Toledo

  By Lebawit Lily Girma  Belize’s southernmost district is replete with thick jungles and wildlife, while straddling the Caribbean Sea with its pristine reefs on the east. To boot, its interior is dotted with traditional Mayan and Garifuna villages, as well as East Indian communities. It’s no surprise then, that the Toledo District boasts a handful of Belize’s most established…

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Placencia

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Sticking out of Belize’s south coast like a tall, slim boot, the Placencia Peninsula basks in the Caribbean Sea and enjoys 18 miles of “barefoot perfect” sand. The beach village life never looked better: Placencia Village, the heart of the peninsula, moves to the beat of its diverse population, with a multitude of colorful beachfront bars, hotels, restaurants, roadside fruit stands, and arts and crafts galleries.   Stroll Placencia’s famous, 24-inch wide sidewalk—–the narrowest street in the world according to Guinness…

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Hopkins

By Lebawit Lily Girma    Lining the Caribbean Sea with close to five miles of beaches on Belize’s eastern coast, Hopkins bursts with Garifuna culture, water activities, diverse culinary experiences—over 40 establishments from local to chef-prepared meals—nearby national parks, and budget to plush resorts. It’s a place that draws the backpacker as much as the luxury traveler, all of whom…

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Dangriga

Belize’s culture capital, Dangriga—an agricultural and commercial town where the orange, banana and shrimp industries thrive—is the primary hub of the Garinagu people, who settled on these shores in the 19th century. Time your visit for November 19, Garifuna Settlement Day or Yurumein, and you’ll witness the inspiring sunrise reenactment of their arrival to Belize in canoes, while drumming and…

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San Pedro

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Sitting a mere half-mile off the Barrier Reef—in easy view of its beachfront—San Pedro remains Belize’s most visited destination. A fishing community at heart, this lively island town offers the widest variety of plush beachfront resorts, shopping, and restaurants. Diving, fishing, snorkeling, and exploring marine life are bona fide daytime activities, while nights are for bar…

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Caye Caulker

  By Lebawit Lily Girma Belize’s second largest inhabited island is a small fishing village turned tourism hub, located just a mile west of the Barrier Reef, and 21 miles northeast of Belize City. It’s easy to heed Caye Caulker’s official motto: “Go Slow.” Cayo Hicaco, as it was called in Spanish, is a place where tradition and island village…

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Orange Walk

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Known as Holpatin in the Maya days, and now affectionately dubbed Shuga City—hub of sugar production and Belizean rum—the northern district of Orange Walk, a mere 53 miles north of Belize City, draws culture lovers, naturalists, and archeology fans. Aside from being sweetly favored with rum factories, Orange Walk is home to Belize’s largest fresh water body at 28 miles…

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Corozal

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Strategically placed between Mexico, the northern Cayes, and Orange Walk, this northernmost corner of Belize offers a lesser-crowded, off-the-beaten track escape that first-time visitors might otherwise miss. Fishing villages with iridescent turquoise shores, key archeological sites, and a diverse population of Mestizo, Mennonites, and East Indians—who settled here in the 19th century to work on sugar cane fields—are just a few of Corozal’s surprises. In town, examine the gun turrets at Fort Barlee, used during the…

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San Ignacio

  A small town surrounded with wildlife-rich, verdant outdoors, rivers and Maya history, San Ignacio is the Cayo District’s main hub. Those who stop here for nearby jungle adventures fall in love with the town’s picturesque scenes of bridges over emerald rivers, horses grazing along hilly roads, and markets overflowing with produce. This is after all, the breadbasket of Belize. With a predominantly Latin pulse, days are for exploring the outdoors while nights are for dining at casual or chef-led restaurants,…

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Belmopan

The smallest capital in the Americas, inland Belmopan sits on the banks of the Belize River, against the backdrop of the Maya Mountains. Aside from being home to the National Assembly and Government buildings downtown—unpainted to resemble a Maya plaza and temples—you’ll find a city that packs its own punch in adventure, history and cultural experiences, and a solid international community.   Visit the George Price Center for Peace and Development, a museum honoring the…

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