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Belize Adventure Travel Destination

elize Travel

Belize Travel – Sunbathing on Caye Caulker’s Split

Despite bordering major countries on the backpacking trail (Mexico in the north, Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the south) many travelers skip Belize all together because of the much higher costs involved in a trip here.  With some clever planning, however, Belize is a perfect spot for water sports enthusiasts and adventure junkies alike, and can be enjoyed without going too much over a tight budget.

Belize Travel

Ultimate Adventure Vacation

Belize is a must visit for anyone interested in Latin America, or snorkeling, diving, adventure or pure relaxation.  Not many countries combine such a diversity of landscapes: mountains, jungle, white-sand beaches, coastal wetlands and islands surrounded by crystal clear water.  Belize has it all, and because it only measures 174 miles north to south and 60 miles east to west, it is easy to experience all different aspects in one relatively quick visit, whether that means including the small English-speaking country on your backpacker trail, or making it your vacation location of choice for a week escape.

The easiest way to get ‘the best of both worlds’ and combine the Caribbean sea and the green jungle, is to visit the Cayes, or islands, in the crystal clear Caribbean waters off the coast of Belize, and San Ignacio, on the border to Guatemala.  Although located on the exact opposite ends of the country, they are only 60 miles or a 2.5 hours bus ride apart.

The Cayes

elize Travel

Belize Travel – Snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea

The best known Cayes are Ambergris Caye and neighboring Caye Caulker.  Ambergris Caye is the bigger and more developed island; Caye Caulker is known as Belize’s backpacker hangout with lower prices, cheaper accommodation and a more laid-back feel to it.  However, prices are on the rise and more expensive hotels have been built.

The Cayes are great for snorkeling and diving, as they are just a boat ride away from the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second largest reef, and close to the famous Blue Hole – a stop on almost every diver’s bucket list.  Even first time snorklers can swim with sharks, turtles, sting rays and schools of hundreds of fish.  Neither Caye has a truly decent beach, a shame considering the spectacularly blue waters surrounding them, and except for diving, snorkeling and soaking up rays on a pier, there is not much to do other than sip Belizean rum punch in one of the many bars and nibble on some oven fresh banana bread.

elize Travel

Belize Travel – Aktun Tunichil Muknal Cave

San Ignacio

Moving the adventure inland, San Ignacio, aka Cayo (or The Cayo District) serves as an adventure lover’s base for the area’s cave and jungle tours, kayaking or canoeing on the Macal river, zip lines, cave tubing, horse back riding and the ultimate – the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM ) tour.  The ATM cave holds Mayan artifacts including several skulls and bones and even an entire skeleton of a young Mayan girl, the Crystal Maiden.

The Cayo District also holds most of Belize’s Maya ruins, such as Caracol, which is the best known site, and smaller ones like Cahal Pech and Xuchantunich.

The small size of the country means you could do both the land and water-based tours from one location, and there are tour operators on the Cayes who work together with the operators in San Ignacio, so that you can organize inland adventure tours from Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye.

What does it cost?

elize Travel

elize Travel – Maya Ruins of Cahal Pech

There are a few hostels in Belize, and you can stay in a dorm for around BZ$25.00 / US$ 12.50, double rooms in guesthouses start at BZ$30.00 / US$15.00 for a shared bathroom or en-suite for BZ$40.00 / US$20.00 in the low season.

Main courses in restaurants start at BZ$ 8.00 /US$ 4.00 in San Ignacio, the Cayes are a little bit more expensive.  A meal for two comes to around BZ$ 25.00 / US$ 12.50.

Public transport is very cheap, with buses from Belize City running to all major towns in the country for a max.  The water taxi to Caye Caulker is BZ$20.00 / US$10.00 from Belize City.

