As the only English speaking independent democracy in Central America, Belize already has built-in appeal for North Americans. When you add in the assurances of a stable government operating under British Common Law and featuring the same security of titled real estate like you would expect to find in the USA or Canada, Belize emerges as the obvious choice for retirement or as a second home. With a population of roughly 420,000 in 2022, and a currency (the Belizean dollar) pegged 2:1 to the US dollar, Belize is both full of opportunity and easy to adjust to. US currency is also widely accepted.
Rich in its cultural blend of Garifuna, Mayans, Kriol, and modern Belizeans, this 16-mile peninsula affords the stunning 360 degree breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea along with the massive Placencia Lagoon backdropped by the lush green of the Maya Mountains. No longer solely a bucket list destination for scuba divers and sport fishermen, Placencia has evolved into a vacation destination with virtually universal appeal.
See the abundant life of our jungles and rivers
In Belize, jaguars rule the land. And the best place to catch a glimpse of these striking wildcats is Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. This sprawling reserve was founded in the 1980s to protect Belize's endangered species. Today, Cockscomb also houses ocelots, pumas, peccaries, tapirs, king vultures, armadillos, otters, along with hundreds of native birds. The sanctuary contains 12 miles of nature trails that span across the 150-square-mile sanctuary. You'll likely only have time (and strength) to mosey up a few marked trails, so choose wisely. Recent visitors praised the reserve's beautiful scenery, but some noted the trails are challenging. Still, most said the hikes were worth it simply for the picturesque vistas of the southern tip of the country. Increase your chances of seeing active wildlife by visiting at the beginning of the rainy season or on cooler, cloudy days when animals are more likely to be active.
Explore the history of the ancient Mayans
Perched on the New River Lagoon in northern Belize, this sprawling 960-acre Mayan site stands masked in crocodile art. Lamanai means "submerged crocodile" in Yucatec Mayan, which should give you a good idea of what you'll encounter here: artifacts depicting representations of the reptile, plus crocodiles (and iguanas) crawling along the banks of the New River to catch some sunlight. Inhabited from about 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1700, Lamanai is the longest-occupied known Mayan site in the world. Its dense compound features three Mayan pyramids, the remains of a 16th-centruy Spanish Church and several noteworthy plazas and temples established during Pre-Classic Mayan rule. You won't want to skip climbing the High Temple, and you'll also want to visit the Mask Temple, which includes ancient artifacts linked to Mayan, Aztec and Olmec rulers. Just come prepared with sunscreen, light clothing and plenty of water.
An undersea adventure awaits you...
Facing the southern edge of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the oldest reserve in Belize. Its name translates to "Little Channel," in reference to a coral-filled gap in Belize's immense barrier reef. Encompassing 3 square miles, this densely populated aquatic zone is a sanctuary for stingrays, eels and sharks, among other creatures. The reserve is separated into four parts: the mangroves, the reef, the sea-grass beds and the most recently added Shark Ray Alley. Because of its diversity, the reserve has flourished as a hot spot for scuba divers and snorkelers. Recent travelers said Hol Chan Marine's crystal clear waters and abundant sea life make it a prime spot for snorkeling and diving.
Perhaps you would prefer some DIY "fresh catch"?
Belize has a Caribbean coastline and Caribbean islands (cayes) where fishermen can find abundant opportunities for fly fishing and deep-sea fishing. Some of the best fishing in Belize is right off the coast of Ambergris Caye, the largest of the islands, and The Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize. You can catch sailfish and tuna on deep-sea fishing trips, and you're likely to see dolphins or sharks swimming near your boat. Other common catches include snapper, bonefish, wahoo, and grouper.