Choose from 23 Fun Things to Do in Belize
The second most popular zone of the reserve is Shark Ray Alley, a shallower area where nurse sharks and stingrays are plentiful. Grass beds and mangrove areas make up the other zones of the reserve and require a more personalized expert guide -- and while less visited, these areas provide for unique spotting opportunities, including manatees. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is constantly patrolled and visitors are obligated by law to observe its rules, such as no touching or standing on corals. The reserve has an informative and worthwhile Visitors’ Center in town with clear displays of the various marine habitats in Belize.
- No one is allowed to climb the steps of the actual ruins, but there is a walkway to reach the top.
- Remember to bring insect repellent and water.
- Restrooms, souvenirs, and food and drink are available on-site.
Tours can be either relaxing, with swims and picnics, or bordering on extreme adventure – such as hiking to Thousand Foot Falls, Central America’s largest waterfall. Visits to the Belize’s highest Mayan structure, at the Caracol Archeological Reserve, also require passing through the Mountain Pine Ridge. There are also opportunities to spot the rich wildlife in this area, including tapirs and toucans, though jaguars only come out at night.
Follow in Cousteau's footsteps by diving in the Great Blue Hole, the underwater sinkhole in the center of the lagoon. Interact with the fauna of the coral reef, including amazing Caribbean reef sharks, Blacktip sharks, barracudas, stingrays, turtles, and hundreds of different fish on a guided or independent dive.
Visit Long Caye, where you can snorkel in the protected lagoons and see the bountiful wildlife, including rare birds, iguanas, and other tropical species. The experience will only be matched by visiting Half Moon Caye, the idyllic island that includes a national park and a bird sanctuary.
You can reach Lighthouse Reef by dive boat or water taxi from Belize City, as well as Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. Many snorkeling or diving tours have daily excursions to Lighthouse Reef, highlighting the Great Blue Hole.
If you will be snorkeling or diving, be sure to invest in some high quality water shoes, as walking on the coral reefs can be tricky and potentially painful.
For extended visits, look into resorts on Big Northern Caye and other surrounding areas.
- Nature lovers will enjoy spotting exotic birds and howler monkeys at the archaeological site.
- The High Temple features a wooden staircase that winds around the back of the pyramid, making it easier to climb to the top.
- Many tours combine a trip to the ruins with a riverboat ride along New River, providing more opportunities to spot local wildlife.