Belize is a unique travel destination with a completely different atmosphere than the rest of Central America. You immediately sense the various cultural influences that make the country so distinctive. Belize is, in fact, a special melting pot of different cultures, with English as the primary language. The population is a blend of people with European, African, and indigenous backgrounds. Aside from its rich culture, Belize is also known for its natural beauty. Enjoy bounty islands with a diverse underwater world, explore ancient Maya temples, or take a hike through the wildlife-filled jungle. During your journey through Belize, you can check them all off your list! Below, we share a delightful travel itinerary for Belize and practical tips to make the most of your trip.
Transportation for the Belize Itinerary
Belize is not large, making it easy to travel around by bus. Both public buses and special shuttles for travelers operate between all destinations on our itinerary. Public buses may take a bit longer and you might need to transfer at times. Shuttles provide a direct route but come at a higher cost. Most destinations have attractions close to each other, eliminating the need for private transportation. The exception is San Ignacio, where some attractions are more spread out, and renting a car for a few days may be convenient. If you prefer not to do this, there are many tours available to visit all the attractions. Taxis are relatively expensive in Belize. If you take a taxi, agree on the fare in advance and confirm the currency.
How Many Weeks Do You Need for This Itinerary?
While there are countries where you can easily travel for a month, in the small Belize, you’ll need about 10 to 14 days to explore the most beautiful places. Most people don’t fly halfway across the world for such a short period, and unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Belize at the moment. Therefore, Belize is often combined with one (or both) of its neighboring countries, Mexico and Guatemala. This is highly recommended as it allows for an even more diverse journey. The direction of your Belize itinerary will vary depending on which country you want to combine it with. Below, you’ll find a route map that shows the connections to both Mexico and Guatemala, making it easy to determine your desired route. Check out our Mexico itinerary and our Guatemala itinerary to get a good understanding of these countries and how the itinerary maps fit together.
Tip: Since there are no direct flights to Belize City, it’s often quicker and more cost-effective to start your journey in one of the neighboring countries. For example, you can fly to Guatemala City or Cancun in Mexico.
Border Crossings with Mexico and Guatemala
If you combine the Belize itinerary with one of our Mexico or Guatemala itineraries, you’ll cross borders during your journey. This process is straightforward and requires little to no preparation. In the north, you’ll find the border with Mexico, from where you can quickly reach the paradise of Bacalar. You can take a water taxi from Caye Caulker to Chetumal. From Chetumal, it’s just a half-hour drive to Bacalar. For Guatemala, there are two border crossings possible. This means that if you combine your trip with Guatemala, you can easily travel in a loop. From Flores in Guatemala, you’ll travel to the border with Belize, and then it’s just a short bus ride to San Ignacio in Belize. For the southern border, you’ll travel from Hopkins (Belize) to Rio Dulce (Guatemala). Depending on your desired departure time and current boat schedules, you may need to spend a night in Livingston (Guatemala) before taking a boat to Rio Dulce. Of course, you can also travel this itinerary in reverse.
Inland Belize, near the Guatemalan border, you’ll find the small town of San Ignacio. This is the only place in our Belize itinerary that isn’t on the coast. Instead of the fresh sea breeze, you can immerse yourself in culture here. There are many fascinating Maya temples hidden in the lush jungle. What’s unique about San Ignacio is that you can embark on adventures through massive cave systems with various tours. During these unique tours, you’ll learn about the Maya civilization and their ideas about the underworld, also known as the afterlife. Moreover, San Ignacio is a delightful place to experience the country’s distinctive culture. Belize, being a melting pot of various cultures with a Caribbean vibe, exudes a laid-back atmosphere with cheerful and friendly locals. If you’re looking for extraordinary accommodations in Belize, you’re in the right place. In the middle of the jungle, you’ll find several lovely lodges where you can spot tropical birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. You can read all about the activities and lodges in our article with tips for San Ignacio.
The island of Caye Caulker is on the travel itinerary of almost everyone who visits Belize, and for good reason! This Caribbean island has a very relaxed atmosphere, making it the perfect place to unwind for a few days. Swing in a hammock, order a cocktail, and enjoy the most magical sunset while reggae tunes play in the background. Caye Caulker is a small island with no cars, so you’ll get around on foot, by bike, or in golf carts. Besides the beautiful snorkeling and diving tours available in the surrounding barrier reef, the daytime is all about chilling. But when the sun goes down, and the temperature becomes more pleasant, people become a bit more active, and you can enjoy a drink or dance at one of the cozy bars. This delightful island life often leads travelers to stay longer than they initially planned. Curious about the most beautiful places? Check out all the tips for Caye Caulker.
Optional: Three-Day Sailing Trip on the Belize Barrier Reef
One of the highlights of a trip to Belize is sailing over the 250-kilometer-long Belize Barrier Reef teeming with marine life. This three-day sailing trip takes you from Caye Caulker to the southern coastal town of Dangriga, which is just an hour away from the next destination, Hopkins. This adventure is all about enjoyment. The days are filled with snorkeling, visiting idyllic islands, fishing, games, and, of course, savoring the tastiest Caribbean dishes. You’ll stay on different paradisiacal islands surrounded by azure blue waters. This adventure comes with a price tag of approximately $500 per person for three days of sailing, including two nights, food, and drinks. If this is outside your budget, you can also opt for a day of sailing from Caye Caulker and travel overland to the south. Want to learn more about this trip? Check out our tips for the three-day sailing trip on the Belize Barrier Reef.
In the coastal town of Hopkins, you can combine sun, sea, and beach with exciting nature activities and cultural experiences. In this area, you’ll find several stunning nature parks where you can hike to hidden waterfalls and viewpoints. Additionally, you’ll get to know the Garifuna people. The Garifuna are a people descended from Caribbean indigenous populations and enslaved Africans. They have their own music, cuisine, and rituals that you can experience in Hopkins. You can participate in a traditional drum ceremony or savor the cuisine at a traditional Garifuna restaurant. The underwater world off the coast is another reason to visit Hopkins. If you’re into snorkeling and wildlife, this is the place to be. Want to learn more about all these activities? Check out our tips for Hopkins.
Our Favorite Places to Stay in Belize
If you enjoy staying in unique places, Belize has you covered. Here, you can stay at an eco lodge in the jungle where you can spot wildlife from your pool, or how about a cabana on a Caribbean beach? Finding a great accommodation can make your trip even more enjoyable, but the research can be time-consuming. To make it easy for you, we’ve selected some of our favorite places to stay in Belize. If you stay at one of these accommodations, you can be sure you’ll be in a lovely place.