Belize: Travel Guide

I recently got back from an 11 day trip to Belize and had an amazing time!   I actually traveled solo on this trip with the tour company, EF College Break.  I’ve gone on a few trips before with this company, but Rachel has always gone with me.  EF College Break is for people ages 18-28, so unfortunately I only have a year left to travel with this company.  There were 42 others on this trip with me, along with a tour director.  I met a lot of new people and made some awesome new friends!  I highly suggest EF College Break if you want to travel, but don’t want to plan everything.  They literally take care of it all for you, which makes things much less stressful.

I thought it would be fun to share with you my travel experience in Belize.  To make things easier, I’m breaking things down into the places I went to.  For each place, I’ll share the highlights of the things I did there.  At the end of this post I’ll also be sharing with you tips, tricks, and hints for Belize that I learned prior to going there and while I was there.  Let’s get into it!

Lamanai
Duration: 2 nights
Accommodation: Lamanai Landings Hotel and Marina

Highlights

  • Lamanai Ruins– We boarded a boat and headed down the New River to get to the ruins.  Along the way we made a few different stops to look at sites and species.  The Lamanai Ruins is the Maya City with the longest period of occupancy (over 3,000 years).  The temples and structures we saw along the way were breathtaking.  It’s amazing to think that people were able to build these structures without today’s tools and technology.  It was very hot, humid, and buggy at the ruins.  It was still a wonderful experience and it wasn’t too long of a hike.  There was no one else at the ruins while we were there, which surprised me, and made the experience even better.  I would definitely recommend going to the Lamanai Ruins if you ever go to Belize!
  • Crocodile Night Safari– Our hotel also offered the option of going on a crocodile night safari.  It was $35 (US) per person.  This safari was educational, yet thrilling at the same time.  On this safari an  American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) trained guide is with you.  The educational purpose of the safari is to spot crocodiles, catch them, and then tag them to learn more about them.  Our guides did catch one crocodile on our safari.  They check the crocodile out, measure it, and tag it.  Everyone on the safari is also able to take a picture with the crocodile.  The guides were very knowledgeable about crocodiles and I learned a lot about them on this safari.  I thought this was an unique experience and would recommend it, unless this sort of thing scares you.

 

San Pedro
Duration: 2 nights
Accommodation: Caribbean Villas

Highlights 

  • Snorkeling at Hol Chan- On our first full day in San Pedro we went snorkeling at Hol Chan, which is the second largest barrier reef in the world.  We got to the reef by boat and went snorkeling for a few hours in the morning.  This was my first snorkeling experience and it was amazing!  The water was so clear and we were able to see a lot of marine life.  Plus the water was a nice, warm temperature, which was a nice added bonus!
  • The beach in general-  Since our resort was right on the beach, the beach in general was definitely a highlight while in San Pedro.  Whether you’re interested in water sports, swimming, or just relaxing, there’s something for everyone to do at the beach!

Food Recommendations

  • Tropicana Restaurant & Bar– This restaurant has a great atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating.  It offers a variety of food including Latin, Caribbean, Lebanese, and American dishes.  I got chicken nachos when I went there for lunch and they were delicious!
  • El Patio Restaurant– This restaurant specializes in Local and Caribbean cuisine.  Like Tropicana, it has a great atmosphere!  I had fried shrimp here and it was definitely some of the best shrimp I’ve had.
  • Waraguma– Waraguma is known for its pupusas.  I had never had one before, so I tried a chicken one and it was delicious!  It also offers Spanish food as well.  Along with the chicken pupusa, I got a beef burrito and it was so good too!  It was huge, so I could only eat about half of it.  This restaurant is outdoors.  My only complaint about it is that there aren’t any fans or anything so it does get warm there.  The floor of this restaurant is made up of crushed seashells, which I loved!

 

San Ignacio
Duration: 2 nights
Accommodation: The Log Cab-Inn

Highlights

  • Zip lining & Cave tubing- I can’t remember the name of the place where we went zip lining and cave tubing, but we did both of these activities at the same place.  This was definitely one of my favorite things I did on this trip!  I’ve gone zip lining once before in St. Lucia, and loved it just as much the second time.  Cave tubing was such a cool experience.  First we had to hike to where we were going to start tubing.  Then during the cave tubing, we went through caves and just leisurely tubed down the river.  Seeing the caves was really cool!  It was really relaxing tubing too.  I would highly recommend going cave tubing in Belize if you ever get the chance!

