Mark Read

Southern Belize

Southern Belize is the country's most absorbing cultural melting pot, with a strong Garifuna influence around Dangriga and Hopkins, and Belize's largest Maya population down in Toledo. Nature is rich here too, where open savanna and citrus-filled farmland give way to forested hills dotted with Maya villages, ruins and national parks primed for adventurous jungle trekking.

The beaches of villagey Hopkins and chilled-out Placencia are inviting, with their opportunities for diving, fishing and slacking, while offshore is an alluring string of cays including Tobacco Caye and Glover's Reef. These are less well known than those in the north but here snorkeling, boating and diving enthusiasts can experience Belize's nautical reef wonders while avoiding the crowds and high costs of the Northern Cayes.

Southern Belize may be off the radar for many but you can't say you've truly seen Belize until you've been down south.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Belize.