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Belize Travel Guide

Belize is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited, and I can’t recommend this destination enough. Whether you’re solo backpacking, traveling with family or on your honeymoon – Belize offers something for everyone!

I visited Belize during my five-month backpacking trip around Central America, and quickly fell in love with its gorgeous coastline, turquoise waters, and laidback Caribbean atmosphere. It’s truly a beach lover’s paradise. Belize is also home to the second largest reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef, and the snorkeling and diving here is absolutely world-class.

But that’s not all this tiny country has to offer! Away from the coast, Belize’s interior is covered with lush jungles full of natural wonders, mysterious caves, ancient Mayan cities, and incredible wildlife sanctuaries. The food is amazing, too, and the people of Belize are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met.

In this guide, I’ll share my top travel tips for Belize!

Belize travel guide

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. If you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

I also use Travel Insurance Master for short trips.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about all 4 companies. 

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Belize Travel guide
Belize travel guide

Top Places To Visit in Belize

  1. Caye Caulker
  2. San Ignacio
  3. Placencia
  4. Ambergris Caye
  5. Hopkins

Click for place guides

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Central America

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Belize Tours: Click here to check out the top Belize tours
Best Belize Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Belize
Best Belize Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Belize

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a tiny, laidback island where the motto is “Go Slow”. There’s not much to do here except relax, enjoy the sun and spend some time in the ocean, which is exactly why I love it so much!

The island is a short boat ride away from the Belize Barrier Reef, making it one of the best places in the country to book a snorkeling or diving tour. I can personally recommend Stressless Eco-Friendly Tours. I went on their five-hour snorkeling tour and ended up seeing nurse sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and a large array of beautiful tropical fish since we visit Shark Ray Alley

If you prefer to relax and lounge in the sun all day, head to the Lazy Lizard. This popular beach bar is located at the Split, a channel dividing the island into two halves. It’s the place to be on Caye Caulker, and everyone comes here to chill out, go for a swim and have some drinks. The ocean views are amazing, too!

San Ignacio

Located in the west of Belize, San Ignacio is a popular backpacker’s hub, as many travelers stop here on their way to Guatemala. It’s an excellent base for exploring the Mayan ruins of Caracol and Xunantunich, as well as the mysterious Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, which is home to a Maya sacrificial site.

San Ignacio also offers an array of activities for adventure-seekers, who come here to hike through dense rainforests, swim in beautiful waterfalls, and canoe down the meandering Macal River. If you’re interested in experiencing local life, visit the San Ignacio Market, which is especially busy on Saturdays.


Placencia is a small beach town with a relaxed, Caribbean vibe. It’s located on the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula, a long, thin stretch of land in the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of Belize. This is where you’ll find some of the best beaches in the country, and many travelers come here to wind down and relax for a couple of days. The crystal clear waters around Placencia also provide lots of opportunities for snorkeling, diving and sea kayaking.

Ambergris Caye

Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye, is home to white sand beaches, beautiful resorts, and a lively nightlife scene. It’s very popular with luxury travelers and families, but backpackers usually prefer the smaller, more laidback island of Caye Caulker.


Hopkins is a quiet fisherman’s village located on the coast of mainland Belize. It’s known as the cultural center of the Garifuna, descendants of Carib Indians and West Africans who settled along the coast. They still maintain many of their cultural traditions, such as drumming and dancing.

Top 10 Things to do In Belize

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

1. Go snorkeling or diving

Belize is home to the second largest reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef, which makes it the perfect destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. You’ll find lots of snorkeling and diving tours on offer on the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.

2. Take a tour of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave

One of the most exciting and unique things to do is go on a tour of the ATM Cave in Belize. This dark, spooky cave is home to an ancient Maya archaeological site containing the skeletal remains of human sacrifice victims. An organized tour costs around 100-120 US dollars, but it’s definitely worth the price tag!

3. Visit a wildlife sanctuary

Belize is full of incredible wildlife sanctuaries. Here you can spot a large array of beautiful wild animals in their natural habitat, including tropical birds, howler monkeys, crocodiles, and – if you’re very, very lucky – even a jaguar.

4. Explore the Mayan ruins of Caracol

Caracol is the largest and most impressive Mayan site in the country. Its ruins are located deep in the jungle of mainland Belize, giving them a wild and ancient feel. Be sure to climb the highest pyramid for some epic views of the landscape!

5. Relax on a tropical beach

With its long stretch of tropical coastline, Belize is home to countless white sand beaches. For the best beaches in the country, head to Placencia or Hopkins. You can also take a boat tour to one of Belize’s many tiny islands, which are called ‘cayes’.

6. Go hiking in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

This beautiful, unspoiled nature reserve offers hiking opportunities for every level of fitness. Here you’ll find vast pine forests, steep mountains, meandering streams and gorgeous waterfalls. Don’t forget to bring your swimwear!

