29 destinations to visit in 2009
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Belize( Ericka Hamburg )
Why it's a hot ticket in 2009: With the growing unrest in Mexico, travelers looking for a nearby international destination should look to Belize. Bordering Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is an English-speaking country (it's formerly a British colony) in Central America with a Caribbean flavor.
Although it's not much larger than Massachusetts, Belize brims with natural and cultural attractions. The Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, lies off the country's coast. Snorkeling and scuba divers flock here, the extensive system of caves attracts avid spelunkers. Once a part of the Maya empire, Belize houses many of the civilization's ruins, including Caracol, one of the world's largest ancient Maya archaeological site.
-- Jason La
Pictured: A dancer moves to the beat of drums in Dangriga, Belize, during the fete called Jonkonnu.