Belize is a small, beautiful country closely tied to the United States both culturally and financially. You can see the influences, not to mention English is the official language and the currency conversion is a direct multiplier on the US dollar. I didn't spend much time in Belize, just a small taste in preparation for future trips, but the mainland has forests, ruins and beaches while just off the coast you have beautiful islands with incredible marine life. There is a good diversity of things to see, and the small size of the country make it pretty easy to get it all done.
Last Visit: Jun 2015
Cost: $173/day
Stayed: 4 days
Suggest Staying: 1 week
English: 4/5
Safety: 4/5
Currency: Belize Dollar
Transport: Taxi, bus, boat

My Favorites

1. Ambergris Caye

San Pedro

Highlights: Beach, scuba diving, snorkeling
Suggest Staying: 3-7 days
Stay Around: San Pedro
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There are two popular cayes (islands) off the coast of Belize. Ambergris is larger and more touristy where you can find budget to luxurious accommodations along with plenty of bars and restaurants. Caye Caulker is quieter and more geared towards a more relaxed backpacker vibe, at least from what I read and heard. I only visited Ambergris for a couple days, and it was cool, but I will stay at Caye Caulker next time I visit for a more off the beaten path experience. The cayes are perfect for relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

See & Do

  • Blue Hole. Incredible marine spectacle where you can snorkel around the top, or scuba dive deep down into depths that reach several hundred feet. It’s one of most popular dive sites in the world. I unfortunately didn’t get to go because of insufficient scuba experience.
  • San Pedro. Most popular spot on the island with hotels, restaurants, bars, dive shops, and beachfront.
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Snorkel with giant rays, sharks, barracudas, turtles, coral, and all sorts of beautiful fish.
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving. Some of the best visibility and marine life in the area for sure, if not the world. On one of my dives, we saw lots of bright colored fish, larger fish, manta rays, and even some sharks. Usually you swim around nurse sharks which are harmless, but my venture out we saw a couple of good sized bull sharks (I think). I was floating with a shark below me looking up. I thought oh, maybe I should move. I went right, he went right. I went left, he went left. I stopped, he got bored and left. I just looked over at the dive master who just shrugged. Just another day in paradise. Pretty sure they never actually take you out in danger and I never really felt threatened…mostly…


  • Scuba Diving. There are several dive shops at which you can dive and even go for your certification. There are several reefs and marine reserves that are only 15 minutes offshore, so it’s very easy to get a few dives in without having to be on the boat all day. As someone who gets sea sick, I loved this. We actually headed back to shore in between dives which was great to be on land for my stomach to recover.
  • Blue Hole. I went into a dive shop on the island to sign up for diving the Blue Hole. At this point I was PADI certified, but didn’t actually have any dives on my record. The Blue Hole requires some experience before going straight into it, so I instead did some reef diving to get more experience. Scuba diving is not for messing around and the depths that they were going to take me were definitely out of my comfort level as a naive scuba newbie. Be sure to ask questions and let the company know your experience level. Some places might not care so they can just make a quick buck, but know your limits. Scuba diving is a wonderful activity, but can have serious ramifications if you’re not adequately prepared.
  • Seasickness. There is a sandbar and a reef just off the coast that you pass through on the way farther out to sea for scuba diving which makes it very bumpy. If you get sea sick, take Dramamine or something before going, at least an hour before so that it has time to kick in.

Cost Breakdown

  • Lodging: $279 (hotel)
  • Transportation: $113 (bus, boat)
  • Activities: $180 (scuba, snorkeling)
  • Food: $120 (estimated $30/day)

Total: $692

General Tips

  • Language. English the official language, and the people also speak Spanish plus a form of Creole.
  • Currency. The Belize dollar is directly tied to the US dollar. When I visited it was a simple 2:1 ratio. Very easy to exchange US currency.

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