This less-trammeeld side of the Yucatan Peninsula is a diver's paradise

Belize is a modest Massachusetts-sized country taking up the southern end of the Yucatan peninsula where Mexico and Guatemala meet. It's a land of palms and mangroves, sun and sand, reefs and fishies to scuba or snorkle, $10 seafood dinners and ancient Mayan ruins.

Truth be told, the capital of Belize City isn't much fun to hang around. Most visitors don't even both spending the night in town, beating a hasty retreat for one of the real draws down here: either a jungle eco-lodge or—more frequently—a beach resort on one of the renowned cayes.

The Cayes of Belize

The cayes—tiny islands—lie just 20 miles off the coast hard against the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Some folks like the bustle and beat of Ambergris Caye ( the largest and most developed of the main islands--though when I say "developed" I just mean there's a proper town (San Pedro), plenty of hotels, and some restaurants and nightlife action. We're not talking Cancun here or anything; it's still a laid-back Caribbean destination.

Other vacationers head just to the south to shack up on Caye Caulker, a slip of an island miles long and a mere mile or so wide at its fattest point, inhabited by 800 friendly lobster fishermen and sporting a few modest resort hotels... Full Story

Old Belize hands tend to prefer tiny, fishhook-shaped Tobacco Caye far to the south, a lazy-days destination for budgeteers and snorkel heads (though you'll find few packaged vacations here; it's more of a DIY destination).

(Wherever you stay, though, do take take a daytrip or two into Belize's jungle-clad interior to visit the Mayan ruins.)

A few good companies that do Belize tours and packages

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2012.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.