Belize has one foot in the Central American jungle and the other in the Caribbean Sea, and is packed with islands, adventure and culture. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world, with over 100 types of coral and 500 species of tropical fish. It’s paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. Snorkelers will see a kaleidoscope of coral, fish, whale sharks and turtles, while divers can investigate the underwater caves and walls, along with the world-renowned Blue Hole. You can spend your days kayaking, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, fishing or lazing in a hammock ….. a perfect tropical vacation!
Belize is home to the ancient Maya. The Cayo District and Toledo’s Deep South have archaeological sites that date to the Maya heyday (AD 250–1000), where steps lead to the tops of tall stone temples, often with 360-degree jungle views. Explore excavated tombs and examine hieroglyphs, or enter natural caves to see where the Maya kings performed rituals and made sacrifices to their underworld gods.
Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye, attracts the most visitors. Stroll through Ambergris Caye by day and you’ll find a relaxed beachfront filled with spectacular waterfront sites; by dusk, you’ll revel in its vibrant nightlife. Just be sure to save some time on the mainland for unraveling Belize’s subtle charms. From its luxuriant Mayan sites to its sparkling waters, there’s plenty to explore in this enchanting coastal country.The best Belize vacations can include scuba diving the Blue Hole, zip lining through the jungle canopy, rappelling down waterfalls or crawling through ancient cave systems. Belize is an adventure! Continue reading and have the best Belize Vacation ever!
Belize Weather (When to Visit)
The best time to visit Belize is from late November to mid-April, during the country’s dry season. Although this peak season draws thousands of tourists, dealing with crowds is an easy sacrifice to make for warm temperatures, clear skies and easy access to the country’s top attractions. You’ll probably want to pass on visiting during April and May, when humidity mists the tropical landscape and temps reach triple digits. Expect showers from June to mid-November and strong winds. If you want to beat the rush of tourists and don’t mind packing an umbrella, come during the rainy season in September and October. But keep in mind some establishments shut down during the off season.
Best Belize Area Beaches
Hopkins Village Beach
This uninterrupted, quiet 5-mile beach is lined with coconut trees, locals’ homes, colorful guesthouses and a few local eateries. The waters aren’t Caribbean turquoise, but clear and refreshing nonetheless.
Dubbed “barefoot perfect,” it’s the most popular sea and sand getaway in the country and stretches across 3 villages: Maya Beach, Seine Bight and Placencia Village. Take your pick — all of these beaches are public.
Half Moon Caye
Half Moon Caye’s no-frills, untouched beach is also a protected turtle-nesting site. The other half of the caye is made up of forest, home to a protected red-footed booby sanctuary. When you’re done gasping and frolicking, hike over to the forest side to climb the observation tower and bird watch above the canopy.
In Ambergris Caye, there is plenty of sand to lie on, but sea grass populates the shores due to a magnificent barrier reef just a half-mile away. Across from Ramon’s Village Resort is the most popular sunning and swimming section, with raked sands and clear waters. But south or north of the island are the best, most isolated stretches on la isla bonita.
South Water Caye
South Water Caye’s sand is soft, soothing and powdery white. Visitors can find this perfect stretch of beach beside Pelican Beach Resort, dotted by a maze of coconut trees and hammocks.
Best Belize Tours & Activities by Viator
Tikal Day Trip with Local Lunch from San Ignacio
Visit the incredible ancient city of Tikal on this day trip from San Ignacio. Once a powerful city center during the Mayan period, today Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws scores of visitors each year. Your professional guide takes you across the border into Tikal National Park in Guatemala, and leads you on a fascinating tour of the archaeological complex. Round-trip transport from your San Ignacio hotel and all park fees are included. Learn more about the Tikal Day Trip.
Cave Kayaking Tour
Venture deep inside an ancient cave system at Nohoc Chen Park on a cave kayaking adventure from Belize City. Old legends and an underground waterfall await inside a series of caverns that you explore by single or double kayak, wearing an LED headlamp to illuminate crystalline rock formations. Hike through the Belizean rain forest and paddle down open stretches of the Caves Branch River on this half-day tour in the heart of the Maya Mountains. Learn more about the Cave Kayaking Tour.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley Sailing and Snorkeling Tour
Discover Ambergris Caye’s wildlife and coral reefs on this sailing and snorkeling tour to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and shark ray alley. Swim above bright coral formations in Hol Chan, and watch for the sea turtles, eels and fishes that thrive within the protected area. Slip into the water with the stingrays and nurse sharks at shark ray alley, watch them feed on fresh sardines, then enjoy tropical breezes and a comfortable seat on deck as you return to San Pedro Town. Learn more about the Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Sailing & Snorkeling.
