Belize Travel, Tours, Backpacking & Gap Year
Belize is an up and coming holiday destination and also a popular stop off with people traveling through Central America. We highly recommend visiting this country as you can experience history, temples, islands and some of the best beaches in the region. Search our travel ideas for things to do in Belize including backpacking, sightseeing, eco and activity vacations.
Adventure Tours, Backpacking Trips & Gap Year Programs in Belize
Belize Travel Guide
Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Belize. On our guide you can also find activities, experiences, travel packages, backpacking ideas, eco & adventure holidays.
- Capital: Belmopan
- Currency: Belizean dollar (BZD)
- Area: 22,960 km2
- Population: 288,000 (approx)
- Language: English, Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna, Creole
- Country Code: +501
Top Reasons to Travel to Belize
Belize is a small country so you can experience the highlights in a small period, here are some of the best things you should do:
- English speaking locals which makes the experience easier
- One of the best places for adventures sports in Central America
- See the ancient Maya sites of Altun Ha and Lamanai
- Go eye to eye with sharks at the Hol Chan marine reserve
- Go island hopping
- Jungle trekking
- Relax on spectacular beaches
If you come from an EU country, or from the USA, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Jamaican, Australia or Malaysia you will not do not get a visa and you will be granted entry on arrival. You can visit Belize on a tourist visa and you will only need a valid passport.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Belize
Throughout the year and especially during summer it get very hot in Belize so stay hydrated and avoid drinking excess alcohol. Rainy season usually arrives right on schedule, expect lots of rain but the temperature will still be warm which makes traveling in Belize bearable.
Travelling & Backpacking in Belize
If you would like to experience the highlights of Belize and get a really authentic experience then our holidays and backpacker trips in Belize will appeal to you. We have lots of different trips available where you can see more of Belize learning more about the culture, people, history and also taking part in exciting activities. There are a selection of adventure holidays where you can travel through the country stopping off at popular spots including ancient ruins and spectacular beaches.
From walking around Belize City to seeing exotic birds at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, there is a lot to see and do in this exotic destination. Different experiences are available in this small but facsinating country. On a activity holiday in Belize you could get to visit Caracol; the largest Maya site in Belize, Tikal ruins in Guatemala close to the border and also the ATM Cave. There are also lots of Central America overland holidays available which pass through Belize, a lot have a focus on seeing ancient ruins or getting off the beaten track.
Itinerary Ideas & Best Places to Visit in Belize
Belize is a very accessible country by flying, crossing overland or arriving by boat. From the airport in Belize City you can take a taxi or shuttle bus to hotels and hostels in the centre, we recommend you try to eat and get everything done early due to most places closing early and the place getting eerily quiet.
We recommend leaving Belize City after a day or two, you could get a bus for 2.5 hour west to a town called San Ignacio. This is a very friendly location with relaxing guesthouses and hotels which are clean and also well located for activities on offer here. Once in San Ignacio you can catch a taxi to the nearby ruins of Cahal Pech, this is a small site but the temples are impressive and usually very deserted compared to other busy locations.
A cheaper option than seeing the Caracol ruins is to see another easily accessible Maya site called Xunantunich (Soo-nahn-too-neech) which is just a short bus ride from San Igancio. You will need to get a ferry (boat from a small dock) across to the site that just slowly shifts across and takes all of 3 mins to complete the move. There will then be a short (uphill) walk to reach the site and you are free to explore all the temples. There are lots of different things to see, all very impressive and some brilliant views from up top when you climb them.
The town of Dangriga on the coast and also Hopkins are both highly rated places to visit. The little village of Hopkins is around one hour from Dangriga and it is a very relaxed destination. You might want to rent bikes and ride about to take in the local sights, the Sittee River is lovely whilst the beaches are beautiful. Placencia is somewhere else you might like to visit, like Hopkins but more developed and you can reach this destination via another town and a water taxi. You can easily spend a few hours here relaxing on the beach.
From Hopkins you can head South to a place called Punta Gorda or you might want to go up North to a place called Caye Caulker via Belize City. Caye Caulker is an island that's a real favourite with backpackers and we highly recommend visiting. There are lots of stalls, bars, restaurants and the main focus is all about the snorkelling and the diving. From Belize City you can take a water taxi to Ambergris Caye - San Pedro (30 mins), this is a very developed and more expensive location than Caye Caulker so somewhere to avoid if you are on a budget. Corozal is also a popular little town too and there are some more ruins to see here.
Belize Budget Travel Tips
Belize is only a small country and costs are quite low compared to the east coast of Mexico for example but there are still ways to keep costs down. Stay in guest houses as opposed to hotels, avoid eating in expensive restaurants and cut back on adventure activities. Travelling on public bus is the cheapest way to get around, you might want to learn basic Spanish to make this easier.
Health & Safety
You shouldn't encounter any security or safety issues in Belize, crime against international visitors is very rare. The main tourism office is a good place to get information, you can get some great tips and also map which has a historical walking itinerary on the back. This will help you get your bearings and also felt a lot better about the place after that.
Most tours start in Belize City where you will have time to explore on a walking tour, there are lots of museums, tourist sights and also cafes and restaurants. You might get to visit San Ignacio which is located close to dense jungle which you will have time to wonder around and learn more about the Mayan civilization who used to live in this region of the world. You will also get to visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech and also cross into Guatemala to see the impressive Tikal ruins. These are some of the best riuins in the world and located in a spectacular area deep in the jungle.
Tours in Belize are not super cheap but if you book if you are travelling as part of a pre-booked Central America tour these will be included in the price. These trips will let you experience the highlights of the country including beautiful beaches, Caye Culker, San Ignacio & Tikal. Some tours finish in the spectacular laidback island of Caye Caulker. This is one of the best islands in the Caribbean and there are lots of sporting activities like snorkelling and scuba diving or you could just relax on the beach. There are departures all year round.
ATM Cave Tours in Belize
The ATM cave tour is easily one of the best tours to do Belize but it is currently rated number one in the world! According to the guide, it's a few votes from being a world heritage site so watch this space. This experience involves a 40 min trek through the rainforest to the entrance of the cave; small swim to get to the starting point and then 2 hours of walking, crawling, wading, climbing through small crevices, cracks, streams and rocks as you head deeper and deeper into the cave that was used by the Mayans for sacrifices and rituals.
There are some amazing rock formations in there as well. Once you reach the top chambers, you will be shown artefacts of skeletons, pots etc and told their significance. This is a very unique experience and although you are wet the whole time, it's just really cool to be going through the cave with nothing but your helmet light in front of you! This is as close to feeling like Indiana Jones as it gets! Most people really enjoyed the tour and it is easy to see why it's so popular.
Tikal Tours from Belize
From Belize you can head to the border to cross into Guatemala. There are lots of local guides working at Tikal and you should have a good 3-5 hours looking around the various temples, pyramids and artefacts there depending on how long you want to spend. You will be very impressed by this site, some areas still haven't been excavated yet and are just heaps of mould and dense vegetation so you get an idea of the massive job it took to dig everything else up! We bet most people take hundreds of pictures here and there is the option to climb a whole heap of stairs to the top of a temple for spectacular views for miles around. A day spent exploring Tikal will be well worth it.
Jaguar & Wildlife Tours in Belize
There are Jaguar Reserve and wildlife tours available but you will need certain numbers to make these possible. This will be an amazing way to see the exotic animals which live in this country.