Belize offers adventure in Central America

Mayan Ruins, Belize
Mayan Ruins, Belize

Belize, located at the base of the Yucatan Peninsula, features Mayan ruins, cave exploration and options for diving in calm, beautiful Caribbean waters. Travelers on cruises through the Caribbean sea can stop and enjoy exploring this beautiful Central American republic. Belize City sits against the coast and is a melting pot of cultures, mixing history and luxury into one perfect stop.

Go diving in the region's offshore reef system and see southern stingrays and nurse sharks, the gentler cousins of the ocean's greatest predator, the great white shark. Cruise patrons can take motorboats out onto the waters and enjoy a guided dive with professional instructors. Or, those that prefer can enjoy rafting along one of the inland waterways to the west of Belize City.

Travelers who want to see the amazing crystal-lined caves can head into the jungle for a zipline tour of the canopy and a chance to see a Mayan ceremonial cavern. The Mayan tribes spent their entire lives in the jungles hunting and living off of what the land provided. After the zipline journey, a river tubing tour will take tourists into the crystal caves, which the Mayans considered to be sacred because of its dazzling rock formations  .

For those that would prefer a less subterranean tour, the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha offer a chance to explore a city that is over 2000 years old. A nine and a half pound jade head, depicting the sun god Ninch Ahau, was found in the city/ceremonial site. Another site, Lamanai, offers a 125-foot step pyramid for travelers to climb. The panoramic view from the top is breathtaking, and certified guides will lead tourists through the impressive courtyards and temples surrounding the area.

Returning to Belize City, visitors can stop at the Old Belize Museum for a further look at the area's history. Featuring industrial artifacts and items that reflect the background of settlers in Belize, the museum offers a look into a different side of the country's history. The nearby zoo, opened in 1985 as a black howler monkey sanctuary, is now home to over 125 native species, including jaguars, ocelots and peccaries.