Travelling outside of the US can be stressful, especially if you’re going to a country with fewer everyday amenities. But travelling to Belize is truly one of the best experiences you can have. The locals are warm, welcoming and willing to show you everything that their beautiful country has to offer.
Places to Stay
If you’re a certified scuba diver, our favorite place to stay is definitely Ambergris Caye near the city of San Pedro. This is an island just off the coast of the Belizean mainland, near Belize City. It is easily accessible via a 25 minute hopper flight from Belize City International Airport.
The reason we recommend this area for divers is because of its proximity to the barrier reef. Breathtaking dives are only about 15 minutes away by boat and there are a ton of dive shops nearby, willing to show you the ropes. There are also a lot of delicious restaurants within walking distance anywhere in the city.
While there are a lot of hotels and resorts on the island, our favorite was Ramon’s Village Resort. What you may not see when you look at pictures online is that a sea wall blocks most of the beach entrances due to erosion. Ramon’s is one of the only resorts that has a natural beach entrance. It is very pricey, but if you have the means, it’s an awesome place to spend your vacation.
We’ve stayed at a couple of places in San Pedro and you can’t really go wrong with the hotels along the shoreline. Where you can go wrong, and this is where we made our mistake, is booking a room via Air BNB below the normal market price for the area. This is a tropical climate and a third world country. So, if you stay in a somewhat dicey place below the normal price of about $100/night, you will have a BUG ISSUE. Be warned! Don’t book anything for $50/night or less and expect not to have cockroaches invading your room while you sleep.
San Ignacio & Mainland Belize
This area is a little less known to us as we mainly passed through it on our way to a jungle excursion. We wanted to mention it though as the jungle lodges near this part of the country are supposed to be incredible.
If you’re looking for an adventurous vacation filled with hiking, zip-lining and repelling off of waterfalls then this would definitely be your cup of tea. We spent one day in the jungle of the Belizean mainland visiting Mayan ruins, cave tubing and zip-lining. After the trip, we wished that we had split our time between scuba and a jungle adventure.
Dive Shops, To-Do’s & Restaurants
Our favorite dive shop on the island is Ecologic Divers, for a variety of reasons. But one of the biggest one is that the level of service is great there. They help you with your gear, which gets pretty heavy as you get back on the boat after your dive. They also provide you with snacks and beverages between multi-tank dives, which is critical for a hungry girl like me. Isn’t there just something about scuba that makes you want to eat as soon as you’re out of the water? They can also book your other adventures while you’re there, which is totally convenient.
WARUGUMA!!! I say this excitedly because this was by far the best place we ate at in San Pedro. The lobster burrito was out of control delicious with lobster in the burrito, a lobster tail on top and lobster sprinkled around the plate. The best part is that it was $8 USD. You can’t beat it! We also had beer that was served in a glass full of spices and citrus called Michelada. Absolutely delicious!
Waruguma is pretty difficult to find, or at least it was for us. We hunted for it for days before we finally ate there. I’ve hyperlinked it to a description of the location in case you have the same problem we did.
Our other two favorites are Wild Mangos and Elvi’s Kitchen. Though there are a lot more on the island that have great food, we had excellent meals at both of these restaurants. Wild Mangos is located right on the water and has a very romantic atmosphere for a night out. Elvi’s is in the city and provides awesome, traditional Belizean fare.
There is a lot to do while you’re in Belize, but the one thing that I would recommend that everyone see is Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. This is a half day snorkel trip that takes you to these two locations. The sea life is unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The water is crystal clear, full of coral and brimming with fish. This is easily the most beautiful snorkel trip I’ve ever been on and I’ve been on a few :-).
The video below is a video from our trip to Shark Ray Alley that gives you idea of the type of animal life you will interact with. We were so close that we were able to reach out and touch the sharks and rays. A truly incredible experience that neither of us would trade for the world.
If you’re a tourist, we recommend the day trip we took to visit Mayan ruins, zip-line and to go cave tubing. Though, if I’m being 100% honest, I probably wouldn’t do the the zip-lining again. It was cool, but it wasn’t something that I would feel compelled to do again. Everything else on the trip is a must see and can be booked through your resort or a dive shop on the island.