Nestled just south of Mexico and along the Caribbean, it is one of nature's best gifts to the world. Breathtaking turquoise waters framed by sandy coastlines coupled with a lush green jungle. What's more, this jungle is once home to Mayan structures such as temples and houses. So, you have water, forests and ruins. Now that is what we call seriously awesome vacation possibilities.

Belize is paradise for the snorkeler and scuba diver. After all, it is the second largest barrier reef in the world, second only to the Australian Barrier Reef. Imaging being immersed in the warm blue waters of the Caribbean, meeting face to face with a cornucopia of marine life. Imagine an underwater landscape that is full of color, a reef wall that is adorned with all kinds of underwater plants – anemones, sea whips and sea fans. Imagine a school of shimmering fish wending their way past you while sponges seem to burst with all kinds of color – pink, purple, yellow violet and so much more. Ah… imagine! That is the paradise called the Belize Barrier Reef.

Belize is home to a great number of exotic reef fish (some 430 species), a population of sea turtles and manatee plus some 70 species of hard coral. What makes this a diver's dream is not just the astounding number of marine life but also walls that plunge vertically for over 2,000 feet. This is to be found at the vicinity of Glover's Reef and Lighthouse Reef. These also boast of over 600 patch coral heads and coral pinnacles.

Belize is also home to one of the astounding wonders one can find in the world – the Blue Hole. This is the crowning jewel of the Belize Barrier Reef. This is said to be a cave that had its roof fall at the end of the Ice Age. There are also outer reef resorts such as Glover's Atoll, Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Atoll. Other excellent diving and snorkeling spots include Hol Chan Marine Reserve, South Water Caye and Sapodilla Cayes, as well as Rocky Point, Tres Cocos, Mexico Rocks, Mata Rocks and Tackle Box.

Belize is not just a treasure trove of coral reefs – you can also find black coral forests, plenty of exotic tropical fish and shipwrecks. You can also go for some excellent sport fishing at its cays and coasts. You can fish for snappers, marlin, barracuda, bonefish and many others. The best fishing grounds can be found, aside from Ambergris Cay, at Placencia, Punta Gorda, Turneffe Atoll, Chetumal Bay and Glover's Atoll.

What you should know is that there is no beach from which you can swim right off. But why do you need a beach when you have a spectacular coral reef and seemingly endless visibility down its depths?

The best time to go to Belize is between March and June. This is the time when the water is clearest. Of course, this is also the time when the crowds are thickest. If you want to escape the crowds, you can visit from July to February. The drawback is that the waters are a little colder – with November to February being the coldest.