7. Stay in an eco-friendly jungle lodge

Belize is well-known for its many ‘eco-lodges’, ranging from luxury jungle resorts to simple, budget-friendly hostels. If you’ve always wanted to spend a night in your own private cabin while falling asleep to the sounds of the rainforest, here’s your chance.

8. Visit St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park

Located in the heart of Belize’s rainforest, this national park is home to St. Herman’s Cave, a large cave with giant stalactite and stalagmite formations. The park also contains several hiking trails through the jungle and a swimming hole called the Inland Blue Hole, where you can cool off after your hike.

9. Experience Garifuna culture

The Garifuna are descendants of Carib Indians and West Africans who escaped Spanish slave ships. They settled along the coast of Belize. The best place to experience Garifuna culture is the tiny fisherman’s village of Hopkins, where you can take drumming or dancing lessons, or sample some traditional Garifuna dishes.

10. Go sea kayaking

With its clear blue waters, shallow lagoons, and abundance of marine life, Belize is one of the best destinations in Central America for sea kayaking. I recommend booking a kayaking tour in Hopkins or Placencia.

Belize Travel Information

Belize is situated in Central America sharing borders with Guatemala, Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The official language in Belize is English, although Spanish is also widely spoken. 

The capital of Belize is Belmopan. Not Belize City as many people assume.

The currency in Belize is the Belize Dollar (BZD)

The dialing code of Belize is +501

The water may not be safe to drink from the tap in most places in Belize, however, you will find filtered water in most places to fill up your water bottle.

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

Belize Budget Per Day

Backpackers Budget – $110 BZD ($55USD) 

Accommodation: $15 USD
Food: $15 USD
Activities & Transport: $25 USD

Mid Budget – $280 BZD ($140 USD)

Accommodation: $40 USD
Food: $30 USD
Activities & Transport: $60 USD

Luxury Budget – $600 BZD ($300 USD)

Accommodation: $100 USD
Food: $60 USD
Activities & Transport: $100 USD

Food in Belize

The food in Belize is influenced by many different cultures, which makes it an interesting melting pot! It’s mostly a blend of Mayan, British, Spanish and African cuisines. Many traditional Belizean dishes contain meat or fish, but you’ll be able to find enough vegetarian options here, as well.

These are the most popular dishes in Belize:

  • Tamales: dating all the way back to the Mayan era, tamales are cornmeal rolls wrapped in plantain or banana leaves. They’re usually filled with chicken or pork.
  • Ceviche: fresh seafood marinated in lime juice with onions and garlic, as well as some other ingredients. It’s my favorite dish in Belize!
  • Stew Chicken: a mix of tender chicken and spices, this dish is usually served with rice and beans.
  • Conchita Pibil: another classic Mayan dish, conchita pibil consists of marinated, slow-roasted pork and vegetables stuffed inside a soft tortilla.
  • Garnaches and Salbutes: fried tortillas topped with a variety of fresh ingredients, such as beans, onion, lettuce, cheese and (sometimes) chicken. They’re a popular snack in Belize.
  • Lobster: fresh lobster can be found almost everywhere on Caye Caulker, at very reasonable prices.

Belize Money Saving Tips

Belize isn’t exactly known as a budget-friendly destination, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money! Here are my tips to cut down on your travel costs in Belize:

  • Use public transportation instead of renting a car or taking shuttles. Gas is expensive here, but the local buses are very cheap.
  • Avoid high end resorts and hotels. Stay in a hostel, guesthouse, low-budget jungle lodge or beach cabana instead.
  • Eat street food. Restaurants are expensive here, but thankfully, there are many street food stands in Belize offering delicious local food at very low prices!
  • Travel during the rainy season (between May and December). Flights and accommodation will be much cheaper during this time. Be aware, though, that some hotels and resorts close down in the rainy season.
  • Pick a few activities to splurge on! Belize offers a wide range of amazing activities, such as snorkeling in the Barrier Reef, visiting the ATM Cave, and exploring Mayan ruins. Don’t be afraid to splurge on one or two organized tours to make the most out of your trip to Belize.

Take Some Spanish Classes 

If you want to save money then one sure-fire way to do so is to take some Spanish classes. It’s amazing how things magically become cheaper when you speak to the person selling those things in their language. From getting the right fare from the taxi driver to haggling at the market, think of the money spent on learning Spanish as an investment. Read this to learn more about my experience of learning Spanish in Guatemala. You can also now take a basic travel Spanish course completely online with Heart of Travel. This way you will already have a decent foundation before you arrive. Click here to learn more.

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

Belize Packing Advice

Belize has a subtropical climate which means it can get very hot and humid there, especially on the mainland. I would suggest packing outfits that are casual and comfortable, like summer dresses, shorts, and tank tops. If you’re visiting a beach destination, you should also bring swimwear, sandals or flip-flops, a beach towel, sunglasses with UV protection, and sunscreen, preferably one that is reef-friendly.

