Top Ten Central America Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Step Into Belize's Past: Belize

Want to wake up in the middle of a Maya ruin, surrounded by the sounds of tropical wilderness? Your dream can come true if you book a room at Chan Chich Lodge, an elegant cabana-style resort that sits in an ancient plaza at Rio Bravo Conservation Area. Its presence helps protect one of 60 Maya cities that were being systematically looted before the owner of the Rio Bravo lands took action to save them. Part of the scheme is low-impact natural history tourism: the area has many miles of well-maintained hiking trails and studies of local flora and fauna are ongoing by resident naturalists. About 350 species of birds have been confirmed here, along with 200 varieties of trees, 110 kinds of orchids, and 80 types of bats. Sustainable harvesting of a few forest products (including chicle, a natural chewing gum base) contributes to the local economy. If the hot tub and pool at Chan Chich are too rich for your taste, try the more rustic Rio Bravo Research Station.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »