Belize bills itself as Mother Nature’s best-kept secret, but the cat’s out of the bag and the tiny Central American country is becoming a mecca for active travelers seeking adventure in one easily accessible locale. Fit Globetrotter Dena Roché explores what makes adventure travel different in Belize.
Everyone knows about the Great Barrier Reef, but if you’re an adventurer looking for a trip closer to home, check out the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere located off the shores of Ambergris Caye in Belize. The reef is teeming with life, and is a snorkeling paradise. Join a tour put on by the knowledgeable guides from Ramon’s Village and visit Hol Chan Reserve, Belize’s oldest marine reserve and most popular dive/snorkel site. Once at the reef, your guide will lead you on an hour guided snorkel to various spots to see wildlife like turtles, eagle rays, eels, groupers and other marine life. Pair the tour with a trip to Shark Ray Alley to swim with sting rays and nurse sharks.
If snorkeling has whetted your appetite for the seas, get your PADI certification with Ramon’s, the oldest dive shop on the island and then set sail for a dive of Belize’s famous Blue Hole, arguably the most photographed dive site in the world. The site was discovered in 1971 by Jacques Cousteau and Ramon Nunez (of Ramon’s Village). After a 2.5 hour boat ride to the site you’ll dive 130-feet inside the Blue Hole itself and then dive a 60-foot wall dive near Half Moon Caye. After lunch and a visit to a bird sanctuary you’ll wrap up the day diving The Aquarium near Long Caye.
Whether you like deep sea fishing or light tackle fishing, Belize is ready to delight. Deep sea tours focus on marlin, barracuda and wahoo, while reef fishing tours might have you snagging snapper, mackerel or amberjacks. For anglers who prefer using a fly rod or spinning reel, there are plenty of bonefish to fight for and maybe even an elusive Tarpon. Belize is the only place, outside of South Florida where you can try for a fishing Grand Slam-bonefish, permit and tarpon on the same day.
In the jungle of Belize lies the Jungle Jaguar Camp run by Chukka, where you can experience the Mayan history of Belize…by cave tubbing. On your cave tubing excursion you’ll float through crystal caves filled with stalactites as well as the occasional bat. In the heart of the cave you’ll have the opportunity to get off the water and explore this Mayan underworld that dates back to 300-900 AD. You’ll see remnants of Mayan pottery used in their sacrificial ceremonies and your guide will paint a picture of what Mayan life might have been like. The tour ends with the opportunity to tube or swim in a lagoon in the cave.
Flying through the tree tops you’ll have a picture perfect view of the opening to one of the Mayan ceremonial caves and the dense jungle that served as the Mayans hunting grounds. Throughout the tour the guides educate participants on the trees and plants the ancient Mayan’s used for food, ceremony and healing.
Belize offers adventures on land, above land, on the sea and below the water. What adventurer could ask for more?
For more adventure travel around the globe, check out:
- How to Make the Most of the Summer Daylight in Alaska
- The Biggest Surprise in Bocas del Toro
- The Secrets to a Successful National Park Summer Vacation
- Best of the West: Road Trip to Small US Towns & Hidden Gems
By Dena Roché for PeterGreenberg.com. Dena Roché, aka The Fit Globetrotter, covers luxury, wellness and spa travel worldwide. Her work has appeared in Spa Magazine, Robb Report, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and Bridal Guide. Follow her travels and travel tips on Twitter @fitglobetrotter