Belize Tourism Board
By Fawn Brown
The English speaking country of Belize is emerging as an affordable and educational destination for family vacations. The country’s unspoiled landscapes, rich cultural history and colourful locals offer a variety of activities to keep everyone in the family happy. Located between Mexico and Guatemala in Central America there are crystal blue oceans, lush green rainforests, giant Maya ruins dripping in emerald green moss and caverns holding ancient secrets. Direct flights from Canada make it an easy destination to reach and plan for.
Lamanai Outpost Lodge’s Crocodile Encounter offers an exciting two-hour guided tour. Visitors cross the New River in airboats and experience crocodile catching and tagging with local researchers. Caye Caulker is an affordable beach destination and provides plenty of activities for families to enjoy together. Its boardwalks offer the perfect jumping off point for snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing.
Central Coastal Belize
Explore the biodiversity of Belize’s ocean while snorkelling or scuba diving. Glide through the crystal waters of the 213 square kilometres of Southwater Caye Marine Park and discover a new world below the surface. The park includes ten major cayes, stalagmites, stalactites and a vast amount of marine life. The Belize Zoo and Tropical Educational Center houses over 125 native animals in a tropical landscape setting. Families can experience the ecology of Belizean habitats while ambling on the Savannah Nature Trail. Join the Nocturnal Tour and discover what goes on behind the scenes and brave the chance to hold a boa constrictor.
The Blue Butterfly Farm offers visiting families the chance to observe every stage of a butterfly’s life cycle. Nearby the Green Iguana Project generates awareness for the threatened species. Families can interact with iguanas before they are released back into the wild. Venture through limestone caves on a thrilling cave tubing expedition. Float by pottery remains of ancient Maya civilizations, and stalactite and stalagmite formations. Ziplining and canopy tours offer an adrenaline pumping experience through the Belizean jungle. Traverse from tree platform to tree platform on a steel cable through the rainforest canopy and enjoy a thrilling ride.
Maya Village Homestay allows families to experience a cultural exchange program where they can harvest corn, work in the fields, make tortillas from scratch and clean laundry in the creek. There are over 20 families participating in the program among three villages in Belize’s southern region. Get involved in the educational process of turning cocoa into chocolate at the Cotton Tree Lodge. Join a hands-on workshop or turn it into a weeklong event and learn techniques, meet members of the Toledo Cocoa Growers Association and attend lectures and workshops. Along the Belize Barrier Reef’s southern mosttip is the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. Acclaimed as one of the most stunning spots in Belize with its clear blue waters and sandy cayes, this uninhabited island offers stunning scenery and ideal conditions for kayaking, snorkelling or scuba diving.
For more information on Belize call 1-800-624-0686 or visit www.travelbelize.org