Belize can truly host those interested in monkey business.
The country – seen as a pioneer in the ecotourism movement – is home to many forms of exotic wildlife, including howler monkeys, which can be heard from long distances, says Deborah Gilharry, of the Belize Tourism Board.
Also of interest to nature enthusiasts is Cockscomb, created specifically as a sanctuary for jaguars, she noted during a recent Toronto visit.
“I’d call it a paradise for nature enthusiasts,” Gilharry told PressToday of Belize. “We have the lush rainforest, we have the different ecosystems.”
Indeed, over 40% of Belize is protected from development, with the land set aside for either national parks or wildlife sanctuaries.
But Gilharry said Belize isn’t simply a nature retreat, noting those interested in Central America’s past will find Maya ruins dating back more than a 1,000 years. Belize’s Maya Homestay Program enables visitors to “experience the living Maya culture” by having them stay with a Maya family, stays that, for instance, enable them to learn how to prepare typical Maya dishes.
Gilharry also praised diving opportunities in Belize, citing the likes of the country’s “iconic Blue Hole, which attracts divers from all over the world.”
Belize is also home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, something that’s also appreciated by divers, she noted.
The tourism board has created a Belize specialist program for travel agents that can be found at the travelbelize.org site.
Pictured are event organizer Reggie Kieda; Ted Tejada of the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel; Gilharry; Karen Pike of the tourism board; Holly Holbrook of Belcampo Belize; and Ramona Sengespeick of Hatchet Caye Resort in Placencia, Belize.