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Unforgettable National Parks and Protected Areas in Belize

By 1/22/2019

For a small nation, the amount of land the Belize government has allocated to parks is unprecedented, and about 50-percent of Belize is protected by one environmental law or another. We’ve chosen just 10 of the best. Each offers a unique experience you may not find elsewhere in Belize.

  1. Hol Chan Marine Reserve: Once a community-based project, this “little channel” remains a hospitable place for indigenous marine life. Hol Chan is Belize’s oldest reserve and it has gotten the attention of societies dedicated to the preservation of animal life around the globe.

  2. Cockscomb Basin: While other species of exotic cats hang out in this park, the kings (and queens) of Cockscomb are endangered Jaguars. A wildlife sanctuary since 1984, you’ll trek through jungle in search of elusive creatures. Bring a camera just in case you are lucky enough spot one

  3. St. Herman’s Cave and the Inland Blue Hole. You don’t have to be saintly to visit St. Herman’s Cave, but you may wish to say a prayer if jumping into the site’s iconic, 25-foot-deep Blue Hole scares you. This popular recreation spot is tucked into the jungle adjacent to an underwater cave. You want to see that too, right?

  4. Guanacaste National Park: A tree is a tree is a tree—unless it’s the Guanacaste variety. Why name a park after a tree? Because this 50-acre forest in the Cayo District hosts 100+ bird species and nicely-marked trails give visitors room to spot lots of them. Come for the tree. Stay for the birds! Binoculars are mandatory.

  5. Half Moon Caye Natural Monument: The beauty of this crescent-shaped caye is breathtaking enough to qualify as a movie set. Dedicated in 1982, this 45-square-acre paradise is a lush mix of endangered forest, beach and enough palm trees to convince you that you’ve arrived in paradise. For birders: red-footed boobies hang out here, too.

  6. Great Blue Hole: How lucky is Belize to have two Blue Holes? This world-class Caribbean diving epicenter is so popular, divers of all skill levels come to Belize to do nothing but dive into this perfectly-formed, 410-foot natural wonder. Come just once and you’ll understand why Jacques Cousteau couldn’t get enough of this spot.

  7. Community Baboon Sanctuary: You will hear the noise before you meet the locals at this sanctuary situated along the Belize River. This habitat is also home to Black Howler Monkeys. Primate watchers flock here to see why the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County and World Wildlife Fund help promote this community-initiated project.

  8. Laughing Bird Caye: This World Heritage site is 11 miles off the Placencia coast, the southern-most island in the Belize Barrier Reef chain. An ideal location to study coral habitats and marine life, you won’t find laughing birds here because they’ve migrated to new homes, but feel free to laugh on their behalf during your visit.

  9. Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve: You may smell the pines before you see them—perhaps all the way from San Ignacio Town, a portal to this 300-mile preserve founded under the 1924 Forests Act. Explore the reserve, but don’t miss the Hidden Valley waterfall, Rio on Pools and Rio Frio Cave. Bring a bathing suit.

  10. Shark Ray Alley: Tell friends that you swam with sharks and they’ll be impressed. You don’t have to mention that they were harmless nurse sharks and equally harmless rays. Trained to respond to human visitors after years of being fed by fisherman, these sharks and rays have come to depend upon human interactions, so join the party.

We know what you’re asking: How do I arrange to get to all 10 of these sites during my limited time in Belize? The answer is Belizing.com. This Belize resource is in the business of sorting out tours, transfers, transport and logistics for travelers just like you.
In addition to feeling confident knowing that all arrangements are handled by one resource, it's good to know that Belizing.com contributes to community programs that help keep these beautiful parks in protective care in perpetuity, which means that every time you work with Belizing.com, you help too!

Learn More
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Departs From:
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary established in 1990 is world renowned for being the first jaguar reserve.Besides being the home to Belize's largest cat, the sanctuary protects ... morethe headwaters of two major river systems and supports an abundance of hardwood vegetation and a diverse faunal assemblage.Over 128,000 acres of lush jungle are ringed by the spectacular Cockscomb Mountains.Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is home to all five (5) of Belize's cats: Jaguar, Puma, Margay, Jaguarundi, and Ocelot. It is estimated that over 80 resident Jaguars are in the area. Belize's national animal, the endangered Baird's Tapir also inhabits the Basin and over 290 different species of birds have been recorded.This tour is ideal for nature lovers and intrepid travelers.

Get a chance to be up close and personal with the majestic jaguar.
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Departs From:
Belize City
See the world famous Great Blue Hole in the best way possible … from the air with our Blue Hole Aerial Tour from Belize Concierge Excellent in Belize City. Hop on board a Piper ... morePa-32 Cherokee Six and fly to Lighthouse Reef Atoll, and witness This natural wonder of the world. On the way, you will see the Belize Barrier Reef (the longest in the Western Hemisphere), and Turneffe Atoll. While flying over the largest sea-hole in the world, keep an eye out for various sea wildlife such as Manatees, Rays, Sharks, Dolphins, and much more!!

