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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Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is Belize’s oldest marine reserve. This tourist attraction is a must for snorkelers and divers who want to experience diverse marine life -- 160 species of fish, 40 species of coral, four sponges, two species of seagrass, three marine mammals and three species of sea turtles -- including this green turtle seen here.

Cahal Pech Archaeological Site

Sitting high atop a hill near San Ignacio, Cahal Pech is the oldest-known Mayan site in the Belize River valley. We recommend visitors walk around the interconnected, excavated and resorted plazas and temples abandoned around 850, A.D. Don’t skip over Plaza B; it’s the largest and most impressive complex.

San Pedro

Tourists flock to San Pedro because it’s known as a sun-and-fun destination, attracting scuba divers, fishermen, snowbirds, expatriates and retirees. Downtown, in this slow-paced city, is compact mixture of hotels, souvenir shops, restaurants, dive shops and tour agencies. Because San Pedro isn’t a big city, pedestrians strolling along its streets may be forced to the side of the road by cars and yes, golf carts.

Xunantunich

Once a ceremonial center, Xunantunich means “stone woman,” referring to the ghost of a woman whom several people claim they’ve seen lurking around the popular tourist destination since 1892. If ghost hunting isn’t your thing, then we suggest climbing to the top of the ridge of this amazing Mayan archeology site for a great view of the border shared with Guatemala.

Shark Ray Alley

Considered part of Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley was once the place where fishermen would clean their catch, which naturally attracted stingrays and nurse sharks. Today, tourists -- with supervision from a dive master -- can snorkel and swim beside stingrays, turtles and gentle nurse sharks that average 4 to 6 feet in length. Take your underwater camera for a great photo op.

Butterfly Farm at Chaa Creek

Take a 10-minute tour at the Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm at Chaa Creek, rated “Top Belize Resort” by the Belize Tourism Board. Observe the beautiful “Belizean Blue” during every stage of their life cycle. A hat, water, insect repellant, camera and raingear (if needed), are a few suggested items to take on this fun nature trek.

Belize Zoo

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, located in Belmopan, is 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits with more than 150 animals, representing 45 species native to Belize. The zoo is home to animals rescued, orphaned, born at the zoo, rehabilitated and sent to the zoo as donations from other zoological institutions. More than 54,000 people visit the zoo each year. If you time your visit right, you may get to celebrate special birthdays for April the Tapir, Junior Buddy the Jaguar and Panama the Harpy Eagle.

Belize City

With a population of almost 80,000, Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It is the country’s principal port and its financial and industrial hub. The city is also a popular port of call for several cruise ships. Belize City was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then known) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.

Belize City Tour

Don’t miss out on spending a day or two in this historic capital city. Belize City is composed of beautiful colonial houses, seaside parks, bustling shopping centers and great places to eat and stay along Haulover Creek. The Swing Bridge, which crosses Haulover Creek to link Albert Street with Queen Street, is the hub of the city and, some say, the heart of Belize itself.

Cave Tubing at Jaguar Paw

Head for adventure in Belize! Go cave tubing at Jaguar Paw in Belmopan. Float down the river on an inner tube with only a headlamp to light your way. This journey through an underground cave system requires visitors to maneuver around stalagmites jutting from the river and stalactites looming from above.

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