Enjoy the best of both worlds in Belize with world-class diving offshore and mainland treasures such as untamed jungles and mystical Mayan ruins. Go scuba diving or snorkeling along the Western Hemisphere’s largest reef, or head inland for jungle treks and bird-watching tours. Amongst Central America vacation choices, Belize defines paradise and is found right at North America’s doorstep. With direct flights from the USA and Canada, sun and adventure seekers won’t believe what awaits.
Grab your mask and fins to get the most out of Ambergris Caye, ground zero for excursions to the magnificent Belize Barrier Reef. The largest of Belize’s sun-splashed islands, Ambergris runs parallel to the reef, making it a jumping off point for divers of every level.
The 300-kilometre (185-mile) reef, the second largest in the world, teems with colourful tropical fish, sponges, and crustaceans. Octopuses, nurse sharks, spotted eagle rays, and sea turtles commonly glide through the beautiful coral gardens.
Be sure to explore the wondrous Hol Chan Marine Reserve and dive its natural cut through the reef, which varies in depth between 1 and 9 metres (3 and 30 feet). Watch as harmless nurse sharks and graceful southern stingrays ply the crystalline waters of the cut, aptly named Shark Ray Alley.
Ambergris also offers many sailing, fishing, kayaking, and windsurfing activities. When it’s time to dry off, enjoy San Pedro, the island’s only town, and its delicious assortment of waterfront restaurants and tiki bars. Goway offers many hotel choices, from 3-star barefoot affordability up to barefoot 5-star luxury.
Just 56 kilometres (35 miles) from Belize City, Ambergris can be reached by boat or plane. This laid-back island has almost no cars, so traveling by foot, bicycle, or even golf cart is the way to go.
Caves, forests, & falls beckon
Head west to explore untamed forests, wild rivers and waterfalls, mysterious caves, and ruins in the Cayo District. You’ll find no beaches here, but rather a verdant, unspoiled wilderness with all its treasures.
At Belize’s oldest and largest national park, Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, you can scope out sprawling caves, glimpse tropical birds darting through treetops, and swim in cool, clear rivers. Your must-see spots include the alluring Rio Frio Cave and the refreshing Rio On Pools.
Travel on foot or horse, or by kayak, raft, or canoe, as you marvel at Belize’s wild side.
Surround yourself with ancient mystique and jungle intrigue at Lamanai, the longest-occupied city of the Maya world. Jump-start your imagination even before you arrive by taking a rustic cruise down a tree-shrouded river to reach Lamanai and its many structures.
Meaning “submerged crocodile” in a Maya language, Lamanai is awash with carvings depicting the toothy reptile. It’s no wonder, as the 388-hectare (960-acre) complex overlooks the untamed New River Lagoon.
Containing more than 700 mapped structures, Lamanai features three ancient temples. Climb the steep High Temple (33 metres / 108 feet) and be rewarded with a panoramic view of Belize and Guatemala. In the Mask Temple, you’ll see artifacts from Maya, Aztec, and Olmec rulers.
Goway’s recommended Jungle lodge in the region is Black Rock.
Behold the amazing Great Blue Hole
Dive into the world’s largest natural formation of its kind, the incredible Great Blue Hole. Visible even from space, the near-perfect circle of shimmering, sapphire-blue water reaches a depth of about 124 metres (407 feet) with a width of over 300 metres (984 feet).
Truly a sight to behold, the Great Blue Hole thrives with marine diversity and contains stalactites formed more than 153,000 years ago. Your underwater panorama includes multi-coloured tropical fish, several species of reef sharks, giant groupers, and dazzling corals.
The living array changes as you slowly descend through the different habitats of this world-class dive destination. You’ll quickly see why the Discovery Channel ranked the Great Blue Hole number one on its list of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth.”
The underwater cavern lies near the centre of Lighthouse Reef, which offers more than 50 kilometres (80 miles) of extraordinary diving in crystal clear waters within the Belize Barrier Reef. In addition to dive trips, you can appreciate the immense beauty of the Great Blue Hole with an aerial flyover.Access to the Blue Hole is a day trip from almost any coastal or island resort.