Why You Should Visit Belize

We’ve got 10 good reasons why you should visit Belize City -- and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley and Xunantunich are just a few attractions to get you started.

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Isla Taboga
Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga, aka Island of Flowers, is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Panama that has become a bustling tourist destination. Local companies provide hiking, nature walk, snorkeling, sightseeing, whale watching and fishing tours. The island has beautiful beaches, but Isla Contadora, Playa Bonita and Play Veracruz are a couple alternative spots to go. 960 1280

Adam Reeder, Flickr  

Metropolitan Cathedral Casco Viejo

Metropolitan Cathedral Casco Viejo

Located in Panama City’s suburb of Casco Viejo, the Metropolitan Cathedral -- built between 1688 and 1796 -- is an example of the country’s religious colonial architecture. After a $4 million dollar renovation in 2004, the cathedral will be remodeled to house a museum that will follow the construction, function and future of the Panama Canal. 960 1280

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Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Completed in 1914, the 48-mile long Panama Canal is a major international trade route, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. So it’s no surprise that the American Society of Civil Engineers declared the canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world. 960 1280

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Plaza de Francia

Plaza de Francia

Take a stroll around Plaza de Francia while chomping on a raspado or Sno-cone. Toursists should head down Calle 1a. It turns into the lovely Paseo Esteban Huertas, a walkway on top of las bovedas (the vaults), which originally functioned as a Spanish dungeon and later as a jail, storehouse and offices. 960 1280

Daniel Escobar Paz, Flickr  

La Piedra Pintada

La Piedra Pintada

Hop on a bus in Panama City to visit La Piedra Pintada, a 15-foot boulder with ancient petroglyphs carved underneath it. It’s a simple remnant of El Valle’s pre-Columbian culture, and a great spot for history buffs. 960 1280

Hector Romero, Flickr  

Downtown Panama City

Downtown Panama City

Panama City is the capital and the largest city in Panama. A political, administrative, international and commerce hub for the country, Panama City is also the largest city in Panama. The city has a dense skyline of mostly high-rise buildings, surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. 960 1280

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Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Take an eco-friendly journey along the Panama Canal with stops in Sounds of Silence and Monkey Island (pictured), where tourists can see 4 different species of monkeys and other wildlife, all within 40 minutes of Panama City. 960 1280

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Plaza Bolivar

Plaza Bolivar

Surrounded by 19th-century architecture, Plaza Bolivar is a great spot for locals and tourists to congregate for drinks and dinner at various cafes located around this popular social spot. Street musicians perform tips near a monument built to honor Venezuelan general Simon Bolivar -- located in the center of the plaza. 960 1280

whl.travel, flickr  

Albrook Mall

Albrook Mall

Albrook Mall is the largest amusement mall in Panama. The magical atmosphere -- filled with balloons, bright decorations, music, an Italian carousel and more than 400 stores -- is perfect for the whole family. Artesanias Panama Bahia, Flory Saltzman Molas, Avenida Central Mall, Galeria Arte Indigena and La Ronda are a few other spots to shop in Panama City. 960 1280

Rogelio, Flickr  

Ceviche

Ceviche

La Marea, Segundo Muelle, Ego, Machu Pichu and Mercado de Marisco are all restaurants to sample delicious ceviche. Panamanian ceviche is usually made with Squid, shrimp, octopus, lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper and sea salt. Most local restaurants serve ceviche de corvine (white sea bass) as an appetizer. 960 1280

Carlos Casas, Flickr  

Los Diablicos

Los Diablicos

Part of Panama’s rich culture and folklore, the Diablicos Sucios is a religious-themed celebration that often includes a lively devil dance that portrays the age-old battle between good and evil. Dancers, donned in devil masks and multi-colored clothing, usually perform the devil dance as a method religious conversion. 960 1280

Darien Montanez, Flickr  

El Nispero Zoo

El Nispero Zoo

El Nispero is not your typical zoo. Most of the animals found here are former pets that were donated or confiscated from their owners by government authorities. Tapirs, collared peccaries (wild pigs), jaguars, white-face capuchin monkeys, macaws, Asian golden pheasants and white peacocks are just a few animals tourists will spot while taking a leisurely stroll through this zoo. 960 1280

