Do you want surf, or turf, or both on your vacation? That's the question when planning a holiday in Belize. The reefs and atolls off the coast are legendary dive spots drawing scuba enthusiasts from the world over. In the interior, jungle lodges offer wildlife sightings, river trips, and Mayan ruins. Though this sparsely populated country is small, it packs in a lot of natural attractions and there are some surprisingly good luxury hotels in Belize.
Despite all the coastline, this is not the best spot for a white sands beach vacation except for Placencia and some of the outer islands. The coast is better for diving, snorkeling, and sea kayaking than it is for sunset strolls on perfect Caribbean crescents. The good side of this is that you won't find the sprawling, mass-market beach resorts so common in the Caribbean region. Most of the upscale hotels here are low-key, small affairs where personal attention is easy to find and luxury resorts cater to your own preferences.
This English–speaking Central American country is defined by the Caribbean Sea, inland jungles, and an incredibly laid back atmosphere. The country's wild and rugged interior is home to hundreds of bird species along with tapirs, howler monkeys and even jaguars.
In addition to almost 350 miles of reefs to explore, there are some 400 islands scattered along the coast. Ambergris Caye is the most developed spot, but there are several upscale lodges all alone on a single island, plus more on the coast in Placencia.
Belize is also a major sport-fishing destination, with tarpon, barracuda, sailfish, and marlin pulled in at different times of year.
Many travelers visit this destination as part of a multi-country overland adventure tour. You can leave Belize City in the morning and be in Mexico, Guatemala, or Honduras that afternoon. It's a popular stop on "Ruta Maya" tours that visit the string of Mayan ruins going from Mexico down through Central America. Follow the luxury hotels link below to find the best lodges and resorts, or see the adventure tour and upscale real estate stories for more travel info.