Belize

Intro

Sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a little Central American sliver of paradise that satisfies a variety of tastes. It has outdoorsy adventure activities galore, gorgeous beaches, historical monuments…the works. 40% of land is designated as protected, so regardless where you spend your time, it's guaranteed to be idyllic.

And did I mention there are over 200 islands (cayes), beautiful barrier reef just off its coast…and a jaguar preserve?

Rent a car or coordinate transportation and split your time between the rainforest jungle and the beachy coastline. Because you would be remiss to neglect either.

Cultural Prep

Only independent since 1981, Belize weather is typical tropical with a rainy season running from May – November and a dry season that spans February – May. Peak travel time is between October and April, so your best bet is to go around September/May; you can likely get better deals, and hopefully miss the super-heavy rainfall.

A bonus for the linguistically challenged? English is Belize’s official language, the only country in Central America where this is the case.

What's more, Belize’s Blue Hole and large barrier reef are sort of kind of a little bit renowned, and UNESQO World Heritage Sites. Made famous in 1971 by a Jacques Cousteau TV series, these spots are ideal for recreational and experienced divers alike. 

Eat/Drink

Belize’s food culture is inspired by its diverse population, with influences from Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, East Indian, and Creole cuisines. Fresh chicken, lobster, conch, red snapper, rice, and  beans are common, and you don’t have to dish out a hefty sum to get a superior meal. As far are beverages go, Belkin is national beer and One Barrel Rum is locally-distilled; both are worth a try.

  1. Lazy Lizard, a chill Caye Caulker bar.
  2. Pizza Caulker, for a late-night bite. Run by an expat.
  3. Catch your own seafood with Pops, a guide who will then bring you to cook your loot on a private island. Yes, seriously.

Otherwise, just wander around and munch on the street food, which is solid as well. Chicken King, a roast chicken cart that sells ¼ chicken for $2.50 and also serves up conch fritters later in the afternoon for just $.75, gets a nod. 

Sites/Activities

Spend a chunk of your time in the jungle exploring the vast caves and ziplining. Ian Anderson Cave Branch Adventures has solid guided tours and Rio Frio Caves are free to drive/walk through.

Consider taking a drive to the various Mayan ruins that dot the county. Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Xunantunich, and Altun Ha are the top. And if you can make it to neighboring Guatemala, definitely do not miss Tikal, the grandest of the surviving Maya cities.

When you move to the coast, prepare to relax and enjoy the ocean activities. Snorkeling is an easy must, but if you’re a tad more adventurous, definitely try to scuba. You’ll have to take a quick short-term certification, but it is worth it for the barrier reef.  

To Stay

  1. Jungle: Table Rock Belize. Good food, beautiful grounds, and river access. From $110/night.
  2. Jungle: This AirBnB Jungle bungalow. $65/night
  3. Beach: Seaside Cabanas on Caye Caulker. From $110/night

Have a reliable recommendation or sweet spot to share? Go crazy in the comments section.