Small but mighty!

Belize Map
San Ignacio
Caye Caulker
Hopkins
Tobacco Caye
Duration: at least 3 weeks
Best time to visit: October – May
Budget: 85 dollars per day

Belize is mainly known for its beautiful beaches and around 160 cayes, or small islands. Here you can not only relax and unwind, but also explore the underwater world.

What many people don’t know: the smallest country in Central America consists of 70% jungle! In addition to Mayan ruins, glowing lagoons, zip lines and horse riding, you can do pretty much any outdoor activity here!

  • Experience culture 90% 90%
  • Beaches 100% 100%
  • Jungle adventure 90% 90%
  • Activities 100% 100%

Incidentally, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America and although the country is so small, you can feel very clear cultural differences here. I have now traveled to Belize four times and am fascinated every time. My absolute highlight are the cultural festivities such as the Mango Festival in June or Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19.

Why travel to Belize?

Beaches in Belize

In contrast to the miles of beaches in neighboring Mexico, beach life in Belize takes place primarily on the 160 or so offshore islands, known as cayes.

The majority of these cayes are uninhabited and can be visited as part of a day trip. The central cayes such as Caye Caulker and Ambergis Caye are much livelier than those to the south.

Belize’s underwater world is mainly explored on boat tours. In addition to sharks, you can also spot manta rays, turtles and rays.

My favorite beach destinations in Belize

 

beaches in el salvador: barra<br />
street in Apaneca, a village on El Salvador&apos;s ruta de las Flores

Snorkeling and diving in Belize

The numerous cayes are home to a variety of marine life. Although we only snorkel, we have already been able to marvel at sharks, manta rays, turtles and rays in Belize. Belize is also home to the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, which is also a UNSECO World Heritage Site.

Snorkeling in Belize:

  • Hopkins: You can’t snorkel in Hopkins itself, but you can go on exciting snorkeling excursions from here.
  • Caye Caulker: The perfect starting point to visit the world-famous “Blue Hole”. You can also easily visit Shark Ray Alley or the Hol Chan Marine Reserve from Caye Caulker.
  • Tobacco Caye: The small island is home to 15 inhabitants and around 8 rays that come ashore with the fishermen every day. A great opportunity to observe them up close. Snorkeling around the small caye is also great. You can also go on further day trips by boat, for example to Southwater Caye.

The interior

In addition to the really beautiful beaches, the interior of Belize offers plenty to explore. The Cayo District to the north is the starting point for exciting tours around San Ignacio, the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Here you can take part in cocoa tours, cave explorations, rafting and hiking tours.

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve are home to around 500 bird species and great hiking trails. The Green Ranch butterfly farm was one of my absolute highlights! You can also go ziplining nearby!

San Ignacio-Belize
San Ignacio-Belize
Maya ruins in Belize

Mayan ruins in Belize

As in neighboring Mexico and Guatemala, Belize still has ruins of former Mayan sites.

The following Mayan sites are best visited from San Ignacio:

– Carocol in the north of Belize is the largest Maya site found in Belize and is particularly well preserved.

– The ruins of El Pilar are just a short drive from San Ignacio. In contrast to Carcol, the ruins here are still in a state of discovery.

– Xunantunich was once home to up to 200,000 people and is the most impressive Mayan site in Belize. Incidentally, the name Xunantunich means “stone woman”. You can access the site via the river and a ferry.

Between Latino and Caribbean

Belize is very small in terms of area and is home to only around 400 people. 000 inhabitants, the diversity of people and cultures is nevertheless immense.

On the Caribbean coast, for example, there are very clear influences of both Creole and Garifuna culture. Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19th is one of the most important holidays and is celebrated especially in Dangriga, Hopkins and Placenia.

In the north, on the other hand, you can clearly feel the proximity to Guatemala. A lot more Spanish is spoken here. The Mayan influences are still clearly noticeable and some of the most important Mayan sites are located in the north of Belize.

Hopkins Belize
Skul in ATM Cave in Belize

Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal is regularly voted one of the best sacred caves in the world by National Geographic – and for good reason. It is often referred to as the “Cave of the Stone Tomb” and is one of the most unique and exciting sights in Belize. The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave contains Mayan artifacts, including pottery, bones and entire skeletons. It is also full of minerals that have produced breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. The Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is a sacred place that you should not miss. It is best to book in advance, as the number of people allowed to enter the cave is limited.

Food culture Belize

Food is an essential part of every culture. And there are many cultures to discover in Belize. The country is a melting pot of Mayan, Creole, Garifuna and mestizo influences, which is also reflected in the cuisine. The result is a truly unique culinary experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

grilled fish in Belize
Drumming in Hopkins, Belize

Cultural festivals

In Belize, you will find a variety of cultural festivals and events throughout the year that will give you an insight into the country’s rich heritage.

