Part nature reserve, part theme park, Bacab is set on more than 500 acres of jungle through which hiking trails and waterways wind. While it's not a destination for hardcore naturalists, it's a great escape from Belize City, especially for families, who'll appreciate the green environs, huge swimming pool complete with waterfall and the opportunity to check out some animals.

While this place was established with the cruise-ship tourist in mind, days when the ships aren't in (schedules change all the time; call the front desk to find out) are absolutely serene.

A nature hike will reward observers with multiple bird sightings and perhaps a glimpse of resident howler monkeys or crocodiles. Adventurers might wish to explore the reserve on horseback (best scheduled a day in advance), by kayak or even by mountain bike. The staff is warm and friendly and service absolutely top-notch.

While Bacab is loads of fun, its goal is more complex, as management has undertaken an intensive reforestation effort, planting more than 25 species of native trees.

There is also a gift shop onsite and a beautiful palapa (open-air shelter with a thatched roof) restaurant that serves American, Caribbean and Belizean cuisine.

To get to Bacab, turn off the Burrell Boom road into Ridge Lagoon Estates and follow the signs. It claims to be open every day but has been known to close during inclement weather – call before trekking out here. Bring bug spray.