The Western Caribbean consists of islands due south of Florida, such as Grand Cayman and Jamaica; destinations on Mexico's Caribbean coast on or near the Yucatan Peninsula, such as Costa Maya, Cozumel and Progreso; and Central American destinations on the Caribbean, such as Belize and Honduras.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. George Town, its capital, is home to the Cayman Islands National Museum, dedicated to Caymanian heritage. The city is also a major cruise-ship port and site of the ruins of colonial-era Fort George. Beaches and vibrant coral reefs are the island’s hallmarks.
Costa Maya is a stretch of Caribbean coast on Mexico’s eastern Yucatán Peninsula. Mahahual village is known as a popular cruise ship port, with beaches and coral reefs. Offshore, the reefs and mangroves of Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve are inhabited by sharks, dolphins and turtles. To the north, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is home to jaguars, monkeys and hundreds of bird species.
Cozumel, a mostly undeveloped Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea, is a popular cruise ship port of call famed for its scuba diving. At Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, there's diving spots around a section of the Mesoamerican Reef and the Museo Subacuático de Arte’s submerged sculptures. Chankanaab is an eco park surrounding a lagoon with underwater caverns, home to dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life. Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid; lagoon-side Lamanai; and Altun Ha, just outside Belize City.
Honduras is a Central American country with Caribbean Sea coastlines to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. In the tropical rainforest near Guatemala, the ancient Mayan ceremonial site Copán has stone-carved hieroglyphics and stelae, tall stone monuments. In the Caribbean Sea are the Bay Islands, a diving destination that's part of the 1,000km-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
The Yucatán Peninsula separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea, encompassing 3 Mexican states, plus portions of Belize and Guatemala. On the Caribbean, Mexico's Riviera Maya resort strip is bookended by 2 popular destinations: Cancún, with its high-rise hotels and nightlife, and, down the coast, quieter Tulum, a rare seaside example of the Mayan ruins found throughout the peninsula's interior.
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous singer.