Snorkeling tours start at BZ$40.00 / US$20.00 for a half day tour and a full day is BZ$80, the cave tours also start at BZ$ 40.00 / US$ 20.00, and the Actun Tunichil Muknal tour is the most expensive tour BZ$150.00 / US$ 75.00.  This last tour might be the priciest, but by far the most adventurous of all the tours available to visitors in Belize.  At least that is the opinion of the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, the New York Times, and, of course, the Globetrottergirls.

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Nice article. I arrived to San Ignacio today after leaving Caye Caulker. Took about 5 hours total including wait time. The prices of everything still seem accurate. I paid $4.00 US for a burger down the street from my hotel (Venus) which is about $32 US a night. -Barry – Latin Hostel Guide

MC says:

What are the hostels you recommend? Can I call them to reserve, or is it a first-come, first-serve place?

Jason says:

MC, I will leave the hostel recommendations up to the @Globetrottergirls. Send them a Tweet to see what they recommend. For many hostels you can book online through hostelbookers.com or hostelworld.com. You can also call the specific hostel ahead of time and reserve if you prefer. And sometimes, if it’s not high season you can just walk up to the hostel with no reservations.

john says:

Hi there,
I will be visiting Belize around ending of January from Quito,Ecuador.
I would like to know the best iterenary you can get for me and if i will need any visa on my way before i get to Belize and which country it is.
Thanks.
Best regards.

Jason says:

John, the visa requirements for Belize vary depending on which country your passport is from. If you carry a United States passport, you do not need a visa to visit Belize.

LeslieTravel says:

Looks like a fun destination!

Nelly says:

Looking at those beautiful pictures i believe you. I would like to visit it someday and experience those things that you did. I think that i would love to snorkel in the blue waters of Caye. And go jungle touring in San Ignacio. Maybe i would try Horseback riding and Kayaking.

Nancie says:

This post definitely makes me want to visit Belize. I just need to get out of Asia…..haha.

Cam says:

We’ve been dreaming about Belize lately. It seems to keep coming up… I think it may be calling us. This post is certainly adding fuel to the fire! 😉

Wonderful Place dude 🙂

Elise says:

What a great place. It looks so beautiful! We are heading to central and south America in about 2 months so we will be sure to stop there. Thanks for the great advice!

Andi says:

Belize is such a great country! The diving is unreal!!!

Kyle says:

I too have always thought of Belize as a more luxury type destination than being for backpackers. But the costs don’t sound too out of control and it looks absolutely stunning!

Hi Kyle, that’s the good thing about Belize – you can have a luxurious vacation there, but also travel on the budget. Watch out for our ‘Belize on a shoestring’ post – with some research & clever planning you can visit Belize without spending a fortune.

PNR Enquiry says:

I never heard, but your photo very impress to us. Thank

Nick Laborde says:

I only got to visit Belize for one day on a cruise( not the best way to travel) I did get to see the Mayan ruins “Altun Ha” though, which were cool. Would love to go back and see the country right.

Hi Nick, if your travels take you to Central America, don’t leave Belize out – it’s worth every penny. That’s the downside of a cruise – even though you get to see a lot of different places, there’s just not enough time to get to know them properly.

Nancie says:

I’ve heard good things about Belize. Your photos show why it’s such a popular destination.

Christine says:

I’ve always wanted to go to Belize!! Sounds wonderful. How long were you there?? Did you do all the things you highlighted in this article?? What would you say would be a good amount of time for a visit?? We are really interested in going to Belize and S. America and your website is very helpful.

Hi Christine, thanks for your comment. We stayed only for 11 days in Belize, wish we had stayed longer – there’s so much to see in this tiny country, and the snorkeling is addictive! You can fit everything in a week or 10 days, but if you also want to have some time to relax, we would suggest to stay at least for two week.

Hi Christine, thanks for your comment. We stayed only for 11 days in Belize, wish we had stayed longer – there’s so much to see in this tiny country, and the snorkeling is addictive! You can fit everything in a week or 10 days, but if you also want to have some time to relax, we would suggest to stay at least for two weeks.

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