Ending our big backpack trip through Central America in Belize was the best thing we could do. This tiny country has a lot to offer. I am sure you have heard about the wonderful islands and the Belize Barrier Reef. In this blog I will show you some amazing things to do in Belize of the beaten track. If you have only 2 weeks, this is definitely the way to go!
Things to do in Belize-1; Orange Walk and Lamanai
Orange Walk is the first town after passing the border with Mexico from Chetumal. It is also reached easily by bus from Belize City. It has a different vibe then all other places we visited in the country. It is worth to stay a night, feel that vibe and enjoy a good and cheap meal at one of the many Chinese restaurants.
The best thing to do in Orange Walk is the trip to the Maya site of Lamanai. (You can do it from other places as well but they all start at the river near Orange Walk.) The trip to Lamanai is by boat touring the New River. Spotting wildlife while relaxing and being surrounded by beautiful nature, sounds good right? Try to avoid going there Wednesdays and Thursdays. Many people visit Lamanai from big cruise ships that pass during those days. At other days you will have the beautiful place at the river almost to yourself.
Things to do in Belize-2; Sailing trip with Raggamuffin Tours
If you are into ultimate relaxing while cruising though crystal clear water this 3 day trip from Caye Caulker to Dangriga is a must do. Sailing and snorkeling at the best places of the Belize Barrier Reef at daytime, while sleeping on small islands at night. Besides amazing coral gardens, lots of fish, Nurse sharks, lots of Rays and Turtles there is a good chance to see Dolphins and Manatees. The best of both worlds if you ask me and a must do! If your time is limited this is really worth your while!
Things to do in Belize-3; San Ignacio, Caracol and Mountain Pine Ridge
Near the border with Guatemala you will find San Ignacio. A small river fronted town, surrounded by jungle and mountains. From San Ignacio you can pass the border and go to the famous site of Tikal. In Belize you will find another amazing site that is a lot less visited. Caracol is hidden deep into thick jungle and is reached by a bumpy road. On the way there you can stop at many beautiful spots at Mountain Pine Ridge. We visited the amazing, humongous Rio Frio Cave and had a swim at the most beautiful rock pools on the way back.
San Ignacio can be reached by bus (and car) from Belize City or through Belmopan. It is a relaxed spot to hang around for a few days and the best place in the country for visiting the famous ATM Cave!
Things to do in Belize-4; Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
Crooked Tree is the place to be for birdwatchers and nature lovers. We slept a few nights at Beck's B&B and had an amazing time. Loved the peace and quiet of the gardens with colorful birds like the Parrot, Blue Jay and Vermillion Flycatcher. They even had a swimming pool to cool of after a hike!
The best time to see a lot of migratory birds and the rare Jabiru Stork is when the lagoon starts to dry out (about April, can vary so check before you go). If you come in May there is a great Cashew nut festival with locally grown nuts. Be sure to take a boat tour at the lake and creek. We saw Crocodiles, Howler Monkeys and lots of birds. You can reach Crooked Tree by car or by bus from the road between Orange Walk and Belize City.
Things to do in Belize-5; Monkey River
The best place to start your trip to Monkey River is at the south of the country. Take a small boat from the dock at Placencia. While cruising the coastline and mangroves you have a good chance to see Dolphins and Manatees. After you arrive at the small local village Monkey River Town you enter the river.
Take the early morning tour to see the amazing birds. You have a good chance to see Crocodiles warming up at the sand. A short jungle walk is included in the trip. Besides beautiful plants and trees you will encounter Howler Monkeys and Hummingbirds. If you are nature lovers like us it is a must do tour when you are in the south.
Things to do in Belize-6; Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve
Famous for the chance to see jaguars. You have to be lucky though and be there very early in the morning for the best chance. We only took a day trip from Hopkins, but it is possible to stay overnight. There are some beautiful jungle-hikes to do and you can swim at the river and in pools by waterfalls. Lots of bird life and amazing views on a clear day. You can even go camping if you really want to be close to nature.
Things to do in Belize practical;
- Belize is best traveled by car or by public bus.
- If you go by bus expect to pay a pretty high price for some tours or transport.
- The places mentioned are easily combined into one trip. Fly to Belize City, take a ferry to Caye Caulker. After the sailing trip you can go to Orange walk and Crooked Tree or San Ignacio, or the the other way around. After that it is an easy trip to Belize City again.
- If you drive from Dangriga to Belmopan you have to take the Hummingbird Highway. It is the most beautiful road in Belize and the only one where I regretted not having my own car!
These are my tips for you. If you have another beautiful spot to share wit us do tell!