A relaxed island spot for families and single travelers alike.
A slender slice of all things easy, Belize makes a big bang out of a little shape. Friendly and English-speaking, Belize’s big draw is its legendary 180-mile barrier reef in the turquoise Caribbean. Visitors can unpack in backpacker beach-huts or more upscale B&Bs on island hubs like Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, then head out on cheap snorkel or scuba dives to swim with friendly nurse sharks, stingrays, and even manatees who clamor like dogs for attention. Those preferring longer sea journeys can sign up for a three-day sailing trip to island-hop to snorkel and fishing spots down the coast (about $300, arranged on Caye Caulker). Farther south, Dangriga is a seaside village complete with beach cabanas and glimpses into the local traditional Garífuna culture. The jungle tempts too. An hour inland, boat rides twist through crocodile-filled jungle canals to the Mayan pyramids at Lamanai, while Crooked Tree (30 miles from Belize City) teems with bird life. Belize City’s airport is the main entry point, but most visitors bus out – in old U.S. school buses – after landing. In little Belize, everything’s nearby.