The highlight is undoubtedly September, when the Belizeans celebrate their independence with a month-long spectacle. The streets come alive with colorful parades, traditional dances and lively music, culminating in the big Independence Day celebrations on September 21.

Another must is Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19, which commemorates the arrival of the Garifuna people in Belize. It is a captivating showcase of Garifuna music, dance and cuisine.

The Mango Festival usually takes place in June and is a paradise for mango lovers. Here you can enjoy the juiciest and sweetest mangoes in various forms, from fresh slices to mango-infused dishes and drinks. It is a delicious feast that celebrates the richness of this tropical fruit.

If you visit Belize in June or July, you shouldn’t miss the Lobster Festival. Belizeans love their lobster, and this festival is the ultimate tribute to this delicious crustacean.

Practical travel tips for Belize

What language is spoken in Belize?

Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. In addition to English, Spanish is also spoken. In the south, you will often hear the typical Garifuna language.

What is the best time to travel to Belize?

The best time to travel to Belize depends on your preferences and what you want to experience on your trip. Belize has a tropical climate with distinct rainy and dry seasons:

1st dry season (November to April):
- This is the peak travel season in Belize.
- The weather is usually dry, sunny and pleasant, which is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling and exploring Mayan ruins.
- Temperatures are pleasant and range from 24°C to 29°C (75°F to 85°F).
- The dry season is ideal for observing wildlife, especially in the national parks.

2nd rainy season (May to November):
- The rainy season in Belize is characterized by occasional heavy rainfall and higher humidity.
- It's a quieter time for tourism, which means fewer crowds and lower prices for accommodation and tours.
- If you don't mind the occasional rain shower and want to experience lush, green landscapes, this can be a good time to travel.
- Note that the hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from June to November, so there is a low risk of tropical storms during this time.

Overall, the dry season from November to April is considered the best time to visit Belize for most travelers. The weather is consistently pleasant and you can enjoy the country's nature and cultural sights to the full. However, if you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, the rainy season can also offer unique opportunities to explore Belize with fewer tourists. Just be prepared for the possibility of rain and pay attention to travel recommendations during hurricane season.

Is Belize safe?

Apart from Belize City, Belize is relatively safe. The crime rate is very high, but affects you as a traveler very little. You should not be out alone at night.

What is the currency in Belize?

The Belizean dollar is pegged to the US dollar. Both means of payment are accepted.

Public transportation in Belize

Buses travel through Belize every week from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. to transport people and goods. The equipment of the bus system in this country is mainly based on discarded American school buses, with one of the most popular brands being the Blue Bird Bus Company.

Traveling around Belize by bus is a great way to save money and have a lot of fun. The music often resounds and people sing along.

Belize City: Don't go back and forth between the bus and the water cab terminal. Always take a cab instead.

Internet and sim cards in Belize

You can get a sim card for around 15 BZD (7 USD) at Flow or 22+Bzl(11$) at the Digicell store. Unfortunately, you cannot buy a SIM card at the airport.

Can I drink the tap water in Belize?

Don't drink tap water in Belize; take your water filter or a self-cleaning UV water bottle with you instead!

What is the Blue Hole?

The Blue Hole in Belize is one of the most popular dive sites in the world, and for good reason. This distinct underwater sinkhole has a circumference of about 1,000 feet and is more than 400 feet deep, making it the most significant natural formation of its kind in the world. The Blue Hole Belize was formed at the end of the last ice age, when rising sea water flooded a series of huge caves. Blue Hole Belize is located about 60 miles off the coast of Belize City and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What should I look out for on my trip?

Eating fish: To protect marine life in Belize, fishing is regulated seasonally to give species time to recover. So make sure you don't eat lobster or mussels when they're not in season!

The conch season lasts from October to June. Lobster season is from July to February.

Sun protection: Protect the unique marine life in Belize and always wear reef-compatible sunscreen. Here you can find our guide to coral-safe sunscreens.

Plastic: Take your Lifestraw with you to avoid waste by consuming bottled water.

Travel backpack with wheels

Packing list Central America

Central America is very diverse and offers plenty of things to do.

On our packing list you will find everything you need to be well prepared for your El Salvador trip, from clothes to eco-friendly care products and practical travel gadgets!

Are you traveling to El Belize?

Let us inspire you!
Other Central American destinationsOther Caribbean destinations

Our Belize itinerary

Packing for Central America?

Packing for Central America?

What to pack for trip to Central AmericaAre you ready to explore Central America? Whether you plan on visiting for one week or three months, packing the right items for your journey is essential so that your experience can be as exciting and comfortable as possible....

Hopkins |  Belize’s Garifuna culture hub

Hopkins | Belize’s Garifuna culture hub

Hopkins is a place for the soul, a place which has to be felt to adequately describe its charm. It’s perhaps the place to learn about Garifuna culture and everything that comes with it passionate the passionate Punta dance, delicious food, and a distinct lifestyle.