With its nature and marine reserves, national parks and forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and world-famous Mayan ruins, Belize is filled with countless testaments to the power of both man and nature. For any tourist visiting Belize, there are plenty of opportunities to see and learn about some of the world's most fascinating monuments.
Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
At the Half Moon Caye, tourists can view the beauty of nature both on ground and under water. It is located near the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a rimmed platform surrounded by a fringing reef perfect for snorkeling and diving. Inside the reef, snorkelers can view hundreds of coral patches, eagle rays, sea turtles and groupers. Back on land, visit the littoral forest on the western side of the cay, an endangered habitat that is the home for several birds and reptiles such as the gecko and the red-footed booby.
One of the largest archaeological sites in Belize, Lamanai is located in the Orange Walk District surrounded by rain forest. This Mayan ruin was a ceremonial center, and tourists can climb into its temples for a great view of the rain forest. The three renovated temples include the Jaguar Temple, the Mask Temple and the High Temple. Lamanai is inhabited with howler monkeys that tourists often see in the surrounding trees, and crocodiles live in the waters nearby. There is also a museum on site with a collection of Mayan artifacts.
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
This forest reserve was established in 1944 but was severely damaged by a fire in 1949, and the groups of pine trees are interspersed with remnants of the burned tree remains. Tourists can observe woodpeckers storing acorns, along with the rufous-capped warbler, the Stygian owl, the Eastern bluebird, and orange-breasted falcons. The reserve also includes Baldy Beacon, a land with infertile soil that cannot support trees. There are several rivers on the property, which includes the Macal River and its tributaries, along with the Pao On waterfalls.