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Belize

The second largest barrier reef in the world, mysterious Mayan ruins, tropical rainforests teeming with life, palm-studded sandy beaches: no wonder Belize is one of the world's top ecotourist destinations! A small country tucked between Mexico, Guatemala and the caressing blue waters of the Caribbean, Belize is exploding with subtropical flora and fauna. It boasts over 500 species of birds including scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, kingfishers, motmots, egrets and frigate birds. Amidst dense jungle, howler and spider monkeys swing beneath the forest canopy, river otters playfully float down streams, jaguars and ocelots roam at night and tapirs and peccaries forage the undergrowth. Here you'll find gorgeous orchids, ubiquitous palms, pine forests, hardwoods such as mahogany trees, sugarcane, bird-of-paradise and mangroves. Fruit lovers (birds and humans alike!) delight in the abundance of bananas, mangos, pineapples, oranges, grapefruit, cashews, papaya, craboo and coconuts.
Offshore another world awaits. Stretching the entire length of the country from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Gulf of Honduras, Belize's barrier reef is the largest in the Western Hemisphere. More than 200 islands ranging from clumps of mangroves to scenic sandy cayes decorate the reef waters. Belize boasts three of the Caribbean's four atolls, enormous rings of coral. Underwater is home to an extensive ecosystem comprising shimmering schools of fish, colorful sponges, coral of all shapes, dolphins, sharks, manatees and sea turtles. Belize is ideal for water sports: SCUBA diving, fishing, sailing, snorkeling and swimming. Naturally, for those less active, leisurely lounging on the beach as the azure waters lap against the shore is a perfectly acceptable pastime!
Although a small country with only 250,000 people, Belize is culturally rich. Belize comprises many different ethnic groups, which peacefully and harmoniously co-exist including Chinese, Creole, East Indian, European, Garifuna, Lebanese, Mayan, Mennonite and Mestizo. While many languages are spoken, English is the official language. Belizeans broadly welcome tourism and visitors are warmly greeted with large smiles. Near Hamanasi is the most traditional Garifuna fishing village of Hopkins. The Garinagu are descendants of Carib Indians and Africans and still speak the Garifuna language. Continuing their ancestral customs, Hopkins residents fish in dugout dories, harvest cassava and weave baskets. On major holidays, such as Garifuna Settlement Day or Christmas, and by arrangement, traditional singing, dancing and drumming will mesmerize you. Neighboring villages comprise Creoles and Mayans with their own cultural heritage.

Without question Belize is one of the most diverse and interesting places to experience. So whether you are an ecotourist, a diver, a naturalist, an adventurer, an angler or simply a beachcomber, Belize is the perfect destination!

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