Wondering where to go in Belize? There are more options than you think. A Belize beach getaway is just the beginning! Where to go and stay in Belize is a matter of what you want to do, and who you’re traveling with. Snorkeling at Glover’s Reef Atoll, trekking to the Maya ruins of Tikal from San Ignacio, or exploring the rainforests of the Rio Blanco National Park before returning to Punta Gorda are great destinations if you’re wondering where to go in Belize with family.
What if you’re planning a romantic getaway? You want a little bit of activity, but you want indulgence, rest, and relaxation more. Where to go in Belize for a honeymoon? Well, if you go to Placencia Village, you can enjoy beaches and beach activities like paddle boarding or scuba diving out at the Silk Caye Marine Reserve. Visit reggae bars in town when you want to party, but stay in high-end accommodations — it’s the perfect blend of luxury and outdoor fun in the sun with the locals.
The beauty of Belize is that an excuse to get outside is never in short supply, but then again, neither is a reason to relax. Whether you want to explore ruins, go tubing through caves, or simply soak up the sun with a paperback in hand, you don’t have to choose between adventure and relaxation in Belize — the only decision you have to make is which you want more of.
Frequently asked questions
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- What Should I Wear or Bring to a National Park in Belize?
Make sure to bring insect repellent. You’ll reapply it every once in a while keep away mosquitoes, ticks, and sand flies. It might be hot, but keep in mind that the more skin you cover up, the less insects will have to bite.The sun shines brightly in the Caribbean – be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Many of the national parks will have opportunities for swimming, either at a beach, a lagoon, or a waterfall, so bring a swimsuit.
You should also have comfortable hiking shoes, a camera, and plenty of water. Remember, even if there are drinking fountains, it is not always safe to drink the water in Belize. Make sure you have enough bottled water to stay hydrated throughout your entire hike.
- Can I Expect To See Wildlife in Belize?
You will definitely see wildlife while you are in Belize. Belize has a tropical climate and many protected areas.The Maya Mountains is an excellent place to see birds and monkeys. Take an edifying hike through the Mayan Mountains where a guide can help you spot keel-billed toucans, blue crowned motmots, trogans, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds — to name just a few. Check out the trails in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.
Belize is home to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where jaguars have established a healthy population. It’s unlikely to see a jaguar, but there’s plenty of bird watching to do, and lots of lush forest trails. Keep an eye and ear out for the Montezuma Oropendola.
While you’re hiking, you may hear warnings to look out for a poisonous brown snake. The fer de lance is known as a “Tommy Goff” in Belize, and it is venomous but quite rare.
Go snorkeling and scuba diving to see Belize’s thriving marine ecosystems. The Belize Barrier Reef is a protected natural wonder, and is the second-largest coral reef in the world. Besides the barrier reef, Belize also has a smattering of small islands and atolls that you can visit to explore wetlands. Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye is one of the top places in Belize to take a boating tour to look for sharks and manta rays. Travel to the isolated Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve by boat for a rare opportunity to see both nesting sea turtles and manatees.
There’s also the Belize Blue Hole, an underwater cave that’s a favorite destination for scuba divers. While the hole itself doesn’t have an impressive variety of wildlife, the Lighthouse Reef that surrounds it attracts a wide variety of tropical fish and sharks.
- Where Are Belize's National Parks & Reserves?
Approximately one-fifth of Belize is comprised of national parks and reserves. For such a tiny country, Belize has an impressive selection of wilderness hikes, Maya ruins, and natural monuments. There are national parks and reserves in Belize’s mountains, Caribbean islands, and rainforests. Parks and reserves also surround Belize’s Maya ruins in the north, west, and south of the country.On the northern cayes, make sure to visit some of the incredibly bio-diverse marine reserves for a chance to see dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, stingrays, sharks, and whale sharks. These parks include the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, and Gladden Split and Silk Caye Marine Reserve.
If you find yourself in southern Belize, make time to visit 5 Blues Lake National Park.
To the west, you can visit the Maya Mountains as well as several national parks and reserves, including Blue Hole National Park, Caracol Archeological Reserve, and Guanacaste National Park.
- How Much Does It Cost to Visit a National Park or Reserve in Belize?
Most parks and reserves in mainland Belize charge a $5 to $15 entrance fee to foreign visitors.It generally costs more to visit marine reserves on Belize’s cayes. The cost of the entrance fee depends on what you want to do while you’re out on the water – tours usually have options like scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling. Some reserves and boat tours cost as little as $12 US, while Hol Chan Reserve charges up to $100, depending on which activities you choose.
- I Want a Nature Vacation. Where Should I Go in Belize?
You have several very different options for nature vacations in Belize.Belize’s Caribbean islands have several marine wildlife reserves that provide stunning settings for diving or snorkeling trips to the Belize Barrier Reef. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are the two islands with the best accommodations for visitors to Belize’s Caribbean islands.
Turneffe Islands and Glover’s Reef are two of the atolls formed by the reef. These atolls have some accommodations, but you can also arrange day trips to the wildlife that surrounds these formations. Visit Gladden Split and Silk Caye Marine Reserve to see whale sharks, and Goffe Caye for manatees. At many of the reserves on the cayes you can see coral reef, sea turtles, sharks, and dolphins.
Belize’s most distinct natural attraction is the Blue Hole, a depression in the ocean just off Belize’s Caribbean coast. This destination has unparalleled deep sea diving.
Visit the Maya Mountains to see Belize’s striking highlands and some of the country’s fascinating Maya ruins, including Actun Tunichil Muknal, Caracol, Lubaantun, and Cahal Pech. In this part of Belize, you can visit Mountain Pine Forest Reserve, Mayflower Bocawina National Park, St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, 5 Blue Lakes National Park, and Río Blanco National Park. These are all excellent destinations for sightseeing and getting to know Belize’s wildlife.
At Río Blanco National Park you can kayak down the river and swim around the stunning Río Blanco Falls. 5 Blue Lakes National Park has a network of clear, freshwater lakes. On the nearby nature trails, you can spot orchids blooming in the wild.
- Are Belize's Parks and Reserves Well Developed?
Belize’s larger parks are typically well developed with marked trails. Smaller parks that rely on local communities for maintenance can sometimes be a little more overgrown.Belize’s Maya ruins are maintained in the midst of rainforest reserves. To get to sites like these, it’s usually best to hire a guide. This is especially true of Lamanai – you must visit with a guide who can help you navigate the path through the jungle. These sites have small museums in addition to well-maintained visitor areas.
Every national park or wildlife reserve you visit will have at least a bathroom and a headquarters where you can get a map and other basic information.
- Where Are Belize's Airports?
Belize's primary airport is the Philip Goldson international Airport (BZE), which is located nine miles (14 km) from Belize City. This airport has currency exchange, gift shops, Internet access, and restaurants.There are a number of domestic airports scattered around Belize as well. There are daily flights from Belize City to Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda and San Pedro.