“One of the things that makes Belize such a spectacular destination is its natural beauty. Belize boasts the most accessible wilderness in the Western Hemisphere and wildlife that lures travelers from all over the world.”
– Insight Guide to Belize
The slopes of the Maya Mountains are framed by the miraculous beauty of tropical rainforest, famously tangled, wet and filled with more species of plants and animals than any other habitat on earth. Seventy five percent of Belize is covered with tropical forest of which 40% is protected. Within this diverse ecosystem are magnificent waterfalls stemming from cool, clear rivers. Belize also houses the only jaguar reserve in the world, with five different species of wild cats as well as hundreds of birds and exotic plants.
An abundance of national parks, private nature reserves and botanical gardens offer nature trails for soft or extreme adventure. Whether taking a day tour or spending several days camping, you will encounter exotic tropical plants, the song of brilliantly plumed birdlife, glimpses of tropical wildlife, including howler monkeys in the trees overhead, a crocodile sunning quietly along the riverbank or the tracks of the elusive jaguar and tapir.
Belize is home to over 500 species of birds. Prominent examples include Belize’s national bird the keel-billed toucan – found in forested areas; the elegant jabiru stork – the largest flying bird in Central America with a wingspan of some 8 feet which nests in the coastal wetlands; flocks of scarlet macaws which feed and nest in the Maya Moutains; and the magnificent frigate bird frequently seen soaring along the coast and over the islands.
Belize is blessed with sparkling rivers and lagoons that create glistening threads against a tapestry of green. These clear waters make their way from the mountains through limestone caves to the Caribbean Sea. Cool off with a swim, take a leisurely canoe ride upriver or float beneath towering trees and through magnificent caves on a cave-tubing adventure.
Belize’s land surface is uderlined by limestone with the most extensive network of caves and sinkholes in Central America. Therein lies magnificent natural formations such as stalactites and stalagmites, crystal caverns and underground waterfalls. Other caves house secrets of Belize’s Maya heritage including intact pottery and human skeletal remains.
Belize was once the center of one of the greatest civilizations of antiquity. Evidence of the ancient Maya lie strewn about the country. Climb ancient temples for spectacular views of the surrounding jungle, view larger-than-life stelae and carvings of gods and rulers; marvel at the beauty and artistry of jade artifacts in museums and visitor centers; or indulge your dream on archaeologist through study programs or assisting with professional field research.
Belize’s zip lining, rapelling and aerial canopy tours are first-class, high adventure trips for adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers. On the canopy tour, traverse from one tree platform to another high above the forest floor securely fastened to a steel cable. Enjoy the rush of rappelling through the rainforest canopy to the forest floor hundreds of feet below.
Cantering across the savannah, crossing a jungle stream or blazing a trail through the rainforest astride a well-trained horse offers an exciting perspective of Belize’s terrain.
Spend the night in the wild. Discover nocturnal creatures on night hikes. Awaken to the sounds of the rain forest. Designated campgrounds are located in many national parks and several offer guided night tours.