For a small country, Belize packs a lot of awesome! So much so, that it can be a little intimidating. World class diving and snorkeling. More Mayan ruins than any other country. Adventure activities from ATM Caves (that’s Actun Tunichil Muknal) to ziplines. Wildlife sanctuaries. Deep sea fishing. Jungles. Beaches. FOOD! (The country has two of the best seasons ever: Conch and Lobster!) Even though it’s a small country, a Beginner’s Guide to Belize would be really helpful.
Where to Start
Let’s start with the basics! Our Quick Guide to Belize has the vital info you need before you go. Give it a quick read, or click to download the infographic. Questions? Ask away in the comments, or drop us an email. If we don’t know the answer, we know people who will.
Where to Go
Really, you can pick just about any place in Belize and have an adventure. It just depends on what you like. For our Beginner’s Guide to Belize, we’ve put together a map of some of the best places to visit. These are guaranteed highlights, but we are sure you will find more. And when you do, we’d love to hear about them!
To help you find what you’re interested in quicker, we’ve color coded the map:
- The major towns and cities are in orange. “Major” doesn’t mean they’re big, they’re just bigger than the other villages.
- This is our sweet spot: Islands! These are the major Cayes off the coast of Belize.
- Belize has more than 600 Mayan Ruins. These are a few of the bigger sites.
- World class scuba and snorkeling sites along the Belize Barrier Reef!
- Looking for adventure, hiking, cave tubing, or wildlife? Here’s where to find it!
No Guide to Belize would be worthwhile without some helpful travel tips. Like, Belikin Premium is way better, but harder to find. Other tidbits from our travels in Belize:
- ATMs are not unheard of, but they’re not very common. Be sure to carry enough cash to get you through your day.
- Credit Cards are widely accepted, but check the amount. If your $10 dinner looks like $20, remember that’s in Belize Dollars.
- US Dollars are widely accepted, but you will get Belize currency in change. US coins are not generally accepted.
- Most resorts can book activities for you, but they generally use one or two specific companies. For more variety, book ahead. TravelLatte uses and recommends Viator quite often.
- Taxis have green license plates, and don’t usually have meters. Ask about rates before you get in.
- Insect Repellent. Seriously. In most areas, Belize has a warm, moist environment. Just the way buggies like it.
- Sunscreen. Another thing to take seriously in Belize. Because the chemicals in many sunscreens can harm the delicate Belizean Reef, come prepared with a reef-safe sunscreen, such as Reef Repair, which you can order from Amazon before you leave.
- Water Taxis are more like buses: They have a set schedule and route. Be sure to add time if you need to be somewhere.
- Most importantly, Enjoy Belize! It really isn’t hard to do!
While in Belize, TravelLatte stayed at the Grand Caribe Resort on Ambergris Caye, one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Resorts in Belize. Whether you choose to stay on the islands or the mainland, you can find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Planning your own trip to Belize? Already been? We’d love to hear your questions, comments, and recommendations in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, consider signing up for our updates (All wham, no spam!) or sharing with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter with the buttons below. (A million thanks in advance!)
Where to Find More
Get acquainted with our favorite Central American destination with these posts:
Oh man, I’d love to get back to Belize right now! We only stop there on a cruise ship so there’s definitely so much more of the country for us to explore one day.
For such a small country, there sure is a lot to explore! We’d like to spend more time inland, exploring the Mayan Ruins and having a jungle adventure! But that coast keeps calling us… ?
Love the infographic. Handy beginners guide for Belize. Would love to go and explore as many Mayan ruins as possisble.
Thank you! It was fun to put together. We want to explore all the Mayan ruins, too! There are so many…it might take a while, but what an adventure that would be!
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Heading to Belize next month. We are staying in airbnbs. Do we need to book our activities a head of our stay or can we go with the flow and find and book activities that day? Thank you.
That’s a good question. Most of the snorkel excursions can be booked any time, and there are plenty of companies there. If one fills up, you can usually book with another. Some of the tours to the ruins, and less popular dive/snorkel tours are a little harder to fill up. Many of the tour operators won’t go unless there are enough people signed up for a tour, so you might have to check a few to find one with enough people to go. We’d say that if your heart is set on a particular activity, book it in advance. If it doesn’t fill up, you’ll get your money back, but at least you won’t be left out if it does get full. Enjoy the trip, and let us know how it goes! Thanks for reading, Jess.
This guide is uber helpful. I want to go to Belize and dream of seeing the blue hole from above. Belize is on my bucket list so I will keep this guide for when I get to go! See you at Fly Away Friday this week!
