Droplets of water gather on the ice-cold Belikin beer on the table in front of you as you unwind after an adrenaline-pumping adventure through the jungles of Belize. It’s hard to believe that less than 24 hours ago you were in an airport lounge, while today you explored underwater cave systems, trekked to a hidden Maya city in the rainforest, or encountered the wild creatures that inhabit this captivating country.

Belize, on the northeastern coast of Central America, shares its borders with Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Guatemala to the west and south. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife reserves, diverse flora and fauna, and the most extensive cave system in Central America. On this trip, we’re steering clear of sunbathing and instead chasing seven budget- and eco-friendly escapades that’ll make your palms sweat.

1. Explore a 10,000-year-old collapsed cave system under the sea

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We’d be remiss not to begin with Belize’s most famous tourist draw, the Great Blue Hole. And while renowned underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau dubbed it one of the world’s best dive sites in 1971, there are now myriad ways to explore this unique place. The super picturesque sinkhole is part of an underwater cave system that collapsed some 10,000 years ago and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Yes, the Great Blue Hole is a favorite among divers, but imagine sitting in a tiny six-seater plane flying over the formation and snapping the ultimate selfie. The 1.5-hour trip isn’t suitable for nervous fliers — the aircraft will drop to around 300 feet above the hole, where you almost feel you could skim your fingertips across the deep blue water. You might even spot a hammerhead shark lurking just below the surface.

2. Climb one of the tallest mountains in Belize

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Immerse yourself in Belize’s diverse landscapes and unfiltered beauty as you bid farewell to the tourists on the islands and coast and head to the mountainous rainforest of the interior. Visit the country during the dry season, you’ll be able to experience the most challenging hike in Belize and scale one of its tallest mountains: a two-day, thigh-burning climb up Victoria Peak.

Start your hike from the world’s first jaguar preserve, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, before taking on the challenging mountainous terrain to be rewarded with astounding views from above the clouds. Round off the hike with a detour through Mayflower Bocawina National Park, and, if your legs aren’t already exhausted, tackle on the 1.1-mile hike to Antelope Falls. Continue the climb alongside the fall’s multiple tiers until you make it to the deep green swimming hole, where the views across the jungle are absolutely worth the effort to get there.

3. Go spelunking through captivating caverns

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Many of Belize’s cave systems remain unexplored, so spelunking here carries an extra bit of excitement. Thrill-seekers will love squeezing through the tightest crevices and scrambling through caverns filled with crystalline stalactites.

One of the most popular sites for cave exploration in Belize is the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, located in Tapir Mountain Natural Reserve. In addition to incredible underground scenery, you might even stumble on Maya skeletons and pottery left behind by the region’s storied civilization. Just remember, this is a sacred place — go with a guide, don’t touch any artifacts you happen to come across, and there’s a strict no-camera policy.

4. Journey to the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich on horseback

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At its height a millennium or more ago, the city of Xunantunich was home to around 200,000 people. The first ancient Maya site opened to the public, it sits about half a mile from the border with Guatemala and makes for an excellent destination for a trek on horseback.

Choose your four-legged friend and follow the banks of the Mopan River, through the jungles of San Jose Succotz, to the preserved ruins of the city. There are more than 25 Maya temples and palaces hidden deep in this forest. When you reach El Castillo, hike to the top of the 130-foot pyramid, and make sure to look for the carved friezes on the east and west sides.

5. Rappel down a jungle waterfall

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Belize is home to some pretty spectacular waterfalls, and if you’re looking for a certain kind of rush, nothing beats waterfall rappelling. The aforementioned Antelope Falls in Bocawina National Park is also a popular spot for this adventure. With just a harness holding you steady in the gushing cascade, you’ll descend 250 feet — a truly unique way to experience Belize’s wild side.

6. Kayak the Macal River from San Ignacio

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After all the hikes and spelunking, you might want to rest those legs — time to head to Western Belize to a town called San Ignacio. Stop at an eco-lodge on the river to pick up your kayak, then spend a day exploring the waterways and witnessing the wildlife that lines the banks, from giant iguanas to colorful birds to caves filled with bats. If you need to up the adrenaline quotient, look into a day of cave tubing and plunge into the dark via an underground river.

7. Zipline through the rainforest canopy

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Imagine soaring through the air on a zipline high above a valley in the beautiful Maya Mountain foothills. You’ll get to experience seven lines, including the longest zipline in Belize, plus 11 decks on the Mayan Sky Canopy Tour. And if you visit between January and March, you might catch a glimpse of rare scarlet macaws flying at the same height as the ziplines. Just like the other six adventure travel activities on this list, it’s an exhilarating Belize experience you won’t want to miss.