 

Tikal, Guatemala
Duration: Day trip

Highlights

  • Tikal National Park- San Ignacio is right along the Guatemala boarder.  While we were staying at San Ignacio, we took a day trip to Tikal National Park.  Here we were able to see Maya temples,  ball courts, excavated buildings, and some breathtaking views!  Temple IV, which is the highest temple at Tikal, is 212 feet high.  It has great panoramic views of the park once you climb to the top.  This was also one of my favorite things we did on this trip!  The Mayan sites are all so remarkable!

 

Hopkins
Duration: 3 nights
Accommodation: Almond Beach Resort and Spa- Honestly, this was my favorite place we stayed at.  This resort is so nice!  You walk out of your suite and your on the beach.  They have a very good restaurant on site as well.

Highlights

Snorkeling- I’m not going to lie, the snorkeling in Hopkins was better.  The water was choppier when we went snorkeling in Hopkins, so it made it not quite as enjoyable.  I also saw more snorkeling in San Pedro as well.  We went to two snorkeling spots with a break at an island in between.  The island was beautiful!  The water surrounding it was shallow and so clear.  A lot of us decided to hang out here while the others who wanted to went to the second snorkeling spot.

The Beach in General- My reasoning is the same as above.  The resort had complimentary paddle boards and kayaks to take out as well!

Food Recommendation

Loggerheads Pub & Grille-  Loggerheads is known for its burgers.  You can also get sandwiches and some other things as well.  The french fries are also super good!  We went here on a Thursday night when there was live music, which made for an awesome atmosphere!  It is a small place, so you may have to wait awhile to be seated/get food if it’s busy.

 

Belize City
Duration: 1 night
Accommodation: Radisson

Highlights

  • Belize Sign- We were only in Belize City one night before flying back home, so we really only had an evening there.  We ended up only having a short amount of free time in Belize City since most of our evening was spent at a farewell dinner.  With the little time I did have, I went with a few girls on my trip to see the iconic Belize sign and take pictures there.  The sign is right along the water and it makes for some great photos!  There’s also a pretty lighthouse right next to it.

 

Tips, Tricks, & Hints

  • Get cash beforehand– ATM’s aren’t always readily available in Belize.  Plus there are places that only take cash.  I got all my cash before I left for Belize and this worked out really well.   You don’t want to end up in a bind at a place if you don’t have enough cash and cards aren’t accepted.   You can use US dollars as well, which is a huge plus!  2 Belize dollars=1 US dollar.  Super simple!
  • Bring bug spray/bands–  I don’t know if it’s only during the wet season, or it’s all year round, but do yourself a favor and bring bug spray with a high deet.  You can also get bands too that you can put on your wrist or ankle. You’ll probably still end up with bug bites though, but at least you’ll feel better about yourself being prepared!  Our tour director mentioned Vick’s vapor rub for bug bites as well!
  • Wear a higher SPF sunscreen– Since you’re farther down south, the sun is more intense.  Definitely bring a lot of sunscreen with you and get a higher SPF than you normally would.  I brought SPF 50 with me and was religious about applying it.  I didn’t end up burnt the entire trip!
  • Bring a backpack and/or fanny pack– For me, a backpack was definitely a must to carry all of my essentials in, especially while visiting the Mayan ruins!  Some of the girls on my trip also had fanny packs and those seemed really nice to have your essentials handy right in front of you.
  • Waterproof camera or case/pouch– Since was in water or by water a lot in Belize, a waterproof camera and a waterproof pouch really came in handy.  I would definitely recommend both or at least one or the other.  For my birthday, I received a waterproof digital camera.  I took this along and used it while snorkeling.  It worked really well!  I also bought a waterproof pouch for my cellphone on Amazon and used it when cave tubing.  I was able to take pictures on my phone while keeping my phone safe!
  • Water bottle–  This was definitely a must for me!  I carry a swell water with me on the go to most places anyway, but it was very important in Belize since we were on the go so much and in the heat a lot.  A lot of the hotels we stayed at had water bottle filling stations too, which was really nice!

 

Well there you have it!  That was my Belize trip in a nutshell.  I hope this post was informative and helpful for any of you wanting and/or going to Belize in the future.  If you have any other questions about Belize or anything I mentioned, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

-Michelle

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