Southern Belize: Move over, Ambergris Caye. Southern Belize is home to some of the most rapid development in the nation, especially in the Placencia Peninsula. Dangriga and Punta Gorda pulse with life, while the scenic far south remains less-traveled. This travel itinerary covers the highlights of Southern Belize.
Belize City to Dangriga:
Fly into Belize City. From the international airport, either catch a Tropic Air/Mayan Air flight or public bus south to boisterous, musical Dangriga. Belize's Southern Cayes, like South Water Caye and Tobacco Caye, are accessible from here, as well as the rollicking Garifuna village of Hopkins.
Dangriga to Placencia:
From Dangriga, grab a bus to Placencia (or if you're in a time crunch, fly straight there from Belize City instead). Spend a few days relaxing on the peninsula's beaches -- the finest in mainland Belize -- and exploring its tranquil village. If you're a diver and you time your seasons right, Placencia offers the opportunity to see whale sharks spawning at Gladden Spit.
Placencia to Punta Gorda:
Hop on a bus even farther south to Punta Gorda Town, the gateway to Guatemala. Boats leave Punta Gorda's emigration dock for both Livingston and Puerto Barrios, if you're interested in exploring the neighboring nation. But the Punta Gorda area offers plenty to explore, such as Mayan sites Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, the Laughing Falcon Reserve, and the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve (keep an eye out for manatees!).
Head back to Belize City from the Punta Gorda airstrip. Budget travelers can opt for another a bus from the James Bus Line. The ride north is approximately 7 hours, or 5.5 via an express bus (US $12).