THE CARIBBEAN // BELIZE
Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret
Belize has the second largest living barrier reef in the world running the entire 185-mile length of the country, and is revered among scuba divers and fishermen. But there is much more - 3,000 foot-high mountains, cascading waterfalls, jungles and wildlife, and dramatic Maya sites and rich culture.
Nature is the biggest draw to Belize: manatees, monkeys, keel-billed toucans, rare orchids, green iguanas and blue morpho butterflies, Jaguars and 570 bird species, to name a few. The highlights for divers are the famed Blue Hole and three coral atolls: Lighthouse Reef, Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Islands. Visit partially excavated Maya sites such as Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha and Lamanai. Explore the country’s vast caves and glimpse into the Maya underworld, where you can see fire pits, artifacts and skeletons of human sacrifices while hiking, tubing or canoeing with headlamps.
Belize has three primary tourist destinations. Ambergris Caye off the north coast especially attracts divers and snorkelers. Highlights are Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. The main town, San Pedro, features sand streets, art galleries and a few beach bars over the water; golf carts serve as transportation.
The Cayo District, on the western border with Guatemala, hosts a tropical rainforest and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The town of San Ignacio is the base for many adventure tours. Placencia, along the south coast, has the nicest beaches in the country and is a gateway to the offshore cayes and atolls.
Images Courtesy of: CTO – Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board
AIRPORTS/ GATEWAYS/FLYING TIMES:
Airport: Phillip S.W. Goldson International Airport is 9 miles from Belize City. Belmopan City, the capital, is located 50 miles west of Belize City. Gateways/Flying Times: Atlanta – 3 hours. Houston - 2 hours. Los Angeles (via Houston) - 5 hours. Miami - 2 hours. New York (via Miami) - 5 hours. Newark – 4 hours 45 minutes. Charlotte – 3 hours 29 minutes. San Salvador – 45 minutes.
International flights to Belize are via Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Miami or Los Angeles. The major airlines servicing Belize City (BZE) include American Airlines flying from Heathrow via Miami/Dallas; Continental Airlines from Gatwick via Houston and TACA from Miami, Houston and New Orleans.
Temperatures vary from 70 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit during the year. Annual rainfall averages 50 inches in the north and 170 inches in the south during the rainy season - June to August. The driest months are February through to May.
Tipping is completely at the discretion of the individual. Dress code is casual.
Las Vegas style casino at the Princess Hotel and Casino.
Sightseeing tours to the Maya sites of Altun Ha. Caracol, Lubaantun, Santa Rita, Cerros, Lamanai and Nim Li Punit. St. John’s Cathedral, Site of Xunantunich, Belmopan, the swinging bridge of Belize City. The Great Barrier Reef, Mountain Pine Ridge, Ambergris Caye and Placencia Resort area. Take a trip to the rainforests on safaris. Belize Zoo. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Bermudian Landing Community Baboon Sanctuary, Great Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Monument, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley, Laughing Bird Caye, Blue Hole National Park, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Five Blues Lake, and Guanacaste Park.
Source: CTO – Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board
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