Belize is a naturally beautiful country, filled with great attractions and interesting places to explore and adventure. Here are the top 9 things to do in Belize.
What are the best things to do in Belize?
The top things to do in Belize are exploring the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, touring the Great Blue Hole, unwinding at Ambergris Caye, sunbathing at Placencia Peninsula, stargazing at Caye Caulker, snorkeling at Hol Chan, visiting ancient Maya ruins and experiencing the Garifuna culture.
While Belize may only be a mere 8,867 square miles, only a handful of other travel destinations come close to what Belize offers.
It has no shortage of crystal-clear waters, stunning sandy beaches, lush rainforests, a wide range of wildlife, diverse ecosystems and lively coral reefs. Belize is also known for its ancient Maya ruins, among other attractions.
As you can see, it appears to have everything for every type of traveler. Whether you are an animal lover, a historian, a backpacker, or simply someone who loves spending their holidays around gorgeous beaches, there’s something for everyone in Belize.
But, with so many outstanding attractions wrapped in this one tiny country, choosing what to do during your visit to Belize can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. In this guide, we’ve identified the top nine things to do in Belize. With that said, let’s dive straight in.
Explore the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
Exploring the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave should be on your bucket list during your trip to Belize.
The ATM Cave is a place where the ancient Maya used to conduct their spiritual ceremonies and rituals. And, there’s remaining evidence of these rituals, which you will see in the ancient artifacts.
At the ATM Cave, you will learn more about traditional Maya ceremonies and rituals which they used to perform here.
Some of these rituals include human sacrifices, food offerings and bloodletting offerings, among others. So far, 15 human remains have been discovered in this cave and you will get an opportunity to see five of them.
While the ATM Cave is the highlight of the trip, the journey to the location is equally thrilling.
You will hike through the jungle, crawl under stalactites, swim across rivers, and climb over boulders, among other challenges.
But if you manage to reach the cave, then you will be highly rewarded. In short, the trip will be worth your time and effort.
Explore the Great Blue Hole
Exploring the Great Blue Hole should be on your itinerary for your visit to Belize. It’s a large submarine sinkhole located off the Coast of Belize, near the Lighthouse Reef Atoll.
The legendary French marine biologist and documentarian Jacques Cousteau popularized it, following his visit in 1971.
It measures approximately 125 meters deep and 300 meters wide. Inside, there are massive stalactites and stalagmites, with some being over 40 feet long. It’s currently the biggest sea hole in the world. Also, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You have two options when it comes to exploring this hole. First, you can fly over it via a helicopter tour.
From above, you will see a circular area of deep blue water, flanked by turquoise shallow waters. The views from above also feature lush rainforests, imposing beaches and coral reefs.
And if you are a skilled diver, then you can go on a scuba diving adventure. You will experience numerous ancient underwater tunnels, various types of marine animals and plants, and fascinating limestone formations.
The best time for scuba diving here is between April and June.
But, regardless of whether you decide to explore this hole from above or through scuba diving, the experience is breathtaking.
Unwind at Ambergris Caye
Islands in Belize are called cayes and Ambergris is the largest of them all.
And it has plenty to offer and a lot of things to do. It offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.
On this island, you will be surrounded by endless coral reefs and turquoise-blue waters.
You can opt to simply relax and unwind in a hammock on the beach, go sailing or fishing, or even take a food tour, depending on your tastes and preferences.
Also, there are world-class resorts and hotels on the island to take care of your accommodation.
While on the island, you should also visit San Pedro, which is the island’s main town. It’s home to plenty of beach bars, picturesque wooden houses, and exquisite hotels.
Here, you can spend your time sampling some of the local cuisines, relaxing at the beach bars or even walking around the streets.
Soak Up the Sun at the Placencia Peninsula
The Placencia Peninsula is one of the best places to soak up the sun in Belize.
Located on the southern side of the country, Placencia is a stunning peninsula featuring a resort town and a charming fishing village.
It offers almost everything that you would want if you are visiting Belize for a relaxing vacation.
