Despite being a small country in Central America, Belize offers adventure and culture

It has the best of both worlds: Central American jungles and the Caribbean Sea. Both await your visit to explore and seek a quiet moment. There are plenty of things to do in Belize if you’re looking for a new getaway and are tired of the same old activities. With an abundance of things to do in Belize - from lush tropical rain forests to the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere - you'll find this top travel destination to be luxuriously relaxing.

The Basics of Belize

Belize is located in Central America, though is small in size (9087 square miles in total). It’s a tiny English-speaking country settled below Mexico. From it's inviting climate to it's hospitable people, your experience in Belize is sure to be memorable.

Climate

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Credit: Pixabay, RonaldPlett

You can expect the weather to be hot all year round due to the tropical climate, with the exception of a rainy season from June to October.  It's not uncommon for the temperature to average at 28 degrees, although it becomes a bit cooler between November and February.

Culture

Belize offers a combination of Central American and Caribbean roots, and they take pride in their cultural diversity. Tourists often struggle with a lack of chain restaurants and hotels, because the Belizean culture celebrates homegrown food and local resources. To maintain the natural world that surrounds them, they’re proud to use elements of their own culture throughout the country.

Belize is a tropical treasure with a heavy influence from its Caribbean island neighbours. Expect a relaxed ambiance and simple way of life. Elusive Jaguars and large jungle animals are not uncommon to see on your daily travels, and there are plenty of things to do in Belize.

As the country has been undeveloped, true nature and beauty can shine through, so environmentalists love it. There are only two paved roads throughout the entire country, which can make transportation difficult, but that’s all a part of the experience. Enjoy the slow rhythm and become a part of the chilled Belizean culture.

Food

You won’t find a KFC in Belize, but you will find authentic Belizean flavours and religious delicacies. Their food has been heavily influenced from Caribbean, Mayan and Mexican culinary methods. Locals have adapted spices and flavours, so sometimes finding a true Belizean cuisine can be a challenge, but it’s totally worth it.

A typical meal could include the Sere – a fish soup containing cassava, fry fish, plantains and coconut milk. Or, Belizean tamales wrapped in plantain leaves. On the other hand, you can opt for Pibil, which is a traditional Belizean cuisine. No matter your preferences, the food is always fresh and delicious.


Luxury in Belize

Sustainable tourism protects the culture, environment and eco-system of countries when you’re travelling, so we recommend that you respect their way of life. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t enjoy a vacation without some luxury though.

We’ve found two luxury five-star hotels in Belize. The country is perfect for adventure lovers because of the temples and artefacts from ancient times dotted around. If you love outdoor activities, you can go canoeing, horse riding or hiking to explore the jungles that surround Belize. When you're done exploring for the day, those looking for some luxury to relax and unwind in will delight to find these two hotels.

1. Las Terrazas Resort and Residences

Las Terrazas Resort offers an ideal getaway for romance and adventure. The Resort brings American condo comfort to the Caribbean Sea. You’ll have access to a spa and wellness centre, private pier and world-class diving. You can enjoy activities such as a great nightlife and high-end shopping, located just a short water taxi ride away. It also offers chilled, sophisticated evenings at their restaurant which boasts international cuisine and a relaxing ambiance. The Resort features a pool, restaurant, beach access, sea views and more. There are plenty of luxury activities on offer too, including fishing and sightseeing at a moment’s silence.

2. Turtle Inn

Turtle Inn is an eco-friend hotel which doesn’t use air-conditioning and sources materials for the villas and kitchen ingredients from the site. The villas and cottages boast a typical Belize décor with plenty of room. Their Chinese Matrimonial Suite offers a tranquil setting with a 200-year-old hand-carved four-poster bed. You can also enjoy carved doorways, a bamboo-railed terrace and tiled private pool. There’s also a selection of bars and restaurants. You can choose between seafood, Italian dishes and traditional Belizean cuisines. Perhaps you’d like to unwind at a relaxed beach bar filled with sand. For more formal occasions, the Skip White hotel bar serves up delicious cocktails and luxury wine.

Luxury Experiences

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Credit: Flickr, dronepicr

There are plenty of things to do in Belize which are luxurious. In total, there are 13 individual and private villas with tranquil and serene settings. El Secreto is the epitome of luxury and beauty, and is one of the newer resorts.

