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Overview

The most remote and wild region of this small country is reached via the picturesque Hummingbird Highway (or, alternatively, the more rugged Manatee Highway) and on to points south along the Southern Highway. Clearly a misnomer, the Southern Highway is only partly paved and deteriorates the deeper it penetrates into the culturally-rich Toledo District, with several Maya sites and villages ringed by dense rain forest and populated by exotic fauna. Some of Belize's best wildlife-watching is in this region, particularly in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary where jaguars, pumas and ocelots hunt armadillos, peccaries, tapirs and other prey ...

The most remote and wild region of this small country is reached via the picturesque Hummingbird Highway (or, alternatively, the more rugged Manatee Highway) and on to points south along the Southern Highway. Clearly a misnomer, the Southern Highway is only partly paved and deteriorates the deeper it penetrates into the culturally-rich Toledo District, with several Maya sites and villages ringed by dense rain forest and populated by exotic fauna. Some of Belize's best wildlife-watching is in this region, particularly in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary where jaguars, pumas and ocelots hunt armadillos, peccaries, tapirs and other prey large and small. Marine life is similarly rich, with breeding hawksbill turtles and the largest Western Manatee population in the Caribbean (both off Gales Point), whale sharks, dolphins, rays, and exquisite coral gardens. The southern cayes — Tobacco and South Water, Southwest and Long — are jumping off points for explorations around Glover's Reef, which some divers argue is the best the Caribbean has to offer. Local beach culture is epitomized by the laid back villages of Hopkins, Placencia and Punta Gorda (known colloquially as PG).

Conner Gorry
About the Expert

Conner Gorry is a contributor to more than a dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks and is the lead writer for Lonely Planet's Yucatan, Belize, and Guatemala guides.

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Conner Gorry for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round, except during the hurricane-prone months September through November