#120 best destination in the world

Great Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef

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Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Giant submarine sinkhole off the coast
  • Formed during several episodes of quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower
  • Formation took place 153,000 years ago
  • As the ocean began to rise, the cave was flooded

Caye Caulker

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Ease of travel: Easy
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea measuring about 5 miles
  • The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village
  • Caye Caulker is accessible by high-speed water taxi or small plane

Xunantunich, Cayo District

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Walk difficulty: Moderate
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Ancient Maya archaeological site in the Cayo District
  • It served as a Maya civic ceremonial center to the Belize Valley region in the Late and Terminal Classic periods
  • At this time, when the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in the Belize Valley

Actun Tunichil Muknal, San Ignacio

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Cave near San Ignacio, Cayo District, notable as a Maya archaeological site that includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware
  • The best known is “The Crystal Maiden”, the skeleton of a 17-year-old boy, possibly a sacrifice victim, whose bones have been calcified to a sparkling, crystallized appearance
  • The ceramics at the site are significant partly because they are marked with “kill holes”, which indicate that they were used for ceremonial purposes
  • The Maya also modified cave formations here, in some instances to create altars for the offerings, in others to create silhouettes of faces and animals or to project a shadow image into the cave
  • Animal life in the cave includes a large population of bats, large freshwater crabs, crayfish, otters, catfish and other tropical fish, as well as large invertebrates like amblypygi and various predatory spiders also inhabit the cave

Lamanai, Orange Walk District

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Walk difficulty: Moderate
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Mesoamerican archaeological site, and once a major city of the Maya civilization, located in Orange Walk District
  • The site’s name is pre-Columbian, recorded by early Spanish missionaries, and documented over a millennium earlier in Maya inscriptions as Lam’an’ain
  • Lamanai is renowned for its exceptionally long occupation spanning three millennia, beginning in the Early Preclassic Maya period and continuing through the Spanish and British Colonial periods, into the 20th century
  • Unlike most Classic-period sites in the southern Maya lowlands, Lamanai was not abandoned at the end of the 10th century AD

Belize Barrier Reef

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Series of coral reefs straddling the coast, roughly 980 ft offshore in the north and 25 miles in the south within the country limits
  • The Belize Barrier Reef is a 190 mile long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún and down to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • Charles Darwin described it as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” in 1842

Caracol, Cayo District

Best time to travel: late Nov-mid April
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Large ancient Maya archaeological site, located in what is now the Cayo District
  • Long thought to be a tertiary center, it is now known that the site was one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Period
  • Caracol covered approximately 77 square miles, covering an area much larger than present-day Belize City, the largest metropolitan area in the country, and supported more than twice the modern city’s population