The largest of Belize’s several hundred islands, Ambergris Caye is a dreamy, tropical place where shorts and flip-flops are the dress code, golf carts are the mode of transportation, and lazing away on sandy white beaches is the primary activity. A short plane flight or ferry ride from Belize City, Ambergris Caye is one of the best places to visit in Belize because it presents the ultimate Caribbean getaway with classic beaches, world-class accommodations, fabulous dining and ultra relaxation.
A long, narrow peninsula of sandy white beaches hugging Belize’s Caribbean coastline, Placencia is a popular destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Placencia comprises the three villages of Maya Beach, Seine Bight and Placencia Village. The most popular attraction in Placencia Village is the paved pedestrian path known as “The Sidewalk,” a strip lined with shops and numerous bars and restaurants. Most of the activities in Placencia are centered around the peninsula’s natural scenery. The Placencia Lagoon is a great place to kayak or canoe along the wetlands to spot wildlife like manatees, dolphins, crocodiles and birds.
Situated high on the Vaca Plateau, 500 meters (1650 feet) above sea level, Caracol is the largest Maya site in Belize. It was once one of the largest ancient Maya cities, with an estimated population of about 150,000, more than twice as many people as Belize City has today. Its greatest period of construction occurred between 484 AD and 889 AD when over 40 monuments were built. The largest pyramid in Caracol is Canaa (Sky Place), at 43 meters (143 feet) it is still the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.
Caye Caulker may not offer the beautiful beaches of Ambergris Caye, but it’s casual atmosphere, cheap prices and abundance of bars and restaurants draw numbers of backpackers and tourists who are looking for a break from traveling around Central America. A small island accessed by small plane or water taxi from Belize City, Caye Caulker is not a place for sightseeing, but rather, a place to simply hang out and relax. The most popular activities on Caye Caulker are diving and snorkeling. The island’s closeness to Belize Barrier Reef offers some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean.
Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometer (190 miles) long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is Belize’s top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling and attracting almost half of all its tourists. A large portion of the reef is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which includes 7 marine reserves, 450 cays, and 3 atolls. The reef also includes the Great Blue Hole, the most famous dive destination in Belize.