Abiding to the maxim that opposites attract, Miami and Belize couldn't be more different. Florida's Magic City might best be known for year-round sun and never-ending beaches, however, this colourful, chaotic city has also become a magnet for lovers of art, design and food. Belize, on the other hand, is all about wild nature. Over 40% of Belize is protected, boasting river-filled rainforests, extensive cave systems and ancient Mayan ruins. Underwater, Belize houses the second-largest barrier reef in the world, as well as the iconic Great Blue Hole. For travellers looking to experience the best of both worlds, a Miami and Belize combo holiday is just the ticket.

Miami Magic

Over the past few years, Miami has quietly gone through a renaissance. While the city still holds its chaotic, excessive glamour, it has also reinvented itself as a North American heavyweight in the art, design and culinary scenes. Multicultural and ever evolving, this city is made up of several districts, each with its own distinct personality.

Beachfront Ocean Drive - with its swaying palm trees and art deco architecture - is an ideal introduction to Miami life (with great people-watching). Nearby Wynwood Walls, located in the Art Deco Historic District, is a living art canvas, with an endless roster of art galleries, street art and hipster boutiques.

Little Havana is the heart of Miami's Cuban community and one of the liveliest neighbourhoods in Miami. You can sip on mojitos, watch Cuban cigars being rolled and refuel on hearty comfort food, all while listening to live music - it's a little taste of Cuba. No trip to Miami would be complete without sizzling on the beach, be it sipping rosé on glitzy South Beach or joining locals at sleepy Surfside.

A Quick Detour South

Miami has no shortage of outdoor adventures, from spotting alligators lurking in the Everglades' wetlands or kayaking (and snorkelling) Biscayne Bay's coral reefs. For those who want to experience the full breath of Florida's great outdoors, hit the open road to Key West. A three-and-a-half-hour drive south of Miami, Key West is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world, so it would be rude not to don a mask for a glimpse below the waves.

Beneath the Belizean Waters

After a few days embracing Miami's colourful chaos, Belize offers a peaceful reprise. With one foot in Central America and the other in the Caribbean, this bite-sized country couldn't be more different to your first stop. Where Miami unapologetically takes everything to excess, Belize is all about serene nature - starting with the diving. While Key West gave a sneak preview of the underwater world, Belize is where you get your fins stuck in.

Belize's main claim to diving fame lies in the Belize Barrier Reef. Stretching 185 miles along Belize's coastline, the Belize Barrier Reef is both the world's second largest barrier reef system and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within it, there are three atolls: Turneffe, Lighthouse Reef and Glover's Reef.

Turneffe Atoll

Straddling the mainland for 30 miles, Turneffe is the largest atoll in Belize. Along the western side, shallow reefs cater to novice divers, while to the south, dramatic drop-offs, channels and thrilling drifts cater to more advanced divers. Out of the 70 sites scattered across the atoll, The Elbow is one of the most famous; here, divers can mingle with huge schools of dog snappers and horse-eye jacks in crystal clear visibility.

Lighthouse Reef

No diving trip to Belize would be complete without ticking off the Great Blue Hole. Regularly touted as the best dive site in the world, this goliath marine sinkhole enjoys a prime position near Lighthouse Reef. The Blue Hole provides a stark contrast from the surrounding reef, with stalagmites, stalactites and sharks replacing coral, turtles and other Caribbean critters.

Glover’s Reef

Glover's Reef is Belize's southernmost atoll with over 700 reef patches to explore. Despite boasting some of the best coral health in the Caribbean, this circular atoll remains largely unexplored, wherein lies the charm. The aptly named Aquarium is a must-dive, boasting huge schools of colourful creole fish and yellow tail snappers in gin-clear water. Another Original Diving favourite, The Pinnacles, is characterized by a dozen coral pinnacles rising to within three metres of the surface.

Beyond Belize’s Waters

Beyond diving, Belize is a smorgasbord of lush rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins and quintessentially Caribbean coastline. Belize's small size means you can explore the breadth of the country in a relatively short time frame - and there's no shortage of adventures. From exploring the famous ruins of Xunantunich or kayaking through serene jungle, to spotting elusive jaguars in Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve or swimming in the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, Belize is an adventure playground for divers and non-divers alike.

Get in touch with our diving experts for a tailor-made holiday itinerary to experience the best of both worlds - city and scuba - in this Miami and Belize combo.