With far less of a language barrier to overcome than elsewhere in Central America, Belize, perched on the isthmus’s northeast corner, is the ideal first stop on a tour of the region. And, although it is the most expensive country in Central America, its reliable public transport and numerous hotels and restaurants make it an ideal place to travel independently.

Belize offers some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the region: thick tropical forests envelop much of the country’s southern and western regions, stretching up towards the misty heights of the sparsely populated Maya Mountains, while just offshore, dazzling turquoise shallows and cobalt depths surround the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the longest such reef in the Americas, as well as the jewels in Belize’s natural crown: three of the four coral atolls in the Caribbean.

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After Belize, where next?

Check out Dominican Republic

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