Belize City is the largest city in Belize and is home to around 70,000 residents. The port city was founded by British timber merchants in the 17th century as a small, less important timber handling point. As the country’s main port, the city is a cruise ship hub and offers the option to book day trips to almost all of Belize’s highlights, including the Mayan archaeological sites along the Macal and Belize Rivers. Belize City has the world’s only manual swing bridge (Belize Swing Bridge) and the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America. Particularly worth seeing are the Belize Zoo, which is located in the middle of the jungle and mainly houses native animals, and the Maritime Museum, which offers exhibitions on fishing, boats and the Belize Reef. Visit thedresswizard.com for Belize travel package.
San Ignacio is the capital of the Cayo Province in Belize and the second largest city in the country. The city is surrounded by ancient Mayan ruins. All over Belize there are 20 remarkable ruins of major Mayan cities that are even accessible to tourists. 13 km west of San Ignacio is Xunantunich, a Maja site with over 25 temples and palaces. As part of day trips from San Ignacio, the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, which was used by the Mayans as a ritual site, can also be visited. The highlight are the skeletons in the main chamber of the cave. In the city itself, the iguana reserve and the botanical garden are major highlights. For around 15 years, the San Ignacio iguana reserve has been a leader in the conservation of the threatened green iguana. The project aims to to inform and repopulate the riverside of Belize with these reptiles. The iguans can be photographed, fed, kept and much more during a visit.
The Mayan ruins of Altun Ha are located approximately 45 kilometers north of Belize City and ten kilometers west of the Caribbean Sea. The site, which is very well preserved, consists of two main plazas and a total of 300 documented buildings, including at least thirteen temples. The famous jade head representing the sun god K’inich Ajaw was also found here. Not only the individual ruins, but also the beautiful surroundings are fascinating. As you climb to the top of one of the ruins, you get an excellent view of the whole site and the surrounding rainforest. Souvenirs, drinks and fresh fruits are for sale in front of the pyramids.
If you are looking for pure Caribbean flair without large hotel complexes, you will find opportunities to relax and unwind on the Placencia peninsula. The place is located at the tip of an approximately 25 km long narrow peninsula between the cays (coral islands) and is therefore also referred to by tourism advertising as “the only cay you can drive to” (the only island you can drive to). At the end of the elongated peninsula is the village of Placencia, which has a small marina. From there you can take a boat trip along the coast on the Monkey River to a small Garifuna settlement. During a jungle hike you can hear the loud roar of the monkeys and watch the animals up close.
Close by is Caracol, idyllically located in the rainforest. The historical importance of the ruins is often compared even to the very significant Tikal ruins in Guatemala. At that time, more than 115,000 people lived there, almost twice as many as there are today in Belize City, the largest city in the country. Excavation work is still taking place here and not all of the ruins have been uncovered. At 43 meters, the “Caana” pyramid is still one of the tallest man-made buildings in the country.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctua
Above all, the rainforest is of central importance in Belize, because it takes up large areas of the small country and still represents the largest contiguous remainder of the subtropical rainforest that once extended over large parts of Central America. This provides a suitable habitat for many animal species, such as ocelots, armadillos, pumas and even jaguars. For the latter, a jaguar sanctuary was even established in 1986, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. It was the first of its kind and is now considered the most important protected area for jaguars in the world. In addition to exploring the jungle and the animal world on hiking trails, you can also go river tubing, an exciting river trip in a rubber dinghy. In this way you can experience the jungle in all its diversity with a good helping of action.
Belize Barrier Reef
Off the coast of Belize are a multitude of coral reefs, cayes and islands that make every vacation dream come true. Most of them belong to the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The reef in Belize is home to large numbers of animals and plants, making it one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The world-famous Blue Hole in the Lighthouse Reef is only about 80 km from Belize City. It is a sinkhole about 300 meters wide and about 125 meters deep. It can be seen from above as a deep blue circle. At a depth of 35 to 40 meters, you have the opportunity to explore the underground cave systems. Of course, this is only suitable for experienced divers.