Summer vacation is right around the corner and if you haven’t already planned your trip and are trying to decide where to head to next, I’m here to share this magical and inexpensive but beautiful option outside of the contiguous 50 states… Belize. It also happens to be just 2 hours from Florida and up to 5 hours from the west coast. As I’ve had the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling, I’ll share my favorite place and recommendations there. For each trip I’ve taken, I’ve invested countless hours of research which I’m hoping to save you from. What each of my trips has yet to do is disappoint me, so I think you’ll enjoy any one of them.
My sister and I have made it a ritual to travel somewhere new each year. And for this trip, we choseÂ magical Belize.
Commitment level: Quick getaway that can be done on a long weekend
Flight Duration: 2-5 hours based on departing destination
Island:Â Ambergris Cay
Hotel:Â Victoria House Resort and Spa
Book Travel: Expedia
Extras:Â These are optional based on your budget
– Â Scuba diving
– Horseback riding
What to wear:Â It can get hot AF, so keep it light and causual especially if you are doing any one of the tours above.
Must pack: Sunscreens, bathing suits, mosquito repellant
Currency:Â The Belize dollar is locked at $2 Belize = $1 USD.
I’ve gone into further details below. Enjoy!
Where To Stay in Belize
You have a few options when factoring in where to say. You can stay on the mainland, which I’ll talk about a bit later on, or head to one of the islands. We chose to stay inÂ Ambergris Cay, which is the largest and most popular island. To get there, you can
either take a 10-minute plane ride in a small propeller plane or an hour and a half boat ride. I’m a bit claustrophobic, so we chose to do the boat ride. Even though we stayed on the island, we took a day tourÂ to the mainland. For that trip, I had no choice but to travel by plane which was the fastest way to get there.
If you prefer to stay on the mainland, San Ignacio Town is an option, though I didn’t spend any time there. The benefit here is that you are closer to the Mayan cities like Caracol and Xunantunich. In addition, from here, you can take an overnight trip to Guatemala and visit Tikal. Belize offers a wide variety of activities to choose from. The most difficult part will be picking one!
The country although small has quite a few villages and islands that you can pick from. Some of these are Hopkins which is a small village on the coast.Â Placencia which is located further south from Hopkins along Belize’ Caribbean coastline and is perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing. Dangriga which is the largest town in Southern Belize and only 90 miles from Belize City, is the jumping off point for the southern area of the Belize Barrier Reef. It isn’t a big city but still a nice place to explore. It’s definitely not a tourist hangout like Hopkins or Placencia. If you prefer the rainforests, jungles, and caves,Â Punta Gorda on the southernmost town in Belize may be an area you want to look into. And lastly, the Caye Caulker island off the coast of Belize is smaller than Ambergris Cay, but a great location for snorkeling and diving. If you love water activities, you won’t be disappointed because Belize really has a great selection regardless of where you stay.
There are many options as far as hotels. It really depends on the island or the village you decide to stay in. We opted to stay in Ambergris Cay and wanted to be close to the main town of San Pedro, so weÂ chose to stay at Victoria House Resort and Spa. It’s located within walking distance to town. This hotel is beachfront, has a pool, provides free wifi and is beautiful. It’s catered more towards couples than families with kids, so if traveling with kids, you might want to look at other options. If you’re looking for a beautiful romantic spot, this is definitely an option. We didn’t realize this until we arrived, but sis and I made the best of it and actulaly met a few cool travelors in the process.
Top things to do
Some of the activities you can do throughout the villages and towns include hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling and scuba diving just to name a few. Even though we had a lot to choose from we opted to keep our first-day low key since we had taken an early flight followed by an hour and a half boat ride. We were pretty tired so we decided to lounge by the pool, having pina coladas and catching some rays! We couldn’t complain.
Our second day we decided to be a bit more adventurous. We chose to take a full day boat trip with our first stop being Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Here we did some snorkeling near the reef which provided clear water ideal for spotting a variety of beautiful fish. This was one of our favorite times. The beauty of the water and fish had us ooohing and aaahing nonstop.
Our next stop, and for some of us maybe a bit scary, was Shark-Ray Alley where we swam with sharks. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous, but it turned out to be so much fun! The sharks were friendly, unlike the more annoying smaller fish who swam along the sharks and tried constantly to eat the bait and our finger, which looked like bait to them. For this reason, we had to keep our hands in fists. But no worries, we all made it back to the hotel with all 10 fingers :).
For our last full day, we chose to take a day trip to the mainland. As I mentioned earlier, the only way to do a day trip to the mainland was by propeller plane. I was not feeling it whatsoever. I almost held my breath for the entire 10-minute plane ride. Yep, it was only 10 minutes, but for me, it felt like hours. Don’t be fooled by the smile, there are tears in those eyes.
First stop, Xanuantunich Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 70 miles west of Belize City. In addition to the plane ride, we had to take a long drive, followed by a boat ride and some walking to reach theÂ Maya ruin. But the view from the top of the ruin was totally worth it and highly recommended.
On to our next stop… cave tubing. Before reaching the river we had to do a bit of hiking, but it was an easy hike and well work it. Here we floated through some fascinating cave formations in an inner tube.
After a fun day on the mainland, we headed back to the hotel. This was a quick weekend getaway, but I was definitely left wanting to see more of this beautiful country.
There are plenty of other things to do in Belize if you go for longer such as, windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking, diving in the Great Blue Whole, hiking in the rainforest, zip lining, jungle jeep safari just to name a few.
Where to eat
Wild Mango located on the beach. This place is always packed and very delicious. Hidden Treasure is a great option for an open-air fine dining restaurant located in San Pedro. They also have live music and entertainment. Other great options are Casa Picasso, El Fogon, and Palmilla, which is located at Victoria House Hotel. There are many other great places to eat, but we weren’t there long enough to try them all. I’m definitely looking forward going back and trying them out.
If you haven’t been, I highly recommend you add Belize to your bucket list. You will definitely enjoy.