South America is filled to the brim with amazing places to visit but people often center their sights on Mexico. Don’t get us wrong though, Mexico is great especially when it comes to its top tourist destinations. What we are saying, however, is that your trips should not be limited to that country alone. If you really want a fun and unique traveling experience, then you need to go a little south of Mexico to visit the little country of Belize. Though it may be very small in terms of landmass, Belize is the home of countless activities to feel and sights to see. Beneath its pristine beauty is a deep history that dates way back to the Mayan era.

Belize History

Prior to 2500 BC, major areas in Mexico including Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras were the home of the great Mayan civilization. During the early years of the world, the Mayans were able to develop basic institutions that allowed them to last longer than other ancient civilizations and populations. In Belize, the Mayans truly flourished and spread around the 1500 BC.

In the following centuries, Belize was colonized by Spanish and European explorers. As with most countries who were a part of the colonization, Belize was radically transformed in terms of religion and other practices. Obviously, there was turmoil all throughout the land as the Yucatans who were residing at Belize at the time fought for their home soil.

Then in the early 1900s,  Belize become a huge part of the British economy. It was able to attract British investors through a copious supply of timber. However, issues began to arise during The Great Depression as the demand for timber began to plummet. In the following years, the economy was further hurt by various events including World War II.

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Belizeans celebrating the country’s 32nd Independence Day (Source)

The nation, its people and its government were only granted its independence on Sept. 21, 1981. Guatemala, which borders Belize did not recognize the nation’s independence immediately because it was in a territorial dispute with Britain at the time. Guatemala insisted that Belize belonged to it and it alone. To protect the small nation of Belize, there were about 1,500 British troops that remained in the area.

Though the nation is facing political and economic instability, it tries to break even. The nation’s economy thrives on agriculture and most recently, it has also become more aggressive in terms of showcasing what it has to brag for tourism. Now, Belize’s scenic spots and attractions play a good role in the nation’s growing economy.

Millions of tourists visit Belize annually and you should be one of the next to see the booming nation. Of course, there is a lot you should understand before going to Belize and that is why we are creating this ultimate guide to the country and its pristine waters. Before anything else, let us first start off with a few details on how you can get to Belize and what forms of transportation are present once you are in it.

How To Get To Belize?

Since it is relatively small country, it is not very easy to get to Belize unless you are coming from the bordering countries. Do not fret though as it is not entirely impossible to get to Belize as there are quite a few airports that could get you to and fro this wonderful small nation.

By far the easiest and most popular way to get to Belize is by going to it from the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport which is located in Belize City. In total, there are five U.S. airlines and four international airlines that provide flights directly to Belize. The U.S. flights include American Airlines via Miami, Florida or Dallas Texas, United Airlines via Houston, Texas, Delta Airlines via Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, California, US Airways via Charlotte, North Carolina and lastly, Southwest Airlines via Houston, Texas and Denver Colorado.

Trips from outside the U.S. include Avianca Airlines via San Salvador, El Salvador, Copa Airlines via Panama City, Panama, Tropic Air via Cancun, Merida, Roatan, San Pedro Sula, and Flores Mexico, lastly, there is WestJet from Toronto. If you are not from these cities, then your best bet is to simply book connecting flights that drop be Belize. Of course, this comes at a cost.

As Belize is a tourist capital of the world you won’t have any issues getting to it so long as you take connecting flights. There are millions of flights that can get you to the nation. Aside from flying via passenger flights, you can also find cruise ship’s that have Belize as a stopover. That way, you can enjoy other parts of the world. A day or two in Belize via stopover will be enough for you to enjoy a portion of what the country has to offer.

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Cars lined up along Belize’s Coconut Ave (Source)

How To Get Around Belize?

If you are finally in Belize, you no longer have to worry about traveling as there is a huge selection of public transportation vehicles. There are charter planes, buses, taxis, rentable cars and more. If you want to explore the pristine waters and drop by each of the tourist spots in Belize, then you can get around using boats, water taxis, and even a kayak.

In terms of expenses, you could spend around $20 per day when going around the nation. We do suggest coming with a tour guide or with a person that knows the country fully well. The truth is that there might be some drivers who could rip you off for a little extra profit.

What Is The Climate In Belize?

The weather is what you should really be knowledgeable about when you are in Belize. The nation has had its fair share of devastating hurricanes and obviously, you’d want to avoid these. The last hurricane that devastated the country was Hurricane Earl back in 2016. It would be best to check out weather updates before booking a flight.

In general, Belize has a tropical climate but there are changing weather patterns per region. The temperature is also different per region and it varies on the elevation of the area. In the coastal region, the average temperatures are 24 °C (75.2 °F) in January to 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July. If you are going a little far off the coast, expect the temperatures to be a bit higher.

Things to Do in Belize

Want to relax or looking for adventure? Belize has the best of both worlds. And this is one of the reasons why it is one of the best places to be. The best part of traveling to Belize is that it has plenty of activities for all ages. Here is a short guide to Belize’s top attractions and activities to offer.

