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A Belize Adventure!

 

Straddling the verdant jungles of Central America and the pristine beaches of the Caribbean Sea, Belize offers travelers unparalleled access to both worlds. It’s abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Belize is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef. This, coupled with a string of small islands and atolls just east mainland Belize, creates some the world’s finest diving and snorkeling sites including: the mysterious Blue Hole, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Glovers Atoll and Shark Ray Alley. These world renowned sites are easily accessible from Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Other famed attractions like, Half Moon Caye, Glover’s Reef Atoll, and Lighthouse Reef should be on every marine enthusiasts’ shortlist. Mayan, Mestizo, and Latino persons make up the majority of Belize’s population and the Caribbean coast is home to a dense population of Garifuna, a mix of West/Central African, Arawak, and Island Carib. A small population of Mennonites of German/Dutch descent also call Belize home. English is the primary language but Spanish and Kriol are widely spoken.

 

Thirty-seven percent of Belize’s land territory falls under some form of official protection, giving Belize one of the most extensive systems of terrestrial protected areas in the Americas. Considered the crown jewel of Belize’s protected areas, the 99,800 acre Bladen Nature Reserve is the most biodiverse and geographically unique areas in Belize. Deep within the old growth rainforest of the Maya Mountains, Bladen is a veritable catacomb of sinkholes, caves, pristine streams and rivers systems. The Bladen Nature Reserve is integral in linking The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Columbia River Forest Reserve. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is internationally recognized as the world’s first jaguar preserve. The 150 square mile conservancy is a haven for rare, endangered, and endemic species. In addition to jaguars, pumas, ocelots, and margay, over 500 species of bird and 250 species of orchid can be found in Belize’s expansive jungles.

 

As the epicenter of  ancient Mayan civilization, Belize was once home to more than 2 million Mayas. Without the use of iron or the wheel, Maya civilization reached its apex when Europe was still floundering in the Dark Ages. The Maya left behind a spectacular lattice work of ruins that rival those of neighboring Guatemala. In 2016 one of the largest Maya tombs in Belize was discovered at Xunantunich, revealing hieroglyphic panels, skeletons, and clues into the culture of the enigmatic Snake Dynasty. The Caracol boasts the largest man-made structure in Belize, while the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave system or ATM, will lead you through a cavernous series of rooms to the Crystal Maiden and the calcified skeletons of dozens who were sacrificed to the rain god, Chac. Altun Ha, Barton Creek Cave,and Lamanai are all significant archaeological sites that are easily accessible.

 

Belize is one of the most accessible countries in Latin America. Our Adventure Architects suggests combinations of Belize and Guatemala for couples and families traveling to Central America for the first time. With an incredible variety of activities Belize caters to every style of traveler.  Accommodations range from luxurious beach resorts and boutique hotels, like the Turtle Inn, A Coppola Resort, to family friendly villas and jungle lodges like, Chaa Creek and the Copal Tree Lodge.