Belize, a small Central American country, has more than its share of coastal beauty. The reefs and cayes (small islands) that line its 150-mile coast are part of the Western Hemisphere’s largest reef system. Inland, more than half of Belize is covered with dense forests and nature preserves.
Cruise ships call on Belize City, the country’s commercial capital. Ships dock just outside of the harbor, and guests board speedy tenders for the short trip to the docks at Tourist Village. The city has some charming remnants of the days when Belize was a British colony, especially around the Fort George area. City tours are available, but many cruise guests choose excursions to dive sites, Mayan ruins, ziplines and other outdoor adventures.
There are many wonderful dive sites along the barrier reef, and some of the best are just off Ambergris Caye. The barrier reef is home to hundreds of species of hard and soft corals, fish and other sea life. (Note that the famous Great Blue Hole is for very experienced divers only.)
You can enjoy some wonderful beach time in Belize, too, on the mainland or on the cayes. A ferry can take you to Caye Caulker: the entire caye is made of white coral sand, perfect for soaking up the sun and admiring the view of the Caribbean.
Belize has more than two dozen archaeological sites related to the Mayan Empire: one of the most fascinating is Altun Ha, which was a major trading and ceremonial outpost. The largest of the temples at this site, the Temple of the Masonry Altars, is 54 feet high. You can also visit Xunantunich, where six large plazas are surrounded by more than two dozen temples; the largest is El Castillo, which visitors are allowed to climb. At the top, you’ll have a panoramic view of rainforests, mountains, and neighboring Guatemala.
There are many more options for a shore excursion in Belize, such as floating through underground caves in an inner tube; exploring a jungle via kayak, horseback or bike; or enjoying an airboat ride out on the blue water.
Belize is often included on Western Caribbean cruise itineraries. To pick a cruise that will take you there, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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