I haven’t been to Belize (yet), but it’s definitely on my list. There are so many ways to explore nature in Belize, whether snorkeling, hiking through the jungle, cave tubing or exploring Mayan ruins throughout the country, even just over the border in Guatemala.
Even better, we’re coming up on the dry season, which begins in mid-November, making now a fantastic time to book a family vacation in Belize. Take a look at six reasons you and your kids will love Belize:
1. Snorkeling. It’s a must to go snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef. Not only is the Belize Barrier Reef the second largest coral reef system in the world, but some say the area offers the best snorkeling in Central America. Try snorkeling off Caye Caulker and Tobacco Caye for marine life at its best, like tropical fish, nurse sharks and rays. Diving is also quite popular in Belize.
2. Mayan Ruins. Yes, Mayan ruins can be found outside of Mexico and Belize is a fantastic place to explore archaeological ruins with your kids. Try Caracol, near the border of Guatemala, which was the center of one of the largest Mayan empires. Stay at popular Chaa Creek and you’ll be within 90 minutes of four different Mayan temples and archaeological sites, including Caracol.
3. Cave Tubing. Put on a head lamp, grab a tube and get ready for an adventure along the Caves Branch River. Most cave tubing adventures last about a half-day and begin in Belize City. Plan to do some hiking through the rainforest at Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve before tubing along the river and through caves for nearly an hour. Some tours combine cave tubing with ziplining and ATV rides.
4. Howler Monkeys. Just as you can find ruins outside of Mexico, you can find howler monkeys outside of Costa Rica. Take a guided jungle hike with Monkey River Eco Tours near Placencia and you’ll be able to experience mangroves, tropical birds and flowers, and of course, black howler monkeys. You’ll also learn about medicinal plants along the jungle hike.
5. Manatees. Manatees roam the coast of Belize and kids will love the Manatee Snorkeling Adventure offered by Searious Adventures. You’ll first take a boat trip to Swallow Caye near Belize City, which is known for West Indian Manatees. You’ll then travel to Goffs Caye to snorkel right off the beach. Or, head to Manatee Lodge, which offers Manatee Watch excursions along the Southern Lagoon.
6. Jungle Hikes. There are truly some fantastic hiking trails in Belize that will get you up close with jungle birds and animals, medicinal plants and even Mayan ruins. A great place to hike is in Blue Hole National Park. Go on your own and take a swim in the blue swimming holes (cenotes). Or, hike to the Bocawina and Three Sisters Falls in Mayflower Bocawina National Park.
Photo Credit: James Willamor