Are you planning on doing some hiking? Don’t forget to bring comfortable clothes and shoes that are well-suited for the jungle. My suggestion would be to bring a pair of trail runners instead of hiking shoes because they’re lightweight and more suitable for tropical climates. I also recommend bringing a light rain jacket or poncho in case you get caught in a downpour.

Last but not least, you should absolutely bring mosquito repellent! Due to Belize’s humid climate, the country, unfortunately, has mosquitos year-round.

You can download my free packing list using the form below.

Quick Tip: View my full Central America packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Central America Essentials shopping list here.

Where to Stay in Belize

As a popular tourist destination, Belize offers a wide range of accommodation options, from low budget hostels to high-end beach resorts. No matter what your budget is, I’m sure you’ll find a place you like!

These are the most popular types of accommodation in Belize:

Beach resorts: if you’re looking for a little luxury, Belize has plenty of resorts to choose from. Most of them can be found on Ambergris Caye and the Placencia Peninsula.

Beach cabanas: a great way to spend a couple of nights near the ocean! Beach cabanas are usually very simple and rustic, but they’re much cheaper than luxury resorts.

Hotels and guesthouses: you won’t find many chain hotels in Belize, but the country is full of small hotels and guesthouses. Sometimes breakfast is included.

Hostels: affordable hostels can be found in every tourist hub, including Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, and Placencia.

Eco-lodges: the best way to experience the rainforest is to spend a night or two in an eco-friendly jungle lodge. They range from upscale resorts with air-conditioned rooms to rustic jungle cabins.

Map of Accommodation in Belize

Traveling in Belize

There are several ways to travel in Belize. The choice you make will depend mostly on your budget and your need for comfort.

If you don’t want to spend too much money (and don’t mind squeezing into a tiny seat), I would recommend using local transportation. Belize has two types of buses: direct buses, which travel quickly between destinations, and chicken buses. The chicken buses are much slower, but they’re also dirt cheap, and they give you an interesting glimpse into local life.

I found the buses to be perfectly safe, even for solo female travelers. Be careful when you use the bus at night, however. Theft is very common on night buses, so I suggest paying close attention to your belongings.

If you’re a traveler who prefers to have a little bit more comfort, you could also take a taxi or shuttle. You can ask the reception at your hotel or hostel for recommendations. Licensed taxis can also be found at airport, bus and ferry terminals.

Alternatively, you could also rent a car, but keep in mind gas is expensive here. Road conditions aren’t the best in Belize, either. Watch out for potholes and avoid driving at night.

To get to the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, you can either take the ferry or travel by air. There are two main ferry companies: San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi and Ocean Ferry Belize. Tickets can be bought online or at the ferry terminal. Flights are more expensive but provide a much quicker way of traveling.

If you are planning some long bus journeys then take a read of this guide to surviving long bus journeys!

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

Belize Safety Advice

Belize is one of the safest countries in Central America. Although I was traveling alone, I never felt unsafe there! Besides, the national language of Belize is English and its people are very warm and friendly, so you can always approach someone if you happen to run into trouble or need assistance.

That said, I still recommend taking precautions and keeping your guard up, especially when you’re traveling solo. Here are my tips to stay safe in Belize:

  • Try to avoid isolated areas at night, like the jungle, deserted beaches or empty streets.
  • Never leave your valuables on the beach while you go swimming, but leave them at your hostel or hotel, or ask another traveler to watch over them.
  • If you can, avoid taking night buses, because theft is very common. Take an authorized taxi instead, or even better: travel during the day.
  • Though Belize in general is very safe, some parts of Belize City are a bit sketchy, so I highly recommend sticking to the touristy areas there. Or you could skip Belize City altogether, which is what I did! There’s not that much to see and do there, anyway.

Belize Travel Guide planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Belize?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Belize which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Belize on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Belize?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Belize?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

The Best Time To Visit Belize

Like most countries with a subtropical climate, Belize has two seasons: a dry season (from December to May) and a rainy season (from June to November).

The best time to visit Belize is during dry season, especially from mid-February until mid-April when the chance of rain is extremely low. This is also the busiest and most expensive time of year, however! If you don’t mind a bit of rain, you could also travel during shoulder season (May, November or early December), when the rainy season isn’t in full swing.

During rainy season, hotels and excursions will be much cheaper, but you’ll also have to deal with frequent showers, strong winds and potential hurricanes. Some restaurants and hotels also close during this time.

Author Bio

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

Marieke is a freelance writer and founder of travel blog Echoes from Elsewhere, where she shares stories from her adventures around the world, in-depth destination guides and advice for solo female travelers. She prefers to travel alone and independently – she just straps on her backpack and sees where the road takes her! Besides travel, her favorite things are coffee, fantasy novels, cats and dogs (who says you can’t love both?) and tropical beaches. 

You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Check out My travel books

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

The Solo Girls Guide to Traveling Without Fear

Belize Travel Guide,belize,travel

The solo girls guide to becoming a digital nomad

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