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Top Tourist Attractions in Belize

Updated on July 23, 2012
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About Belize

Belize,situated in Central America, has a diverse society and is known for its great variety of cultures and languages. English is the official language but Mayan and Spanish is spoken across the country.

Belize is seen as a special place to visit because it offers its visitors an abundance of terrestrial and marine species and a diversity of ecosystems. Although it is a Central American nation, it shows strong Caribbean and Latin American ties, attracting more than one million visitors annually.

In this hub we will only be able to look at a few of the top attractions in Belize, but this is more than enough to make one feel like getting on a plane and visiting this unique destination.


Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal is a cave, notable as a Maya archaeological site that includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware. Here you will discover more than 2000 years of history that has been hidden in the middle of the jungle. The cave is extensively decorated with cave formations. The Mayans modified the cave formations and created altars for offerings or silhouettes of faces and animals.

The cave is situated in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve and the upper passage is called "The Cathedral". Here you will find 14 skeleton remains and numerous examples of ancient Maya pottery and witness how the Ancients used their caverns.

The ecosystem in the cave consists of a large population of bats, crayfish, large freshwater crabs, catfish and many other tropical fish. Many predatory spiders, Agouti and otters can also be found in the cave.

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Belize Zoo

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, founded in 1983, is situated upon 29 acres of tropical savanna. The zoo exhibits more than 125 animals, all native to Belize. The Zoo of Belize receives more than 15 000 school children annually and offers summer camps and Science fairs etc.

Belize Zoo, unlike most other zoos in the world, houses the animals in large vegetated enclosures of mesh and wood, rather than keeping them in cages or surrounded by bars or barred concrete bunkers. It is very important for the zoo to protect the original habitats that sustain these animals.

The Zoo has approximately 145 mammal species, 543 species of birds and 139 species of reptiles have been identified up to date.

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Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker, a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize, has become a popular destination for backpackers and other tourists.

Although the main industry on the island is tourism, fishing is huge as well because the island sits in the middle of natural migration routes for fish, and feeding grounds for conch and lobster.

The island is accessible by high-speed water taxi or small plane but once on the island, the main modes of transport are walking, bicycles or golf carts. There are over 30 hotels, and a number of restaurants and shops to choose from and you will surely find something for your taste and your budget. The island is also very popular because of the launch off for SCUBA diving the Great Blue Hole.

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The Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole, situated off the coast of Belize, is a huge underwater sinkhole with a circular shape and it is over 300 m wide and 124 m deep. Its walls are molded with an array of bizarre stalactites and limestone formations which become more intense and intricate deeper down.

It has been declared as one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world, giving you the opportunity to dive in crystal-clear water and meet several species of fish. These species include giant groupers, nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks and blacktip sharks, bull sharks and hammerheads.

FAO proposed The Great Blue Hole as a National Reserve in 1978 and is seen as a Natural Monument under the National Parks System Act.

Dive trips to the Great blue Hole are full-day trips and include one dive in the Blue Hole and two dives in nearby reefs.

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Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in 150 square miles of tropical forest and is the one and only Jaguar Preserve in the world. This sanctuary is rich in beauty, wildlife and the Maya culture.

The sanctuary is also renowned for its bird population and boasts up to 300 recorded species, including the Macaw, Keel-billed Toucan and the Great Curossow. Wildlife includes the jaguar, howler monkeys, jaguarundi, gibnut and coatamundi. Cockscomb has set aside 150 square miles of the rain forest to provide a protected area for about 200 jaguars.

Annual rainfall in the forest is between 100 to 180 inches and mostly occurs in the rainy season (June to January).


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Xunantunich

Xunantunich, also known as The Stone Lady,  is a classical ceremonial center (300-900 AD) and occupies about 2.6 km². El Castillo is a partially-excavated pyramid that rises 130 feet above the main plaza, offering an impressive view of the whole of the Belize Cayo district as well as Guatemala.

Xunantunich consists of a series of six plazas ringed with pyramids and surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces. The museum displays a three-dimensional model of the entire site as well as the evolution of the Maya civilization.

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    • Melissa Orourke profile image

      Melissa Orourke 

      3 years ago from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras

      Thank you. I am heading to Belize in a few short weeks and needed some info!

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 

      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Wow! Fantastic hub with gorgeous pix. You've just added to my "dying to travel bug".

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