Belize in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph
Beautiful Belize is a photographer's dream destination, as it offers a multifaceted ecosystem to shoot from beneath the sea to the beaches and jungles above. The only English-speaking nation in Central America, Belize is home to hundreds of offshore islands known as cayes, where you'll find pristine white-sand-meets-turquoise-sea beaches, as well as some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling around, thanks to the country's location near the Belize Barrier Reef, which is second in the planet size-wise.
Inland, you'll find ancient Mayan civilization ruins to photograph, as well as wildlife, from jaguars to toucans and monkeys, in the country's reserves and national parks. If you are looking to take some pictures, here are the best places to photograph in Belize:
1. Tobacco Caye
This aerial shot of gorgeous Tobacco Caye is a great example of how beautiful the islands off the Belize mainland are. Surrounded by the Belize Barrier Reef, the snorkeling and scuba diving off this tiny isle is amazing. You can also stay in one of the "over the beach" cabanas located on this secluded caye at the northern edge of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve.
2. Shark Ray Alley
Off Ambergris Caye, which is also home to a number of beach resorts, Shark Ray Alley is located just off the white-sand beach and is filled with sharks and rays that tourists can swim with in eight-feet-deep water. The nurse sharks and small rays swarm the area when tourist boats arrive - they know they'll get a fishy snack from your tour guide (and don't worry, they aren't usually aggressive with humans).
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3. The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole is quite a sight to photograph, especially from above. It is a massive marine sinkhole off the mainland, near the middle of Lighthouse Reef. The largest sea hole in the world, it is a world-class scuba destination, famed for its clear water and prolific tropical marine life swimming amid impressive coral formations.
4. Xunantunich Ruins
The Xunantunich Ruins pictured above are an Ancient Mayan archeological site about 112 kilometers west of Belize City. The ruins are set on a hill above the Mopan River, near the border with Guatemala, and to access them, you have to cross the river in a hand-cranked ferry.
5. Caye Caulker
Super laid-back, but definitely developed, Caye Caulker has a distinct Bohemian vibe and is wonderfully void of automobiles. Lounge on the public beach by the colorful cottages and take a dip in the clear blue sea on this tiny isle that you can ride a golf cart or bicycle around. There is great diving offshore and dozens upon dozens of hotels for all budgets.
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6. Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve
The noble jaguar is protected in a 388-square-kilometer section of rain forest on Ambergris Caye known as the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve, the latter being the only one of its kind in the world. The largest concentration of these wild cats on the planet are found here, with about 200 jaguars living in this preserve.
7. San Pedro Town
The main town on Ambergris Caye, San Pedro is located on the southern end of the island and is where most of the island's hotels and resorts are found. It is absolutely gorgeous at sunset when the sky is on fire with a myriad of colors before slowly fading into twilight and then black.
8. The Mask Temple
This photographic site is in the ancient Mayan civilization of Lamanai. The Mask Temple features two giant carved limestone masks (pictured above) that flank the main stairway into the temple. While masks are not uncommon in ancient Mayan architecture, these masks are quite unique because they are carved in limestone instead of the more common moulded stucco used during this period.
9. Tiger Fern Waterfall
The Tiger Fern waterfall, pictured here, is in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is also where you'll find the Jaguar Preserve. To see the waterfall, you'll need to complete a challenging hike that takes you from the jungle floor to the top of the mountain and then down the other side to the double waterfall that rewards you with a cool swimming hole.
10. Belize City
Belize's capital is Belize City, pictured here. The port city is divided by a manually operated Swing Bridge from the 1920s that links the north and south sides of Haulover Creek, which eventually opens up into the Caribbean Sea.
11. Keel-Billed Toucan in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Birding is a top pastime in Belize, and many tourists come to spot its myriad of species. To see the national bird of Belize, the keel-billed toucan pictured here, you'll need to head to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
12. Glover's Reef Atoll
This aerial photo shows people kayaking in one of the most southern atolls in Belize, Glover's Reef. The atoll is a great off-the-beaten-track adventure destination. It is one of three atolls in the Belize Barrier Reef system, which is the second largest reef system on the planet after Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
13. South Water Caye
This aerial photo depicts South Water Caye, which is one of Belize's still secret destinations, home to some awesome diving and snorkeling spots on the barrier reef that are still blissfully void of tourists. The island is home to just two resorts.
Head to the boardwalk at sunset in the beach resort town of Placencia for an awesome photo of the nightly color show. If there are a few clouds, the sunsets are even more spectacular. Beyond sunsets, this area is known for a lagoon filled with saltwater crocodiles and manatees and some stunning offshore dive sites on the Belize Barrier Reef.
15. Hol Chan National Park
If you love sea turtles, you can see them up close and personal, and in the wild, with a scuba or snorkeling excursion to Hol Chan National Park. The underwater marine reserve is located off the coast of Belize, and tours depart from nearby Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.