Holidays to Belize are the perfect combination of Central American culture and Caribbean beaches – this small but perfectly formed country is the size of Israel with a population of just 350,000, but is packed with adventure and unforgettable sights. Ideally combined with a longer itinerary to Guatemala or other Central and South American countries, Belize is the only officially English-speaking country in Latin America and is blessed with many incredible dive sites, picturesque islands and talcum-powder soft beaches. Inland, the country is taken up by vast swathes of national parks and wildlife reserves, where residents run the full spectrum of size from miniscule cutter ants to the elusive, elegant jaguar. The tangled jungles shelter some 570 species of bird, who flutter between rippling lagoons and damp forest, with monkeys, peccaries and iguanas for company. Those with a keen eye may even spot Belize’s resplendent national bird – the showy toucan, in all his colourful glory.
Belize holidays offer amazing diversity, not least beneath the waves. The barrier reefs off the coast of Belize are some of the longest in the world, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and with a similar standard of diving. The series of cayes nibbled into the coast are home to stylish and affordable beach resorts, where scuba diving and fishing villages draw a laid-back crowd. The famous Blue Hole, located a choppy 70 kilometres from the mainland, is renowned for its enigmatic blue depths and circling sharks, rather than colourful corals.
Almost half of the country is environmentally protected, meaning wildlife has flourished and rare species to be spotted include the ocelot, puma and tapir. Hidden within the jungle you’ll also discover the preserved remains of Maya ruins, including the extensive Caracol, close to the border with Guatemala. Cultural tours are also popular: as a British colony for more than 100 years, Belize has a curious blend of colonial traditions that fuse with the indigenous Maya, Garifuna and Mennonite communities.
For a comprehensive tour of Central America, Belize can be combined with other nearby countries and is especially enjoyable when visited alongside Guatemala. Here you’ll find an extension of Belize’s sights, such as charming towns, bustling markets and pyramid temples.
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