advertisement

Southern Belize has only two major towns, Dangriga and Punta Gorda, and one popular beach village, Placencia. For years, this was the least developed region of Belize, but that's changing quickly. Placencia is arguably the hottest and fastest growing destinations in Belize. And the tiny Garífuna settlement of Hopkins Village is also booming. Both Placencia and Hopkins Village offer up some of the longest and finest sand beaches to be found in the country.

Southern Belize is made up of the Stann Creek and Toledo districts. It is home to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, a major breeding ground and reserve for the New World's largest cat, the jaguar, as well as several other lesser-known and virtually unexplored forest reserves. It is here you'll find Belize's highest mountain, Victoria Peak, which stands at 1,122m (3,681 ft.).

Offshore, you'll find some of Belize's most beautiful cayes and its most remote atoll, Glover's Reef Atoll. The cayes and barrier reef down here are as spectacular as those found farther north, yet far less developed and crowded. You can literally have an island to yourself down here. Much of the offshore and underwater wonders are protected in reserves, such as the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, Glover's Marine Reserve, Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, and Laughing Bird Caye National Park.

As historically the least developed and colonized region in Belize, the southern zone still maintains ongoing and healthy communities of traditional Mayan and Garífuna peoples. This is one of the few places on the planet where you can comfortably spend a few days in a traditional Mayan or Garífuna village and see how nice it can feel to step away from the 21st century for a bit.