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The Gap Year Blog

5 Things You Should Do in Belize

18 Dec 2018 12:00 PM
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Photo Credit: Frontier Belize

Although a small country just off Central America, Belize is not to be missed. A marine paradise with islands and historical culture to be explored, the pocket sized country should be next on your bucket list. With a big focus on diving and marine exploration, we’ve put together the best things to do in Belize and what you need to do when you go.

Visit the Mayan ruins

The Mesoamerican civilization of the Maya peoples is central to Belize’s history and it’s obvious with over 600 ancient Mayan ruins which are dotted over the Belizean landscape. Xunantunich is to the very west of Belize in the Cayo District which encapsulates this historical scenery. Venture slightly to the north and you’ll find Lamanai, another significant monument. If you’re interested in archaeology and seeing the preservation of this early history, make sure to venture into this area and grasp what was Belize over two thousand years ago. For the adrenaline junkie, save some space to visit Actun Tunichil Muknal, a Mayan sacred cave which you can find yourself touring around through a caving expedition which includes heavy hiking and getting through rivers. 

 

Go deep diving with the marine life

With the second longest barrier reef in the world, Belize is no stranger to a range of spectacular and colourful marine life. From manatees to stingrays and sharks, go diving with these creatures and see how the Caribbean coast is one of the last unspoiled places on Earth. Off of the coast of Cayes you can learn how the UNESCO World Heritage Site and barrier reef has become popular for its diving with a Belize Marine Conservation project - jump in the deep end and learn how the marine life can become sustainable. 

See the iconic Great Blue Hole

Staying on the topic of diving, it might take a bite out of your travel wallet but seeing the Belize Great Blue Hole is one of the unmissable experiences for the avid marine fan. The giant sinkhole can be seen from above in a helicopter ride from many different starting points, or even go scuba diving deep into the hole itself (although, you’ll have to be an advanced diver to jump in). Known as a dream destination for any fanatic diver, this sight is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a once-in-a-lifetime place to head if you find yourself in Belize. 

See the mangroves 

Imperative in keeping the coral reefs alive, the Belize mangroves are shrubs or trees spread amongst the coasts and it’s one of the country’s national symbols. These “nurseries of the sea” are made of four different species of mangroves in the waters – red, black, white and buttonwood - and they have overgrowing, sprawled roots which support the body of the tree. What people don’t realize that with the popularity of Belize growing, the sustainability of this environment is reducing; with a sustainable trip in mind, there are many Mangrove Conservation projects which take place all over Belize to help conserve these important influencers of the ecosystem. 

 

Take a trip to the islands

If you’re looking to take a day trip out and soak in the Central American lifestyle, with over 200 islands Belize is the place to be. Placencia also known as Silk Caye is a small private island for day trippers to take a beachy break with dazzling clear waters making it perfect to snorkel around the marine life. For a smaller isle, check out Goff’s Caye with white sands and blue waters, it’s popular for its access being only a 30 minute ride form Belize City and a good stop-off for cruise ships. If you’re a couple looking for some private time, St. Georges Caye has its own Resort and doesn’t permit children under 15 because of its romantic mood. Other than romance, it’s also known for its historic culture with colonial buildings spread over the island. You’ll be mulling over all of the choices when exploring Belize’s many islands. 

With beautiful beaches, historical sights and marine life you won’t see anywhere else, you could be travelling to this wonderful country anytime soon. Check out all of our projects in Belize here and come and explore it up close and personal. 

By Caitlin Casey - Online Journalism Intern 

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!