Many things in life happen unexpectedly. Such has been my intense love affair with Belize. It began with an invitation from an old friend, Robert Combs, a pilot I had once met in Hawaii. Recently relocated to Belize, Robert invited me to visit this tiny Central American nation – virtually unknown in Europe – and take some aerial photos.

By the time I returned from my first trip in the summer of 2008, I was convinced that I had to create a photographic record of my experience. Part of this motivation was that several months earlier I had published an aerial study of my native country – Unseen Lithuania – which was already on its way to becoming a bestseller. More importantly, after viewing the beauty of Belize from the cockpit of a soaring ultra light aircraft, I couldn't not help but share this spectacular vision with the world.

Even though Belize is a small place, a single two week visit would not be enough to produce a comprehensive book. Several months later, I came back. And returned again. And again. Each stay put me in closer touch with a growing collection of incredibly friendly, sincere and diverse Belizean people. I was inspired.

The photos in this book embody this inspiration and seek to describe a land that is at once both Caribbean and Central American…with dashes of Europe and Asia thrown into the mix. With pine forests resembling those of Canada, limestone hills reminiscent of Thailand and green lakes evoking memories of my father’s Lithuania, Belize puts forward many different faces. With its undisturbed rainforests, enormous cave systems and the hemisphere’s longest barrier reef, Belize offers visitors a mind-boggling variety of worlds to endlessly explore.

As someone trained as a historian, my most meaningful discovery was Belize’s Mayan heritage. Less well known than those found in neighboring Mexico and Guatemala, the ancient cities of Belize lie more subtly hidden from view. I hope that the photographs of these magnificent stone temples rising from the jungle floor will convey the same sense of awe that I felt while flying over them.

I have been fortunate enough to visit many countries in the world. While each has its distinctive charms, I have to confess that Belize is as unique a place as I’ve ever seen. I hope that in this book I have successfully conveyed the country’s special attraction. Have an inspiring flight above Heavenly Belize!