This Underrated Country Is The Fastest-Growing Caribbean Tourist Destination In 2024

This Underrated Country Is The Fastest-Growing Caribbean Tourist Destination In 2024

Surrounded by the tropical Caribbean Sea in Central America, Belize is undergoing “impressive” tourism growth, according to a study carried out by analytics firm ForwardKeys.

So far in 2024, the country has seen a staggering 30 percent increase in international tourists. Air arrivals have also jumped by 30 percent compared to last year.

These figures represent the fastest growth rate of any destination in the Caribbean. 

ForwardKeys and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association data show that Belize is growing faster than big Caribbean players such as Curacao, Aruba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Regarding overnight arrivals, the country has seen a 29.7 percent increase from January through March compared to the benchmark in 2023 and an increase of 17.5 percent compared to the same timeframe before the pandemic. 

“Statistically speaking, our tourism industry has eclipsed the numbers from 2019. The devastating economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and Hurricane Lisa in 2022, briefly obscured our path; however, those shadows are gone and major successes are being illuminated,” poetically said Hon. Anthony Mahler, Belize’s Minister of Tourism.

Belize is a safe tourist destination in the Caribbean boasting pristine coastlines, jungles, mountains and flats. 

With an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) year-round, the best time to visit this country is between late November and early May during the dry season. 

Let’s explore some of the most amazing places you must consider when planning a trip to this destination.

 1. The Blue Hole

This UNESCO World Heritage Site and Natural Monument is a massive marine sinkhole filled with clear turquoise waters, in which you can dip down to swim with sharks.

Another way to take in this natural wonder is by booking a helicopter tour to observe it and take pictures from the air.

3. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve

This spectacular nature reserve is an ideal place to spot anteaters, tapirs, ocelots, snakes and monkeys, and, if you’re lucky, also jaguars and pumas.

Along an extensive network of trails, hikers and birdwatchers will get to observe more than 300 species of stunning birds, including toucans and scarlet macaws.

4. Lamanai Archaeological Reserve

Lamanai is a famous archaeological site and one of the largest Mayan ceremonial centers in the country.

Getting to Lamanai is not easy, but it is an adventure in itself. You will embark on a one-hour boat trip through the jungle along the New River. Along the way, you’ll get to see some of the most impressive Belize wildlife.

Once you make it there, you’ll be able to visit more than 900 ancient structures, including a museum with ceramics, obsidian (Dragonglass for Game of Thrones lovers) and jade jewelry exhibits.

2. Turneffe Islands Atoll

If you love diving or fishing, look no further. You must visit this little piece of heaven on Earth. This atoll comprises more than 200 exotic mangrove islands bordering a lagoon.

Here you’ll see flats, streams, corals and an incredible variety of marine species, including turtles, dolphins, trunkfish and the famous bonefish, quite popular among fishing enthusiasts.

Most accommodations on this atoll will provide you with equipment to carry out these aquatic activities.

5. Belize City

Last but not least, you must pay a visit to Belize City. This place once served as a Mayan fishing village, but today it is a vibrant city full of restaurants, shopping malls, cafes and museums, in addition to an active international port used by a large chunk of the tourists who enter the country each year.