Belize in the Balance
For decades, the Belize Barrier Reef – the longest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most pristine in the world – was the main attraction of this small Central American country. That’s what first attracted me to Belize: 185 miles of unspoiled reef lying under warm water as clear as gin, with coral gardens and marine life as wild and colorful as LeRoy Neiman paintings – and a lifetime’s worth of dive sites.
But in recent years savvy travelers (including me) have discovered the “other” Belize, the part above the waterline – a treasure-trove of glorious beaches, ancient Maya ruins, back-to-nature jungle experiences and enough adventures to keep a modern-day Indiana Jones busy for, well, a lifetime.
First, a quick geography/history lesson. The independent country of Belize is tucked into the elbow of land where Mexico joins Guatemala, with the western Caribbean Sea caressing its lovely beaches. Belize was once part of the extensive Maya empire. It has a wealth of archeological treasures,some of which have been wrested from the jungle and are open to tourists. Many more lie shrouded in vegetation, awaiting discovery and excavation.
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