Belize is blessed with amazing cultural and natural diversity. We are also blessed with some of the most unique and desirable sights and destinations in the world.
Here is our bucket list of Belize #1s that are must-sees in our beautiful and varied landscape:
This ancient Maya city is home to the tallest man-made structure in the country to this day. Caana, or Sky Temple, a massive building with a height of approximately 141 feet, was constructed by a thriving and powerful civilization. At its peak (approx. 650 AD), Caracol's epicenter, or town, housed about 15,000 people, with 120,000 - 180,000 living in the Caracol "suburbs" - settlements along the paved causeways radiating from the epicenter of Caracol. Caana is the main pyramid at Caracol, which houses 4 palaces and 3 temples. Along with Caana, structures at Caracol include 24 known stelae, 24 alters, a ball court, reservoirs, causeways, 5 plazas, an astronomic observatory, central acropolis, two ball courts, over 35,000 known buildings and more than 100 tombs.
Also known as the Cave of the Stone Sepulchre, this ancient ceremonial cave is an amazing site both for its geology and its dark and mysterious history. Over the course of about a century, nearly two thousand years ago, this cave was used by the Maya people to perform ritualistic offerings which, as desperation set in due to lengthy droughts, culminated in the human sacrifice of the elite of society. This was a brutal and chaotic time in which the ancient people attempted to appease the gods believed to inhabit the underworld by sacrificing their children and royalty. This riveting cave is shrouded in spirits of the past and is an eerie reminder of the centuries of struggle and achievements of the Maya people of Belize. Ironically, the cave entrance is now flooded with water, which was so lacking in the time of drought. The cave is a watery grave for the ancient people who offered their lives to the Rain God in a plea for rain and crops. National Geographic Explorer rates Actun Tunichil Muknal as the #1 sacred cave destination in the world!
COCKSCOMB BASIN JAGUAR SANCTUARY AND VICTORIA PEAK
Internationally recognized as the world’s first jaguar reserve, Cockscomb Basin is a stunning protected area covering 128,000 acres of tropical forest. This national park is home to a healthy population of wild jaguars, studied by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz in the 1980s. Through his research, Dr. Rabinowitz lobbied the government of Belize to designate this area a wildlife sanctuary. To this day, Cockscomb has been critical in the conservation of this species as well as the plethora of other wildlife which call the Basin home. And to top it all off is the highest accessible mountain in Belize, the impressive Victoria Peak, elevation 1,120 m (3,670 ft). Every year soldiers, adventurers, and park rangers embark on the Victoria Peak Challenge.
BLUE HOLE MARINE
The Blue Hole is a massive and stunning submarine sinkhole at Lighthouse Reef Marine Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing display of geology and nature, with impressive underwater stalactites and stalagmites and a premiere dive location, first explored by the famous Jacques Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. In 1971, he brought his ship, the Calypso, to the hole to chart its depths. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 m (984 ft) across and 124 m (407 ft) deep. It is home to a variety of coral, sponges, sharks, and marine life abounds! An experience of a lifetime!
RUTA MAYA RIVER RACE
La Ruta Maya is Belize’s longest and most grueling canoe race. This race tests the limits of physical and mental strength of the competitors who spend four days on the water canoeing at 70 strokes per minute for 6 hour stretches. The canoe race starts in historic San Ignacio on the Macal River and then into the Belize River, for a 180 mile journey to Belize City harbour. The entire country braces itself for this electric event and challengers’ teams train all year to compete. Not to be missed! A #1 sensational event for the country every March. Come feel the spirit!