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 harbor 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.
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.
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 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She 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, movies, 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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