Belize is easily one of my favorite countries, hands down. I loved everything about my visit to Ambergris Caye, a small island off the coast (that is, except the 15-minute, prop plane ride that felt like 3 hours). So here are 5 reasons you should pack up your stuff and visit Belize…right now.
The Mayan ruins are an amazing archaeological site to behold! The grandiose scale, the detail and the fact that they are still standing, is monumental. Located on the mainland of Belize, there are a few options to choose from if ruins are on your radar.
Altun Ha is a popular site choice, but on my visit we chose Xunantunich, another popular site. We originally had to change dates because Prince Harry (yes, THE Prince Harry) was visiting, but when we made it there it was great learning about the culture behind the site. Scaling the ruins was a hike, but the views were worth it. Not to mention from Xunantunich you can see Guatemala, as it is near the border. Tip: Choose an excursion that includes cave tubing (and also possibly ziplining). I am generally not a huge partaker or this type of activity, but it was super memorable and not to be missed.
The Blue Hole
Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. And the Blue Hole is the highlight of any diver’s dream. Even when you just Google it, you will understand why. I don’t dive, but both diving and snorkeling in Belize allows the adventurous to view the beautiful reefs and copious fish and marine life. The water is warm and appeared to be mostly calm.
Belize has some of the most amazingly kind people I have ever encountered. I have to admit, we were a bit thrown by it at first. We happened to be there during an election, and the residents were genuinely enthused about the political process. People wore shirts and there were rallies in the streets.
But that wasn’t the surprising part. As we were walking down the street, people just came up to us and talked to us. Being visitors, we naturally had our guard up a bit. “Is this your first time in Belize?” “Are you enjoying our country?” “Where are you from, LA?” I am still not sure how they knew we lived in LA, but there was a genuine concern as to whether we were enjoying ourselves and what we thought of the country. This type of interaction happened enough, along with ‘hellos’ and smiles, that we came a bit accustomed to it.
Even when walking the streets of San Pedro well after midnight (which was exceptionally safe… safer than walking the streets of most U.S. cities at that time of night), people were warm and friendly. We weren’t haggled to buy the street vendors wares. It was a very low key and chill atmosphere, with street food and socializing.
Belize has a unique history and culture. It is a part of the British commonwealth, but is comprised of a strong mix of cultures. It has pronounced African roots, along with a Latin American/Spanish influence, all wrapped in the backdrop of the Mayan ancestry. In some individuals, you can see the strong Mayan/Yucatan Peninsula roots and influence that is pervasive in the area. It is amazing to see such a blend of cultures, combined with the history of the Mayan ruins and Creole influence.
This almost goes without saying. Did you see the main picture???
The views from Ambergris Caye are absolutely stunning. The colors—the oranges and the multiple shades of blue of the Caribbean Sea—are not to be missed. The waters are calm along the coastline, but you can see the vibrant hues of blue even walking along the beach. And those sunsets…Wow. It is picturesque to the max!
Bonus: The Cheap Airfare
One added bonus that makes all of the difference is the cheap flights. I have been seeing flight deals as low as a couple to a few hundred dollars on-and-off to Belize for months. It is easily accessible, connecting both through Miami or Dallas, and even on points or miles it is a relatively low cost. Even Southwest Airlines flies to Belize City now. For example, on American Airlines, a domestic round trip on miles is a minimum of 25K miles; Belize is a minimum of 25-30K. So for only a the same amount or few thousand miles more, you can hit the gorgeous shores of Belize. Isn’t that incentive enough? Tip: If you play to stay on one of the Cayes, don’t forget to book either a 15-minute puddle-jumper or a 2-hour ferry ride, as all international flights arrive in Belize City (BZE).
So there you have it. Five reasons to visit Belize now. Sound off: Why do you love and recommend Belize?