Belize City

This unspoiled Central American eco-tourism center is a perfect blend of natural beauty and compelling history, boasting world-class diving, ancient ruins, rain forests and small islands, like Cayo Espanto, which can be rented out for $12,000 a night.

Visit the Museum of Belize, housed in a former colonial prison dating from 1857, which features exhibits on Mayan and Belize City history and ancient Mayan pottery (Gabourel Lane, 501-223-4524).

See the Old Belize City Swing Bridge, the world's only functioning, manually operated swing bridge, which is swung twice a day to allow boats through (Albert and Queen Streets).

Ride a water taxi to one of Belize's 200 offshore islands, called cayes—Caye Culker is one of the most popular—and stroll along the beach (

Eat stewed pork and fry jacks (think beignets without the sugar) at Big Daddy's Diner overlooking Haulover Creek, just south of the Swing Bridge (Commercial Center, 501-227-0932).

Try Marie Sharp's Hot Sauces, the famously fiery habanero-pepper sauces infused with vegetables and fruit ( Cool down with a bottle of Belikin beer.

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