Divers and snorkelers know and love this Central American gem, home to the world's second largest barrier reef. Located on the Caribbean, just south of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, Belize boasts unparalleled opportunities for discovery in and above water - whether diving the famous Blue Hole, taking a windsurfing lesson or scoping for crocodiles while cruising up the Sittee River.Land adventures abound as well. The awesome Maya temples at Lamanai are a must-see, along with Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve - where shutterbugs can photograph jaguars, ocelots, pumas, howler monkeys and tapirs. Spelunkers can take their pick from numerous caving excursions, including a popular day trip called the "Black Hole Drop," which culminates in a 300-foot rappel into a jungle sinkhole.Situated near a small tourist town on Belize's southern coast, Hopkins Bay Resort offers a luxurious spot to rest one's head after a day of eco-touring (hopkinsbayresort com).The resort's five-star villas feature full gourmet kitchens, satellite television and private verandas. Guests can book any of several land and sea excursions, including a Mayflower Waterfalls hiking tour through the Maya Mountains. Nearby is a sister resort, Belizean Dreams, which offers spacious one- two- and three-bedroom villas with fine hand-crafted furnishings and outstanding service. (belizeandreams.com)The Belize Tourism Board's helpful website provides a general overview of area attractions, with links to local dive outfits, reputable tour operators and transportation tips (www.travelbelize.org).HONDURAS BAY ISLANDSRoatán, Útila and Guanaja comprise Honduras's idyllic Bay Islands, along with a number of smaller outlying cays. Once claimed by Spain, and later by Britain, these Caribbean islands became a popular hideout for pirates during the 15th and 16th centuries. Even today, starry-eyed scuba divers scour the sea floor in search of sunken treasure.