Belize Inland Tours
Belize offers an extraordinary number of attractions for a country less than 9,000 square miles in size (about the size of Massachusetts). The cayes serve up the wonders of the 185-mile long barrier reef for Scuba divers, snorkelers and anglers to explore; and the mainland boasts expansive jungles, rivers and mountains for the adventurer to explore. Because the country is so small it is possible, and recommended if you have the opportunity, to take in as many of the natural wonders as possible. The following only highlights some of the attractions that can be encountered on the mainland.
Mayan ruins are at the top of most “must see” lists for mainland Belize. At the height of the Mayan civilization it is estimated that the population of Belize exceeded one million – nearly four times the present day population. Mayans still reside in Belize, speaking the ancient dialects. During the height of the Mayan civilization (2000 B.C. to 900 A.D.) temples were constructed throughout Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. Below is a sampling of Mayan sites that are excavated and open for tours.
The most extensively excavated site and the closest to Belize City (and Caye Caulker) is just 30 miles north of Belize City. Altun Ha can be easily reached by vehicle or by boat. Day trips are easily available from tour operators on Caye Caulker.
Almost on the Guatemalan border and accessible via a short ferry ride across the Mopan River. Xunantunich features a 130-foot high temple overlooking the river and Guatemala to the west. This is also an easy day trip if you’re staying on Caye Caulker.
If you have the time and are interested in seeing impressive ruins … Tikal, 50 miles into Guatemala, is a must. The expanse of the city and the majestic height of the temples are worth the trip. At least 3,000 structures dating back 6,000 years have been discovered on this site. We can arrange a day trip to Tikal by air.
Excavation only began in 1985 for this site, the largest in Belize and believed to be larger than Tikal. There are more than 4,000 structures covering 55 square miles. The largest pyramid, 140 feet tall, is the tallest man-made structure in Belize.
Other Maya Sites
The list of Mayan ruins also includes Cahal Pech, Cerros, El Pilar, Lamanai and Lubaantun. If your travels to Belize are focusing on Mayan ruins there are plenty of sites to fill up an itinerary.
Belize is a world leader in preservation of natural resources. The mainland is rich with wildlife reserves and national parks – a goldmine for the eco-tourist.
Located just off the western highway about 30 miles from Belize City, the Belize Zoo houses about 100 mammals, birds and reptiles indigenous to Belize. Simple enclosures allow visitors to see the animals very close-up and in an environment resembling their natural habitat. Definitely worth stopping at if you’re in the area and this is generally included with a trip to Xunantunich.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve
Home of the Jaguar Reserve, located in southern Belize, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve is also a habitat for nearly 300 species of birds.
Shipstern Nature Reserve
Is a butterfly breeding center for nearly 200 species of butterflies located in the Corozal District.
Community Baboon Sanctuary
Located 30 miles from Belize City, 18 sq. mi. have been set aside for the protection of the endangered black howler monkey.
Rio Frio Cave
Located in the Mountain Pine Ridge in the Cayo District, this cave which is open at both ends and nearly 65 feet high, is one of the most awesome natural wonders. Just a short distance away is the Rio On Pools, a series of pools formed in the rocks by the cascading waters.
has become an increasingly popular activity. The mainland of Belize contains countless cave systems. When the water levels permit, you float through ancient caves on large inner tubes beneath stalactites. Many of the caverns contain preserved Mayan artifacts. It’s an experience that everybody raves about. We can arrange cave-tubing day trips at the Iguana Reef Inn.