On the mainland, our activities included hiking through Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and visiting the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. El Castillo is an impressive structure, and the restored Mayan carvings are truly exceptional. We drove along the Hummingbird Highway to get there, which has to be one of the most beautiful and scenic drives we've ever experienced! The town of Dangriga, home of the Garifuna people, was our home base on the mainland. Some of our favorite foods were fried jacks and Johnny cakes, which they eat for breakfast. Delicious!
We also explored their barrier reef, the second largest in the world, by snorkeling at Glover's Reef Atoll where the visibility's the clearest and the wildlife most abundant. While there, we ventured by boat to Lighthouse Reef, home of the famous Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a large marine sinkhole measuring 1,000 feet in diameter and 400 feet deep. Peering down into it's black abyss was a bit intimidating. But since we were just snorkeling, we swam to the coral reef on the perimiter...as fast as we could! lol
We stayed at the secluded Isla Marisol Resort on Glovers Reef, where they took excellent care of us. We really enjoyed snorkeling the coral reef patches, with some of the most abundant marine life we've ever witnessed. The beautiful sea fans and sponges are some of what make Caribbean snorkeling and diving really stand out. Species we saw included octopus, nurse sharks, barracuda, moray eels, stingrays, porcupinefish, queen triggerfish, black durgon, french angelfish, filefish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, and cowfish. And I found the fish I was hoping to see - the Queen Angelfish!
Belize was a beautiful country full of warm-hearted people. If you love warm tropical waters, fresh local cuisine, and ancient civilizations, we recommend you give Belize a try.