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The second port of call on our Caribbean cruise was to the second smallest country in Central America, Belize. All ships anchor in Belize City harbour and passengers are whizzed from ship to shore via speedy Belizean tenders which takes approximately 20 minutes to tender ashore.
Interesting Fact: Belize is the only English language-speaking country in Central America. While English is the official language of Belize, Kriol is the language that they all speak.
Belize is a small country in Central America which is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 km long and 110 km wide.
To the east in the Caribbean Sea, the second-longest barrier reef in the world flanks much of the 386 kilometres of predominantly marshy coastline. The Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of cays, is home to a large diversity of marine life.
This alluring underwater world is undoubtedly the top attraction in Belize. Snorkellers swim through translucent seas, marvelling at a kaleidoscope of coral, fish and turtles; divers go deeper, investigating underwater caves and the world-renowned Blue Hole. You can even go swimming with sharks in Belize.
But Belize is also a country with a rich variety of flora and fauna. It has more than 5,000 species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals, including armadillos, snakes and monkeys. Between December and May, migrating birds flock to the lagoons, rivers and swamps of the massive Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. The beautiful Mayflower Bocawina National Park consists of dense jungle, mountains, waterfalls, walking trails, swimming holes and small Maya sites.
The third attraction is that Belize is home to one of the world’s most mysterious civilizations – the ancient Maya. The country is sprinkled with archaeological sites and the must see ruins are located at Xunantunich, Caracol, Lamanai, Cuello, Cerra Maya and Altun Ha.
For the adventurous the country’s most popular cave-tubing site is east of Belmopan. Here, the Caves Branch River flows through five caves, taking tubers between the open air and cool caverns, and giving them an up-close view of stalactites, stalagmites, crystalline formations and artifacts from ancient Maya rituals.
Belize City, with its wooden and brick buildings, exudes colonial charm. But apart from a few shops selling the usual souvenirs and a couple of bars and restaurants, it is primarily a jumping off point for tours and excursions to its many natural and historical attractions.
We were whisked away by a dive boat on a snorkelling trip about 45 minutes offshore to the palm fringed Island of Goff’s Caye. This small tropical paradise offers white sandy beaches with shallow crystal blue waters and a reef just offshore. Our dive boat took us out onto the outer reef, not even 5 minutes offshore, where we plunged into the waters to see some spectacular coral and tropical fish in the pristine clear waters.
Although we only spent a day at this beautiful tropical paradise, albeit mostly spent on a snorkelling trip, I was in awe of the natural beauty of Belize. With its world renowned reefs and diving spots, the historically significant Mayan ruins plus the lush tropical rainforests bursting with the most amazing wildlife and plants, it offered so much to the tourist. It was another place in the world that I would love to delve deeper into.
For more posts on cruising the Caribbean see Cozumel: Mayans and Mariachis and Mexico & Caribbean Cruising
Next stop is Roatan, Honduras -another tropical paradise!
Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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JohannaJune 13, 2015
Wow, it looks an absolutely stunning place – all that I imagined and more. What an amazing phenomena that blue hole looks to be. I bet the snorkelling was absolutely gorgeous.
KathyJune 13, 2015
The snorkelling was amazing in Belize, but it was a little choppy the day we went and I kept getting water in my snorkel. My husband would have loved to have scuba dived at the Blue Hole, but time did not allow. Unfortunately you only get to see a small snippet of each place.
Pinky PoinkerJune 15, 2015
Do you think the sky looks different in the Northern Hemisphere? I’ve always thought so and it does look different in your photographs. Did you take those photos Kathy? They’re outstanding. Especially that Toucan.
KathyJune 15, 2015
I can’t really say if I noticed the sky looking different but it was sometimes not as blue as ours. I confess to not taking all these photos myself. I got them off Shutterstock as we spent our day at Belize snorkelling on a coral caye and not exploring Belize. The ones I took are watermarked. :)
NancieJune 17, 2015
Hi Kathy. Your photos are stunning. I’ve read a lot about Belize over the years, but have never been. The snorkeling looks amazing, and I love those Mayan ruins. I visited Chitzenetza (bad spelling) in Mexico, many years ago. I agree, fascinating culture! Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday
KathyJune 19, 2015
Thanks Nancie. I can’t take credit for some of these photos, but from what we saw of Belize it was a very beautiful country. I would love to return to Central America to delve deeper.
Red Nomad OZJune 21, 2015
The blue hole looks AWESOME! I’ve always thought Belize sounded so exotic – now I see it really is! Your cruise is sounding better and better :D
KathyJune 22, 2015
My husband would have loved to scuba dive at the Blue Hole, but time did not permit. We only had enough time to snorkel for around an hour and bask in the sun for another hour, then it was time to return to Belize City.