We’re so glad you liked it! And we’re glad Belize is on your bucket list – there is just so much to love about the country! Let’s hope you get to put this guide to use sooner rather than later. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Janine!
I DEFINITELY need a beginner’s guide to Belize so this is AWESOME! We’re hoping to get there next year so I’ll put this to good use! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – hope to see you again this weekend! xo
Yay! So glad you found it useful, and even better that you’ll have the chance to put it to use! You guys will love it – be sure to check out our post about SEA’duced by Belize. They showed us THE BEST time on Ambergris Caye. 🙂 As always, thanks for your comment, Kana!
I love how much you guys love Belize. It’s such a beautiful place. And Ambergris Caye has such a laid back vibe. I loved it! But then again that was twenty years ago! Great starting post for travelers wanting to visit – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
We are smitten kittens, for sure! We were talking with a friend who relocated to Belize almost 20 years ago, about how much the country – and Ambergris Caye, specifically – have changed. So far, mostly for the better. Thanks for reading and commenting, Erin!
This is such a useful guide. We spent Christmas in Belize a while ago. It’s a fabulous country with great nature, amazing snorkelling and we had fun doing night-time tarantula hunts in the jungle too. Eek! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
Night-time tarantula hunts? Eek is right! We’d probably pass on that part. 😉 The snorkeling is amazing, and that’s probably our favorite part. Glad you like the guide – that’s great coming from someone who’s already been! Thanks for your comment, Clare!
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about Belize so this was interesting! I could definitely imagine visiting one day 🙂
It seems like the country is a bit of an “undiscovered gem” – if you’ll excuse the cliche. We’re glad to help shine a light, because it is a gem. We loved it, and hope you’ll get a chance to explore all this tiny country offers, too! Thanks for your comment, Vanessa!
You have sold me. I don’t think I even knew where Belize was until I stumbled across your post but it sounds fantastic. Mayan ruins, snorkelling and lobsters – I am pretty sure that is the definition of heaven for me.
We know how you feel! We new it was south of Mexico…but that doesn’t narrow it down much. 😉 We had just heard so many good reports that we had to go see for ourselves. It really was great, and we’re with you: some of our favorite things are all right there! Although we’d probably go time and again just for the cheap lobsters. 🙂 Thanks for commenting Lyn – Hope you make it to Belize one day!
We might be going to Belize in the new year and currently know very little about it so this post is fab, thank you! Love the infographic! #flyawayfriday
Well, that’s good timing then! We do have a couple of others you might like, and even more coming. We really enjoy our time there, and can’t wait for another chance to visit! Thanks for reading, Vicky – let us know if there’s anything we can answer for you.
Belize has the most beautiful background !
Belize is one beautiful country, that’s for sure! From a historical point, it’s background is really interesting. Center of Mayan civilization to being a British colony, and now independence. So many influences make for a colorful country! Thanks for reading, Christina!
I’ve not made to Belize but thank but thanks for the great information and introduction of what I can expect when I do make it there.
We hope you manage to make it there sooner than later. Not that it’s in danger of disappearing – the locals are doing a good job of keeping over-development at bay. But it is one of those places you get to and think, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?!?!” Thanks for commenting, Lyn!
Great post! I have never visited Belize but this has definitely made me add it to my bucket list! Thanks for the insight 🙂 #flyawayfriday
Thanks! Glad we coaxed you into adding Belize to your Bucket List! You won’t be disappointed. The country has definitely become one of our favorite places! Thanks for reading!
Always been curious about this country. Thanks! #farawayfiles
Our pleasure! Really, this just scratches the surface. Tiny country with LOTS to do, and tons of appeal. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Great post with great info on Belize! I love the map! I went to Belize last October and had so much fun! We ate tons of local food, went snorkeling, swam with sharks, it was a great experience
Oooh…you got there during Conch Season! We don’t blame you one bit for going crazy on local eats. 🙂 We did the same – it was lobster season on our last trip. So much great snorkeling, and lots more to see! Now we want to go back!!! Thanks for your comment and kind words, Diamonique!
You guys really love Belize and it shows through all the awesome posts! It is definitely somewhere I want to visit and your guide will come in super useful. All those Mayan ruins and beautiful beaches need to be explored by someone, right?!
Our thoughts exactly, Lexx! We really do love the country; we had a great time and made new friends. There are still a few things from this last trip we need to get down on paper (or post, I guess), but we are eager to explore more. Of course, we could say that about the rest of the world, too. 😉 Thanks for commenting!
This post is super useful guys, you must have spent ages making it! Have pinned for future reference 🙂 Belize is now on our bucket list!