If you love to be pampered, you’ll love the exotic Maruba Resort Spa. Here, you can combine luxury with romance and get treated like royalty. For a more adventurous place to see, opt for the Maya Mountain jungles. This is a popular location amongst luxury tourists who wish to relish and rejuvenate alongside the Maya ruins, rain forests and caves.

There’s a beautiful restaurant in the Laru Beya Resort, which has exceptional service, a romantic feel and of course, delicious food. The Quarter Deck restaurant is sophisticated and stylish, and a great place for fussy eaters. They allow customers to build their own omelet, or to experience some local cuisine for the first time.


Things To Do In Belize

If you like the sound of chilling and embarking on adventures you’d have never imagined, here’s a list of the best things to do in Belize for everyone.

1. Hol Chan Marine Reserve

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Credit: Flickr, Orin and Tonia

Hol Chan is Belize’s oldest marine reserve off the southern tip of Ambergris Caye and one of the best things to do in Belize. The reserve focuses on a cut through reef, which is around 25 yards wide and 30 feet deep, about four miles southeast of San Pedro. The reserve is the single most popular day trip and is perfect for snorkeling or diving.

The Hol Chan Marine Park was declared the first marine park in the entire country, and is a protected zone. It was once a depleted fishing area, which has now been re-generated. Consequently, divers and snorkelers can witness spectacular and colourful fish like nowhere else in the world.

The organized trip usually runs once in the morning and again in the afternoon. If you desire, you can mix diving and snorkeling in one activity, though you must hire a boat and guide out of San Pedro before you begin.

Because it is a narrow deep channel, tremendous amounts of water are compact from the outer reef lagoon through to the outgoing tides. This can often produce strong currents, so always consider this and be aware of your surroundings. Always observe the five different morays, because their bites can be nasty.

2. Xunantunich

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Credit: Flickr, Amanda Baker

If you're looking for great historical things to do in Belize, Xunantunich is one of the country's most accessible and impressive Maya archaeological sites. Getting to it is extremely fun with a free hand-cranked cable ferry to take you across the Mopan River.

The history of this site is phenomenal. It’s said that it had been occupied as early as 1000 BC, but it was only a little village, and the large architecture began to be built in the 7th century AD. The site centres in a residential area for the ruling family. You can climb to the top of El Castillo (a structure which rises to 130ft high) and enjoy a 360-degree view. The first level of El Castillo was built around 800 BC, and the second level, 100 years later. The friezes that you see on top of the layers are replicas, as the originals are hidden securely underneath to ensure they’re well preserved.

Xunantunich lies directly on the tourist route for those leaving Belize from the Western Highway. Just one mile below the site are the rapids of the Mopan River, which is a popular destination for tourists. If you still have the energy after exploring and climbing, enjoy the reserve by kayaking, swimming or canoeing. Or, you can chill alongside it and absorb the beautiful warm weather.

3. Belize Zoo

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Credit: Flickr, Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effend

Traveling with children? The Belize Zoo is one of the top things to do in Belize for families. The Belize Zoo started in 1983 as a last effort to provide a habitat for wild animals which had been used for documentary films. It wasn’t until this Zoo opened that Belizean visitors realised the different species of wildlife shared in this country. Today, it exhibits over 175 animals and represents over 45 native species. All orphaned, rescued, rehabilitated animals are kept at the Zoo, or sent as donations from other institutions.

You will find nine fat tapirs (similar to a rhino), fubnuts, coatimundi (a mixture between a monkey and a raccoon), pumas, white-lipped peccaries and more amazing creatures. You’ll also catch jungle birds, snakes, iguanas, squirrels and raccoons wandering the grounds. So, if you have a fear of snakes, you might want to keep clear of these particular zones and consider before visiting here. 

It has become the first nature destination in Belize to support visitors with physical disabilities. It’s also a non-governmental, non-profit organisation which focuses purely on wildlife and environmental education. This is one of the best things to do in Belize because you get to experience the true culture and environment of Belize. It’s also peace of mind to know that the animals aren’t caged and mistreated and are looked after even when visiting hours aren’t open.

4. Museum of Belize

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Credit: Flickr, Peggy Gravel

The Museum was built by the British colonial government to house prisoners, over 150 years ago. The facility closed down in 1992 by a newly-independent government of Belize, and 10 years later, it was renovated into a museum. It should be on the top of your list of things to do in Belize because it shows more than 3,000 years of history in the area.

You can see the ensemble of Mayan paintings, carvings and cultural artifacts from life in those days. The museum also shows many important artifacts from the British colonial era, including Victorian stamps, postcards and more.  There are even small things to see to get a feel for life back then, including locally-produced bottles, coins and even preserved insects.

