We took a family trip to Belize in August. Although it is hurricane season, we lucked out with beautiful sunny days and only mild rain. In an attempt to experience all that this diverse country has to offer, we decided to spend 4 nights in Hopkins on the mainland and 3 nights in San Pedro on Ambergis Caye. These are my top 10 recommendations for things you must see and do while travelling in Belize.
#10 Eat a meal at Palapa Bar & Grill in San Pedro
If you are in San Pedro, you must enjoy at least one meal at Palapa Bar & Grill. It is located at the end of a dock right downtown. It’s open air construction allows you to take in the gorgeous view while cooling down in the ocean breeze. While you wait for your food, you can take a dip in the ocean or float in one of the inner tubes tied to the dock. The menu is extensive and we enjoyed everything we ordered. The ceviche was to die for!
#9 Rent a golf cart on Ambergis Caye
The main means of transportation on Ambergis Caye is via golf cart. You can rent a 4 person cart for approximately $75/day USD. We had a blast cruising around town as well as touring some of the more remote areas of the island.
#8 Explore the Ancient Mayan Ruins
Belize is home to several Mayan Ruin sites. We decided to visit Altun Ha, which is 50km North of Belize City. We rented a car at the airport and drove approximately 40 minutes to the site. There was an entrance fee of $10BZE/person for non-citizens. It was fascinating to explore the Mayan architecture that was created over 2000 years ago.
#7 Spend the day at X’tan Ha Resort on Ambergis Caye
7 miles north of San Pedro town is the beautiful X’tan Ha Resort. It’s a 40 minute golf cart ride or 20 minute water taxi ride from downtown. With it’s white sand beach and crystal clear water, it is easily one of the prettiest beaches on Ambergis Caye. Most of the beaches on the island have sea grass so it was a pleasant surprise to find one with a sandy bottom. There is a beach bar where you can order a cocktail and lunch while you relax on the beach. Or for the more adventurous, there is a water trampoline and kayaks/paddle boards for rent.
#6 River Tube on Stann Creek River
Unfortunately due to time constraints, we were unable to do a cave tubing tour, so we opted instead for a river tubing tour down Stann Creek River. We booked our tour through Mayan Sky Canopy Tours. It was a 2 mile river tour with bouts of class 2 rapids mixed with calm waters. It was a good combination of exhilaration and relaxation (although we all wished there would have been more rapids!) The surrounding scenery was beautiful and our guide did a great job of pointing out hard to spot birds and wildlife.
#5 Visit Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary is a community-run, grass roots conservation operation that is home to the black howler monkey (locally known as the baboon). The black howler monkey is an endangered species that exists only in Belize, Northern Guatemala and Southern Mexico. Their name is well suited as their howl is like nothing I’ve ever heard. It reminded me of something out of a monster movie. We took a 45 minute tour through the forest, where our guide provided us with a history lesson on the forest and monkeys. We were even able to feed a few.
#4 Hike to Antelope Falls
Antelope Falls is located in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Stann Creek District of Belize. It is a strenuous 2 mile hike, but definitely worth it when you reach the beautiful falls and magical swimming hole. You will need to wear hiking shoes or tennis shoes with good traction as you will be hiking through mud and up slippery rocks. One benefit of it being tough to reach is that we didn’t see a single person on the trail and had the swimming hole completely to ourselves!
#3 Zipline in Bocawina Rainforest
There are several spots to zipline in Belize. We decided to book our tour with Bocawina Resort which offers 9 runs and the longest zipline in Belize. The tour started with a 10 minute hike to the first platform and lasted approximately 90 minutes. It was so much fun zipping through the forest while taking in the beautiful views.
#2 Take a day trip to Ranguana Caye
If you stay near Placencia, you must visit Ranguana Caye. We drove to Placencia, where we boarded a boat and took an hour boat ride out to the small private island. As we pulled up to the island, I was immediately in awe of the crystal clear turquoise waters and white sand beach, a stark difference from the beaches on the mainland. We spent the day snorkeling, paddle boarding and relaxing on the beach. I was sad to leave this tropical paradise!
#1 Snorkel in Shark Ray Alley
Shark Ray Alley is located off the coast of Ambergis Caye, 1 mile south of Hol Chan marine reserve, where you can experience the rare opportunity to snorkel with nurse sharks, rays, and turtles. As our boat approached, the sharks started to swarm the boat in anticipation of bait being thrown into the water. It was a bit spooky jumping into the water, but as soon as I was in, my fear was replaced with fascination. The sharks and rays were very tolerant of people and would swim close enough for you to touch them. If you only do one thing in Belize, visit Shark Ray Alley. And don’t forget your underwater camera!
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or need other recom