Altun Ha ruins of an ancient Maya city in Belize

Things to do in  Belize City

The bustling heart of Belize

While most travelers don't linger too long in Belize City, this vibrant and diverse metropolis offers a fascinating introduction to the Caribbean country. Immersing yourself in the rich history and culture is a must—whether that means visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha or strolling streets lined with colorful colonial architecture. Belize City is also the jumping off point for a wealth of outdoor adventures: things to do include diving or snorkeling at the Belize Barrier Reef or exploring the jungle on a cave tubing day trip.

Top 11 attractions in Belize City

Xunantunich

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Overlooking the beautiful Mopan River from a hilltop, the ruins at Xunantunich are some of the most visited Maya sites in the world. Located in the Cayo region, Xunantunich—which means “stone woman” in Mayan—dates back to the Classic Era, around 200–900. The complex comprises about 25 temples and palaces.More

Altun Ha

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Altun Ha, site of the ruins of an ancient Mayan city, covers about 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) of Belizean countryside. The central area has more than 500 historic structures, mostly built during the Maya Classic era (AD 200 to 900). Join a private or group tour to learn how the city’s 10,000 inhabitants lived.More

Lamanai

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Meaning "submerged crocodile" in Yucatan Mayan, Lamanai is perhaps the most mysterious Maya site in Belize, because it is not yet completely uncovered. See history in the making as you visit the excavation site, where some temples still remain buried underground. Exposed structures that rise from the jungle floor offer plenty to explore.More

Caracol

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Located near the Guatemalan border, the ancient Maya city of Caracol is the largest archeological site in Belize. Discovered in 1938, Caracol covers about 65 square miles (168 square kilometers) and includes more than 35,000 structures, five plazas, and an abundance of jungle. Visit on a day trip for a unique look at Maya life.More
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Belize City Cruise Port

Belize City Cruise Port

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The Belize City Cruise Port connects the country’s Caribbean cayes with the mainland and the city’s urban center. Most visitors don’t linger here, with the majority of cruise ship passengers passing through on their way to inland attractions such as Mayan ruins. Belize City Cruise Port is also the main gateway for ferry traffic to islands like Ambergris Caye.More

Community Baboon Sanctuary

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The Community Baboon Sanctuary is dedicated to protecting and preserving Belize's black howler monkey population. The 18 square mile (29 square kilometer) reserve in the jungle contains about 1,500 monkeys, as well as anteaters, armadillos, iguanas, turtles, deer, and more than 200 different species of birds.More

St. John’s Cathedral

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St. John’s Cathedral dates back to the early 1800s and is the oldest Anglican church in Central America. The cathedral, located in Belize City, is known not only as a house of worship, but also as a symbol of Belize’s colonial past. It was built by slaves with bricks brought to the country as ballast in ships from Europe.More

Belize Zoo

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Bringing the wildlife of Belize’s jungles and savannas within reach of the country's urban center, the non-profit Belize Zoo is home to more than 175 animals and 45 native species. With exhibits designed to mimic natural environments, the zoo aims to encourage conservation and provide a refuge for rescued animals. More

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

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Established in 1984, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best bird-watching spots in Central America. Built on a network of lagoons, swamps, and estuaries, the sanctuary is home to thousands of native and migratory birds, including the boat-billed heron, black-collared hawk, pygmy kingfisher, and rufous-tailed jacamars.More
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Lighthouse Reef

Lighthouse Reef

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Lighthouse Reef is an incredible atoll (a coral island encircling a lagoon) in the Caribbean Sea that was made famous by legendary sea explorer Jacques Cousteau, who rightfully declared it one of the top 10 diving locations in the world. Follow in Cousteau's footsteps by diving into the Great Blue Hole, the underwater sinkhole in the center of the lagoon.More
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Government House

Government House

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Government House, also known as the House of Culture, is one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in Belize City. The stately mansion was built in 1812 to house the colonial government of British Honduras, but it was later turned into a residence for the Governor General. Today, it is a creative community center.More
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All about Belize City

When to visit

While Belize City is a year-round destination with an average temperature of 80°F (26°C), the best time to visit is from December through April. This is high season, and the weather is dry, warm, and perfect for exploring both land and sea. This is also when the water is clearest for snorkeling and scuba diving. Outside of these months, the wet season brings erratic tropical storms that can hinder beach days and bring high humidity.

Getting around

The best way to get around Belize City is by bus. They are the cheapest and most efficient way to get around the city and to further-flung towns. You can find taxis on virtually every street corner, but be sure you take one with a meter and license. For island hopping and day trips out to the reef, ferries run daily between the Belize City Ferry and Water Taxi Terminal, to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.

Traveler tips

For a taste of local cuisine, hit up the street vendors and food stalls for some authentic Belizean dishes such as stewed beans or fry jacks (similar to a samosa). Try Le Petit Café for breakfast for their popular and very cheap fry jacks or head to Bird's Isle Restaurant for local cuisine overlooking the ocean. The lunch hour (noon–1pm) is almost universally observed, which means shops will be closed.

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Tours
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People Also Ask

What is Belize City known for?

Nestled on the eastern coast of the country, Belize City is a vibrant destination renowned for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Known as the Gateway to Belize, the city boasts a colorful history that blends Mayan and British influences with delicious local cuisine and colonial buildings.

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Can you walk around Belize City?

Walking around Belize City is highly encouraged. There's no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than by taking a leisurely stroll through the market streets. However, it can be much more efficient to jump on a local bus to get across town if you need.

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How many days is ideal for visiting Belize City?

If you're a culture connoisseur, allow yourself at least three days to fully immerse yourself in the rich history, nearby sights and food experiences of the city. Thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts will want to stay longer, as you can easily arrange cave tubing, diving, and island-hopping day trips.

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Is Belize City a beautiful city?

While most travelers skip on over to the islands for their beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and coral reefs, Belize City still has its own brand of beauty. Home to striking colonial buildings, colorful markets, and bustling streets, there's definitely a unique charm to this major city.

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Is Belize City a party town?

To some extent, yes. From the pulsating rhythms of the local music scene to the plethora of bars, clubs, and restaurants, Belize City is the perfect place to let loose and dance the night away. The city oozes excitement and energy for those who take the time to explore.

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Is Costa Rica or Belize better?

Both countries offer stunning natural beauty, rich cultures, and a taste of the laid back Caribbean life. Costa Rica combines more luxurious living, exotic wildlife, and exciting adventures from lush rainforests to beautiful beaches. Belize is hailed as one of the world’s best scuba diving spots.

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