Belize is a fascinating country that lies in Central America, and was known as British Honduras during its colonial days. In addition to the world’s second largest barrier reef, Belize is home to dense jungles with howler monkeys and jaguars, mountain pine forests, palm-fringed beaches, bonefish flats, rivers, caves, and coral atolls rimmed by fish-rich reefs. Apart from all the natural jewels, Belize’s friendly people are one of its top assets with origins as diverse as the landscapes.
Just off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, laidback Ambergris Caye is the largest of Belize’s 200 cayes and a prime tourist destination. Off the coast, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is one of Belize’s most visited diving and snorkeling sites. It’s named after the Mayan for “little cut” and is one of seven reserves within the Belize Barrier Reef system, which is the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Top attractions in the reserve include a cut in the reef with steep coral walls; Cat’s Eye, a crescent-shaped sinkhole; and Shark Ray Alley where divers can enjoy close encounters with nurse sharks and southern stingrays.
Lighthouse Reef Atoll and the Blue Hole
The farthest from shore of Belize’s three atolls, Lighthouse Reef Atoll is nirvana for nature-lovers and divers. Six cayes surround a turquoise lagoon with gleaming white-sand beaches, coconut palms, and fascinating coral formations. The top draw here is the famous Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Natural Monument. Plunging into the sapphire-toned sinkhole, divers can see bizarre limestone stalactites protruding from the steep walls, and if they’re lucky, the resident school of reef sharks.
Turneffe Islands Atoll
A paradise for divers and anglers, Turneffe Islands Atoll encompasses more than 200 coral islands surrounding a lagoon. It is one of three atoll reefs in Belize’s waters. Seascapes here range from crystalline flats to creeks and lagoons. Corals shimmer in the clear waters, and the atoll is a nursery for many different marine species including grouper, snapper, trunkfish, and the famed bonefish, which lures saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts from around the world.
Belizean cuisine reflects the country’s multiethnic population and rich history by blending all the diverse ingredients making it very special! Foods that originated thousands of years ago are still served every day in Belize.
Tamal having its origin in the earliest Maya cuisine, as does the finger-licking-good Cochinita Pibil style of cooking pork meat. This cochinita pibil is a skinned pig, marinated with strong acidic citrus juice, colored and flavored with annatto seed, wrapped in plantain leaves and buried underground overnight for a slow-roast.