The Belize Barrier Reef is less than 30 minutes away from Belize City  and offers excellent wall dives and idyllic snorkeling. Turneffe Islands Atoll  and Lighthouse Atoll  are one and two hours away, respectively, by boat. These sites are perfect for anyone trapped in the city on business, or for tourists staying in Belize City. There are also excellent manatee trips available, as well as outings to Swallow Caye Marine Reserve .
Belize City has two dive shops: Sea Sports Belize (83 N. Front St., tel. 501/223-5505, www.seasportsbelize.com ) is across from the post office, two buildings east of the Swing Bridge; Sea Sports has been in business 15 years and is a PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Center, offering equipment sales, scuba instruction, and daily dive, snorkel, fishing, and manatee encounter trips. They use small boats and take groups of no more than eight people per guide. They can also arrange overnight packages with lodging at St. George’s Caye, Belize’s first capital.
Hugh Parkey’s Dive Connection (tel. 501/223-5086 or 501/223-4526, U.S. tel. 888/223-5403, www.belizediving.com ) is based at the Radisson Fort George Marina and offers all manner of trips and certification courses.
Hugh Parkey’s has the newest and biggest day-trip boat fleet around and provides diving services for the cruise ships that call on Belize; they can arrange accommodations at nearby Spanish Lookout Caye .
Fantastic river, reef, flats, and deep-sea fishing is available from Belize City. You can fish for tarpon in the morning and bonefish in the afternoon. Deep-sea opportunities include mackerel, wahoo, kingfish, and bill fish. Most lodges in the area can set up fishing trips, or contact fishing guide and local expert Richard Young (tel. 501/624-3510, richardyoungjr [at] yahoo [dot] com). Sea Sports Belize (tel. 501/223-5505) also runs professional custom sportfishing trips to stunning sights offshore.
Ask at any of the tour companies, marinas, or dive shops to see what’s available; there should be a decent range of charter opportunities, plus day trips and sunset cruises. Sailing/snorkeling trips to Caye Caulker  (US$65) are offered, as well as sunset cruises to Ambergris Caye  (US$35) on a “Belizean Authentic Gaff Rig Sloop” (tel. 501/610-3240 or 501/226-2340, ask for George Eiley).
The basketball court on Bird Isle used to be packed to the gills during local championship games. Ask around to see if any games are coming up. Catch a soccer (called “football” here) match at the stadium Sundays at 3:30 p.m. through mid-December or so. There’s loud, booming pregame music and lots of security. The stadium is across the street from the Princess Hotel on Barrack Road.
If you’re in a bind and can’t make it to any of the resort spas around the country, try some “traditional Maya therapy” at the Oltsil Day Spa (173 Juliet Soberanis St., tel. 501/223-7722, oltsil [at] yahoo [dot] com), located in the residential Belama neighborhood, three miles north of downtown; or just go for a pedicure.
Or put yourself in the hands of Harold Zuniga, a U.S.–trained physical therapist, masseur, and acupuncturist (85 Amara Ave., tel. 501/227-6753 or 501/604-5679, haroldzuniga [at] yahoo [dot] com).