Wedged between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean, Belize is house to an array of pure habitats, together with the world’s second-largest barrier reef. And it has no scarcity of cultural treasures both, mentioned Amelia Duggan in Nationwide Geographic Traveller, together with two spectacular Mayan websites.

A British colony till 1981, Belize is a democracy right now, and safer and extra secure than a lot of its neighbours.

It’s additionally straightforward to discover: the nation is barely bigger than Wales, although with a inhabitants of solely round 405,000 folks – and has a handy smattering of luxurious lodges. You possibly can go to for the laziest of seaside breaks, or for a rainforest journey – or, like most first-time guests, for some mixture of the 2.

The best of Belize’s Mayan websites, Caracol, was hidden within the jungle for hundreds of years, and has only a few guests even right now. At its top, within the eighth century, it was house to 100,000 folks, and the Sky Palace at its coronary heart – a “pyramidal advanced of hovering stairs, temples, burial chambers and royal dwelling quarters” – remains to be the nation’s tallest man-made construction, at 139ft.

The traditional metropolis of Lamanai, far to the north, can also be spectacular, and subsequent to it is likely one of the nation’s greatest rainforest lodges, Lamanai Outpost. Company can go seeking jaguars with consultants from the analysis tasks it hosts, or go to a Mennonite village close by; this ultra-conservative Protestant denomination has flourished in Belize for the reason that Nineteen Fifties. 

On the sleepy Placencia Peninsula, there are drumming periods and cookery courses to get pleasure from with one other of the nation’s minority communities, the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna. And additional up the coast, Ambergris Caye is “each bit the Caribbean dream”, with white-sand seashores, vibrant wood homes, and fabulous snorkelling over the wildly vibrant barrier reef. 

Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.com) has a ten-night journey from £3,702pp, together with flights.