Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for the best things to do in Belize.
Belize has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a family vacation spot, long weekend escape from the U.S.A., romantic getaway or backpacking Central America – you are bound to find plenty of activities to suit your tastes.
All together I spent ten days in Belize. After three days each on the Caribbean islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, I headed inland to explore the jungle around San Ignacio.
These were my favorite things to do in this un-belize-ably beautiful country.
Live at the beach
After flying into Belize City (or catching a bus down from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico), it is an easy cab ride and ferry across to the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to either island from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Aeropuerto in Belize City.
Both islands boast gorgeous beaches, with Ambergris Caye being more developed and commercial than Caye Caulker. If you like all-inclusive beachfront hotels, then head to San Pedro in Ambergris Caye. If you prefer a more tranquil spot with no cars (only golf carts) and an island motto of “Go Slow” then Caye Caulker is the place for you.
On both islands, it is recommended to spend optimal time at the beach. One of the best spots to swim on Caye Caulker is the “Split,” which you can find by heading north along the beach front. This is a fun place to hang out, wet your feet and even snorkel. Just be sure to slather yourself in sunscreen as the sun can be fierce here.
Snorkel and scuba
Belize is well-known for having some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef, second largest only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, runs along the entire Belizean Coastline as well as extending into Mexico and Honduras.
After hearing rave reviews from my newly-made holiday friends, I decided to partner up with Caveman Snorkeling Tours on Caye Caulker. I met with the charismatic Caveman, who took the time to explain the tour options with a relaxed smile and no pressure to book. In the end, I chose the popular full day tour which included the opportunity to swim with nurse sharks in Shark Ray Alley.
The full day tour started at 10 am with a quick but thorough briefing. What followed was a jam-packed day with five different snorkeling spots including Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley, Coral Gardens, Chatos Area, and a ship wreck. As I lazily laid on the boat, the others delved into the clear waters encountering Puffer Fish, Moray Eels, a Great Barracuda, a Spotted Eagle Ray, multiple Turtles and, of course, Nurse Sharks!
In the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Caveman tour guides took the snorkelers on a guided tour while pointing our various species. At the beginning and the end of the tour, our guides took the boat to different spots which were known for spotting manatees. Although we weren’t lucky enough to see any, there had been numerous sightings on the previous days before and our friends even snorkeled with two manatees.
Learn about the Mayans
After soaking up the sun on the islands, I took a two and a half hour chicken bus from Belize City to San Ignacio for USD $4 each. If you prefer to pay extra for comfort, there are options of taking a shuttle or even renting a car.
San Ignacio is close to the border of Guatemala, surrounded by dense jungle and hidden Mayan sites. Most of the Mayan temples and ruins require guides or at least transport in order to get there. Tours range from USD $70 – $150 depending on the site. After much research, I chose the ATM Caves as it is one of the only underground Mayan sites in the world that has not been excavated.
The two Mayan sites that are easy to see without a guide or transport are Cahal Pech and Xunantunich. Cahal Pech is located within the town of San Ignacio. Xunantunich is a short bus ride (USD $0.75 each), river crossing and hill walk. I went to Xunantunich by public transport and was lucky enough to make friends along the way who drove me back to San Ignacio. The entrance for Xunantunich was USD $5 each. If you do decide to opt for a guide, there are many offering their services at the river crossing.
Meet the locals
While visiting the Mayan sites and trekking through the rainforest, keep your eyes and ears open for Howler Monkeys. I spotted a raucous family of Howler Monkeys while at Xunantunich, who paid no attention to me (except to throw tree bark) and spent their time chattering away at each other.
Green Iguanas are native to the Americas, however, it is no longer common to see them in the wild in Belize. This is due to loss of habitat and the fact that Iguana eggs are considered a delicacy by locals. The Belize Iguana Project in San Ignacio was established as a conversation and breeding facility. All baby iguanas born here are done so with the view to be released into the wild.
The Iguana Project is open to the public with small group tours allowing visitors to get up close to these gorgeous creatures and learn more about them.
Eat street food
The best food that I ate in Belize was always on the street or in local restaurants.
For breakfast, I loved finding hole-in-the-wall bakeries for Belizean Johnny Cakes, fried jacks, and breakfast burritos, washed down with piping hot coffee. If you are staying on San Pedro and looking for cheap eats, try Ruby’s Cafe on the main street (next to Belize Chocolate Company).
When it comes to dinner, it is time to hit up the food stalls. On Caye Calker a few local food stalls set up in front of the basketball court and in San Pedro, they cluster in Central Park. Sink your teeth into Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans, tacos, burritos, and even El Salvadorian pupusas. Most food stalls will also serve more Western-style fast food such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn dogs.
For a sit-down meal, I liked Terry’s on Caye Caulker, Estel’s in San Pedro and Ko-Ox Han-Nah in San Ignacio.
Caveman Snorkeling Tours, Caye Caulker, Belize
Caveman Snorkeling Tours are passionate about respecting the marine life and environment. Above all, they are dedicated to customer satisfaction. For the full list of tours and current prices, please refer to Tours.
Location: Front Street (Playa Asuncion / Avenida Hicaco), Caye Caulker, Belize.
I received a small media discount from Caveman Snorkeling Tours, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.
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