This is a 1-hour tour that departs from the Belize City Municipal Airport to fly over the Blue Hole and returns.
**Kindly make booking request 1-week prior to your requested Tour Date to ensure availability of seats**
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Departs From:
Laughing Bird Caye is a National Park and World Heritage Site. It has a long and narrow island known for its abundance of marine life and coral. The Laughing Bird Caye offers diverse ... moresites to ex; making it a great choice to snorkel, scuba dive or even beachcomber!Laughing Bird Caye is a National Park and a World Heritage Site and an excellent destination to experience marine life in Belize. Your licenced guide will take you on a tour of the abundant and varied coral and to meet the local residents. Critters include spotted drum, huge lobsters, cleaner shrimp, arrow crabs, snapper, barracuda and more varieties of reef fish than you can count. On the east side of the island coral mounds separated by sandy patches rise to about 5 feet from the surface. These mounds have a variety of coral types which are home to lobsters, barracuda, lizardfish, angel fish, parrot fish, spotted drums, southern rays and a myriad of reef fish. On the west side your guide will find lobster, barracuda, lizardfish, Nassau grouper, angel fish, furry sea cucumbers, conch and lots and lots of colourful juvenile reef fish
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Departs From:
Belize City
Your friendly Smart Travel Belize Tour Guide will meet you at the Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City. After your welcome, your guide will then make his way through Belize City. ... moreExpect to get a brief history about Belize as we make our way to the highway. Enjoy your 45-minute ride on the Phillip Goldson Highway where you will be given a wealth of information about each of the villages. Additionally, see how the locals past their time throughout the day. Upon arriving at the Community Baboon Sanctuary, you will meet one of the local guides who will be conducting the howler monkey tour.

You will be taken along the howler monkey trails where you will be given a brief history of how the Community Baboon Sanctuary came into existence. You will also learn about the Flora and Fauna in the area. Come in contact with different medicinal plants and their benefits that were once used by the Mayas and the locals of today. You will get a close encounter with the Howler Monkeys and hear their loud howl as if you are in the Jurassic Movie.

From there you will make your way back towards Burrell Boom Village where you will make a small stop to do some birding at the Black Orchid Resort. The Black Orchid Resort is the number 1 Resort in the Area and they boast approximately over 100 different species of Birds that visit the property. They also have a Restaurant on the property if you would like to grab a bite or something to drink. You will then Head back to Belize City where your guide will take you back to the Fort Street Tourism Village.


This tour is available to cruise ship passengers and overnight guests.

Hands-on tour.
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Departs From:
Belize City
Indulge yourself in the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea. This is a must do tour when you’re in Belize. For all the water lovers and those that want to experience the underwater ... moreworld and swim in a real-life aquarium. Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley is the place to be. You will get a chance to overcome your fears to swim with friendly nurse sharks and southern stingrays. As your boat pulls up to the area, you will get a first-hand view of the sharks as they come close to the boat. These creatures flock to this site due to the fishermen that are normally in the area. Your guide will also lift the rays for you to take wonderful pictures and will guide you as you enter into the crystal clear water so you can swim with the sharks and rays.

During this tour, you will be able to snorkel at 3 locations for about 45 mins to an hour. As you swim the barrier reef, you’ll get a chance to see different coral formations along with different schools of tropical fishes. You will definitely have a UNBELIZEABLE time here. After snorkeling, you may stay on the island to grab a quick bite to eat before returning to Belize City.
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Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Depart Blue Tang Inn on the Sirena Azul Sailboat at 8:30am or 1:30pm daily. Sail, relax and enjoy the aqua blue Caribbean for about 45 minutes to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Here, a guide ... morewill lead you along the reef, pointing out the many interesting fish and coral formations. This beautiful, small channel contains many different schools of fish. Turtles, sting rays, groupers, horse-eyed jacks, snappers, and sergeant majors will escort you through this very scenic tour around the channel. Next stop is Shark Ray Alley, where you can snorkel with friendly Nurse sharks & southern stingrays next to the boat. Sip a refreshing drink on your return to Blue Tang Inn at 12 Noon or 5pm. Bring sunscreen, hat and a light sweater along. Snorkel gear is available for rent at the Blue Tang Inn office.
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Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
St. Herman’s Cave was a sacred Maya ceremonial site in the Classic Period. The concrete steps at its entrance cover original stone steps carved over a thousand year ago. From the cave, ... morewe take a 45-minute nature trail hike to the Blue Hole. This turquoise blue pool is surrounded by lush jungle, a great spot for birding and refreshing dip.
Required for RETURN to the USA
Required by the US Government. Testing service for compliance with CDC travel requirements. The Belize Ministry of Health has approved testing for travelers through private facilities ... moreand mobile testing units. Our preferred provider is Belize Diagnostic Center, the leader in Covid-19 testing services in Belize with locations available countrywide. Book Now to save your spot.

Update: As of June 12, 2022, some US-bound air travelers may no longer need a test. An official announcement from the CDC is expected soon.
Book My Test

Get the Latest Belize Travel Updates and Restrictions
Hassle-Free booking. Submit your booking request, and we will secure your appointment and send reminders before your test date. You don't pay until we confirm an appointment with an approved test lab.

Get tested before your departure date to avoid delays at the airport. Keep your results handy and be prepared to show them when required at the airport. This testing requirement applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

To reduce the introduction and spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, CDC issued an Order effective January 26, 2021. It requires all air passengers arriving in the US from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 infection no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result OR documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight.
Same Day
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), Caye Caulker, San Ignacio Town, Hopkins, Placencia, Belize City, Belmopan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Orange Walk Town, Corozal Town, Other (or unknown)
Ali Wunderman
Ali Wunderman joins us in the studio for a conversation about the new Belize covid-19 travel restrictions and her experience traveling back to Belize for the first time during the ... morepandemic. We discuss the new travel protocols and her experience arriving in Belize and visiting different areas of the country. With travel to Belize now fully reopened, including the return of cruise tourism in July 2021, there are some updated protocols and procedures that travelers should be aware of. Ali walks us through her experience and explains why traveling to Belize is as easy as 1-2-3.
Guest Name:
Ali Wunderman

Belizing.com Staff

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