Barrier Reef, Mayan Ruins and Jungles
Formerly the British Honduras, Belize hosts a melting pot of cultures—Garifuna, Mayan, Mestizo, Chinese, Indian, Creole and Mennonite—each leaving their distinct mark on the country’s traditions and its cuisine. In the heart of Central America, bordered by Mexico and Gautemala, Belize offers bountiful nature from untouched jungles, rainforests and caves to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere offshore, a mecca for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.
While Belmopan is the country’s administrative capital, Belize City is the country’s business capital, with banks, offices and shops lining the streets, while fruit and fast-food vendors jostle with those selling knickknacks. Divided by Haulover Creek, a tributary of the Belize River, Belize City’s north and south sides are connected by the Swing Bridge, the oldest manually operated swing bridge in South America, an admirable example of 1920s architecture and a historical landmark. Built in Liverpool, England, and transported by sea to Belize City, the bridge requires four men to manually operate it—marking it as one of the few manually operated swing bridges in the world still used today.
Arriving in the Belize City on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise offers the perfect jumping-off point for offshore MSC excursions offering water sports in the crysal blue Caribbean to a wealth of inland excursions from Mayan ruins and howler monkey sanctuaries to cave tubing and zip lines.
For something special, an excursion into the jungle will have you tasting street food, cacao and
artisanal cheese, while exploring rainforest botany in a full day adventure.
Don’t miss an MSC excursion to one of three major Mayan archaeological sites: Altun Ha (Rock Stone Water), Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile) and Xunantunich (Stone Woman). Here, among the foliage of a spectacular jungle, discover the magnificent ruins of a civilization that survived for centuries. See where the famous Jade Head “Kinich Ahau” was uncovered by Dr. David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum, visit the Temple of the Mask with its huge crocodile-shaped mask, or explore the Temple of El Castillo, the administrative hub of elite rulers of the time.
cruises to belize city