Article and photos by Josette King
Thanks to its Caribbean coastline graced with the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, Belize has long been considered by water sport enthusiasts one of the premiere scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. The sandy islands that straddle the reef, known locally as cayes, reputed for their white coral sand beaches and spectacular underwater canyons remain the country’s greatest attraction.
Yet a mere ninety minute drive inland another Belize of unspoiled rain forests rich in wildlife, birds and Mayan archeological treasures is beginning to capture the interest of eco-tourists. The Cayo District, with its vast expanses of verdant rolling hills along the Macal and Mopan rivers, offers especially scenic attractions. It is home to the two most important Maya ruins in the country, Caracol and Xunantunich, as well as several nature reserves including the reputed Blue Hole and Guanacaste National Parks.
I recently enjoyed a visit to this easily accessible but remarkably secluded area of Belize where toucans still outnumber tourists and where intimate eco-lodges offer a warm welcome. Click here to read about my visit to Belize including the Cayo District and Casa del Caballo Blanco.