Cave Tubing and Zipline Adventure from Belize City
Satisfy your appetite for adrenaline on a full-day tubing and zipline adventure from Belize City. Designed for travelers craving thrills, this experience takes you through a cave network replete with stalactites and stalagmites, and over the lush canopy of the rainforest. Float on underground rivers in a tube, conquer seven vertiginous ziplines, and enjoy hotel pickup and drop-off. Learn more about the Cave Tubing & Zipline Adventure.
Xunantunich and Cave Tubing Combo Tour
Explore the dominion of the ancient Maya in Belize on a full-day tour from San Ignacio. Climb to the top of sacred pyramids and learn about the once-mighty civilization at the archaeological site of Xunantunich, and enter a portal to the Mayan underworld on a cave tubing adventure that takes you splashing through the crystalline caverns of an underground cave system. Round-trip transport from San Ignacio Town and lunch are included on this tour. Learn more about the Xunantunich & Cave Tubing Combo Tour.
Best Belize Restaurants
Guava Limb Cafe – San Ignacio $11 – 30
One of San Ignacio’s slickest restaurants, boutique Guava Limb is set in an adorable turquoise two-story building with a serene outdoor garden area. Fresh organic ingredients are sourced from the owners’ farm or local providers to create an eclectic international menu that might include Indonesian gado gado, a Middle Eastern platter or conch ceviche. Gourmet pizzas, burgers and quesadilla make for a filling lunch, and vegetarians will enjoy the wide range of fresh salads. There’s a full bar and the garden is a fine place for a cold beer or cocktail. Telephone: 501 824-4837 Web: Guava Limb Cafe.
Hidden Treasure – San Pedro $31 – 60
Living up to its name, Hidden Treasure is a gorgeous open-air restaurant in an out-of-the-way residential neighborhood (follow the signs from Coconut Dr). Lit by candles, the beautiful bamboo and hardwood dining room is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner, which might feature almond-crusted grouper, blackened snapper with bacon-wrapped shrimp, or pork ribs with a ginger pineapple BBQ glaze. Telephone: 501 226-4111 Web: Hidden Treasure.
Chef Rob’s – Sittee Point $31 – 60
Well-known locally for his sublime seafood creations and steaks cooked over hot rocks, Chef Rob’s changing menu here might include sauteed red snapper, grilled jumbo shrimp kebabs or rib-eye in rum sauce. Put together a four-course meal from BZ$59. The waterfront dining area at Parrot Cove is suitably romantic. Telephone: 501 523-7225 Web: Chef Rob’s.
Elvi’s Kitchen – San Pedro $11 – 30
This iconic San Pedro restaurant has been filling stomachs of happy patrons for 20 years when it began as a burger aisle. It is a must visit restaurant in San Pedro town. The interior sand floor is built around the large flamboyant tree that has watched people eat under its branches since the founding. It’s often accompanied by live music, decorated remnant artifacts of San Pedro’s fishing village roots and artwork. The famous Grand Mayan Buffet held every Friday is a crowd favorite, for its assortment of Maya-Mestizo food highlighting the heritage of the ethnic group. Telephone: 501 226-2404 Web: Elvi’s Kitchen.
Crabby’s – Sarteneja $11 – 30
Crabby’s is in a welcoming thatched, open-sided restaurant and bar that ranks as Sarteneja’s best, with a fine waterfront location and convivial vibe. The specialty is local seafood (try the lionfish burger with onion rings) but you’ll also find Belizean classics, burgers, wings and fajitas. Saturday is barbecue day. Cocktails and ice-cold beers, with sunset happy hour from 5:30pm. Telephone: 501 620-8358 Web: Crabby’s.
Best Belize Bars
Stella’s Sunset Wine Bar & Restaurant – Ambergris Caye
Stella’s is a classy but unpretentious wine bar set in a lovely garden on the edge of the San Pedro Lagoon that affords fine sunset views. Sit on lounge chairs under the trees or at a table in the palapa (open-air shelter with a thatched roof) and work your way around two dozen different whites and reds. There are also wine specials for those who don’t have to drive their golf cart home. Telephone: 501 602-5284 Web: Stella’s Sunset Wine Bar & Restaurant.
