Things to know before traveling to Belize

Things to know before traveling to Belize

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Belize felt like an ‘off the beaten path’ place, where we could truly escape the hustle of our lives and embrace the pleasantly slow lifestyle of the Caribbean.  The country has a unique blend of crystal clear waters, top snorkel and scuba locations, Mayan ruins, tropical jungles and incredible wildlife. If you’re considering a visit to Belize, here is a list of 12 facts and tips you should know before you go.  

[already in the planning stages of your trip?  Feel free to jump to Top things to do in San Pedro”]

Included in this post:

  • TOP things you need to know before traveling to Belize
  • The best areas to visit when traveling in Belize
  • Our favorite hotels (recommended by multiple Belizean locals)
  • Items you will definitely want to pack on your trip to Belize

With so much to explore, here are

13 things you need to know before traveling to Belize

1. English is the main language spoken.  Even though the country is hugged by Mexico and Guatamala, english is the official language of Belize. Many people in Belize are tri-lingual, also speaking Spanish & Creole.  Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America.

2. Belize used to be known as the British Honduras.  They only gained their independence in 1981.

3. You can use US Dollars almost anywhere.  However, your change may be a mix of Belizean and US dollars. In my experience, Belizeans preferred us to use US dollars, so be sure to bring cash with you. *There are ATMs throughout most major areas, so don’t worry about bringing a lot of cash.

4. For a small country (only 70 miles across), it’s incredibly diverse.  We were told by locals that there are at least four different cultures within the country: Creole, Mestizos, Mayan & Garifuna.

5. Regardless of background, Belizeans are known for their welcoming smiles.

6. The Belizean government has done an outstanding job preserving its natural habitat.  From marine preserves to animal welfare, this country truly cares about its long term impact on the environment.

7. Rice and beans simmered in coconut milk are a staple item, so vegetarians can be happy visitors here.

8. Most areas of Belize are safe for visitors, and getting around is fairly easy as their highways are all well-paved. Belize City is where the majority of their crime occurs, and is due to drug trafficking and gang violence. Keep in mind, that the tropical areas you’ll be visiting are not in Belize City, so you won’t have to worry about this.

9. Coffee and chocolate in Belize are immaculate.  Be sure to buy lots of both to bring home with you.

10. Or better yet, move down to Belize as an expat.  There are plenty of tax breaks (so I’m told) and happy expats currently down there.

11. Belize is home to many rare animal species; tapirs, jaguars, manatees and hundreds of unique birds.

12. Archaeologists discover new findings every year of Mayan sites! In fact, the country is full of beautiful Mayan ruins.

13. Belize has some of THE most incredible snorkel and scuba diving sites in the world! It’s home to the second largest barrier reef, after Australia’s, and the country prides itself on it’s determination to keep their oceans clean and safe.

What are the BEST places to visit in Belize?

Here are the most beautiful places in Belize that any traveler should be sure to visit while vacationing in this central american country:

BELIZE

Tropical Places to see

San Pedro Island

Caye Caulker

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

the Great Blue Hole

Ambergris Caye

Placencia

Silk Cayes National Park

Hopkins

Belize Barrier Reef

Punta Gorda

BELIZE

Jungle & Mayan Ruins to see

Altun Ha Ruins

Xunantunich Ruins

Caracol Ruins

Sleeping Giant Resort

Mayan Caves

the Belize Zoo

Where should you stay in Belize?

Don't Forget to Pack:

Belize is quickly becoming a top central american destination for tourists, and with a multitude of activities and sights to explore it’s easy to understand why.

If you have any questions about planning a trip to Belize comment below and I’d be happy to help!

If you’re planning a trip to Belize, check out my other blog posts on the most beautiful places to visit & the best things to do in Belize

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Getting to San Pedro, Belize

Getting to San Pedro, Belize

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Directions to make your travel day pass with ease

        Often while planning for a trip it’s important to also research how to get from point A to point B.  And with so few tools out there to help with traveling around Belize I wanted to share how we were able to get to San Pedro Island in Belize.  *If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

        Landing into Belize City is a breeze as the airport is small with only one baggage claim area and its 90’s decorated simplicity.  Grab your items and head outside where you will be able to order a taxi or hire a car and ask them to take you to the Marine Terminal (or water taxis).

*The fare should be a fixed rate (I believe around $25 USD) TOTAL.

        Driving from the airport to downtown Belize City’s marine terminal has a similar look to driving through Cancun; the marsh and less built up areas in between the airport and the resorts (although no large resorts in Belize).  You’ll see simple structures, palm trees, flowers budding on trees, and dirt roads with avid bike riders.

[Related: Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize]

       Arriving at the dock you will find a covered courtyard with various shops offering (overpriced) knick-knacks and snacks, with the ticketing office towards the back right.

*My suggestion would be to purchase round trip tickets as they are cheaper than two one-way tickets and can be used at any time during a three-month time period.

        Luggage is boarded separately at no extra cost.  Be sure to tell them which island you are going to.

*Make sure you have don’t lose your luggage tags they hand you

        Choose your seat wisely when boarding as they pack in people like sardines and the ride is over an hour and a half long.  Prepare for a numb bum and for a visual transition of murky brown water to the sparkling teal blue you’ve dreamt of from pictures.  En route you will pass by other islands, one of which is the other well known island, Caye Caulker (pronounced ‘key’ Caulker). Don’t worry they shout which island they are stopping at so that you depart at the correct one.

                When you arrive at San Pedro, the boat will dock at the center of the island where town is and only a breezy two-minute walk to the closest hotel, the Mayan Princess.  If your hotel is further away there are taxis waiting to swift travelers off their feet to their end destination.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing web designer & photographer. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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 TIPS for getting to San Pedro, Belize

  • The taxi fare from the Belize City airport to the Marine Termianl should be a fixed rate (I believe around $25 USD) TOTAL.
  • Purchase round trip tickets as they are cheaper than two one-way tickets and can be used at any time during a three-month time period.
  • Don’t lose your luggage tags they hand you
  • the boat ride from Belize City is almost two hours, so be prepared and try to find a comfortable seat

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