As the cold winds begin to blow across North America, life can feel pretty bleak. A lack of sunlight, subzero temperatures, and endless gray skies can be challenging for even the most optimistic people. Luckily, there is an easy cure – a winter vacation to Belize.

Depending on where you live, you could be in Belize in just 2-5 hours thanks to non-stop flights from all six of the biggest airlines. But despite its proximity, Belize feels like a world away. The moment you step off the plane, you’ll be greeted by delicious warmth, ample sunshine, and the sweet perfume of hundreds of flowering plants.

Belize is the least densely populated country in the region, meaning that the vast majority of Belize is unspoiled, pristine nature. Ranging from majestic mountains to thick jungle, Belize is a true wonderland of exotic animals, colorful birds, and vibrant flora.

And if that weren’t enough, Belize also has hundreds of offshore islands, many of them looking like a movie set about shipwrecked castaways. Palm trees gently swaying in the breeze, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters teeming with fish make the perfect setting for snorkeling, sailing, sea kayaking, and scuba diving.

English is the official language of Belize, making it really easy to get around or talk to locals. And the locals are definitely worth talking to, renowned for their friendliness, easygoing nature, and genuine hospitality. Many a traveler has come to Belize only to be invited in for a family party or a trip to a local’s village.

There’s plenty to enjoy on the mainland, including visiting animal sanctuaries to learn more about indigenous animals such as howler monkeys and jaguars, horseback riding, swimming at the base of a cascading waterfall, zip lining through the rainforest canopy, canoeing down a jungle river, or climbing to the top of an ancient Maya pyramid.

Other signature activities in Belize include cave tubing (exploring subterranean rivers by canoe or inflatable inner tube), investigating sacred caves (some of which still hold human remains sacrificed to the ancient Maya gods), or simply sitting by the pool and enjoying a delicious rum cocktail.

Black Orchid Resort is the perfect jungle lodge to stay during your Belize winter vacation. Just a half-hour drive from the international airport, Black Orchid is located on idyllic setting on the banks of the Old Belize River and offers a wide range of modern comforts and amenities.