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Green Globetrotter: Jungles and Beaches in Belize

English-speaking Belize is oriented toward conservation, with an impressive number of wildlife sanctuaries, marine preserves, and experts happy to share information on everything.

| November/December 2005

  • Luxury cottages at the Lodge at Chaa Creek
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • The Mayan Jaguar Temple, Lamanai
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • The Oceanic Society's research station at Blackbird Caye
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach
  • South Water Caye
    Photo By Laurel Kallenbach

The tiny Central American country of Belize—the size of Massachusetts—is home to astonishing biodiversity and ecosystems: Caribbean atolls, mangroves, tropical forests, and mountains. Take your pick of adventures: snorkel or dive the hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, explore ancient Mayan ruins, bird watch, or trek the jungle searching for elusive jaguars. English-speaking Belize is oriented toward conservation, with an impressive number of wildlife sanctuaries, marine preserves, and experts happy to share information on everything from toucans to the gumbo-limbo tree.

Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Named for the spectacular Mayan ruins nearby, Lamanai (meaning “submerged crocodile”) blends unobtrusively into the lagoon-side jungle in northern Belize. Guests stay in lovely fan-cooled rooms and are treated to gourmet meals cooked from organic local food. The real show here is nature—and guided excursions give you frontrow seats. You can observe uproarious troops of howler monkeys; paddle a canoe by starlight for upclose encounters with nocturnal birds; climb Mayan pyramids; and help a biologist capture, tag, and record data on endangered freshwater crocodiles.

Pelican’s Pouch on South Water Caye

Log some hammock time at this eco-conscious island getaway, which runs on solar power and uses composting toilets in an effort to preserve the delicate ecosystem. The small hotel offers no-frills rooms and cabins on one of Belize’s loveliest palm-fringed beaches, which is also a turtle nesting area. There’s good snorkeling right offshore; dive trips are optional.

Chaa Creek Lodge and Nature Reserve

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