Continuously published since 1888, National Geographic Travel recently released its top nine recommended destinations to visit during the winter of 2018. One of the top spots highlighted in the list was the country of Belize.

National Geographic recommended visiting Belize during the winter of 2018 because of its fantastically beautiful nature and diverse landscape that includes offshore islands strung out like jewels along the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Wildlife in Belize is very diverse and includes scarlet macaws, endangered Jabiru storks, and enormous harpy eagles.

National Geographic selected Belize partly because it gives travelers a chance to escape the stresses of modern life. Many remote locations in Belize, including some offshore islands, have no phone or internet access, making them ideal places to “reconnect, relax, and enjoy the sunsets.”

Other destinations in Belize recommended by the National Geographic article included exploring the jungle, touring ancient Maya sites, and touring organic farms where traditional crops such as cacao (the main ingredient in chocolate) are grown.

As a former British colony, Belize is the only nation in Central America where English is the official language, a fact highlighted by National Geographic as one more reason to visit the country. Belize has a small population of fewer than 400,000 people, but it is composed of diverse cultures and peoples, including the modern descendants of the Maya, the Garifuna, Mestizos, and German-speaking Mennonite farmers.

Belize is reachable in just two to five hours’ flying time from major cities across the United States and Canada. All four of the biggest American airlines now fly non-stop to Belize, and Air Canada, the eighth-largest airline in the world, began flying non-stop to Belize on December 15, 2017, from its hub in Toronto.

Belize is located on the Caribbean coast of Central America just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and north of Guatemala. Belize has more than 200 miles of beaches along the Caribbean, an interior primarily covered in pristine rainforest and jungle, and hundreds of offshore islands and atolls.

Black Orchid Resort is a great place to stay in Belize in 2018. Located just a half-hour drive from the international airport, Black Orchid is situated on the banks of the Old Belize River in an idyllic jungle setting and offers a full complement of modern luxuries and convenience.