1Have fun at the beach

A peek at Belize’s Ambergis Caye’s relaxing beach (Source)

Belize is popular for its stunning beaches. There are islands and coastal resorts that have plenty of appeal and will fully relax you with the tranquil views that it can offer. On top of that, Belize’s beaches have a range of activities for you to try out.

One of the well-known beaches in Belize is Caye Caulker. It has a laid-back atmosphere so you can just relax and bask in the sun all day. There is also Goff’s Caye island that is known for its white sand beaches. Aside from beach bumming, this place also offers snorkeling and scuba diving activities. If you want to see more marine life, head on to South Water Caye. This island is found within Belize’s largest marine reserve. You’ll surely enjoy swimming in its waters as you play and be amazed at its abundant marine life.

Caye Caulker is a beach that’s reserved for tourists that want to relax. That being said, don’t expect any extravagant parties at night. On the bright side, there are a lot of high-end restaurants within this beach so you can get your fill on amazing dishes from various cuisines.

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2See the Great Blue Hole

A view of the Great Blue Hole from above that you will get to see if you’ll go on a helicopter tour (Source)

Speaking of beaches and water activities, if you’re in Belize, don’t miss out seeing the Great Blue Hole. In case you don’t know yet, the Great Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole in Belize and it’s one of Belize’s top tourist spots. It’s a world-class destination, especially for scuba divers. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can dive and explore it. They say that the deeper you’ll go, the clearer the water is and the more breathtaking the scenery will be. However, it can be risky as you could pass out from nitrogen narcosis if you go beyond your limits.

Keep in mind that The Great Blue Hole is not a diving spot for scuba enthusiasts without experience. In fact, many consider it as an expert level adventure. Don’t dare scuba dive in The Great Blue Hole unless you are accompanied by professionals. The Great Blue Hole is one of the deepest trenches in the world and one small slip up could be dangerous even for expert scuba divers.

But if you’re not into this kind of activity, there’s still a way to see the Great Blue Hole’s beauty and that is by flying over it. You can book private aerial tours that will fly you over the Great Blue Hole. However, it’s expensive. Still, the beautiful view of the Great Blue Hole and some parts of Belize is worth the splurge.

3Go Caving

The remains of the Crystal Maiden (Source)

Belize has plenty of caves waiting to be explored as well. One of the notable caves that you shouldn’t miss is the Actun Tunichil Muknal (commonly known as ATM). Aside from its beauty, this cave also draws a lot of attention because of its history. It is believed to be a Mayan sacrificial site and is a resting place of the “Crystal Maiden,” a well-preserved female skeleton that has a glimmering appearance that elicits a sense of supernatural. For that reason, people consider it as one of the sacred caves around the world.

The people of Belize see the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave as something sacred and vital to their history and culture. That being said, you need to be very careful when visiting this cave. Basically, devote yourself to following the traveler’s mantra of leaving nothing but footprints and taking nothing but pictures.

4Eat Like a Local

Rice and beans paired with chicken (Source)

Rice and beans are a staple food in Belize. In fact, from the northern to the southern part of this country, you will always come across this food. But Belizean cuisine is more than this delicious dish. Of course, Belize still has plenty of dishes for you to try out. Here’s a quick guide to Belize dishes that you need taste.

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  • Stew chicken – Aside from rice and beans, you can also try Belize’s stew chicken. This dish is a perfect match for rice and beans. Stew chicken is a hearty soul food. When ordering it, make sure you are in a place that cooks it as you order. If it’s just heated up, it’s not the same thing.
  • Belizean tamales – Unlike the Mexican tamale, this Belizean dish is not wrapped in a corn husk. Rather, it is wrapped in plantain leaves. There’s a huge difference in wrapping it in a corn husk and plantain leaves. Belizean tamales have this sort of rich earthy taste to it.
  • Ceviche – Belize’s version of Mexican nachos. It’s typically made with raw fish. As Belize is near the sea, you can expect to find the best ceviche’s in Belize. Ceviche made with Tuna is to die for but anything caught locally is heavenly as well.
  • Fry jack – Deep-fried flour dough pieces eaten with bacon, beans, sausage, and eggs. Obviously, this is a breakfast staple in Belize. According to locals, fry jack was made to accommodate tourists who are picky eaters.
  • Fish serre – A fish dish cooked along with carrots and green bananas and is served with a number of seasonings and herbs. It’s one of the tastiest dishes in Belize and makes sure to order it from a restaurant that’s by the shore so you can guarantee that the fish you’ll be getting is the catch of the day.

5Visit the Mayan Ruins

Caracol Mayan ruins (Source)

When you visit Belize, Don’t forget to fill your eyes with the sight of beautiful Mayan ruins and take home some knowledge on the history of the place with the tours being offered too. Belize also has a lot of Mayan ruins for you to explore.

If you want the least crowded Mayan ruins to visit, Caracol is the place to be. You can climb its highest pyramid and savor the epic views over the landscape.

The Mayan ruins of Xunantunich is worth talking about as well. What’s even better is that it is close to San Ignacio which, by the way, is a place that is great for some adventure seekers too.

