Traveling in Belize is pure enjoyment. Impressive Maya temples, tropical islands, and lush jungle alternate during a journey through this small country in Central America. Belize is located on the Caribbean Sea, and off its coast lies the second-largest barrier reef in the world. In addition to its beautiful nature, Belize also has a unique culture that sets it apart from other countries in Central America. It’s a blend of influences from all over the world. All of this makes Belize a beloved and fascinating country to explore. Below, I’ve listed 10 things you should know in advance so that you can have an ‘Unbelizeable’ time.
#1 The Best Time to Visit Belize
Belize has a tropical climate, which means it’s warm year-round with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). It has two main seasons: a dry season and a wet season. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from November to May, with the driest months being January through April. However, this is also the high tourist season, so prices can be higher during this time.
The rest of the year experiences the wet season, which brings more rain. Most of the rain tends to fall during the night or in the morning, leaving plenty of dry moments for activities. It’s worth noting that from August to October, there is a higher chance of hurricanes, although statistically, Belize is not frequently affected by hurricanes.
#2 English is the Official Language in Belize
Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, with Spanish as a second language. This is because Belize is part of the British Commonwealth, with the British monarch as the head of state. Among locals, you’ll also hear a lot of Creole, which is a mix of English and indigenous languages, spoken by about 40% of the population.
#3 Local Currency in Belize
The currency in Belize is unique. They use the Belizean dollar as well as the US dollar. One US dollar is approximately equivalent to 2 Belizean dollars, making it a simple exchange rate, and both currencies are often used interchangeably. When making a purchase at a supermarket, you might receive change in both US and Belizean dollars. Most ATMs dispense Belizean dollars only.
Because both currencies are referred to as dollars, it can sometimes be confusing to determine which currency is being discussed. Restaurants often list prices in Belizean dollars on their menus, while tour operators typically promote their activities in US dollars. Therefore, it’s wise to clarify which currency is meant before booking a tour or negotiating a price, especially with some taxi drivers who may take advantage if it’s not clear.
Tip: In restaurants, it’s customary to leave a tip of around 10% if you’re satisfied with the service.
#4 Bring Your Own Snorkel Set
Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, making snorkeling the number one activity in the country. The underwater world is incredibly beautiful. Even though snorkel sets are provided for you on most tours, it can be nice to bring your own set. This ensures you have a comfortable set that fits your face well.
#5 Traveling in Belize is Safe
Traveling in Belize is generally safe. It’s advisable, of course, to always be aware of your surroundings and belongings. Additionally, it’s a good idea not to go out alone in the dark at night. The places on our Belize itinerary are generally safe to visit, but incidents can happen anywhere and at any time during travel. Some caution is always wise when traveling. The only place that is generally discouraged to visit is Belize City. It’s fine to use the city as a transit point for buses or ferries, but it’s advisable to avoid the southernmost neighborhoods of the city, where incidents of violence and robberies are more frequently reported.
#6 Traveling in Belize is Not Cheap
Compared to some other countries in Central America, Belize is relatively expensive. The fact that Belize is a small country and you likely won’t be traveling there for an extended period helps mitigate the overall costs. Below, you’ll find information on the costs of traveling in Belize and some examples.
Accommodations – Hotels can be a significant expense when traveling through Belize. During the low season, you can stay fairly cheaply in nice hostels and hotels, but in the high season, prices tend to rise. For a double room in a hostel or budget hotel, you can expect to pay about $34 in the low season and $45 in the high season. If you prefer a more luxurious hotel, prices are around $78 in the low season and around $101 in the high season.
Food and Drinks – If you mostly dine at local restaurants, eating out in Belize doesn’t have to be very expensive. At local restaurants, prices for a main course typically range between $9 and $11. If you opt for a more upscale dining experience, expect prices between $14 and $17. For truly affordable meals in Belize, visit the local market where you can enjoy a delicious meal at a street food stall for just a few dollars.
Transport – Where you can save money is on transportation. There are both local buses and shuttle buses operating between destinations. The local bus is less comfortable and takes longer than a shuttle bus but is significantly cheaper. For example, a local bus ride of a few hours costs around $7, while a shuttle bus can set you back around $67.
Activities and Tours – In Belize, there are plenty of exciting tours and activities to choose from, but unfortunately, they come at a price. One of the most popular tours is the ATM Cave tour in San Ignacio. You’ll be out all day, and this tour costs about $135 per person. If you opt for a day of snorkeling off the coast of Caye Caulker, you’ll spend around $95 per person. The three-day sailing trip costs approximately $560 per person. This includes two nights of accommodation and all meals. Despite these high prices, the activities are well worth the money, as these tours allow you to explore the most beautiful places in Belize.
#7 Attractions Are Busier on Sundays
Every Sunday, the local population can visit temple complexes and nature areas for free. As a result, attractions can be busier on Sundays than on other days of the week. If you prefer a quieter experience, it’s best to avoid Sundays. If that’s not possible, head out early in the day, as it’s usually less crowded then.
#8 Get a Local SIM Card
If you want to stay connected everywhere in Belize, you can purchase a Digicell SIM card. This gives you 25 GB of data, likely more than you’ll need, but it’s the only option for travelers. Note that the SIM card is valid for 21 days but the credit expires after 10 days. If you plan to stay longer than 10 days and need additional credit, you can top up at a Digicell store.
#9 Belize Combines Perfectly with Mexico or Guatemala
Due to Belize’s small size, a visit to this country is often combined with neighboring countries Mexico or Guatemala. Thanks to Belize’s favorable location with Mexico to the northwest and Guatemala to the south, you can easily take a bus to places like Bacalar in Mexico or Rio Dulce in Guatemala. This allows you to tick off multiple countries from your bucket list and discover the unique charms of each.
Tip: You don’t have to pay to enter Belize, but you will need cash when leaving the country. Make sure to have cash on hand when crossing the border.
#10 The Ultimate Belize Itinerary
Belize is a small country, and to see its most beautiful spots, you’ll need about 10 to 14 days. The country has short travel distances and a good infrastructure, making it a great destination to explore. With our Belize itinerary, you’ll visit the most stunning places and embark on an unforgettable journey.