascinating facts. Your guide can point out things that you might not notice on your own, and you don’t want to miss anything. For example, a couple of baby monkeys as you hike to the top.
Know before you go: Bring a cooling towel to beat the heat and humidity, a water bottle, a hat to prevent scalp burn, bug spray and sun screen! Oh, and you’ll want good walking shoes, along with some cash for tipping and shopping.
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM)
Just getting to Actun Tunichil Muknal is part of this next Belize adventure. This remote cave, located in Tea Kettle Village, is where to go for exploring and checking out relics left behind from the Mayans. Find yourself on a path in the jungle, climbing down (and squeezing through!) rocks onto the water and swimming across rivers. Hike and swim through caves and climb a ladder to see an ancient Mayan skeleton up close and personal! How incredible is that?
Know before you go: Because this is a very sacred site, it’s protocol to wear socks. No bare feet, even in the water.
Of course, Belize also has everything you’d need for a serene, relax-at-the-beach vacation. Although, it’s good for the soul to step out of our comfort zones occasionally. Don’t you think?
“Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.” -Paulo Coelho
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