You may have heard of Belize, but you probably have problem locating it on a map. In case you don’t know, it’s on the south-eastern end of the Yucatan peninsula. J If you’ve ever met a traveller who has been to Belize, she or he will definitely tell you ONE thing: “Just go!” It’s an unexpected gem surrounded by its more popular neighbors like Guatemala and Mexico. I have been to a few spots in Belize but here are my Two Top Picks: Caye Caulker and Placencia. Still wondering why you should visit Belize? Here’s the Belize travel guide to discover the bluest heaven on earth.
Belize Travel Guide – Caye Caulker
This island is a backpackers dream. It is located about an hour water taxi ride from Belize City ($25 return with Belize Water Taxi). This laid back island is popular with backpackers and offers a huge variety of water based activities. Or if you’d rather relax, rent a bike and explore the island. Its ‘slow-pace’ is always encouraged by the locals. Although there aren’t a large number of amazing beaches, the clear turquoise waters make up for it. Belize boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world, making this a hotspot for the following activities.
Diving at the Great Blue Hole
The great blue hole is a sinkhole within the reef, creating a bucket list dive spot for many divers. Due to its unusual experience, this dive usually costs you about $200-300. I didn’t actually dive here since I heard it is very much a cave dive and there isn’t a lot of wildlife to be seen. Instead, I opted for diving in the reef instead. For about half the price, I got to see some nurse sharks, a moray eel, lobsters, and awesome canyon formations.
The Most Beautiful Helicopter Ride
Another great way to see the blue hole is to do a fly-over. After my research I found that this is actually the best way to get the full picture of the amazing hole. So I decided to treat myself to this. Depending on how many people you can gather, the price drops significantly per person. I wasn’t so lucky and ended up paying $400, so this is definitely a treat on the high end of the budget. But I will also say, the views and incredible colors of the reef made it absolutely worth it.
Snorkeling & Spear Fishing
Another great way to explore the blue hole is by snorkeling. It’s also a much cheaper option as compared to diving. There are a lot of options on the island for this. You have shark and stingray alley where you can snorkel with the local wildlife, as well as take a snorkel tour of the reef and explore some of the nearby islands.
Fishing is also a fun activity and I decided to try out spearfishing. The fish were safe with me since they were just too fast (definitely not my lack of skill…ok, no I was terrible). Depending on who you go with these full day activities, it will cost you on average around $60-$70.
Belize Travel Guide – Placencia
Placencia is a quaint town on the south end of Belize, only a couple of hours (2-3 hrs) from Belize City. You can easily get there by bus, shuttle, or plane (Tropic Air), depending on your schedule and budget. It is a bit more low key with basically one main bar and one nightclub. Food prices are very much like that of Caye Caulker – above average for the region. So I made sure to cook at home as often as possible in both places. The main reason to visit?
Swim with Whalesharks
You have the option of diving or snorkeling. I went with snorkeling ($195) versus diving ($265) and it turned out to be the right decision. No whale sharks had been spotted that season yet, but on our 2nd dive/snorkel of the day we got very lucky and saw a younger one surfaced. So in the end the divers came back up, put snorkel gear on, and jumped back in. It was a once in a lifetime experience and such an incredible one to tick off my bucket list. Unlike some other places in the world, they are pretty strict here about not touching or getting too close to the animals. In my opinion, it’s a great place to do it without disturbing the wildlife. Plus, lunch on the reef offers some amazing clear ocean as backdrop.
Belize Travel Guide – Belize City
The other more well-known places include Belize city, but there isn’t much to see or do here. It is mainly a hub for taking ferries, buses, or flights to the other nearby destinations. A lot of people also tend to visit San Pedro, an island about one and a half hours from Belize city by water taxi. This is a much more populated island with a greater western influence and honestly not my favorite. Everything felt very busy and fast paced, not something I’m looking for.
Overall, Belize is still a fairly unknown vacation spot, but it’s definitely getting more popular among travelers. Unlike some of its more well-known neighbors, Belize is also a little more expensive. So be prepared to spend more when you there.
Belize Travel Guide – Accommodation & Food
Lodging is comparable to its neighbors with hostels starting at $12 per night for a dorm bed. Hotels or Airbnb’s are averaging about $90 per night. Obviously the price also depends on the time of year and season you go.
Read Also: 7 Secrets to Finding Cheap Accommodation
There are lots of happy hour deals with drinks between $1-$2 and meals will generally run between $10-$20. To save cost, I did cooking at home for most meals. That being said, any country where I can get a fresh grilled lobster with sides for just $10 is a winner in my book. It may be slightly more expensive than say El Salvador or Guatemala, but in my opinion, it’s a must see and one of my favorite spots in Central America.
Final Thoughts from Chloe
As I was looking through Linda’s photos taken in Belize, my jaw just dropped. The water is so crystal clear and blue, and swimming with whaleshark looks like the most amazing experience on earth. I’m totally convinced to pay Belize a visit. How about you? If you want to find out more about Linda and her travel stories, check out her biography and Instagram @life.by.linda.