If you’re interested by the idea of it being a prison, you can take a tour of the museum to experience an authentic prison cell. Alternatively, take advantage of learning about the devastation of Hurricane Hattie in 1961, which wrecked the nation.

To get the best experience from here, visit during the early hours between Tuesday and Thursday. Invest in a guided tour, though you must arrange in advance in order to secure your place. Regardless, this is one of the best things to do in Belize to understand some of the historical context of the country.

5. Robin’s Kitchen

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Credit: Flickr, Prayitno

Robin’s kitchen is a simple, small roadside restaurant with delicious food. Jamaican king Robin prepares killer BBQ and jerk chicken with a Jamaican/Belizean twist. Their home-made jerk sauce is famous across the region and people travel for miles to have a taste. Not only is their food delicious, but owner Robin and his wife, Angie, are possibly the friendliest and most likable couple of the island.

Take some time out of your busy day and experience what it’s like to eat gourmet food and relax. The environment is friendly and relaxed, so you will likely make friends and love getting a real feel for the Belizean way of life.

You can catch your own fish and bring it to the restaurant for Robin to prepare for you. There aren’t many places in the United States which can offer that! It’s a far hike from town, but well worth it for the delicious food and wonderful views of the resort along the way. Therefore, this is one of many things to do in Belize for those in search of a great time.

6. Caracol

Caracol is the name given to the archaeological site located in the tourist-friend Cayo District of Belize. It is located about 25 miles south of the town of San Ignacio in the Maya Mountains. Caracol now lies enshrouded by thick jungle. It sits high on the largest Maya site in Belize and stretched over 70 square miles at around 650 AD.

The park is open daily from 8am to 4pm, and admission is less than $10 per person. Thus, this is one of the best inexpensive things to do in Belize. The complex covers 30 square miles, and includes five plazas and observatory with amazing views. In total, 35,000 buildings have been identified here, and the tallest was a pyramid which rose over 140 feet. Archaeological excavations started in 1985 and it still remains an unsolved mystery.

There are two ball courts and a number of small structures surrounding Caracol’s central core. There are photographs and diagrams of the site at the Visitor’s Centre, as well as artifacts. If you wish to embark on this historical adventure, rent a 4x4 vehicle and drive there for the ultimate experience. The road conditions are much too uneven for a small sports car. Off-roading makes things for one of the more adventurous things to do in Belize.

7. Jungle Farm Restaurant

The Jungle Farm Restaurant is one of the best things to do in Belize. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon snacks daily. All of the produce is culturally significant, fresh and flavourful. Everything here is sourced from nearby farmers and made in-house. They occasionally forage the rainforest for wild foods, such as cohune palm and wild herbs. After you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal, head downstairs to the sociable Rum Bar. The Restaurant is dedicated to providing a relaxing environment and economically produced food.

8. ATM Cave Tour

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Credit: Flickr, satanoid

The ATM Cave Tour is one of the unknown things to do in Belize on a getaway here. This cave adventure is one of the most popular Mayan burial sites in Western Belize. The ATM cave contains ceramics, stoneware and four skeletons. One of the famous skeletons is that of a young girl, and the bones are covered and preserved. The cave is several kilometres long with several chambers to investigate.

Once you’re inside the cave, you can spend several hours swimming, exploring, investigating and climbing. You cannot enter the cave without a tour, so don’t go near if you haven’t booked a ticket. The hike through the lower portion of the cave lasts around 45 minutes. Once you’re inside, be prepared to take off your shoes in order to prevent damage. It’s a fun adventure, though might be challenging for those who aren’t exposed to an intense fitness regime. Also, this is a no-go if you can’t swim, because you have to cross deep water to enter the cave, and you’ll encounter water several times inside and outside the caves.

There are points inside when it’s extremely narrow, so do consider if you are claustrophobic. Even still, it’s a beautiful exploration which is definitely not for the light-hearted, making this one of the most adventurous things to do in Belize.


Have You Visited Belize?

We hope you enjoyed our list of things to do in Belize. It’s a blissful paradise with natural beauty, beaches and wildlife at your feet. Embark on unforgettable experiences, and unwind in a tropical climate and tasty restaurant afterward. Our favourite feature is that there’s only 350,000 people living here, so it’s peaceful, whilst remaining seriously undeveloped.

Have you visited Belize? If so, let us know your experience and favourite things to do here, in the comments.

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