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The Mundo Maya of Belize

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In this historical moment -- the completion of the 13th b'aktun of the Maya Long Count calendar -- I can't think help but praise the Mundo Maya. One of my favorite corners of Mesoamerica is Belize, an under-populated country the size of Massachusetts which feels like a tropical island crashed up against Latin America. These are my favorite spots and activities in Belize's Mundo Maya, enjoy.
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San Ignacio, Chaa Creek Road, Belize
Often referred to as Belize's original eco-lodge, Chaa Creek opened in 1981 as a simple rain forest hotel. In the decades since, it has become one of the country's most popular options for upscale jungle accommodations, winning awards for its...
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Chiquibil Forest Reserve, Belize
My favorite ruins in Caracol were not necessarily the most grandiose, but the ones least excavated so it felt like you were discovering it yourself.
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Xunantunich Rd, Belize
The Cayo District is home to many of Belize’s ancient Maya sites, including one of the largest, Xunantunich. Located atop a ridge near the Mopan River and the Guatemala border, Xunantunich’s "El Castillo," the main pyramid, is...
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Big Falls, Belize
While visiting Big Falls in Belize's Southern Toledo District, we visited a contemporary (English-speaking) Maya family. The family is currently working with a local lodge to create a sustainable tourism business model and welcome travelers into...
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Belize
Often called ATM Cave, Actun Tunichil Muknal (the Cave of the Crystal Maiden) is one of the most popular adventure excursions in Belize. Visitors hike dense jungle trails for an hour and a half to reach the mouth of the cave, then enter and...
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Though Belize is replete with Maya sites, including some spectacular archaeological examples that are open to the public, Chan Chich may well be the only hotel in the country that can claim to sit atop a known former Maya site. In the late 1980s,...
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Barrio San Cristobal, Managua, Nicaragua
You'll have to do your own taste-testing when you arrive in Nicaragua, but Toña and Victoria are the main contenders for best Nica cerveca, available pretty much everywhere. And if the beer is cold...