We made your Bucket List longer? Our work here is done! 😉 The map was actually fun to put together, and a handy reference for us, too. The infographic was equally fun, but we can be a bit OCD on those things. Glad you like it, and hope it’s helpful for planning your trip – that’s why we do these things! Cheers Garth (and Phil)!
This is so useful! Pinned for future reference 🙂
Thanks Michelle! Glad you found it useful, and hope you get to put it to use sooner than later! 🙂
I have several friends who have go to Belize every year, and I can see why they love it so much. Pinning the for a future trip!
It’s amazing how many people are repeat visitors. But, being close to the U.S., and with so much to do (or room to do nothing!), it’s easy to see why. We hope your future trip comes soon! Thanks for reading, guys.
A great guide! I particular like the colour coded map, perfect for a quick reference. I’ve pinned this with your other Belize posts for when I finally make it there. Cheers!
Thanks, Shona! The map was fun to put together, and we’re glad it’s helpful. Hopefully, you’ll make it to Belize before too long!
This beginners guide is perfect and just what we will need when we visit (which we will do, for the diving of course … ooo and the fact it has Mayan Ruins!). Thank you for putting together this comprehensive list, pinned for when we visit! #feetdotravel
Diving and ruins – it’s almost too much, right? So…you guys going to do the specialist work and dive the Great Blue Hole? I have to admit – the caves intrigue me, but I don’t think either of us would be too comfy down there. 😉 Thanks for reading Angie. (And Sy, too!)
I’ve been to Belize several times in the past so seeing your up to date information is good. Definitely get on the water – dive, snorkel fish or explore. I’ve been to some Mayan ruins in Belize and Tikal (in Guatemala) is not that far over the border.
We were definitely amazed at how many ruins there are, and by how great the snorkeling is. Being on the water around Belize is just as great. We can’t wait to get back for more! Thanks for your comment, Rhonda!
Great ruins and so many of them! They are not as developed or restored as those in Guatamala or Mexico, that has a certain appeal to it. Hopefully, there will be more protection in the years to come as more tourists are visiting every year. We hope you do go one day – it’s definitely a great destination! Thanks for reading, Anda!
We’ve heard lots of good things about Belize, and would love to spend some time in this part of the world. Not a big fan of bugs, but the rest all sounds interesting (ruins, history, beaches, caves)! 🙂
We understand that some people (mostly those of the scientist sort) actually go for the bugs. Yech. 😉 I guess that really does make it “something for everyone!” We’ll stick with the sailing and snorkeling, and an occasional Maya excursion. Thanks for commenting, Jessica. (And Laurence!)
Thanks for the introduction. We are cruising to Belize in November, and have not visited before. Do you know where the cruise ships dock and is there any thing with in walking distance? If not is there a beach for snorkelling near by? #feetdotravel
Hi guys! For snorkeling, I would check on excursions to Ambergris Caye, or directly to one of the snorkel sites. Hol Chan and Mexico Rocks were our favorites, and are close enough for a day trip from the port. There is not a ton to do in Belize City, but there is the Museum of Belize, and the Tourism Village, which is mostly souvenir shopping. Old Town isn’t too far, but you’d probably need (or want) a taxi. There’s also the Belize City Zoo, and you’ll definitely want a taxi for that. Of course, we just enjoy exploring a town on foot – you never know what you’ll find!
Great tips about Belize!! Hope to go one day! I’m jealous because my mom will now be going there as part of her cruise soon, as her itinerary to the eastern Caribbean was rerouted. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Hi Lolo – We hope you get to Belize, too! It’s very relaxing and enjoyable. It’s great that you can do as little as you want for as long as you like, but then have lots of tours and activities ready when you are. Can’t wait to see what you get up to when you go! Cheers, and thanks for the comment.
Some years back I did a tour (Gap Adventures) through Mexico and heard others talk of a tour through Berlize they had completed prior. It sounded amazing and if I ever get back to that part of the world it is on my wish list.
That’s a wish you need to make true! Lots to do, no matter what type of adventure you like! Or, you can do nothing at all! Either way, we hope you do get back there soon. Thanks for your comment, Sally!
I have been wanting to go to Belize for awhile so have been loving all these posts! Great job on the infographic. I had no idea there were so many Mayan ruins there! #TheWeeklyPostcard
We’re so glad you’ve liked them! Maybe around the holidays, you can print them out and conveniently leave them here and there around the house. Maybe Santa will make that wish come true! Let us know if that works…we’ll go find Santa so we can try that trick, too! Cheers, Anisa – thanks for reading!
Thanks for all your tips. Belize is definitely on my bucket list destinations. I love Central and South America.
Hi Nicole! Belize was the first Central American country for us, and we loved it, too! Thanks for your comment – keep reading; there’s more to come!