9 Days in Belize
DO NOT MISS
Caye Caulker, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
Day 1: Arrive in Belize City, pick up rental car and drive down to Placencia via
Hummingbird Highway (do not take the “Coastal” route). Make a stop at Dangriga to get a taste of Garifuna culture. Maya Beach en route near Seine Bight is also a really nice beach to relax.
Day 2: Arrange a snorkel trip. Placencia is the place to spot whale sharks from March-June. Laughing Bird Caye national park is a popular destination. I had a fantastic time snorkeling with Chino he lives next to Rick’s cafe. He will make you the most fantastic lunch with fresh caught seafood (crabs and lobsters if you’re lucky!) on a private island.
Day 3: Head to San Ignacio and arrange to do the ATM cave…was the original plan but I ended up spending an extra day in Placencia to enjoy the beach – sadly had to skip the ATM cave which everyone I’ve met raved about.
Day 4: Do the “Humming Bird Highway tour”. There are many exciting stops along the highway. Starting from Placencia you have:
- Maya Center – if you have ability to store chocolate without it melting pick up some amazing Mayan chocolates here, along with some roasted cocoa beans and cocoa tea.
- Hopkins – a small quaint town with amazing beaches.
- Marie Sharp Factory – taste all of their hot sauces and jams here and get a factory tour! If you want to buy hot sauces as souvenirs it is much cheaper to buy it here
- The Dairy Barn – stop here for ice cream.
- The Blue Hole National Park & St Hermans Cave – This is a different blue hole from the diving site in the ocean. This one is more of a pond. You can take a dip in the pound if you like. There are several trails you can do here. The trail between the Blue hole and St Herman’s cave is about 1 mile
- Armenia – If you get hungry there is a small road side restaurant here you can get stewed chicken plate with rice and beans for 7 Bze.
Day 5: Take the ferry to San Pedro. Park yourself on a beach or walk around and explore the town. Get 2-4-1 happy hour rum drinks
Day 6: Take a snorkel trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Alley
Instead of booking snorkel tour with my hostel and other tour companies, I booked directly with Searaious Adventures who owns their own boat and got a really good deal. ($35) Note: Shark Alley is merely a spot in the ocean where boats anchor and feed the sharks. Tell your snorkel operator to spend more time at Hol Chan.
Day 7: Take the ferry to Caye Caulker. This is the place where you slow down and enjoy life.
- Lounge at the Lazy Lizard.
- Enjoy grill lobsters and conch fritters.
- Try lion fish if you can find it
- Check out sea horses (it’s a small spot near Belize Diving Services. might be hard to find)
Day 8: Spend another day relaxing in Caye Caulker or take a booze cruise.
Day 9: Ferry back to Belize City
Stewed Chicken/Beef/Pork with rice and beans is the most ubiquitous meal. They range from $3-12 depending on if you get it at a food stall or restaurant.
Stuffed Fried Jacks is a cheap breakfast option. You can also find rolled tacos 3 for $1 at food stalls.
For a splurge go to El Fogon in San Pedro. They serve the Gibnut if you are into trying different meats.
I really liked Mama’s in Caye Caulker.
The lady that makes Goss Chocolate lives in the Placencia peninsula. You can buy directly from her for cheaper price and sometimes get special editions when available.
San Pedro has two great hostels Sandbar Beachfront Hostel & Restaurant which is right off the beach and Hostel La Vista which is next to the night club.
In Caye Caulker Pause is an interesting place to stay. It is a cat rescue sanctuary with a private jetty that you can lounge. There is a kitchen to cook your own food but the accommodation is very minimal. No hot showers (but the weather was warm enough)
There are no public transportation in and out of the international airport. The cost of taxi is about $20-25. It is fairly easy to find travelers to share taxi rides but arrange them before exiting the terminal or some taxi drivers will not allow you to do so.
The car rental agencies are onsite at the airport. Go for local car rental agencies such as A Q Belize they are significantly cheaper than Avis, etc.
There are fairly regular buses that travels between Belize City and San Ignacio so you may not need a rental car for traveling that direction. If you are traveling south to Placencia, it may be nicer to travel with your own vehicle as there are many fun stops along the Humming Bird Highway.
Ocean Ferry is the cheapest ferry to get to Ambergris Caye the ferry will make a stop at Caye Caulker en route to Ambergris. Tickets are not dated. The prices posted on their website is more expensive the purchasing at the kiosk. If you are traveling during low season, it is not necessary to book ahead.
TRAVELING WITH LESS TIME…
If you want the beach experience then focus on the islands off Belize City. Personally I prefer Caye Caulker over San Pedro as it is smaller, cheaper, calmer and does not smell like exhaust from the gulf carts
If you want the jungle experience then head to San Ignacio. Most travelers agree that there’s not much in Belize city to explore.
TRAVELING WITH MORE TIME…
- spend a night in Hopkins. It is a really chill town. Stay at the Funky Dodo.
- head across the border to Guatemala for Tikal Mayan ruins
- spend a night in the Cockscomb Basin