December 02, 2008 | Comments 0

12 Must-See Places for your Belize Vacation

belize-150x1501A Belize vacation is one of the most sought-after getaways today. Although the country has only been discovered recently as it opened its doors to ecotourism, Belize has proven to be an amazing Central American hot spot thanks to its picturesque Mayan ruins and unspoilt archeological sites, untouched jungle forests, tropical beaches, marine reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, secluded eco-lodges, Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef and a wide range of thought-provoking activities available.

Since a week to explore Belize is not enough to see all the awe-inspiring things around the country, here are 12 must-see places that you should not miss while you’re on a Belize vacation:

  1. Altun Ha Ruins – Just 28 miles north of Belize City, the Stone Water (Altun Ha) ruins is a great example of an ancient Mayan city. Although there are more dramatic ruins around the country, visiting the Altun Ha won’t hurt your Belize vacation itinerary because of its accessibility from the city and affordable admission fee of BZ$5.
  2. Caracol – If you’re really into amazing archeological finds, make sure to visit Belize’s largest Mayan ruin, the Caracol (The Snail), which is located deep in the Chiquibul Forest. Named as the “supreme Mayan centre”, Caracol used to be a metropolis with 5 plazas and 32 structures spread over a square mile of architectural beauty.
  3. Lamanai – Just northwest of Belize City lies this longest-occupied Mayan site called Lamanai or ‘Submerged Crocodile’. It features over 50 structures spread over a 950-acre archeological reserve.
  4. Belize Zoo – The internationally acclaimed Belize Zoo originated as a home for wild animals, but expanded into a wildlife education center that exhibits over 120 native animals, most of which are nocturnal, so this zoo may be the only way to see these amazing animals during the day.
  5. Ambergris Caye – Located just 20 minutes away from Belize City, the Ambergris Caye is the country’s most developed offshore island popular for its laidback beach town with plenty of establishments, including hotels, banks, gift shops and restaurants, among many others.
  6. Caye Caulker – If you just visited Ambergris, you have to visit its neighbor Caye Caulker and enjoy on the island diving, snorkeling and watching manatees. Compared to Ambergris that is visited by thousands of people, Caye Caulker is more relaxed and offers less expensive food and accommodation.
  7. Cahal Pech – Cahal Pech used to be the home of elite rulers from the Classic Maya period. Today, it boasts an excellent museum that features a full model of the site.
  8. Blue Hole – Your Belize vacation won’t be complete without visiting the Blue Hole, the country’s signature dive site that features a 1,000-feet sinkhole with walls opening up to lead through an underwater cave.
  9. Crooked Tree Wild Life Sanctuary and the Jaguar Preserve – Belize is known for its eco-friendly attractions and both the Crooked Tree village and the Jaguar Preserve are a must-see, especially for nature and animal lovers.
  10. Ambergris Museum & Cultural Center – Learn how the Ambergris Caye was formed and see the 17th century ebony cross, ancient Maya pots and deer horn tools used in deer hunting before the 1960s.
  11. Dangriga and Hopkins Village – Your Belize vacation should include a trip down the Dangriga regional center and Hopkins Village’s small town atmosphere. You will not experience the “real Belize” if you miss these two places.
  12. Belize Tourism Village – Before you end your Belize vacation, make sure to stop by the Belize Tourism Village, located just on the Belize River, to buy crafts, local items and souvenirs.
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