Belize – A Great Destination To Warm Up This Winter
For many people, Belize is one of those mysterious places that they’ve heard of but seems so far away. But savvy travelers have cottoned on to the fact that Belize is rapidly becoming one of the best places to go to escape the winter cold.
A semi-tropical country with a climate similar to that of Miami’s, Belize is a sparsely populated land on the western shores of the Caribbean. The mainland is a hotbed of strange and exotic wildlife such as monkeys, jaguars, and toucans while the offshore reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the finest diving and snorkeling sites in the world. The offshore reef is also home to the only three atolls found outside of the Pacific Ocean, huge rings of coral that surround a lagoon teeming with life. The Glover’s Spit Atoll on the eastern edge of the reef is a protected conservation area and home to over 700 patch reefs. And Lighthouse Reef is where you’ll find the Belize Blue Hole, a huge underwater cave system that Jacques Cousteau ranked as one of his top 10 favorite dive sites in the world.
But there’s plenty to see and enjoy on the mainland as well. Belize has a tiny population, but it is composed of several distinct ethnic groups, including the Creole, Mestizos, the Maya, the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna people, and even German-speaking Mennonites. These cultures have successfully preserved many of their ancient traditions, including music, handicrafts, dance, language, and food.
As a sub-tropical country, Belize’s landscape is home to vast stands of thick tropical rainforest and mysterious jungles where hundreds of jaguars still roam. Parrots, toucans, macaws, and other brightly colored birds sail through the air, and approximately 600 species of birds have been recorded in Belize. The jungles are also home to over 200 ancient Maya sites, including colossal stone cities like Xunantunich and Caracol where you’ll find the tallest buildings in the country. The ancient Maya also left behind sacred underground religious centers such as the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave where a dozen people were ritually murdered as human sacrifices more than 1,000 years ago.
The perfect nature getaway in Belize this winter is at one of Caves Branch Jungle Lodge’s tree houses. Widely known as the adventure capital of Belize, Caves Branch specializes in birdwatching tours and activities like night hikes in the jungle, botanical tours, and cave tubing (exploring underground caves by inner tube).