BELIZE

DESTINATIONS / CENTRAL AMERICA  / BELIZE

FACTS / A sliver of land wedged between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, Belize has a small but diverse population of just under 350,000.  It holds the distinction of being the only English-speaking nation in the region, but, truth be told, you’re more likely to hear the locals speaking Kriol patois, Garifuna or even Spanish. The capital Belmopan is perfectly pleasant and ramshackle Belize City is lively, but most out-of-towners tend to forgo the urban scene for outdoor adventure and beachfront escapes. Trek through the dense verdant jungles and wildlife sanctuaries, discover mysterious Mayan ruins, laze away days on vacant beaches and take to the waters on scuba, snorkeling or sailing excursions.

STAY /  Gaïa Riverlodge is a true Belizean oasis where style and sustainability co-exist. It’s set in a remote pocket of jungle and is surrounded by a network of waterfalls and caves, and all kinds of Belizean flora and fauna. Guests settle into thatch-roofed cabanas, which are outfitted with Belizean hardwoods and mahogany interiors, while modern comforts like pillow-top mattresses and Frette linen ensuring a blissful night’s sleep. Days can be spent as you please: Careen over the forest canopy on a zipline tour, explore secluded trails by foot, bike or horseback, or check out ancient Mayan ruins, then return to the lodge to bliss out in a hammock, before dining on some fine locally sourced cuisine.
SEE / Coral Sand Island

While the pull of the Caribbean Sea is strong, it’s worth breaking away from the beach to do a boat tour of Belize’s largest fresh water lake, the New River Lagoon. At first, this watery expanse seems still and tranquil, but the river is home to a prolific amount of wildlife. The thick jungle at the water’s edge harbors countless colorful birds, as well as monkeys and iguanas, and crocodiles swarm the lagoon, but don’t worry – these elusive creatures rarely show their face until after dark. Combine a river trip here with a visit to the nearby Lamanai Mayan ruins, which are located at the entrance to the lagoon and are only accessible by water. 

PLAY / Belize’s underwater world deserves all the praise it gets. Stunning? Yes. Amazing? Certainly. One-of-a-kind? Definitely. But words fail to do it justice; the real magic can only be seeing by donning your swimwear and going under. Skim the surface with snorkeling gear for a glimpse into the technicolor world below, or get kitted out with scuba gear and investigate the wondrous geological formations of the Blue Hole, a 1,000-foot (305-meter) wide and 400-foot (122-meter) deep underwater sinkhole. Beneath the surface, you’ll find some shark species – from blacktip tigers to hammerheads – as well as all kinds of gnarly stalagmites and stalactites. 
EXPERIENCE /  Caye Caulker is a little car-free island where Rasta culture and reggae rule, and the pace of life is irresistibly slow. You’ll be joining the laid-back locals and bohemian backpackers who have come to feed off the carefree, good-time vibes and soak up the festival atmosphere. Don’t arrive in Caye Caulker with a plan; it’s best to simply go with the flow. Swing in hammocks, sip on rum punch and dance to infectious reggae beats in the beachfront bars. It’s all pleasantly mellow and carefree, and locals and visitors enjoy a tortoise-like pace of life, heeding the advice of the island’s ‘go slow’ traffic signs, which have been adopted as the unofficial Caye Caulker mantra.

 

BRIC'S Capri