Belize: 10 Astounding Natural Attractions
Here are 10 astounding natural attractions in Belize
According to Merriam-webster dictionary,
Humans, as a race has always had a knack for building impressive edifices to house their most precious people, trinkets or beliefs in. It's as though we have an obsession with constructing ever more impressive tributes to our intelligence, because, how else would it happen if not for our awesome brains? Still - nature always has a way of bringing all things full circle, as all things we know about making big buildings, came from observing the awe-inspiring structures that nature makes on its own.
Belize has her share of those wonders so much so that even the ancient Maya revered some of them.
Check out these 10 astounding natural attractions in Belize:
1 Barrier Reef
Kicking off the list with the most famous entry to date, the Belize Barrier reef, part of the mesoamerican reef system, is the second largest and healthiest stretch of coral reef in the world.
It is dwarfed only by the Great Barrier reef in Australia. It being "second biggest" does not at all downplay the significance and wonder of this natural formation - Coral reefs spawn and thrive only where the conditions such as bed depth and water temperature are exactly right.
The warm, shallow Caribbean shelf that borders Belize's national waters was the second most perfect place in the entire world to make something so wonderful grow.
The reef is much more than just a travelers attraction, it's a mecca for sea life and keeps large waves at bay, dampening shore erosion and protecting little Belize from some of the effects of hurricanes. Proof that sometimes the innocuous can be essential!
[BONUS: Check out these great Belize Rainforest & Reef Vacation Packages]
2 Limestone Caves
If you're a familiar reader of Belize Travel Blog then you know this one as well, we speak about them often enough - that's really only because they're absolutely awesome!
The mountains, hills and most of the large formations of 'rock' in Belize are primarily composed of limestone, which is made up of bits and pieces of compacted fish skeletons and coral shells hence the color. Limestone, other than its multitude of uses, erodes easier than most and while this may sound like a terrible thing it is exactly what has enabled Belize to become home to many cave systems and even the famous Great Blue Hole.
What's so interesting about caves you might want to know... well, the Maya who inhabited Belize originally believed these caves were entrances to the underworld, and as such, performed ceremonies to appease the gods there. To this day, pottery, jewelry, and even human remains can be seen in their final resting places within the caves.
3 Mayan King Falls
Most waterfalls are the stuff of sightseeing like Niagra falls in North America or 1000ft falls here in Belize. Large, awesome, and powerful formations that pour water over the edge at terminal velocity and roar for miles. Few are the times that a waterfall is a perfect balance of size and power to be both admired and enjoyed. Mayan King waterfall in southern Belize is one such location.
The stream cascades down a rock face where it then collects in a large natural pool before continuing its flow to meet the rest of the river.
Mayan King waterfall is the image of serenity from the tranquil pool to the natural shower that is the stream that falls. Sometimes things need not be grand to be wonderful and Mayan King falls is proof of this... even Ms. Belize Universe loves spending time here!
4 Coastal Atolls
You're thinking, atolls guys? Really? Belize isn't the only place with atolls. You're right, but hear us out.
Belize is home to over 300 small islands and since we're shelling out numbers over 500 species of birds including seabirds. Many of these atolls are part of or bordered by the Barrier reef. Charles Darwin would have been just as impressed by the diversity of sea life on our tiny reef islands.
Snorkeling and sometimes scuba diving will make your eyes hosts to a spectrum of natural colors and formations, as we all know, sea critters like to be pretty vibrant.
Bird watching through the mangrove patches and fly fishing on the shallow shoals are some of the most popular activities on our atolls, and if you just want to go swim in a place you didn't imagine could be real then you need not look any further.
5 The Sleeping Giant
The Sleeping Giant is a mountain ridge that can be seen from both the western and southern highways in Belize.
The name is gotten because at one end of the formation there are peaks arranged in a way to seem as though it has formed a face, and it's long enough to resemble the rest of a body. The Sleeping giant is a unique formation in Belize hence it's notoriety and the eastern plainlands that surround it make photographing the sleeping giant from afar a breeze.
On the other side of it, on the south traffic highway, there is a resort aptly named "Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge" that boasts awe-inspiring views of the giant's face through the trees, especially at sunrise. The best part of this attraction? You're guaranteed to see it if you take any form of land transportation to or from the west - no entry fees needed.
6 St Hermans Blue hole
St Hermans Blue Hole is so frequently confused with the great blue hole, and we can't blame whoever named it because it sort of is the same kind of thing.
St Herman's blue hole is a natural pool that came to be after a wall in an underground water passage collapsed and leaked out into the area. Why is it called the blue hole too? Not due to a lack of creativity that's for sure, be it the nature of underground spring water or the limestone that surrounds it - this pool of water is the clearest fresh water one can find, with the deepest hues of blue not usually seen in freshwater.
There are also few places cooler to take a dip on a warm tropical day, some warning, though - if it is anything other than sunny this water can be pretty cold!
7 Rio On Pools
The Rio On Pools is yet another product of water doing its gradual good work.
The water that flows down and through the Maya Mountain range has created some truly awe-inspiring vistas. At the Rio On pools, you can skip up and down rock formations to find one of the literal small pools to sit and take a dip. Not much a place for swimming per say as the pools aren't extensive or deep but perfect for a refreshing dip and a few hours of relaxed lounging while you listen to the trickles and roars as the water cascades over the rocks.
A bonus to visiting this locale which wasn't mentioned because it's part of another category is the Rio Frio cave, a tall open cave mouth perfect for those who want to take a peek but not dive into the extreme adventure that are the likes of ATM and Barton Creek.
8 Cockscomb basin
Cockscomb basin is a bit of an oddball on this list, yes - jungles are common natural phenomena, also yes - the concept of nature reserves are man made. Now that we're clarified this, The cockscomb basin is host to some of the most diverse wild and plant life on mainland Belize, an abundance of streams, small falls, and even Victoria Peak all nest in this location.
An especially interesting note about Cockscomb is the fact this is (to our knowledge) the only jaguar reserve anywhere in the world. This region in Belize has the densest and healthiest jaguar population in all of Central America. The best part? They roam free and relatively undisturbed, we know all this only by jungle cameras and anecdotal accounts as even researchers try their best not to be invasive with these big cats.
9 Mexico Rocks
Mexico Rocks - so named because they're rocks that are close to Mexico happen to be so much more than what they sound like.
Mexico Rocks is a shallow patch of predominantly boulder corals. Why are boulder corals so special you ask? Because they are rare - only found around three sites in Belize. The area is known for sea species such as; conch, banded shrimps, arrow crabs, flounders, stingrays, yellow-tail snappers, and an assortment of butterfly-fishes and angelfishes.
This is an important site for Ambergris Caye's Eco-tourism efforts as it underscores the delicate balance that is sometimes overlooked in places such as these.
10 Great Blue Hole
Those of you who are slightly more Familiar with Belize would have been wondering where this one was - the second most iconic attraction off Belize's shore is the Great Blue hole. Proving yet again that our lists are usually in no particular order.
The great blue hole is a thousand-year-old limestone formation that had its roof collapse in on itself then later got engulfed by rising sea levels to create the ultra interesting formation we see today.
Scuba diving (the favorite activity there) into and through the mouth of the sinkhole will have your eyes be host to an array of sea life, getting weirder and more exotic as you delve into deeper, darker water. Don't be scared, though, there is no Kraken nor are there megalodons in there, simply a bunch of happy fishes who are a lot more afraid of you than you could ever be of them.
Belize is filled with astonishing natural attractions, much more than we can fit into one blog post.
Which of these was your favorite? Have you visited any we didn't mention above? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂
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