Spotlight on Belize
An adventurer's paradise, Belize is your peaceful, English-speaking neighbor only two hours away from 3 major U.S. Gateways. With a diversity of adventure opportunities unmatched by any other country, the Belize people have protected 40% of the country as parks and natural reserves. Belize is on the Caribbean coast, nestled between Mexico and Guatemala and offers an intriguing mix of tropical forests rich with wildlife, majestic 3,675 foot mountains, mysterious Maya temples, and diving and fishing experiences beyond compare. In a single day you can go from tropical forest to the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It offers the visitor an unusual combination of rustic, old-fashioned Caribbean charm and bustling modernity. The Belize River meanders through the middle of the city; and twice a day, the city's swing bridge closes to allow sail boats to pass. There are many traditional street vendors selling fruits, vegetables, arts and crafts in the city's public squares, especially in the colonial marketplace on Saturday mornings. Visitors can purchase handmade wood furniture made by the Mennonite community and many kinds of craft items from the National Handicraft center, as well as from vendors who congregate near the Belize Commercial Center. Belize City is an excellent starting off point for visitors wishing to explore the country by car (or 4-wheel drive). There are several major tourist attractions an hour's drive or less from Belize City, such as the Belize Zoo, Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, the Bermudian Landing Community Baboon Sanctuary, and the Mayan ruin site at Altun Ha.
Ambergris Caye - Today Ambergris Caye is a world class destination for diving. Ambergris Caye also offers a variety of water sport activities from snorkeling to windsurfing, sailing, fishing, parasailing, jet-skiing even glass bottom boat tours. If you enjoy nature, there's a new national park at the north end of the island called Bacalar Chico. The entire area is a protected sanctuary for mangroves, birds and sea life. "Manatee Watches" are a popular option. You can also rent a bike and cross the pull ferry and travel north along the beach for several miles. Along the way you can stop and have lunch at Sweet Basils or drop in for a drink at Captain Morgans or Mata Chica, film locations for "Temptation Island".
Cayo District - Cayo spans more than 2,000 square miles across diverse terrain, changing from lush river valleys and savannas, to jungle hillsides and rugged mountain ridges. With an estimated population of around 40,000, one of Cayo District's most important industries is ecotourism. Besides the country's most extensive number of archeological sites and a growing number of comfortable accommodations, Cayo offers visitors the unique opportunity to encounter its physically diverse flora and fauna, with such natural wonders as cascading waterfalls and limestone caves in an intact and relatively undisturbed environment. In fact over 60% of Cayo District has been set aside as either a Wildlife Sanctuary, National Park, or Forest Reserve. To experience Cayo you can hike, canoe, travel by horseback, or tour in the comfort of an air-conditioned van. Whatever your preference, prepare yourself for the ultimate in an "up close and personal" experience you're not likely to forget.