Blue Bayou – San Pedro
Tucked away from the louder bars and restaurants, this is the locals’ favorite at Secret Beach, mainly for the picnic tables partially submerged in the waist-deep, turquoise cove. It’s easy to spend an entire day here, throwing back Belikins and feasting on delicious ceviche, whole jerk fish or curry venison. Cash only. Telephone: 501 623-8051 Web: Blue Bayou.
I & I Reggae Bar – Caye Caulker
I&I is the island’s most hip, happening spot after dark, when its healthy sound system belts out a reggae beat. Its three levels each offer a different scene, with a dance floor on one and swings hanging from the rafters on another. The top floor is the ‘chill-out zone,’ complete with hammocks and panoramic views. A great place for a sunset drink. Telephone: 501 668-8169 Web: I & I Reggae Bar.
Driftwood Beach Bar – Hopkins
Ever-popular Driftwood has moved closer to the center of the village but still has a great beachfront location, Hopkins’ best drumming nights and pizza (from BZ$16) and tacos (BZ$10). This is a popular social hub and party place: Tuesday is the big night with Garifuna drumming, but there are also weekend events and beach BBQs. Telephone: 501 664-6611 Web: Driftwood Beach Bar.
Lazy Lizard – Caye Caulker
The Lazy Lizard is described as a ‘sunny place for shady people,’ though most folks here tend to be attractive, young travelers, swimming about and sunbathing as they are plied with booze and cocktails. The bar’s second-story balcony offers spectacular views of the Split, and its corn hole tournaments, beach rugby games and full-moon parties are delightful. For more information call 501 226-0636, or visit them on the web at Lazy Lizard.
Best Belize Hotels
Villa Margarita at Jaguar Reef
Set along the exquisite azure waters of the Caribbean Sea in Hopkins, Belize and developed in 2014, is a well-appointed, intimate Belize Beach Resort called Villa Margarita. This Beachfront Resort offers the charm of a picturesque Caribbean Village accompanied by refined accommodations, swimming pool and Jacuzzi, offering the utmost in beachfront relaxation and seclusion.
This 28-room seafront hideaway combines natural wonders with luxury style. Accommodations are in individual thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings and naturally cooled by the ever-present sea breezes. Just steps beyond your private deck, the beach dissolves into the Caribbean Sea. In addition, the resort has two infinity swimming pools, a spa, dive shop and three restaurants.
Laru Baya Resort
Strategically located between Seine Bight and Placencia, this Belize beach resort offers guests an all inclusive resort experience within walking distance of the unique cultural communities. Standout features of Laru Beya include a secluded beach area as well as an outdoor infinity swimming pool, a wide variety of rooms & suites, as well as an onsite restaurant and bar, the Quarterdeck, which serves up a full range of tropical drinks and a mouthwatering array of both local and international dishes overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Victoria House Resort & Spa
The resort offers a taste of barefoot elegance that keeps guests coming back for more. With just 42 guest rooms ranging in style from thatch roof casitas to beachfront villas with private pools, plantation style rooms and stunning ocean view villas, the only challenge is making the choice of where to hang your swimsuit at night. The Palmilla Restaurant and Admiral Nelsons Bar are renowned for fine food and drink complimented by extraordinary, personalized service.
Caribbean Beach Cabanas – Adults Only
Located in Placencia, Caribbean Beach Cabanas is a Adults Only Property, offers a private beach area and free bikes. This self-catering accommodations features free WiFi and free parking. This villa will provide you with a TV, air conditioning and a terrace. Most units have a full kitchenette, with a microwave and a refrigerator, and private bathrooms with a shower. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the sea from the property’s private veranda and palapa. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Caribbean Beach Cabanas.
Athens Gate is a small Belize boutique beach resort in a discreet locations 2.5 miles south of San Pedro offering beautiful private beaches and convenience to shopping and dining. With only twelve accommodations, Athens Gate remains small and exclusive allowing for personalized time with each of their guests. They do not have a restaurant on-site, but there are several within a short walk (2-3 minutes). For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Athens Gate.
Click here for our list of Beach Travel Essentials you will want to take with you to Belize.