Belize should sit near the top of any birder’s wish-list for Central America destinations. This small Caribbean country boasts a whopping 588 bird species, including such dashing common birds as Red-legged Honeycreeper, Blue-crowned Motmot, and Crimson-collared Tanager. Some of the harder to find “near-endemics” in Belize include Yellow-lored Parrot, Yucatan Flycatcher, and the much sought-after Orange-breasted Falcon. In winter, hordes of neotropical migrant passerines fill the landscape and add to the incredible diversity of the year-round residents.
After declaring its independence from Great Britain in 1981 (hence its former name, British Honduras), Belize has become a model for conservation throughout the Americas. Over 2.5 million acres of protected land—about 26 percent of the country—includes habitat for such endangered species as the Central American tapir, the regionally endemic Bromeliad treefrog, and the endemic clubtail dragonfly, Epigomphus maya. Protected marine areas have also garnered Belize a reputation for world-class diving. In addition to exploring the second largest barrier reef in the world, lucky divers may encounter the endangered West Indian Manatee or up to 8 endemic fish species, including the Dwarf Spinyhead Blenny and Reticulate Clingfish. And all of this—birding, diving, and traveling in general—can be done with relative ease, since Belize is the only Central American country with English as its official language.
Belize contains the second largest barrier reef in the world. Protected marine areas have garnered Belize a reputation for world-class diving.
Maya ruins at Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, and Caracol.