Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014. 9:38 am CST.
December 23, 2014 – San Ignacio, Belize, Larry Waight Reporting:
Are you in need of a little Central American paradise? Check out this curated list of the best spots in Belize:
San Ignacio Town
Wander the mossy Maya ruins of Cahal Pech, where visitors can enjoy a tranquil exploration of this archaeological site that is often passed up by tourists. Don’t miss out on this well-preserved ancient wonder and informative historical museum. The Cahal Pech Village Resort is a perfect spot to base your explorations in San Ignacio, and hosts a wide variety of adventure tours.
In the far south of Belize, the Toledo district contains a range of untouched wonders for visitors. From the district capital of Punta Gorda, take a trip through the extensive Toledo cave networks, or check out the Garifuna or Creole drumming schools that are just one way to experience the region’s rich cultural diversity.
There is no better spot in Belize to seek out a little rest and relaxation than Caye Caulker. This petite island oasis sits five miles off the Belizean coast. Enjoy the languid pace of island life strolling along the well-worn walking paths criss-crossing the small caye. The nearby Barrier Reef is available for diving trips with spectacular visibility.
Placencia Village offers 16 miles of stunning beaches facing both eastward to the Caribbean and westward, into a lagoon. Visitors to Placencia have incredible options for eco-adventuring, including fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking and opportunities to venture out to the small islands nearby. For premiere hotel options in Placencia, check out Laru Beya Villas and Chabil Mar Beach Resort, both of which boast incomparable seaside luxury lodging.
Hopkins is a vibrant beachside community that is the heart of the Garifuna people, whose culture permeates the small village. Hopkins has the best access to the beautiful Mayflower Bocawina National Park, which offers over 7,000 acres of hiking, scenic waterfalls, and Mayan ruins, along with a complex of jungle ziplines. Head out to the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve to see brilliant submerged coral structures.
Mountain Pine Ridge in Cayo District
Get back to nature in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Preserve in the south-central Cayo district. Don’t let the rough roads scare you off: this amazing pine forest covers over 100,000 acres, and is home to a large variety of wild mammals, including Baird’s Tapir, the national animal of Belize.
Dangriga sits right at the mouth of the North Stann Creek River where it empties into the Caribbean coast. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve is located just southwest of Dangriga, where anyone with a sharp eye can spot some exotic wildlife while walking the trails of the jungle reserve.
South Water Caye
While this island is a bit off the beaten path, the South Water Caye is a hidden gem for diving and snorkeling among the nearby reef. The Blue Marlin Beach Resort on South Water Caye also offers fly-fishing excursions to the saltwater flats, as well as a wealth of hammocks to soak up the incredible sea scenery.
One of Belize’s most beautiful island getaways, Tobacco Caye is a tiny tropical getaway perfect for lounging in a private but familial environment. Only about twenty Belizeans are permanent residents on Tobacco Caye, but facilitate the island’s friendly, home-away-from-home atmosphere.
Turneffe Atoll is a 30-mile long smattering of islands, accessible by boat from Belize City. The atoll is known for its incredible diversity in marine life, and was recently declared to be a marine reserve.
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