Belize is marked by the splendid diversity of both its land and its society, making it one of travel's best-kept secrets. Peace and harmony prevail in Central America's only officially English-speaking country, whose people hail from Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya, and English backgrounds.
This blend of cultures is delightfully reflected in the country's music, cuisine, and many annual festivals, all set against a dazzling backdrop that ranges from dense jungles, to Mundo Maya ruins, to pristine beaches lined with towering palms.
The warm, clear waters of Belize shelter the second-longest barrier reef in the world, home to a thriving community of tropical fish, eels, sharks, and other marine creatures. Hundreds of cayes dot the sea, including three unique coral atolls. In addition to the thriving marine life, shipwrecks and the world-famous Blue Hole cenote, an off-shore sink hole, also lure divers and snorkelers to the irresistible richness and beauty of this former pirate enclave.
Fame Ambergris Caye is the premier island for reef diving. Home to the country's top resorts, it boasts blissfully crowd-free beaches, cooling year-round trade winds, and superb dining and nightlife. Anglers in-the-know visit the droves, embarking on private and charter excursions to reel in prize marlin, tarpon, and other game fish.
Decidedly laid back and hip, Placencia is a beachfront base for both water sports and eco-adventure day trips. Expert local guides lead you through rainforests, waterfalls, and into an incredible network of caves. Amateur archaeologists come to explore the ruins of Altun Ha, Xunantunich, and other once-mighty Mayan cities. You can even visit the world's only jaguar reserve. Many fine resorts, including Francis Ford Coppola's "luxuriously rustic," Balinese-inspired Turtle Inn, provide first-rate lodging.
Come discover Belize - where warmth defines both the climate and the people.
Welcome to Belize! An idyllic link with the past still exists in Belize City, the country's heart and soul. It is also the nerve center for land and sea adventures countrywide. The city extends a welcome mat from days gone by while wearing a modern day countenance. Belize as Belizeans call the city, is where the fun starts and ends. A home base for adventures, the city is a hub for travel either onland and/or offshore. Belize City is the country's only genuine urban area.
Belize City Hotel Recommendations
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina - Experience the genuine hospitality of Belize in this full-service hotel with most rooms overlooking the Caribbean. The Radisson Fort George offers easy access and day tours to the rainforest, caves, and archaeological sites. A dive shop provides guests with all they need to explore the barrier reef.
Placencia is the prettiest stretch of beach in all of Belize. The long narrow peninsula sits less than one hour south of Belize City, but it is a world away from life's hustle and bustle. Unlike any other destination in Belize, Placencia has two different horizons. One unveils a world of magnificent beaches, crystal-clear waters, spectacular diving, and pristine cayes, the other reveals wildlife, inland adventures, and a skyline of the Maya Mountains. Placencia's eastern shore is pure beach where it curves along the shoreline endlessly.
This continuous stretch of beach is the welcome mat to a spectacular world of water sports, and kayaking. Scuba diving is superb at nearby cayes. Dive sites are more pristine and are excellent for divers of all ages. Without doubt, this is some of the best diving in the country.
Placencia Hotel Recommendations
Turtle Inn - Turtle Inn is a joy for all who visit. Built out of the rubble of a hurricane's wrath, it rose to grandeur entirely under the supervision of famed film director, Francis Ford Coppola. The Balinese inspired cabanas are adorned with artisan-crafted furnishings and luxury in the spirit of the natural Belizean landscape.
The Inn At Robert's Grove
The Inn At Robert's Grove is nestled on 15 acres of lush gardens between the bountiful Caribbean Sea and the tranquil Placencia Lagoon. The grand hacienda-style resort's two best features are its prime location on a fine white-sand beach and its very high standards of personal service.
Guests at the Nautical Inn enjoy dining and cocktails in the cool Oar House restaurant, and refreshing dips in the swimming pool. The stunning beachfront property boasts an on-site dive and tackle shop that provides equipment for fishing and reef exploration excursions.
Just a stone's throw south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is an enchanting little island called Ambergris Caye. Long and slender, its stretches north to south just inside Belize's magnificent barrier reef, is nearly thirty miles long. The air is fresh, with a slight scent of the Caribbean Sea. The clear Caribbean waters and the imposing barrier reef are a big attraction. While the reef is rugged, mountain-like range of spectacular walls and coral canyons, the sun-drenched caye is flat and easy to traverse. The surrounding waters are a mecca for scuba divers and water sports enthusiasts.
For a taste of Belizean culture, checkout the restaurants, bars and nightlife of tiny San Pedro. Whatever happens on the caye happens here - in true laid-back Belizean style.
Ambergris Cay Hotel Recommendations
Victoria House - Tucked away on a quiet corner of Ambergris Caye, Victoria House is the island's only premier luxury resort. Gorgeous plantation rooms and villas all overlook the palm-dotted beach. The quaint town of San Pedro is 2 miles away, great for shopping, dining, and embracing the warm Belizean culture.
Journey's End Resort - Secluded on 51 acres of waterfront land, Journey's End Resort is a haven for divers. With its own private beach and direct access to the impressive barrier reef, this full-service hotel also features lavishly furnished accommodations. Accessible only by boat, this is a singularly exclusive Caribbean hideaway.
Ramon's Village - Lose yourself in the comfortable accommodations of Ramon's Village, a first-class resort featuring thatched roof cabanas studded with coconut palms. Splash in the warm crystal waters of the Caribbean and stroll along the private beach. Enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and good old-fashioned relaxation.
Tropica Beach Resort - Located on Ambergris Caye's most immaculate swimming beach, the Tropica Beach Resort lends an intimate and casual atmosphere to the vivid scenery. All rooms are either oceanfront or oceanview, and the hotel offers scuba diving and deep sea fishing excursions, as well as tours to Mayan ruins.
Mata Rocks Resort - Vacationing at Mata Rocks Resort is like staying with good friends. It's a great location for gathering on the beach for moonlight dancing, and at the outdoor bar for breakfast, all-day mingling, and tropical drinks at sunset. All accommodations have ocean views and some have balconies. Honeymoon and diving packages are available.
Villas at Banyan Bay - The ultimate in privacy and oceanfront living, the Villas At Banyan Bay reflect the colorful architecture indigenous to the British Caribbean. Unmistakably contemporary in its design, the property features spectacular outdoor vistas enhanced by lush tropical landscaping and a multi-level swimming pool.
Other hotel recommendations
Belize Yacht Club Hotel in San Pedro - This oceanfront resort is located in an exclusive neighborhood of San Pedro. The villas are set in a tropical garden surrounding a free-form pool. Stroll into town where you'll find restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Dine indoors or out, and get rigged up at the dive center to visit the barrier reef.
Blancaneaux Lodge in San Ignacio ( Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve ) - Owned by renowned film director Francis Ford Coppola, the Blancaneaux Lodge is a luxurious hideaway situated in the Mountain Pine Forest Reserve. Perched atop a forested ridge overlooking the Macal River, guests stay in private thatched cabanas individually decorated with local crafts.
Altun Ha & The Olde Belize River Safari
Lamani & The New River Safari
Manatee Watch & Goff's Cave
Xunantunich & The Belize Zoo
Cave Tubing & Jungle Walk