Orban Lopez Cruz, Flickr  

Chorro de Macho

Chorro de Macho

Take a canopy tour over 85-foot tall Chorro El Macho, the most famous waterfall in El Valle. If a zip-line tour isn’t your thing, then we recommend a hike along the trails in the surrounding forest near the falls or taking a dip in the swimming pool located at the base of the towering waterfall. 960 1280

Chuck Holton, Flickr  

Sancocho

Sancocho

Sancocho de gallina is Panama’s national dish. It’s made with chicken, cilantro, yuca, mazorca and otoe. Yellow squash is added to create a regional version of the dish called Sancocho chiricano. Rumor has it that this delicious dish is not only used as a metaphor for the country’s racial diversity, but it’s also a great remedy for a hangover. 960 1280

remo del orbe, Flickr  

Yungas Road
Yungas Road

Yungas Road

Bolivia’s North Yungas Road, dubbed the “world’s most dangerous road” and “Death Road,” is notorious for the roughly 100 deaths that occur here yearly. This 43-mile stretch of road, with its hairpin curves and 2,600-foot drops in the Andes Mountains, has now become a tourist destination for the daredevil traveler. 960 1280

Michael Fernando Jauregui Schiffelmann, flickr  

Sucre

Sucre

Sucre, the first capital of Bolivia, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991. Known for its whitewashed colonial architecture and indigenous population, Sucre is a must-stop when touring Bolivia. 960 1280

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Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde

Laguna Verde (“green lagoon” in Spanish) is a striking salt lake at the southern tip of Bolivia, near the Bolivia-Argentina border. Visitors often see pink flamingoes near this stunning blue-green lagoon. 960 1280

Pedro Szekely, flickr  

Carnaval de Oruro

Carnaval de Oruro

Bolivia’s Carnaval de Oruro is its most celebrated festival, taking place 8 days before Ash Wednesday. Carnaval begins with the diablada (devil dance), a traditional folk ritual with dancers dressed in elaborate costumes and frightening masks. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, the “Red Lagoon," is a shallow salt lake located within the Eduardo National Reserve. Red algae and plankton give the lake its striking red color, which is a stark contrast to the white salt deposits that line the lake. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca, South America’s largest lake and the world's highest navigable lake, is located between Bolivia and Peru. On the Bolivian side of the lake lie the village of Challapampa and the labyrinthine ruins of Chinkana. 960 1280

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Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni

A trip to Bolivia wouldn’t be complete without seeing the spectacular Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world. With a seemingly limitless horizon, the Uyuni salt flats are so vast that they can be seen from space. 960 1280

Alicia Nijdam, flickr  

Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku

Located near the southern shore of Lake Titicaca lies one of the most mysterious ancient ruins in South America, Tiwanaku. This World Heritage Site includes temples and intriguing megalithic statues. 960 1280

Danielle Pereira, flickr  

Mt. Illimani

Mt. Illimani

Mt. Illimani is the highest mountain in the Cordillera Real, a subrange of the Andes Mountains, and the second highest in Bolivia. It dominates the city skyline of La Paz with its snow-capped peaks, which soar more than 21,200 feet. 960 1280

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La Paz

La Paz

While Sucre is the first capital, La Paz is the center of all government and commerce in Bolivia. One of the highest-elevated capital cities in the world, La Paz soars over 13,000 feet above sea level. 960 1280

iStock  

Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park

Bolivia's Madidi National Park, one of the most protected and biodiverse areas in world, has a landscape that ranges from glaciers to rainforests. A new species of the titi monkey was discovered here in 2004. 960 1280

Joe Lazarus, flickr  

Eduardo Avaroa National Park

Eduardo Avaroa National Park

One of the most unusual sights in Eduardo Avaroa National Park is the Árbol de Piedra or “stone tree” (pictured here). Bolivia’s most visited national park is also is home to the Laguna Colorada (“Red Lagoon”), 3 species of flamingoes, as well as hot springs and geysers. 960 1280

Pedro Szekely, flickr  

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