Things to do in Belize

Things to do in  Belize

It’s a jungle out there

Blending Caribbean charm and Central American character, Belize may be best known for its laid-back palm-fringed beaches and islands. Still, there’s plenty more to this small but sweet country—including ancient Maya ruins, labyrinthine caves, and an underwater wonder world second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. While some of the best things to do in Belize are centered around Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, like snorkeling, fishing, partying, and diving the Blue Hole, the mainland has plenty on offer, too, from epic archaeological sites to ATV or horseback riding, and jaguar-spotting tours through the jungle.

Top 15 attractions in Belize

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

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Around 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) south of the shores of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the most-visited snorkeling and diving area in Belize. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef, the reserve covers about 3 square miles (7.7 square kilometers) and is divided into zones according to marine habitat.More

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

Actun Tunichil Muknal

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Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre) in the Cayo district of Belize is a popular excursion destination, just outside of San Ignacio. Visitors experience an Indiana Jones-type adventure where they wade through the cave’s tunnels and passageways lined with stalactites and stalagmites.More

San Pedro

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San Pedro Town is Ambergris Caye's main and only town. This is where the bulk of the island’s eateries, shops, nightlife, and businesses are located. The beach here is a sandy sidewalk at best, but the water and views are still beautiful, and numerous docks dotting the shoreline provide ample swimming opportunities. It also serves as a popular departure spot for dive trips.More

Caye Caulker

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Ruled by the motto,go slow, Belize’s Caye Caulker is a relaxed Caribbean island famous for its turquoise waters and manatee population—a lack of cars adds to the sense of tranquility. Explore the surrounding coral reefs by snorkeling or scuba diving, or just sip rum cocktails on its sun-soaked docks.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

Shark Ray Alley

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Part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley is home to a multitude of 6-foot (1.8-meter) nurse sharks and stingrays with 4-foot (1.2-meter) wingspans. Over the years, fishers went to the site to clean out their catch—eventually, nurse sharks and stingrays started gathering in search of the boats and their daily treats.More

Belmopan

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After Hurricane Hattie struck Belize City in 1961, the decision was made to move the capital and government offices inland. The town now called Belmopan, part of the Cayo District, was built and became the landlocked capital of Belize. Just an hour from Belize City, and equally close to San Ignacio, Belmopan is a calm area with markets, coffee shops, and restaurants.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

Tikal National Park (Parque Nacional Tikal)

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Once a powerful seat of the Mayan empire, the Tikal ruins are now the most famous archeological site in Guatemala and one of the most-visited sets of Mayan ruins in all of Latin America. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of temples, plazas, and pyramids, was first settled around 700 BC, and modern visitors still get swept away by their beauty and powerful aura.More

Rio Frio Cave

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A yawning, 65-foot (20-meter) chasm in the heart of Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge, the Rio Frio Cave welcomes exploration with the largest cave mouth in the country. Light filters in from both ends, illuminating an underground river, limestone formations, and dripping stalactites.More

San Jose Succotz

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Spread out along the banks of the Mopan River, this small rural village is the jumping-off point for Xunantunich, one of Belize’s most impressive Maya sites. The pace of life in the town is slow, although a steady stream of visitors pass through en route to the jungle-surrounded stone ruins on the far side of the river.More

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

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Established as a reserve in 1944, the 100,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge is easily the most breathtaking scenery in all of the Cayo District, if not Belize. The Chiquibul Road will lead you through pine forests, waterfalls, cascading water pools over granite boulders and the Maya Mountains in the distance—it’s a sight to be seen.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

The Split

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Caye Caulker is divided in two by a narrow channel of seawater known as the Split. Crystal-clear water makes this a great spot to swim, while open-air, waterfront bars fuel all-day hangouts. One of these, Lazy Lizard, is among Caye Caulker’s most famous places to party, complete with swim-up bar tables, games, and cabanas.More

Top activities in Belize

Cave Tubing with Lunch

Cave Tubing with Lunch

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Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
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Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour

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All about Belize

When to visit

As most of Belize’s major attractions are outdoors, the best time to visit is in the dry season, which usually runs December–May. December and early January can get crowded with holiday travelers, so you’ll generally find better deals on airfare if you search for flights departing mid-January or beyond.

Getting around

Some travelers to mainland Belize rent cars or rely on taxis, but if you’re basing yourself in Belize City, it’s often easier and cheaper to join day tours to popular attractions such as Altun Ha. If you’re visiting Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, you’ll need to rent a golf cart or bike to get around, as cars aren’t allowed.

Traveler tips

If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or just want an especially romantic spot for dinner, head to the Hidden Treasure Restaurant and Lounge, tucked away on a side street on Ambergris Caye, a short drive south of San Pedro. This dinner-only spot offers seafood, curries, and even some Italian fare in a semi-open pavilion illuminated by soft lanterns and candlelight. Come on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to hear live music while you indulge.

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People Also Ask

What is Belize known for?

Tiny Belize packs a big punch for beach and ocean lovers with its hundreds of miles of coastline, idyllic islands, jungles, and crystal-clear Caribbean water. A laid-back vibe, Garifuna culture and cuisine, plentiful adventure activities, and Mayan archaeological sites round out the country’s appeal.

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What is the most recognizable tourist destination in Belize?

The Altun Ha Maya archaeological site in Belize is an iconic site because of its importance within Maya culture and history. In modern Belize, an image of a temple at the Altun Ha site appears on the label for local Belikin beer and on some of the currency of Belize.

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How many days do you need in Belize?

Belize is a small country that’s relatively easy to get around. Travelers with limited time could visit top coastal and inland destinations in just a few days. However, deeper exploration, island trips, visits to more remote archaeological sites, and beach relaxation will require at least a week.

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What is the most beautiful part of Belize?

Travelers to Belize are drawn to the tiny islands, beaches, and crystal-clear Caribbean waters that surround this Central American country. Inland, wildlife-rich jungle areas, Maya archaeological sites, and natural cave formations also leave a lasting impression.

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Does Belize have nightlife?

Yes. Belize is a hot spot for nightlife in Central America, with its bars, nightclubs, and live music, especially in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.

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What activities do people do in Belize?

Go snorkeling and scuba diving with migrating whale sharks, visit Mayan archaeological sites such as Altun Ha, enjoy some of the best bird-watching in the region, explore cave systems, hike through jungles and highlands, tackle world-class sport fishing, and go on scenic flight tours. Divers should also explore the Great Blue Hole dive site.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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