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Ambergris Caye Credit Shutterstock

Belize, Latin America

Wedged between the jungles of Central America and the dazzling Caribbean Sea, Belize is packed with adventure, culture and natural beauty. Swim with whale sharks, hop between islands and delve into Mayan history in this fascinating country, located on the isthumus’s northeastern corner.

Belize Barrier Reef should be high on your agenda. It’s the second largest barrier reef in the world (after Australia’s) and offers fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities. Sink beneath the waves at this UNESCO World Heritage site and discover more than 100 types of coral and 500 species of tropical fish. Swim past brightly-coloured coral, with friendly whale sharks and turtles, or head deeper underwater to explore sunken caves and the Great Blue Hole, a phenomenon of karst topography.

Near the reef, a smattering of islands, known as “cays”, are perfect for other water activities, such as kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing or simply kicking back in a hammock and feeling the sea breeze on your face. Action and adventure await all over the country – try ziplining through the jungle, horseback riding through the national parks or canoeing through underground rivers in the Cayo District.

Venture inland, and you’ll discover lush tropical jungle, stretching from the country’s southern and western regions to the misty heights of the Maya Mountains. This network of national parks and protected wildlife sanctuaries is paradise for bird-watchers, who can marvel at some 570 species, including the keel-billed toucan (Belize’s national bird). Other wildlife to look out for include howler monkeys, green iguana and even jaguar.

For a dose of culture, head to the Cayo District and Toledo's Deep South. These regions are blessed with archaeological sites dating back to the Maya heyday (AD 250–1000). Expect vast stone temples with panoramic forest views and natural caverns where Maya kings would perform rituals and make sacrifices.

Ambergris Caye Credit Shutterstock

When to go

The best time to visit Belize is during the dry season, betweeen January and May. Although warm temperatures are standard there are regional variations: Cayo District and the Cayes experience clear, sunny days; the Toledo District and Placencia enjoy a more tropical climate where there’s a chance of rain at any time of year, hence the lush greenery! In April and May the weather in the Cayo District and on the Cayes remains predominantly dry, while heat and humidity gradually increases. Easter is a very popular time to visit Belize, so you need to book early and it's worth noting that Carnival Week (just before Lent) sees music and dancing, with particularly lively festivities in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.

The wet season runs from June to December, although you can still travel until early August, with rain mostly falling in the afternoon. Travel becomes challenging as the season progresses, and there is a low risk of hurricanes. By December, the rains begin to ease and humidity decreases so the beach hotels can get very busy indeed over Christmas and New Year - we recommend booking well in advance.

climate

travel essentials

Flights: Flying via Miami is the shortest flying time, approx. 9 hours from Heathrow and approx. 2 hours from Miami to Belize City. An alternative route to Belize is to fly into Cancun in Mexico. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly direct to Cancun from London Gatwick 2 or 3 times a week (approx. 11 hour flight time). From Cancun we can arrange a private transfer across to Corozal (approx. 5 hours) or onto Belize City after an overnight stay in Playa del Carmen or Tulum on the Yucatan peninsula.

Time Zone: GMT-6

Health: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belize/health

FCO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belize

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