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Belize

 

Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, is a relatively poor nation in most respects but is incredibly rich in natural beauty.

 

Off the coast is the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. Belize’s dive spots alone attract thousands of visitors, most of whom stay in the offshore cayes. For the archaeology buff, Belize boasts some very impressive Mayan sites. Belize City is home to some impressive museums and historical sites. For the nature enthusiast, there are several beautiful parks and wildlife reserves near Belize City. If you can’t make it to the cayes but want to spend some time on the beach or snorkeling, you may want to visit the southern town of Placencia.

 

Located on the east coast of Central America south of the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize has a long and varied history. Hundreds of years ago, during the Maya classic period, the area was home to an estimated 1-2 million Maya.  When the Spanish arrived, there were still some scattered remnants of this mighty empire, most notably in southern Belize. The first European settlers of the area were English puritans seeking freedom to practice their religious beliefs.

 

Later, the area became popular with pirates working Spanish shipping lanes and loggers. Despite a territory dispute with neighboring Guatemala, Great Britain eventually adopted the area as a British Colony and it was named British Honduras. After the American Civil War, veterans of the Confederate army relocated to British Honduras, settling in the Punta Gorda region. British Honduras became the independent nation of Belize in 1981.







By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
24 Nov 2006

Belize's Best Underwater Adventures

Belize Marine Reserves

101953Belize’s most famous dive spot is the Blue Hole. Once an underwater cave, the Blue Hole collapsed about 10,000 years ago. It left a nearly perfect circular hole about 300 m (1000 ft) across and ...
National Park, Diving
Belize

Whale Shark Swim

106802If you time it right, Placencia offers one of the best opportunities to swim with these giants of the sea, the biggest fish in the world. It may be pricey, but if you get a good encounter, it is well ...
Diving
Placencia, Belize

Snorkeling

106804There are various opportunities to explore the reef out from Placencia and in general, the further out you go, the better it is. The inner reef trip to Laughing Bird Caye may be popular, but much of ...
Diving
Placencia, Belize

Diving

106805These trips follow the same routes as the snorkel routes and are usually combined with them, with divers lining up to one guide and snorkelers to another. Dive sites differ from snorkel sites, ...
Diving
Placencia, Belize

Hol Chan Marine Park

106903This trip offers some of the best and most varied snorkelling on the entire East coast of Central America. Most tours, which include an in-sea guide, covering three sites-the Coral Gardens off Caye ...
Diving
Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker Reserve

106907This is a cheaper option if you cannot afford to splash out on the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Most trips come with an in-sea guide and visit three sites, but you get what you pay for and because the ...
Diving
Caye Caulker, Belize

Night Snorkel

The reef is one thing in the day but it is a different world at night as different creatures come out to play. While the colourful reef fish drop off to sleep, the parrot fish cover themselves in ...
Diving
Caye Caulker, Belize

Manatee Watching

Belize is one of the best places to find these massive, lovable, but timid "sea cow" creatures, but even then you don't get to see much of them. They are more numerous in the Southern Lagoon at Gales ...
Diving
Caye Caulker, Belize

Hol Chan Marine Park

106903This trip offers some of the best and most varied snorkelling on the entire East coast of Central America. Most tours, which include an in-sea guide, covering three sites-the Coral Gardens off Caye ...
Diving
Caye Caulker, Belize

Belize's Greatest Ruins

Lamanai Ruins

106950Getting to Lamanai is all part of the fun on this trip, as it involves a one and a half hour safari-style boat ride along a forested river. Guides will keep their eyes out for animals-you can find ...
Ruin
Orange Walk, Belize

Belize's Mayan Sites

The largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize is Caracol (Snail), one of the most important cities of the Mayan classical period. The impressive Canaa pyramid stands 143 feet tall, which makes ...
Ruin, Region
Belize

Belize's Mayan Sites

The largest Mayan archaeological site in Belize is Caracol (Snail), one of the most important cities of the Mayan classical period. The impressive Canaa pyramid stands 143 feet tall, which makes ...
Ruin, Region
Belize
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