There is also the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. This one is close to Belize City. Hence, most tours will usually take you to the city as well to see some historic landmarks.

The Mayan ruins of Belize are some of the most visited attractions in the world. If you are a true traveler by heart, it would be a huge mistake to note visit these places at least once in your life. Tours like these are best with a guide so that you can learn more about the rich history of the Mayans aside from just taking pictures of these scenic places.

6Stroll around Belize City

An aerial view of Belize City (Source)

Speaking of Belize City, of course, it’s also one of the places in Belize that is not to be missed. It has Victorian buildings jostling along the streets that tell stories about the city’s rich history. There is also a museum and Old Belize Cultural and Historical Centre if you want to dig deeper into its colorful past. In addition to that, there are fantastic restaurants around that will not just fill your tummies with good food but will also give you a glimpse of the country’s culture through its dishes.

If you are going to stay in Belize for more than a few days, dedicate one entire day in touring around the city. You’ll find a lot of exciting things other than the grand structures that make up this memorable city. Of course, don’t forget to check out that trademark Belize sunset at the end of the day.

Guide to Belize Hotels

Belize has a lot of things to offer and it can be quite hard to try it even half of it in a day. To maximize your trip, the best tip that we can give you is to stay for at least a few days. But where should you stay in Belize, you say? Here’s a rundown of some of the best but affordable accommodations in Belize that we can recommend that will fit every budget.

Budget-friendly

It can be quite hard to look for a hotel in Belize if you have a limited budget. This is because, like Costa Rica, Belize is also on the expensive side. But don’t fret much, you don’t have to break the bank as we got your back. If you have a limited budget, here are some of the affordable hotels that we can recommend.

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A peek at Bella’s Backpackers (Source)
  • Cahal Pech Village Resort
  • Hi-Et
  • Bella’s Backpackers
  • Rainbow Hotel
  • Colinda Cabanas
  • Yumas House
  • Miramar Apartments
  • Harry’s Cozy Cabanas
  • Anda Di Hows

Alternatively, you can try out hostels across the city. While cheap, these places will give you all of the basic necessities for your stay. Since you’ll be spending most of the day outside, there’s no need for lavish rooms and suites. Just make sure to stay in a hostel that’s safe and highly-reputable.

You’ll also find an assortment of AirBnB rooms in Belize. You’ll find that a lot of the hosts are kind and accommodating and some might event give you free tours around this gorgeous city. In terms of pricing, BnBs are generally more expensive than some of the hotels listed above but they are definitely cheaper than what we’ve got below.

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Luxury

If you want to go all out and fully go on a relaxing escapade, Belize has countless luxurious hotels for you. Here are some of the luxury hotels that we recommend that are worth every penny.

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(Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club – Curio by Hilton’s luxurious exteriors Source)
  • Cayo Espanto
  • Ramon’s Village Resort
  • Pelican Reef Villas
  • The Phoenix Resort
  • Victoria House
  • Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club – Curio by Hilton
  • The Lodge at Chaa Creek
  • Blancaneaux Lodge
  • Ka’ana Resort
  • San Ignacio Hotel Resort
  • Hamanansi Adventure Dive Resort
  • Chabil Mar Villas
  • Turtle Inn
  • Robert’s Cove
  • Cotton Tree Lodge
  • Copal Tree Lodge
  • Chan Chich Lodge

While these hotels may hurt your budget, keep in mind that you’ll be getting what you paid for with these luxury hotels. If you are the kind of traveler that enjoys extravagant offerings, then these hotels will definitely suit your needs.

In spite of the beauty that Belize has, of course, there are still some spots that are kind of sketchy and might not be safe, especially for solo travelers. To make sure you’re safe throughout your trip, here are some more tips and guide to Belize.

Guide to Belize for a Safe Trip

Belize is a beautiful country that has a lot of things to offer that’s why thousands of tourists are drawn to it. However, it still has plenty of dangers. To make sure that you will have an enjoyable, stress-free, and safe trip, here is a guide to Belize that is commonly reported by its previous visitors.

Insects and bugs

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Any insect repellent will do (Source)

Belize has a tropical climate. Hence, there are way too many bugs and insects that you would want to avoid like mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, and no-see-ums. That said, never forget to bring a lot of insect repellant with you and wear something that will cover up your skin, particularly at dusk and dawn when insects are much more active.

Snakes

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Coral snake, a venomous snake in Belize (Source)

There also a lot of snakes in Belize. While most are not venomous, Belize still has some snakes that are dangerous like the coral snake. These snakes can sometimes sneak into rooms, especially at night. So make sure that your windows, doors, etc. are closed to prevent them from entering. And if they do find a way to enter your room, just let them be and they will slither away from you if you will not touch them.

Crimes

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Police patrolling in Belize (Source)

Crime is rampant, especially in Belize City. It is not safe to go out alone, especially at night. It would be much better to stay in a resort away from the city. Or if you want to tour the capital, just book for a city tour, it’s much safer.

But don’t let these stop you from experiencing the beauty of this country. Belize is still a wonderful place to be. Just take extra care.