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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Belize is a lively Caribbean hot spot located on the northeastern tip of Central America. It is a mix of both Central American and Mexican cultures that has both ancient Mayan ruins and an extensive coral reef system that just begs for exploration.  

Belize is especially noted for its eco-sensitive philosophy and a good one-fifth of its land mass is set aside as protected nature reserves. A good percentage of its coastal waters are also protected.  

Belize is known as one of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World, probably because of it having the world’s second largest barrier reef. The “cayes” that lie off the coast of the Belizean mainland are also noted for their extensive coral reefs that contain some of the most spectacular underwater gardens in the world. The sea life here is probably among the most varied in the world, making this a hot spot for both snorkelling and scuba diving. The country is also quite popular for fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.

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Cruise Companies that sail to Belize

Why visit Belize ?

Belize location iamge - CruiseDirection

A lively Caribbean hot spot

A mix of both Central American and Mexican cultures

Belize is a haven for ornithologists and tourists come here to view the flocks of birds that migrate to this area between the months of November and May.  

The chain of cayes that surround Belize have their own individual charms and visitors will often find the one that particularly appeals to them. Half Moon Caye is known for its extensive array of birds and around one hundred make their home here, while Laughing Bird Caye is known for its particularly deep channels, making it a great place for scuba diving and snorkelling. Caye Caulker is known for its laid-back ambience and small village feel. Tourism has not yet had a significant influence here, making it a great place to get away from it all in relative seclusion.  

Belize has long been a premier cruise ship destination and because of that it has a highly developed tourism infrastructure. The cruise lines have all designed special tours and activities to keep their passengers engaged during their port calls and as a result there is much to see and do. You can explore the Mayan ruins or take an airboat adventure tour, or take a flight-seeing excursion where you will fly high above the Maya Mountains and view some amazing scenery and waterfalls. Cave tubing in the Caves Branch River is also a popular excursion, and it is usually combined with a jungle walk through the Maya Mountains.  

Visitors can also tour the Image Factor, which is an art gallery that features the work of local artists. St. John’s Cathedral is also a must-see, since it is the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America, dating back to the mid 1800’s. Belize Zoo, which is sure to be a hit with the kids, houses a myriad of animals and birds and has a nature trail and bird deck, which provide even more viewing and picture-taking opportunities. The Maritime Museum might be of particular interest to cruise passengers and it is very accessible, since it is located right in the cruise terminal. Its exhibits focus on fishing, the reef system and other sea-related topics. The museum is generally open every day and always when a cruise ship is in port.  

Belize is easily accessible by air or by cruise ship and once there, it is very easy to get around. There are a variety of taxi companies available and many of them will also provide private tours, with the taxi driver doubling as your knowledgeable local guide. Be sure to agree on a price before getting in the cab.  

Most major attractions in Belize are located outside of the city so it might be wise to stick with cruise ship excursions if you are arriving by sea. Many merchants, in and around the city, will gladly accept the U.S. dollar and the Euro, so currency conversion is often not necessary.  

Belize City exudes colonial charm with its plethora of wooden buildings and quaint streets. However, like all cities, it does have its “seedy” areas, especially since most of the tourism activities take place in the outlying areas with the city itself not having much to offer.  

Belize is a great place to spend either your entire holiday or just one day of your cruise. There is so much to see and do here, you will probably find that a single day is far from adequate and you’ll likely want to return.

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