Given the fact that Belize is so small, it is possible to visit any of the country's major tourist destinations and attractions as a side trip from Belize City. Most are easily reached in less than 2 hours by car, bus, or boat taxi. Other attractions are accessible by short commuter flights. All in all, you can visit almost any destination or attraction described in this book as a day trip, except for the far southern zone.
Other possible destinations for side trips out of Belize City include Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, dive excursions to the nearby reefs, and even to the more isolated dive destinations like the Blue Hole and the Lighthouse and Turneffe atolls. You can also visit the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha, Lamanai, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and even Caracol and Tikal.
Most hotels can arrange any of the day trips suggested above. In addition, you can check in with Discovery Expeditions (tel. 223-0748; www.discoverybelize.com) or S & L Travel and Tours (tel. 227-7593; www.sltravelbelize.com). Note: Most of the tours and activities mentioned here are also sold to visiting cruise-ship passengers. When the cruise ships are in town, a cave tubing adventure, snorkel trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark-Ray Alley, or a visit to either Altun Ha or Lamanai ruins can be a mob scene. It's often possible to avoid these crowds by starting your tour or activity very early, or in the late afternoon. If you are organizing your tour or activity with a local operator, mention that you want to avoid the cruise-ship groups, if at all possible.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.