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  • Lonely Planet, one of the largest publishers of travel guides in the world, has just published their list of the top 10 countries to visit in 2019 which includes Belize. Noted for its gorgeous offshore islands (called “cayes” locally) and pristine rainforests, Belize was recommended by Lonely Planet for being relatively “untouristed” and having a government firmly committed to protecting and preserving the natural environment.

    Belize is a small nation located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. As a former British colony, its official language is English, and it is home to a unique melting pot society that features cultures like the Maya, Creoles (descendants of enslaved Africans), Mestizos (indigenous people originally from Mexico), German-speaking Mennonite farmers, Chinese entrepreneurs, and the Garifuna, an Afro-Caribbean culture that has been recognized by the United Nations.

    Belize is easy to get to (five hours’ flying time or less from the United States) but is truly a world apart. Almost entirely rural, Belize is home to an astonishing variety of bird, plant, and animal life. More than 600 bird species have been recorded in the country, and Belize’s jungles and rainforests are home to hundreds of different orchid species. A diverse landscape of wetlands, mountain passes, and thick jungle are home to exotic animals like giant iguanas, tapirs, black howler monkeys, and jaguars.

    Lonely Planet also extolled the numerous ancient Maya sites that dot the landscape, many of which are still the tallest buildings in the country. For over 3,000 years, the advanced ancient Maya civilization built colossal stone cities in the jungle that are a delight to explore for modern visitors.

    If you’re interested in visiting Belize next year, you’ll find that it’s easier and more affordable to do so than ever. In the United States, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines, and United Airlines all now operate non-stop flights to Belize (code: BZE) from nearly a dozen major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Charlotte, Denver, and Miami.

    Once you’ve landed, one of the finest places to stay is the Laru Beya Resort located on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula. A member of TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame for providing outstanding customer service, Laru Beya is located steps from the beach and is home to the famous Quarterdeck Restaurant and Bar, a three-story open-air structure helmed by an experienced chef who specializes Caribbean, Mexican, and Italian cuisines.

    Laru Beya also organizes tours to all of the top destinations on the mainland as well as snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing on the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.

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