The Cayo District in western Belize is the soul of this small Central American country and home to Belmopan, the capital city since the government's relocation in the wake of Hurricane Hattie. Belmopan attracts few visitors, but maintains a surprisingly metropolitan air, mainly due to the large conglomeration of embassies that surround the Mayan themed central government complex.
The region is best known for its ancient Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and Caracol, the latter of which challenges the impressive Tikal ruins in neighbouring Guatemala in terms of both size and historical significance. In fact, the Caracol and Tikal kingdoms were two of the most powerful ancient factions in the region and have a turbulent military history.
Today the ruins are quiet, the only argument is over which makes for a more alluring tourist destination. Caracol's setting alone is stunning, backed by the Maya Mountains, the offshoot of larger ranges stretching from the Cascades to the Andes.