Six reasons you should choose Belize for your next holiday

Belize, the small Central American country sandwiched between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, is lovingly referred to as 'the jewel' by locals and Belizeophiles alike, and for good reason. Yet, it has remained relatively under the radar despite all that it has to offer in terms of natural beauty and assets, tropical weather, and adventure.

Top six reasons to visit Belize © Cilia Schubert - Flickr Creative Commons
Top six reasons to visit Belize © Cilia Schubert - Flickr Creative Commons

Six reasons you should choose Belize for your next holiday

Belize has more than 200 cayes (pronounced 'keys'), or little islands, off its Caribbean coast, home to a diverse mix of beaches, dive sites, marine life and wildlife. Then there's the enchanting Afro-Caribbean culture, delicious food, and array of activities. If these don't make you want to jump on the next plane, here are six more reasons why you should choose Belize for your next holiday:

1. You can visit Belize on a budget

Contrary to popular belief, this Central American spot can be an affordable holiday if you eat local, avoid packaged deals, and visit during the right time of year. A trip to Belize during the low season (our summer months) means fewer tourists and big discounts on hotels thanks to the minimal demand. It's also a great time to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Beach guesthouses, Caye Caulker, Belize © Isaac Peterson - Flickr Creative Commons
Beach guesthouses, Caye Caulker, Belize © Isaac Peterson - Flickr Creative Commons

If you find yourself in Belize during the high season (roughly late November until April), try staying in one of the affordable guesthouses in Hopkins or Caye Caulker, rather than a hotel. You can even stay overnight in a Mayan Village for a taste of times gone by.

2. Diving and snorkelling are second-to-none

Well, it's actually second to Australia for having the longest barrier reef in the world, but the marine life in Belize is completely different to its antipodean alternative. The Blue Hole of Belize was made famous in 1971 by Jacques Cousteau on his television series and continuously appears on lists of surreal places to visit.

Blue Hole, Belize © Eric Pheterson - Flickr Creative Commons
Blue Hole, Belize © Eric Pheterson - Flickr Creative Commons

Diving in Belize gives you a rare opportunity to see Caribbean sharks, groupers, stingrays, tunicates, and geological phenomena like stalactites and dripstone sheets.

3. There's more to do than dive, too

Caving, birdwatching, zip lining, snorkelling - Belize is an outdoor junkie's Caribbean dream. Caves were used by the ancient Maya civilization, and today more than 540,000 square feet of grottos are just waiting to be discovered, like the Actun Tunichil Muknal and Actun Halal.

Entrance to Footprint Cave © Thomas Shahan - Flickr Creative Commons
Entrance to Footprint Cave © Thomas Shahan - Flickr Creative Commons

Grab your binoculars and head to the Manovar Bird Sanctuary where you can discover one of Belize's 300 species of birds. Alternatively, you can go zip lining in the Mayflower Bocawina National Forest, which is the longest zip line in Central America. You'll cross the lowland forest, passing waterfalls and those hiking on this mile and a half course.

4. Belize was once the centre of the Mundo Maya

It's been estimated that more than one million Mayan people lived in present day Belize, and more is being uncovered about them in the country's archaeological sites.

Xunantunich ruins © Thomas Shahan - Flickr Creative Commons
Xunantunich ruins © Thomas Shahan - Flickr Creative Commons

There are temples, frescoes, and caves that provide evidence to support the theory of the settlements, and make for a great day trip. Visit Xunantunich for impressive ruins or settle on a trip to Tikal National Park in neighbouring Guatemala for more untouched ruins.

5. You speak the language

While many Belizeans speak Spanish and Creole, Belize is the only Central American country whose official language is English. That makes it especially easy for British travellers to get around.

6. Belize is a leading Central American country in conservation

Both Belize's mainland and cayes are home to some of the most fascinating wildlife in the region, from birds and sharks to jaguars. In order to protect the well being of the country's natural ecosystem, 40% of the land is protected, covering plants, birds, reptiles and more.

Wild jaguar, Belize © John Anderson - Dreamstime.com
Wild jaguar, Belize © John Anderson - Dreamstime.com

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also the only preservation area in the world for jaguars, and where they work to keep jaguars, pumas, margays, ocelots, and jaguarundi safe from extinction.

No doubt you're now thoroughly sold on the idea of visiting Belize for your next holiday. To help you get there for less, check out the latest flight and holiday deals, and read our dedicated destination weather guide for more information on the country's climate.

Alyssa James

Alyssa James
Posted on Wednesday 4th February 2015 in: Adventure Central America Culture Nature Winter sun

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