Central and Latin America are full of diverse countries that overflow with natural beauty, and choosing between them can be a tough call.
While all these places definitely deserve a place on any traveler’s wish list, there are some Central American countries that tend to get overlooked by visitors, and here is where you can often find the undercover gems.
One such place is Belize – which is in no way a secret – but is, however, a country that hasn’t traditionally gotten as much traveler attention as it should, although this is changing and the country is becoming more and more popular with tourists.
You can find the small tropical country of Belize nestled between Mexico and Guatemala.
The country is full of postcard-perfect beaches, colorful towns, ancient Mayan ruins, dense rain forests, and, not to mention, so much natural beauty both on land as well as offshore.
Here Are 6 Reasons You Should Consider Visiting Belize This Year:
While you might feel as if you are worlds away from most American cities, technically speaking, you are only a short 3-4 hour flight from most of the U.S. and Canada.
Belize City is well connected to many American airports, making this lush destination an easy flight compared to some other tropical places further south or over in Southeast Asia.
Recently airlines have been adding Belize City to their routes from major Canadian cities as well, meaning there are more options and better fares than before.
Southwest, United, and American Airlines are popular options from the U.S., while WestJet and Air Canada offer options from Canada.
Not to mention that Belize is easily reachable from Mexico’s Uber-popular Yucatán Peninsula, and bus connections make this addon an option for any Cancun area trip.
It also offers a bit of a different vibe for those looking to avoid the crowds and nightclubs of the ever-popular hotspots along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, although there is possibly no escape from the seaweed.
It’s best to check the local reports for that, as the record sargassum that has been plaguing the Mexican coast might be an issue here as well, depending on the current conditions.
Many reports have indicated that sustainable travel is a big trend for this year, and travelers are making more of their holiday choices based on the economic impact of their trip.
Those who are attempting to make strides in this area will be happy to know that Belize is too.
The country’s new Tourism Minister has stated that Belize is dedicated to becoming a low-impact/value destination for visitors.
The country recently publicity committed to protecting 30% of its ocean territory, and many are hailing Belize as a conservation success story for this and the many other initiatives taken thus far.
No Language Barrier
This may or may not be a reason for some people, but Belize is technically the only English-speaking country in all of Central America.
Being a county that is as diverse as Belize, the official language is English, yet Spanish and Creole are commonly spoken as well.
This lack of language barrier makes traveling here much easier than in other Central American countries, where you might find it a bit more difficult to get around if you do not have some basic Spanish under your belt.
An increased interest in Belize also means more accommodation options can be expected to spring up, and this year saw one major one open its doors.
The popular resort chain Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville has just opened its newest Caribbean property in Ambergris Caye, one of Belize’s most popular tourist areas.
Alongside the Margaritaville opening, Belize has seen a handful of other high-end properties breaking ground recently, including The Belize Marriott Ambergris Caye Resort and Residences and The Alaia Belize.
In addition, luxury hotel group Four Seasons has announced their plans for their first private island in the Americas, off the coast of Belize, planned for 2024.
Dive Right In
For being such a small country, Belize makes up for it with its stunning waters full of life and wonders to discover.
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, snorkelers love this area for the warm, clear turquoise waters and the variety of fish, coral, and many other kinds of marine life you are sure to see here.
In addition to the coral reef, one main draw for divers looking for adventure is the famous Blue Hole. This massive underwater hole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s and remains a huge draw for those looking to see it for themselves.
Experienced divers can make the trip, and the hole – about 1,000ft wide and 412ft deep – is known to be the world’s largest.
One thing that Belize has in abundance is Mayan Ruins, which shouldn’t be hard to believe since it is the cradle of the ancient Maya civilization.
In fact, the small country of Belize actually holds more Mayan Ruins per square mile than any other country in the World.
While the ruins range from easy to visit to ones you have to trek to get to, they are no doubt worth visiting.
If you are one of the many who are waiting for the Maya Train to open in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, hopping over the border to explore the Belize ruins is a good alternative.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com