The only country in Central America to not have a Pacific Coast, Belize more than makes up for it with its Caribbean one. The country is home to the world’s second-longest reef system, prompting Charles Darwin to describe it as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies” in 1842. It is internationally known for its spectacular diving and fishing and is even the location of an interesting phenomenon known as the Great Blue Hole, just off the coast from Belize City. This large, nearly circular hole in the reef drops to a depth of 407 feet and was formed the same way ‘cenotes’ on land are. The area around Sapodilla Cay is also famous for its congregations of Whale Sharks in the spring.
Belize isn’t just known for its azure waters though. The country is rich with cultural and natural diversity and around 36% of its acreage is protected in some form—more than Costa Rica’s 25%. Maya ruins dot the landscape, and its numerous wildlife reserves, bird sanctuaries, and incredible biodiversity have made this an up-and-coming ecotourism destination. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary has even been described as the world’s premier jaguar preservation site.
A former British colony, the official language of Belize is in fact English. Belizeans were granted their Independence on September 21, 1981, and the whole month of September is considered a time of celebration due to other national holidays and events taking place concurrently. The weather is warm all year, with stable temperatures in the upper 70s/low 80s. It is a tropical zone though, so expect rain throughout the year.
While the country may be experiencing more tourists, and thus diversity in recent years, it’s still very much a conservative democracy. Public displays of affection of all kinds are generally discouraged. Some people will be shocked by gay PDA, so be discreet and mindful of the country’s attitudes. Just be respectful and enjoy the natural scenery; you’re sure to have a wonderful time.