For many people, gap years are all about taking time out to relax in exotic countries. Others, meanwhile, prefer to be more active and try out a range of sports. Whatever you're planning on doing during your travels, the Caribbean - and in particular Belize - is a wonderful place to visit.
Of course, there are plenty of exciting destinations in this part of the world that you can head to, but in coming to Belize - which is located in the northern region of Central America - you'll have plenty of opportunity to embark on lively adventures.
Incorporating a Caribbean yacht charter break as part of your gap year travels is an especially good idea for water sports enthusiasts, in part due to its calm seas. With Belize commonly regarded as one of the best countries in the world for diving, here you can steer a boat through crystal-blue waters before mooring up to explore the world beneath waves.
Belize has hundreds of beautiful islands and cays to explore (not to mention the picturesque mainland), but undoubtedly one of the most popular places among tourists is the Lighthouse Reef.
Situated some 50 miles off the mainland, the atoll contains the world-famous Blue Hole. Created after the roof of an underwater sea cave collapsed about 10,000 years ago, this circular-shaped dive site is a great place to catch a glimpse of some of the country's exotic sea creatures, including angelfish, stingrays and barracudas.
You can also swim through caverns and around towering stalactites and, as the site is around 412 ft deep, there is a lot of space to explore - although the majority of groups only go down to about 135 ft. With so much to see, not to mention the crystal-clear water, it should be of little surprise that it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Once you've finished diving for the day, head back to the island where you can take a walk through the rich jungle area to spot exotic plants. You can also hire a kayak in order to explore some of the atoll's lagoons, before stopping by a beachside bar to tuck into some freshly-caught seafood.
Mooring up your yacht at Lagoon Cay will also offer you the opportunity to try some exciting sports. The water is incredibly clear and warm, so make sure you grab a mask and snorkel for the chance to dive beneath the waves and swim alongside tarpon, parrotfish and other exotic species.
Alternatively, you could hire a kayak, which not only gives you the chance to see various kinds of fish, but also some of the local birdlife. You can expect to come across cormorants, pelicans and frigates, among other creatures, as you paddle.
South Water Cay
South Water Cay is another fantastic place to try your hand at water sports and soak up some sunshine. If you're more interested in the former though, you'll be glad to know that this is an especially popular spot for snorkelling and diving.
The island is located on the cusp of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef - the second largest barrier reef in the world - and within minutes of walking into the crystal-blue water you'll be surrounded by coral formations. Doing so means you'll get to see a range of fascinating creatures, such as dolphins and moray eels, as you swim.
If you'd rather spend some time on dry land, go for a walk through South Water Cay's forest areas. As you do so, you'll pass by a range of birdlife including herons and pelicans. Of course, you may be more tempted to lay back on a stretch of golden sand and work on your tan while sipping a refreshing rum cocktail.
Although visiting any of the above isles guarantees you the opportunity to see amazing wildlife and try fun activities, they are by no means the only places in Belize that you ought to visit. As the country has more than 400 cays and islands, you'll never be short of places to see. Wherever you visit though, you can bask in the pleasant Caribbean sunshine, while also benefiting from consistent winds. These average between 11 and 22 mph and make for excellent sailing conditions virtually all year round.