Ecotourism in Belize: Top Tours & Adventures

Flying over the Belize Blue Hole
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For anyone interested in eco-tours and adventures, Belize is the ideal nature-based travel destination. It is a pioneer in ecotourism and has an abundance of natural attractions. National parks and nature reserves are located throughout the country, protecting its land and sea.

Related: Top Belize Jungle Tours & Best Green Hotels in Belize

For example, Belize’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s only jaguar preserve. And Half Moon Caye is the first marine protected area established in Central America. From early on, Belize has recognized the value of using tourism for conservation. So on your trip to Belize, take advantage of the eco-adventures listed below to experience the real charm and natural beauty of the country.

The Best Eco Tours & Adventures in Belize

1. Explore Maya temples and caves

Family at ATM Cave

Belize was once the center of the ancient Maya empire. This means that you can find countless Mayan temples and caves throughout the country. Two of the most popular temples are Xunantunich, located in Cayo, and Lamanai, located in Orange Walk. As for caves, Actun Tunichil Mukal and Barton Creek Cave are two well-known Maya caves. Both caves are located in Cayo and offer an experience that you’ll surely write home about.

Related: Interesting facts about the Ancient Maya

2. Dive or snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef

Diving in Belize is one of the main reasons why tourist visit Ambergris Caye.

With hundreds of islands and a barrier reef that covers the entire coast, amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities await in Belize. See manta rays, nurse sharks, sea turtles, and various types of fish as you snorkel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve or South Water Caye Marine Reserve, two of Belize’s most popular snorkeling destinations. Or dive the Belize Blue Hole, a world-famous underwater sinkhole that is visible from outer space. Even better, visit Belize during the months of March-May and go swimming with Whale Sharks. These experiences will make you want to return to Belize over and over again.

Related: The Best Belize Diving Resorts

3. Explore nature trails and waterfalls

belize botanic gardens

Whether you are looking for soft adventures or hard adventures, Belize has many hiking trails for you. An example of a “soft” hike in Belize is taking a nature walk at one of the many national parks, nature reserves, botanical gardens, and butterfly farms in Belize. This would involve a guided or self-guided tour where you can see tons of exotics plants and animals. An example of “hard” hike would be trekking Victoria Peak, the second-highest mountain in Belize. As for waterfalls, take a day-trip to Mountain Pine Ridge to explore several waterfalls.

Related: Hiking in Belize

4. Canoe or kayak Belize’s waters

sea kayaking in belize

Belize borders 386 km of the Caribbean Sea and it has many rivers and lagoons waiting to be traversed by canoes, kayaks, and other paddle craft. The Belize Barrier Reef, which runs across the country, acts as a natural barrier, shielding the sea from strong currents and creating a peaceful and calm environment. And the rivers, which originate in the Maya Mountains, meander slowly through the jungles of mainland Belize. Canoeing reigns supreme in the mainland and sea kayaking is best for touring Belize’s beautiful coral atolls and cayes.

Related: Best Places to Kayak in Belize

5. Food & Culture tours

Hudut Garifuna Food
Hudut with Fu-fu and Casava bread

This list would be incomplete if I didn’t implore you to take in Belize’s culture. This can be easily done wherever you choose to stay in Belize since the country is a melting pot of cultures and Belizeans aren’t shy about sharing their culture and traditions. If you’re in Cayo or Toledo, ask your hotel or tour operator for a Maya homestay visit. If you’re in Hopkins, book a Garifuna drumming lesson, or even better, take cooking lessons and learn to make Hudut – trust me, if you do this, you’ll definitely thank me after.

Related: Popular Foods in Belize

6. Bird watching

Keel-billed Toucan in Belize

Belize is home to more than 500 species of birds and most of them can be seen without having to venture deep into the jungle. For example, the elegant jabiru stork, which is the largest flying bird in Central America with a wingspan of about eight feet, can be seen by visiting the Crooked Tree Village Wildlife Sanctuary. And the beautiful keel-billed toucan, which is Belize’s national bird, is often seen throughout the Cayo and Toledo Districts. There’s also the option of visiting the Belize Zoo, which serves as a sanctuary for Belizean wildlife.

Related: Birding Hotspots in Belize

7. Ziplining or Cave tubing at Caves Branch

cave tubing in belize

Zooming across Belize’s canopy fastened on steel cables isn’t for everyone but those that dare to indulge in this experience end up having a blast. This tour is particularly popular with cruise ship visitors, so if you’re traveling alone or are in a small group, ask your hotel for the best time to visit. As for cave tubing, this is also done on site and it involves exploring caves that the ancient Maya once used for rituals. As you may imagine, cave tubing is unique to Belize and not many people can say that they have floated down a river into caves with Mayan artifacts.

Related: Top caves to visit in Belize

8. Horseback riding

horseback riding in cayo belize

Whenever I ask travelers to name their best eco-tour in Belize, horseback riding often tops their list. This is because riding on horseback is often used to complement another adventure. For example, you can ride horses to many tourist attractions such as Maya temples. You can also explore jungle trails that are a bit more rugged and aren’t meant for the average hiker. Therefore, whether you’re traveling with kids or just adults, horseback riding in Belize should be on top of your adventure itinerary.

Related: Maya Temples where you can go horseback riding

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eco-adventures in Belize

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