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Belize City
Fascinating and exotic, Belize offers a world of tropical adventure to divers and snorkelers. It is a preserve for the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the magnificent Blue Hole, a 1,000-ft ocean sinkhole, and home to three beautiful atolls — Lighthouse Reef, the Turneffe Islands and Glovers Reef. Within the reef system are hundreds of uncharted islands.

Just 750 miles from Miami, Belize lies on the Caribbean coast of Central America between Guatemala and Mexico. Populated by a mere 200,000 people, it is a country of approximately 9,000 square miles. It has inland mountain ranges with peaks over 3,500 ft, dense tropical jungles, a coastline of mangrove swamps, and 266 square miles of offshore coral islands. The 185-mile-long barrier reef parallels the shore from 10 to 30 miles out, with prime diving locations around the out islands.

Tours to Belize are labeled “expedition” or “safari” rather than “vacation.” Its offshore accommodations and facilities are considered primitive by Caribbean standards—few TVs, phones or automobiles on most of the islands—yet Belize's jungles and unspoiled reefs lure intrepid divers back again and again.

Visitors arriving in Belize City will find a safer environment than in the past, thanks to a special Tourist Police Force formed in 1995 that has reduced crimes against tourists by 72%. Despite the improvement, it's still wise to avoid flashing expensive cameras, jewelry, or money around.

On the mainland outside Belize City one finds fairly rugged and varied terrain, alive with yellowhead parrots, giant iguanas, monkeys and a curious creature called the gibnut—described by Belizean author, Robert Nicolait, as a cross between a fat rabbit and a small pig.

The heart of dive tourism is Ambergris Caye, a bustling resort and fishing community, the largest of the out islands or “cayes.” Its main town, San Pedro, is a few hundred yards from the Hol Chan Marine Preserve, the northernmost point of the Barrier Reef, and is the jump-off point to Belize's smaller cayes and atolls. Ambergris is just 20 minutes by air from Belize City or an hour and 15 minutes by ferry (see end of chapter for transportation details). The northern portion of Ambergris is accessible by boat only, but plans for a road are under consideration. Transportation on Ambergris and the other islands is by golf cart or on foot.

A new area for divers is Placencia, a quaint fishing village located on a 16-mile coastal peninsula, 100 miles south of Belize City. There are some coral heads off the beaches, but a half-hour boat ride will bring you to Laughing Bird Caye, a small island surrounded by pristine reefs, and the remains of old wrecks. Several Spanish galleons went down in this area over the years and occasionally a gold piece washes up on the beach. Placencia is an intriguing new place to explore.

Visit Belize during the dry season, from February to May. Annual rainfall ranges from 170 inches in the south to 50 inches in the north. Heaviest rainfall is from September to January. August is frequently dry.
Cruises
DA221227009 - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale from $4,900.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Silver Dawn
Mayan & Miami Montage - Miami Florida to Miami Florida from $2,399.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Riviera
Transit Of The Americas - Miami Florida to Lima/Machu Picchu (Callao) Peru from $2,999.00 (USD)
Destination: South America
Ship: Marina
Miami, Nassau, Ocean Cay, Miami, Isla de Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya, George Town, Miami from $729.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: MSC Divina
MO221221016 - Lima to Fort Lauderdale from $9,100.00 (USD)
Destination: South America
Ship: Silver Moon
Jewels Of The Caribbean - Miami Florida to Miami Florida from $4,399.00 (USD)
Destination: Transoceanic
Ship: Riviera
Atlantic Connection - Buenos Aires Argentina to Miami Florida from $6,949.00 (USD)
Destination: Transoceanic
Ship: Marina
Silhouettes Of Sunshine - Miami Florida to Miami Florida from $16,899.00 (USD)
Destination: Transoceanic
Ship: Riviera
7 Nights Costa Maya, Belize And Grand Cayman From Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Onboard Celebrity Apex
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Apex
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess from $769.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess from $869.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Serenade of the Seas
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Regal Princess from $1,299.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Regal Princess
7 Nights Key West, Belize And Grand Cayman Holiday From Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Onboard Celebrity
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Apex
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princ from $1,669.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Sky Princess from $739.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Sky Princess
8 Nights Western Caribbean Holiday Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida - onboard Celebrity Reflecti
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Reflection
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princ from $1,699.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Sky Princess from $1,379.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Sky Princess
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Sky Princess from $1,399.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Sky Princess
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Sky Princess from $699.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Sky Princess
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Sky Princess from $1,369.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Sky Princess
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess from $799.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas
7 Nights Key West, Belize & Mexico Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida - onboard Celebrity Millenni
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Millennium
14 Days - Caribbean East/west Adventurer - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princ from $1,569.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
7 Nights Key West, Belize and Grand Cayman Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida - onboard Celebrity
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Apex
5 Nights Western Caribbean Cruise from Tampa, Florida - onboard Celebrity Constellation
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Celebrity Constellation
7 Days - Western Caribbean - Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale aboard Caribbean Princess from $699.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Caribbean Princess
OCY231128-10 - Sunkissed Tradewinds from $4,799.00 (USD)
Destination: Caribbean
Ship: Crystal Serenity
Cruises


Miami, Nassau, Ocean Cay, Miami, Isla de Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya, George Town, Miami
From $729.00 (USD)

Destination: Caribbean
Ship: MSC Divina


Jewels Of The Caribbean - Miami Florida to Miami Florida
From $4,399.00 (USD)

Destination: Transoceanic
Ship: Riviera


Transit Of The Americas - Miami Florida to Lima/Machu Picchu (Callao) Peru
From $2,999.00 (USD)

Destination: South America
Ship: Marina

MO221221016 - Lima to Fort Lauderdale
From $9,100.00 (USD)

Destination: South America
Ship: Silver Moon


Atlantic Connection - Buenos Aires Argentina to Miami Florida
From $6,949.00 (USD)

Destination: Transoceanic
Ship: Marina