South of Belize City, the Blue Hole National Park is home to two popular attractions - The Blue Hole and St. Herman's Cave. The Blue Hole (not to be confused with the dive site north of Half Moon Caye) is a gorgeous and cool swimming hole, surrounded by green forest. Before or after your swim, you can hike a mile and a half or drive and then take a short trail from the highway to St. Herman's Cave, one of Belize's many exciting and mysterious caves. Don't forget to bring a flashlight. Combine this trip with visits to the Belize Zoo and/or the Guanacaste National Park just outside of the capital city, Belmopan.
Another option for a day in the south, is a visit to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Starting either as an early morning drive down the very picturesque Hummingbird Highway or a 15 minute flight to take the tour from Dangriga, this is a worthwhile trip to experience the rainforest. The ultimate in tropical rainforests, this 160-square-mile basin is the site of the world's only jaguar reserve. Although the jaguar itself is elusive and you're unlikely to see one, there is a wealth of other wildlife to admire. There are many trails of varying degrees of difficulty. For the advanced hiker with 3-4 days, plan a hike to the top of Victoria Peak, Belizean's favorite mountain and part of Central America's oldest rock mass.
No visit to Belize is complete without a trip to the "Best Little Zoo in the World". Started as a sanctuary for a collection of wild animals which had been injured or abandoned, the Belize Zoo is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals all native to Belize. A visit to the zoo is a great way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them.
Just a few miles north of Belize City is the Community Baboon Sanctuary, a cooperative project among environmentalists, farmers and landowners to preserve Central America's declining population of black howler monkeys, known locally as baboons. Visitors can learn about this project via the center, museum and interpretive trail and best of all, you're sure to hear the eerie howls of the baboons.
Nearby is the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. A series of lowlands, rivers and lagoons, this 3,000-acre sanctuary abounds with nature trails and wildlife. Watch for the magnificent jabiru stork, Belize's largest bird. For advice and information before your trip, visit the Audubon Society office in Belize City. For birders, a river trip to visit Lamanai, a Maya ruin on the New River Lagoon, combines outstanding birding with another chance to experience the "mystery of the Maya."
If hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding among pines and clear mountain streams is more your style, then the Mountain Pine Ridge is your destination. Spectacular waterfalls, natural swimming pools and a series of river caves hung with stalactites all vie for your attention in this terrain.
These are just a few of the adventures and experiences that make Belize unique and YOU can be a part of it. You won't regret it!