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If you're planning your first trip to Belize, here's a list of the top 10 activities you should consider.

1. Experience the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

To truly experience Belize you must see the reef. If you're not a water person you don't need to get into, or onto, the sea to appreciate the reef's beauty. Just hop a local flight to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. You'll be enchanted with the stunning view of the Caribbean Sea beneath you, and the waves breaking on the barrier reef, to the east of the cayes.

2. Take a Boat Trip

Be sure to get out onto the Caribbean Sea, inside the reef. Take a water taxi, motorboat, catamaran, or sailboat trip. Or get into a kayak and paddle out to the reef. The shimmering, nuanced shades of aquamarine are utterly calming when viewed this way. The sea is teeming with vibrant fish, coral and rays... And the water temperature is perfect, so you'll want to jump right in.

3. Snorkel or Dive at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

If you are a snorkeler, or diver, visit the protected Hol Chan Marine Preserve, on the south side of Ambergris Caye. This is a perfect place to snorkel or dive. It's a protected cut through the reef's wall. Here you’ll get up close and personal with Belize's delightful sea creatures.

4. Visit a Mayan Ruin

Remnants of the Mayan civilization are everywhere in Belize. There are many ruins to explore and each is unique. If you're in the Cayo, visit Xunantunich, or Caracol. If you’re on the cayes or in town then take a day trip to Lamanai or Altun Ha.

5. Don’t Miss the Best Little Zoo in the World

The focus is on the indigenous creatures of Belize. You only need a few hours to view Belize's quirky creatures. Come early or late in the day, at mealtime. That way you'll see the elusive jaguars and other shy creatures.

6. Try Some Unusual Local Food

Most tourists enjoy the stewed chicken, rice and beans, ceviche, and lobster dishes. Try something more unusual like stewed gibnut...a boil up...or hudut, the Garifuna's traditional coconut fish stew. Add a splash of Marie Sharps, or Hot Mama's veggie based hot sauce, to give it a kick. If in season, try mango slices sold by street vendors with salt and spices, for a sweet/spicy snack...

Read on…

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