A Belize vacation is not just an exercise in relaxing in a tropical Caribbean beach resort. It can, and should, be far more than that. Belizean author and blogger Larry Waight offers eight tips to make the most of this tiny Central American country people call “The Jewel”. Please know we are signed up to the Amazon Associates program and this article contains links from Amazon. If you use them, we may receive credit or a small commission at no cost to yourself.
If you’re like most people preparing for a tropical vacation in Belize, deciding what to see can send you scurrying for the aspirin bottle.
We don’t blame you.
It’s wise to consider many experiences in Belize so you have an itinerary that balances downtime and adventure.
To help you plan the perfect trip, here are eight tips to help morph your Belize vacation from great to sublime.
You’ll want to thank us for the following advice, but don’t bother.
Our reward is you finding yourself planning your next Belize trip on your return flight home!
1. Belize has plenty of places to dive.
Let no one tell you the Blue Hole, the deep dive made famous by Jacques Cousteau, is the only place to get your dive fix in Belize.
Experienced divers reveal their favorite alternatives and you should know about them too. Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Gladden Spit (off the Placencia coast), where you can scuba dive and swim with whale sharks.
2. A Belize vacation is more than Ambergris Caye.
It’s true Ambergris Caye gets the lion’s share of publicity in Belize travel circles. This is because it was once the only town with nightlife, cultural spots and tourist attractions.
But you do yourself a disservice if you don’t check out other destinations. Places like San Ignacio, Corozal, Hopkins, Placencia and Orange Walk, for example. You might find one of these towns is more to your liking – and they can be less expensive and less crowded, too!
3. The food.
Belize’s culinary scene is one of the biggest secrets in the Caribbean.
Tempt your palate with food choices ranging from European gourmet dishes prepared by international chefs to Belize-style barbecue food, tamales, salbutes, sere and escabeche, plus traditional rice and bean combinations.
Belize is also fast becoming an epicenter of exotic wine and beer production. Oh, and we would be remiss if we didn’t add that Belize is home to the hemisphere’s best chocolate.
4. The music scene.
You don’t have to spend all your time outside in the sun or on the ocean if you don’t want to. Lots of people now travel to Belize for the burgeoning international music scene.
The sheer variety of music genres in Belize delights those who have no clue there’s this much diversity.
If you’ve never heard Garifuna, reggaeton, island-style percussion, and other types of Caribbean music, you’re in for a treat.
The year-round Belize music festival scene is sensational.
5. The languages.
While English is the official language of Belize, you’ll hear so many tongues spoken here you might think you landed at the United Nations.
We may be a small country, but our linguistic diversity is big. We have our national dialect Kriol, Garifuna, Maya, Spanish, and even German thanks to our large Mennonite population.
6. The national parks and wildlife reserves.
Frequent visitors to Belize swear nothing surpasses our nature reserves.
Exploring the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve, the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Payne’s Creek, and others never disappoints.
7. The wildlife itself (including the creepy-crawlies!).
The sheer variety of endangered species protected from extinction in Belize is mind-boggling.
It’s true Belize is for the birds—over 500 species, in fact.
But don’t spend all your time looking up. If you look down, you’ll discover the exotic flora and fauna, medicinal plants, and anthropoids (spiders, crustaceans and other critters) unique to this region.
8. Belize is easy to get around.
Who says you have to rely upon shuttles, buses or rental cars to explore every inch of Belize?
Triple or quadruple the number of places you visit by flying in Belize.
Frequent visitors say the reason they selected the place in Belize they return to again and again has a lot to do with ease of flying. They can sample lots of places in a short period and decide which one they like best.
So don’t listen to people who tell you Ambergris Caye and the Belize Barrier Reef are the only reasons to visit.
From mysterious caves to ancient Mayan ruins, cultural diversity, and deep jungles, Belize will impress.
Of course, Ambergris Caye and the reef are also amazing too! You need not miss out on anything. Tours combining the reef with other one-of-a-kind site visits are common so you can make the most of your Belize vacation.
What would you recommend people see and do during their Belize vacation?
Larry Waight is the best-selling author of the book, The Ultimate Belize Bucket List and the founder of Belize Hub. He lives in the quaint community of Bullet Tree Falls, near San Ignacio in Western Belize. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.