Belize is a small country in Central America washed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea with around 400 cays scattered all around the area as if they were small pearls cast into the sea from above. Belize also has three of the four atolls in the entire Western Hemisphere and the second largest coral reef on the planet. A large number of other Caribbean countries are more popular with tourists than Belize is but this is unfair and, luckily, the situation is changing. A growing number of tourists from the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain, and – surprisingly – Australia visit Belize every year.
Why should you schedule a visit to Belize in the near future? What tourist attractions can you find there? First, the place offers probably the best diving and fishing opportunities in the world. The water is warm, the coral reefs are amazing, and the underwater flora and fauna is bright and diverse. On the mainland, you will find jungle forests, tropical rivers, fantastic waterfalls with blue water, dozens of unique crystal caves, mysterious ancient Mayan cities lost deep in the jungle, and many more natural wonders. You will feel truly amazed wherever you go in Belize. Half of the country’s territory are protected areas where wildlife is preserved. In Belize, you will find a jaguar preserve (the only one on the planet) and two protected marine areas that are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Belize is not a very rich country and it cannot spend too much money on advertising its tourist attractions internationally. It does advertise them in North America and Great Britain though and these investments are paying back. Americans and Canadians fall in love with Belize when they visit it for the first time and they return to the country again and again. Some of them buy houses there, as real estate prices in Belize are quite affordable. Some other foreigners understand that the demand for residential accommodations is growing in Belize as more and more people from other countries learn about its natural beauty. Thus, they build hotels, resorts, and guesthouses in Belize.
How do Australians find out about Belize? Probably from their friends and relations in the UK and the U.S.A. Why do they take the trouble to go to Belize? Why do they leave their Great Barrier Reef behind and fly to the opposite point on the globe very much? Why do they prefer diving in Belize rather than in Australia? The explanation is simple: unlike near the coasts of Australia, there are no deadly poisonous little jellyfish in the coastal waters of Belize. Diving and snorkeling in Belize is just much safer than it is in Australia.
Seasons in Belize
Winter is the high season in Belize. The country has a tropical monsoon climate and when it is cold in Europe and America, Belize offers warm and dry weather without storms and too much heat. However, there are several reasons why you also may want to visit Belize in summer. First of all, the hotel prices are about 20% lower in the summer months and you don’t have to book a room in advance because space is available in most hotels.
Second, legendary whale sharks come to Belize between April and June three days before the full moon or three days after. You can see the sharks in the two protected water areas that we have mentioned above. Go to the Plasencia Peninsula and watch these peaceful giants with navy blue skin that has white polka dots on it. The species is threatened by extinction.
Third, sea turtles lay eggs on the coast and deserted beaches between late June and late October. If you are lucky, you may be able to see the eggs going to Belize in summer.
One more reason to visit Belize in summer is to be there when the commercial lobster fishing season starts at the beginning of July. The lobsters are exported to Europe and America where they are served in expensive restaurants. This opening of the season is an important event for the Belizean economy and it is marked with festivals. The festivals are especially bright in Plasencia and the island of Ambergris. Artists, musicians, jewelers, and other craftsmen from all over the country participate in the festivals.
They bring and sell wonderful pictures showing the Caribbean lifestyle, redwood sculptures, jewelry made of black coral, river pearls and beautiful shells. Besides, you can find coconut shell crafts and national mats if you attend one of the festivals. There is music all around and a lot of good food including huge lobsters cooked in accordance with Belizean recipes with spices and vegetables.
These attractions may overweigh the threat of hurricanes that occur in Belize between June and late October. Hurricanes do not hit Belize every year. It happens once every 5 or 6 years. Besides, if there is a threat of a hurricane, you can escape to the mountain where the hurricane cannot do you any harm.
Tourist attractions in Belize
Belize is different from such Caribbean resorts as the Bahamas or St Martin, for example. You won’t find skyscrapers, neon lights, brand stores, or white limousines in Belize. What you will find in Belize is palm trees, cool sea breeze, sandy beaches, coral reefs, remnants of Mayan cities, and a lot of peace.
Even hotels in Belize are built to stay in harmony with nature, not to disturb the view. We must note that buildings cannot have more than three stories in the coastal zones. This is prohibited by law. You can find a couple of high-rise buildings in Belize such as Radisson Hotel in Belize City or Princess Casino but there are very few in the country.
Probably one of the most outstanding and unique tourist attractions in Belize is the caves. However, you should not expect a comfortable trip if you would like to see a cave because there is no tourist infrastructure around the caves at all. No benches, no bridges, no music, no lights, no souvenir shops… Nothing. Only you, your guide, and nature.
If you are adventurous, however, you can explore the caves with a flashlight on your forehead. You can follow the paths that Indians followed a long time ago. Mayas had underground temples in the caves, they prayed to gods there, and made human sacrifices.
Finally, you may be interested in seeing the ruins of old Mayan cities in Belize whose number is close to 30. Some of the ancient cities have been discovered but their exploration has not been started yet.
This is what Belize is all about: numerous places of complete wilderness, calmness, beauty, and wonderful weather. Please consider visiting the country soon and maybe you will want to settle down there for the rest of your life.