Belize

Belize Travel Guide

Belize was formed when Itzamná, the creator god of the Maya, took the best bits of Central America and put them all within easy reach of each other in the place where the Maya people began. "Why make people journey for hours to see wild rainforest filled with with jaguars and hummingbirds, misty mountains and tumbling waterfalls, ruined cities and glittering caves?" he thought, whilst shaping the country. "Let me sprinkle them through the land and around the coral cayes, and let me add manatees and sea turtles, harpy eagles and spider monkeys".

But Itzamná was bad at PR; whilst lots of people heard about Costa Rica, Mexico and Guetemala, few heard about Belize. If they had visited, they passed through, on their way from the Riviera Maya in Mexico to the temples of Tikal, or they took a vacation on San Pedro. The rest of Belize stayed almost empty. And it remains so to this day. Plenty of tourists visit Chichen Itzá, Cozumel and Playa de Carmen, just over the border in Mexico. But in Belize travellers have a Mayan city, a reef of rainbow fish, or even a whole island almost entirely to themselves. And they do so on a backpacker budget, or in chic comfort at one of many small, tastefully turned-out beach hotels or wilderness lodges. 

There's never been a better time to visit. At the end of 2012 the Mayan Long count calender came to a cyclical close. Some say this heralds the end of the world as we know it - they forgot that is also marks the beginning of Itzamná's new, more perfect creation. The world begins in a place where it first began ... in Belize.

Belize Travel Guide Highlights
Caracol, Belize
Caracol
Forgotten city, once centre of the Maya world.
Ambergris Caye, Northern Cayes, Belize
Northern Cayes
Scuba dive to the depths of the Blue Hole.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Best chance of seeing a jaguar in Belize.
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, Belize
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
Your very own Indiana Jones experience.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Great Blue Hole
A 200-ft rappel drop down Actun Loch Tunich cave.
Monkey, Belize Zoo, Belize City
Belize Zoo
Highly recommended, even for those who don't like zoos.
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the best birding spots in Belize.
Altún Ha Ruins, Belize
Altún Ha Ruins
Essential for anyone interested in Maya civilisation.
Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize
Mountain Pine Ridge
Great hiking amid spectacular forests, rivers and waterfalls.
Placencia, Belize
Placencia
Small fishing community with idyllic beaches.
Lamanai Ruins, Belize
Lamanai Ruins
Wander freely around this impressive Mayan ruin.
Lubaantun, Belize
Lubaantun
Home of a major late-Maya ceremonial site.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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