If you haven’t realized it yet, I’m obsessed with Belize. My trip there this past November blew all of my expectations out of the water. It was a gorgeous country with SO much to offer, and yet they are one of the lesser-traveled countries (that’s part of the charm though, to be honest) in the world. Between the jungle, the ocean, the convenience, and the vibes, Belize is hands-down my favorite place on earth. Read on to see why you should travel there, too!
Easy access from the USA
Located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Belize is a quick flight from much of the US! A flight from Texas is approximately 4 hours, giving you less travel time and more beach time. Several airlines fly into Belize City from the US, including American, United, and Delta. My personal favorite is Southwest Airlines, which offers the cheapest rates and great service. I fly with them whenever possible!
Bet you didn’t know that cave tubing or zip lining through the Central American jungle was something you wanted to do, right? Once you check out the adrenaline-filled activities you can do there, your bucket list is going to start filling up.
The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (meaning the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre, but we’ll just call it the ATM Cave), located on the mainland near San Ignacio, is the activity to do if you want to simultaneously feel like Indiana Jones and Wonder Woman. For a first-person low-down, check out Ashley’s post at My Wanderlusty Life! Trust me, once you read her post you will be dying to sign up. I know I am.
The Caribbean Sea
Do you dream of bright, turquoise water clear enough to see 20 feet down? Does wading around in 80 degree water sound like heaven? Then Belize is the place for you! It’s so gorgeous that it looks fake. Like, surely someone just took a postcard or glossy resort brochure and put it in front of your face because the view is just UNREAL.
Snorkeling and Diving
The barrier reef that runs along the coast of Belize (the 2nd largest in the world!) creates a great environment for all sorts of marine life. You will find gorgeous coral formations in addition to wildlife such as tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays, nurse sharks, and so much more.
I snorkeled the three most popular locations in Belize last November, and highly recommend each of them! Hol Chan is a popular spot located at a break in the reef where you have a great chance of seeing some of the best marine life.
Visiting Shark-Ray Alley, so-called due to the abundance of nurse sharks and manta rays, was an unbelievable experience. The tour companies chum the water here, so you are guaranteed to see dozens of nurse sharks in the area. It’s totally safe – the nurse sharks do not bite and as long as you keep your distance from the animals, you will have no problems. Plus, you’ll get to say that you’ve swam with sharks in the open water before!
Mexico Rocks is located farther north off of Ambergris Caye (just off-shore from Costa Blu Resort, 7 miles north). This is where I finally saw a sea turtle, so I obviously recommend checking it out. We also saw some really colorful coral here and a few moray eels. Earlier that week we also spotted some dolphins in this area.
A sub-tropical climate, Belize is generally warm (80s) and sunny during peak season, which runs from December through May. This is the best time to visit if you want the nicest weather, although I visited in mid-November last year and the weather could not have been better.
When you think of a tropical vacation, bright sunny days and beautiful beaches instantly come to mind. Belize fits the bill!
The charming beach town of San Pedro is the only town on Ambergris Caye. It has a very authentic vibe and isn’t overrun with tourists, like many towns in vacation destinations. The shops are run by locals and it’s a requirement for tour guides to be Belizean. When you visit Belize, you won’t be visiting a watered-down, American version of a vacation. It’s a real place where real people live and Belize is all the better for it.
Belize is an English Speaking Country
English is the official language of Belize, and everyone I came across spoke it well. Signs, menus, tour websites, etc. are all printed in English, which makes planning the trip SO. MUCH. EASIER. This is a huge plus to anyone who doesn’t fluently speak Spanish, as Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America! The locals I met were extremely friendly and courteous – waving as you pass by in the street, saying good morning to you, and always happy to offer directions or restaurant recommendations.
Easy Money Conversion
Belizean money has been set to a permanent 2:1 ratio with USD, meaning that your money basically doubles in Belize! Most prices are listed in Belizean dollars, so cut it in half and there’s your price. It’s nice not to worry about confusing transfer rates. Most places accept USD and then give you BZE in change.
The epicenter of Mayan culture, Belize has more Maya ruins per square mile than any other country. Only a few have been excavated for tourist exploration, but they are so worth it! In the Orange Walk district, Lamanai can be reached by taking a boat ride along the New River and then a quick hike through the jungle. Xunantunich, another famous ruin, is located just off the highway.
Good Ole’ Relaxation
You did come on vacation to relax, didn’t you? Belizeans have adopted a “Go Slow” attitude that’s bound to rub off on you. Everyone has a smile, no one’s in a hurry, and it’s good for the soul to take things a bit slower for a change.
So, are you convinced yet? Belize is my absolute favorite country and I hope to be back there at the end of 2018 to further explore this gorgeous country. If you’ve been what was your favorite party? If you haven’t (what are you waiting for???) what do you want to do most?