There are gorgeous white-sandy beaches, luxurious accommodations, world-class restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. You will also enjoy glorious views of the Caribbean from this spot.
Placencia Peninsula brings together people from different parts of Belize. So, during your visit, you will also get an opportunity to immerse yourself in different cuisines and cultures such as Garifuna, pan-Belizean and Creole, just to name a few.
This spot also has close access to some of the best attractions on the mainland. So, once you’ve had your fill of the beach, you can check out other attractions on the mainland such as the Belize Barrier Reef.
You can also use it as a jumping-off point for exploring the Belize Barrier Reef. But, regardless of how you plan your visit here, you are assured of having a time of your life.
Get a Taste of Garifuna Culture
A trip to Belize is not complete without getting a taste of the amazing Garifuna culture.
The Garifuna people are extremely proud of their culture, and they are always willing to give others a taste of it, through music, dance, food and various traditional celebrations.
And, Hopkins Village is the best place to experience Garifuna culture. Here, you will get an opportunity to experience their way of life, their rich culture as well as their local food, among others.
You can also plan to spend a day with one of the locals and go fishing, learn how to drum like locals or even learn how to prepare some of their foods at a cooking class in the village.
Go Stargazing at Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is one of the most gorgeous cayes in Belize. And, it’s not as crowded as some of the others.
So, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the slow pace of the island, chill out, soak in the Caribbean sun or even enjoy some reggae music at a local bar.
And for a fun and romantic way to explore the island, you should go on a stargazing sailboat cruise. Dozens of local tour companies organize such trips. You simply need to check online reviews and choose one that appears to deliver the best experience.
Caye Caulker is also renowned for its unique but delicious seafood, inspired by different cultures. And, there are numerous waterfront restaurants to enjoy your dinner, lunch or brunch.
The hotels serve almost any type of seafood, featuring crabs and lobsters.
Snorkel at Hol Chan
If you love snorkeling, then a visit to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve should also be part of your list of things to do in Belize.
This marine reserve boasts an impressive collection of underwater animals and plants, making it one of the best spots to go on a snorkeling tour.
During your snorkeling, you will get up close with a wide range of colorful fishes, southern stingrays and rainbow-colored coral reefs.
Also, this reserve serves as a vital nesting ground for various species of sea turtles. So, you will also get a chance to not only see them up close but also to swim with them.
Your Hol Chan visit should also include swimming with sharks at the Shark Ray Alley. Here, you will again get a chance to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures
And, you don’t have to fear them, since they are nurse sharks, which are generally harmless creatures.
Visit Ancient Maya Temples
Belize was, for thousands of years, the heart of the Maya civilization. And, this may explain why this Central American country has the highest number of Maya temples, sites and ruins.
While there are hundreds of ancient Maya sites in this country, the most notable ones are Xunantunich, Lamanai, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Altun Ha, Lubaantum, Cerros, Santa Rita, El Pilar and Nim Li Punit.
While it’s almost impossible to visit all these 10 sites, you should make a point to check out Xunantunich, Altun Ha Caracol and Lamanai.
These four sites are among the best preserved. So, you will get to know more about how the Maya lived and the ceremonies they performed hundreds of years ago.
Tour the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest was established in 1944, to preserve the country’s pine forests. Located in Cayo District, it’s one of the oldest and largest protected forest areas in this Central American country.
It has some of the most phenomenal flora and fauna in Belize. It also has beautiful landscapes and sceneries, including pine forests, crystal-clear rivers, cascading waterfalls, and Maya temples.
This forest reserve is home to the highest waterfall in Central America, which is the 1600-foot-high Thousand Foot Falls. Other notable waterfalls in the area include Big Rock Waterfalls and Five Sisters Falls
All these falls form pools below, where you can enjoy a cool and relaxing swim.
- Belize has some of the best attractions in Central America
- It’s one of the most naturally beautiful countries
- You can never run out of things to do in Belize
- The best time to visit is between December and April