[23 April 2014 Last updated at 16:05]

Top places to visit in Belize

Belize (Central America) is perhaps most famously known for its stunningly crystal clear waters and sandy beaches, as well as Maya archeological sites.

Top places to visit in Belize
Belize top Tourist Sites
However, if you’re an outdoors enthusiast and nature lover, you’d be glad to hear that Belize also boasts underwater caves that you can explore, and three reserves and a wildlife sanctuary where you can explore fauna and flora.

If you’ve never been on a Belize vacation before, you’ll love everything that the country has to offer. The people are super friendly, the food is delicious and the vast amount of attractions will make a vacation in Belize a memorable one.

Here it is a list of some of the top places to visit in Belize that you may add to your itinerary:

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is one of the top places to visit in Belize, especially if you’re traveling to Belize to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving tours.

The sandy beaches are stunning and the crystal clear waters filled with coral are just ideal to enjoy a bit of snorkeling on the side.

Caye Caulker is the nearest island to mainland Belize and can be reached by plane. However, if you’re on a budget and want to soak in the views, I’d suggest hopping on a fast boat, and it’d only take 45 minutes.

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island, located further north from Caye Caulker.

Ambergris Caye also boasts amazing beaches but what makes Ambergris Caye one of the top places to visit in Belize it’s the majestic Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world.

You can reach Ambergris Caye from Belize City by plane (through Tropicana Air), and fast boat taxi service, though it takes around 90 minutes.

Things to do in Ambergris Caye include enjoying snorkeling tours at Hol Chan marine reserve, exploring the national parks and visiting the Maya archeological sites.

Xunantunich Site

Xunantunich is one of the four main Maya archeological sites in mainland Belize, and also one of the furthest from Belize City.

Xunantunich is located close to the Guatemala border, near the town of San Ignacio, and it is home to the second biggest Mayan temple-pyramid in Belize –El Castillo.

Caracol Site

If you’re planning on visiting the Xunantunich Maya site, the Caracol Maya site is just nearby Xunantunich Site, so you may want to plan for a visit here as well.

The Caracol site boasts the tallest Maya step-pyramid in Belize – El Caracol - as well as an interesting open-air museum displaying Mayan artifacts.

Altun Ha Site

The Altun Ha ancient Maya site is also one of the top places to visit in Belize because of the extensive Mayan ruins found here.

The site boasts large temple-pyramids such as the Temple of the Masonry Altars which is an excellent vantage point for overlooking of the Site.

Altun Ha Maya Ruins are also the most accessible in the country since they are located in the heart of Belize City.

Lamanai Site

Lamanai Site (pictured) is another important Maya Sites in Belize, though only accessible with an organized tour due its location along the river.

Lamanai Site is located northwest of Belize City and it’s one of the most amazing Maya Sites in Belize because of the intricately-detailed stone carvings found on the temples.

If you do plan on visiting the Lamanai Site, or any other Maya Sites in Belize for that matter, I’d suggest booking in advance or as soon as you arrive in Belize.

You can reach the Lamanai Site by plane, though you have to land first at San Jose Palmar airstrip, and then taking a connecting bus.

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the top places to visit in Belize, and if like me, you enjoy wildlife spotting and getting up close with nature, you’ll love this attraction.

You can hike the trails by yourself, though you can hire a local guide at the sanctuary’s visitor center who will also take you on a boat tour on the park’s lagoons.

If you’re not using car rental, there is a bus from Belize City that runs directly to the sanctuary, if you're wondering how to get there.

However, if you book a Crooked Tree eco-tour in Belize City, your transportation and meals will also be covered, so it’s worth thinking about this option also.

Hopkins

A visit to Belize wouldn’t be complete without spending a few nights at one of the local villages to soak some culture.

For instance, the fishing village of Hopkins, which is on my list of top places to visit in Belize because it offers a great opportunity to soak in the real Belize.

In Hopkins village, you’ll be able to see traditional Belizean way of living, and you’ll be able to purchase very affordable hand-made goods such as bags and baskets.

Hopkins village is a fair long shot from Belize City (around 2 hours by bus), which is why I recommend spending a couple of nights in the village.

There isn’t a direct bus from Belize City to Hopkins village, so you’ll have to take a connecting bus from the town of Dangria.

See. Places to visit in Yucatan Mexico
Mexico's most underrated beaches
Best Colonial Towns in Latin America
Places to visit in Puerto Vallarta
Places to visit in Quintana Roo
Places to visit in Guadalajara Mexico
Things to do in San Pedro de Sula
Things to do in Cochabamba Bolivia
Things to do in San Salvador El Salvador
Top destinations in Latin America
Places to visit in Rio de Janeiro state