AMERICAS DESTINATION GUIDE TRAVEL

21 Best Things to do in Belize

Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with the Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Some of the best things to do in Belize revolve around the ocean, and that makes it one of the best places in the world for that reason alone. 

For those looking for inspiration for their bucket list trips for next year, look no further than this Central American gem.

Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life.

Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid; lagoon-side Lamanai; and Altun Ha, just outside Belize City.

Combining lush rainforests, Mayan cities, remote jungle hideaways and dream-like underwater coral reefs, Belize is the perfect post-lockdown getaway for 2021.

Here are the best things to do in Belize…

belize attractions

How to get to Belize

Visa for Belize

Visitors to Belize must possess a passport valid for at least three months after the date of arrival and a return ticket with sufficient funds to cover their stay.

 

Belize Independence Day 

Next year will also mark 40 years of Belize’s independence from Britain, with festivities beginning on 10 September to commemorate the Battle of St George Caye, and Independence Day taking place on 21 September. 

The events are celebrated with parades, vibrant costumes, dancing, music and fireworks across the country.

best things to do in belize

21 Things to do in Belize

Oh Belize, I dream about you every day. And I’ve wanted to visit this wonderful island even more since I watched The Bucket List family spend a week at Hatchet Caye last year.

Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with the Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west.

Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life.

Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid.

Belize is also known for its beaches and eco-lodges, and scuba diving and fishing are popular pastimes. Diving areas include Hol Chan, rife with sharks and stingrays, and the massive Great Blue Hole, a sinkhole once explored by Jacques Cousteau.

 

1. Private island getaway

You can’t get much more remote than Bird Island. Located just 18 minutes from the village of Placencia, Bird Island’s protected beautiful waters and total privacy is what makes it special.

With no neighbours or staff, the island hosts up to six guests at a time and guests can snorkel and kayak over the multi-coloured coral or take out a fishing boat and attempt to catch their next meal.

hammocks belize

2. Give in to your cravings

Some experts say Belize is the “Cradle of Chocolate”, meaning it was first used here and Maya kings consumed large amounts of chocolate thousands of years ago.

Explore how chocolate is made and the best kinds to enjoy on a tour of cacao plantation and a taste testing experience at AJAW Chocolate in San Ignacio.

 

3. Deep dive

Home to the world’s second largest barrier reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef is a haven for marine life. From schools of fish, to turtles and even the occasional nurse shark, there’s so much going on underwater and there’s ample opportunity to explore the reefs and atolls.

Guests can scuba dive or snorkel the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is within a 15-minute boat ride from Ambergris Caye.

 

4. What’s SUP?

For those looking to explore the Belize Barrier Reef System from the surface, stand-up paddleboarding is the perfect option. Glide along to explore the creeks and inlets of one of the thousands of mangrove cayes and even spot eagle ray or glimpse the back of a diving turtle.

 

5. Cave exploration

Spend a day out in the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave system. The cave was used by the Maya for sacrificial ceremonies and comprises of various rivers, sinkholes, and tunnel ways. An active guided tour will show you the artefacts, skeletons and so much more.

A moderate level of fitness is required and involves some swimming.

belize scuba diving

6. Night-time adventure brought to new heights

Belize is home to Central America’s longest zip lining course located in the Mayflower Bocawina National Forest. With the course covering 2.5 miles, guests can experience the excitement of zip-lining both by day and by night. At night, guests can hear nocturnal animals bring the forest to life.

 

7. Take a walk on the wild side

Witness the world’s first Jaguar reserve at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary spans over 128,00 acres of rainforest and is home to Jaguars, pumas, ocelot, tapir and hundreds of different kinds of birds.

  

8. Lobster love

Mark your calendar for the Placencia Lobster festival that is held annually in June. The three-day event encompasses Belize’s culturally inspired foods, performances and a chance to meet the friendly locals.

Aside from the enticing aroma of sizzling lobsters, arguably the main attraction of the festival is the fishing competition where local anglers will compete to find the largest lobster.

 

9. Hike some history

The great classical Maya site of Xunantunich, overlooking the Mopan River is home to more than 25 Maya temples and palaces.

Meaning ‘Stone Woman’ in Mayan, Xunantunich’s main plaza is dominated by the El Castillo – a 40-metre pyramid which can be summited and offers breathtaking views over the surrounding forest and Maya mountains.

 

10. Drum to the Belizean beat

The Garifuna people arrived in Belize from St. Vincent in the early 19th century adding a vibrant blend to the country’s cultural makeup.

Visit the WARASA Garifuna Drum School in Punta Gorda to discover the rich history and heritage of the Garifuna and learn the different traditional drumbeats and dances that influence music throughout Belize and the rest of Central America.

belize blue hole

11. Sleep in the jungle

Nestled in the foothills of the mountains alongside the Sibun River, the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge offers 31 suites and rooms in their 10,000-acre reserve.

The surrounding green tropical foliage provides a sanctuary for many native birds and wildlife and an exciting retreat for those wishing to truly head off-the-beaten-track.

With several activities including caving, tubing, hiking and horseback riding on offer, guests can enjoy small group or even private tours with expert guides.

 

12. Discover the rainforest and Crystal Cave

The Blue Hole National Park is filled with beautiful forest and blue waters for visitors to explore. Try the Crystal Cave Tour to hike nearly an hour through the tropical forest before exploring the gorgeous Crystalline Cave within the jungle.

 

13. Wild swimming

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo District is home to Rio on Pools and Big Rock Falls, both of which are the ideal place to cool off after wandering through the many winding trails of the forest.

Relax in the wide, shallow stream of Rio on Pools or for the more adventurous, head to Big Rock Falls, so called because of the giant granite boulders on its banks and take a dip in the mountain spring water.

 

14. Support local communities

The San Antonio Women’s Group is made up of nine Mayan women. They started the group to find a way to earn an income, learn new and interesting skills, and share their traditional knowledge not only with visitors but with the younger generation.

Visit to learn about their traditional pottery methods and how they make tortillas (and even coffee) from corn.

 

15. Kick-back on Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker offers balmy breezes, fresh seafood, azure waters and a fantastic barrier reef on its doorstep. With a strong Creole presence on the island and the soothing sounds of reggae music, this has long been the spot to kick-back, relax in a hammock and sip on an ice-cold Belikin beer.

belize

16. Cook like Marie Sharp

Learn about the cuisine and food culture of Belize during a cookery lesson inspired by pepper and hot sauce icon, Marie Sharp in San Ignacio. Start with a visit to the local market, before preparing a variety of dishes using recipes from Marie Sharp herself.

Learn about the diverse Belizean cultures, try traditional preparation techniques, sample essential spices and feast on the creations with the full product line of hot sauces, jams and jellies.

 

17. Explore the Belize Botanic Gardens

In San Ignacio, the Belize Botanic Gardens covers more than 45 acres of land and includes a tropical fruit orchard, native plants, orchid house, a Maya medicine trail and much more.

On a guided tour, guests can learn more about the garden’s conservation plans or even a tea-tasting tour.

 

18. Canoeing on the Macal River

Meander down the Macal River in the Cayo District taking in the sights and sounds of the verdant rainforest, with the chance to spot wildlife including iguanas, hummingbirds and Belize’s national bird, the toucan.

 

19. Explore Reflective Blue Water

Five Blues Lake National Park is home to howler monkeys, tapirs, gibnut, peccaries and armadillos and lakes that are incredible shades of blue. Set in 4,000 acres of limestone hills, discover Orchid Island or the village of St. Margaret’s.

 

20. Horseback riding

Hanna’s Stables in San Ignacio offers daily guided horseback riding tours, including leisurely horse-riding around San Lorenzo Farm. This 400-acre expanse contains organic gardens and crops including bananas, cacao, coffee, chaya, amaranth, and much more.

Learn more about the types of farming and agriculture in Belize, including sustainable vertical farming during this half-day tour.

 

21. The sweet life

You cannot travel to Ambergris Caye without stopping off for a sweet treat at D&E’s frozen custard and sorbets. Choose from strawberry, mango, raspberry, watermelon or pineapple, to name but a few.

They also serve delicious shakes, mouthwatering sundaes and banana split – the perfect cool treat to enjoy after a day in the tropical sunshine.

 

If you on a bigger trip exploring more of Europe check out my guides to Colombia, Chile, Punta Cana and Saint Lucia.


My Travel Tips and Recommendations

Flights

To book flights, I always use flight search engine Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals. 

Accommodation

For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!

Travel Insurance

Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. 

 

You can also find me on social media: FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Did you know I also vlog my trips? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get alerted when all my travel videos go live… CHECK THEM OUT HERE

 

Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!

Sophie X

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