The Perfect Belize Vacation

Perhaps it's the season but I've been asked a lot lately about what the perfect Belize vacation would look like. This is always a difficult question to answer since Belize offers such diversity. From white sand and cool marine life to lush jungles full of exotic birds and creatures there is something for everyone.

There are a ton of tours to choose from on both Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker

Here's my take on the perfect trip to Belize:

Day 1

Just because we love Mexico so much and due to government subsidies on air travel within the country, it's more cost-effective to fly into CUN than it is to BZE: 

Arrive in Cancun, MX, check into an all-inclusive on the beach and relax.

Day 2

Hire a driver or jump on an ADO bus and head over to Tulum or Playa and check out the beaches, shops and restaurants. Overnight here or get a jumpstart on Day 3 and make your way to Chetumal.

Playa del Carmen

(*Tulum is a great place to add extra days to your itinerary)

Day 3

Until Tropic Air commences it's planned daily flights out of Cancun to San Pedro you'll have to take the ADO bus down to Chetumal where you'll take the water taxi over to Ambergris Caye. Not to worry though, ADO buses are cheap, clean, prompt and air conditioned and Chetumal is a great little town with decent shopping, dining and accommodations.

Bear in mind it is a 4.5 hr bus ride from Cancun to Chetumal and buses leave fairly regularly so if you can make it down there by 3 pm then you can head right over to San Pedro, otherwise... I recommend staying at Hotel Los Cocos. It is clean, reasonably priced, has a decent restaurant on-site and the staff are very warm, friendly, accommodating... and English speaking if this is a priority for you.

Important Info:
  • the water taxi only departs from Chetumal at 3:30 pm each day; if you miss it you will have to spend another night in Chetumal
  • make sure you specify to your taxi driver that you want the water taxi terminal or you might end up at the chicken bus depot ("Qiero taxi para ir a la terminal delancha ke va a san pedro, Belize." should do the trick)
  • you must arrive at the pier 30 minutes prior to departure to fill out customs documents and pay exit fees etc.
  • yes, that's right... be prepared to pay a departure tax when you leave Mexico
  • it is a 90 minute boat ride; part of the trip is through open water which is quite rough & choppy even on a good day so if you're prone to motion sickness, take your Dramamine or Gravol well ahead of time  
  •  according to most travelers (and we can attest to this), ADO buses are kept very cool so I suggest bringing a sweater or light travel blanket, especially if you have children with you
  • be mindful of any time difference between Mexico and Belize (Mexico observes DST and Belize does not... also the start & end dates in MX vary from North American DST) 

When the boat arrives in San Pedro you will disembark and go through a brief, routine customs check where you will be asked questions about your stay in Belize etc. I've never seen luggage searched here but be prepared as you never know.

Once on the island I recommend staying at either Banana Beach hotel or The Villas at Banyan Bay on the south end. Here you will be close enough to walk to all amenities or right into the heart of town depending on your level of ambition. Get settled, fill your belly, maybe watch the sun set over the ocean while you sip on a cocktail and then get a good night's rest. (Other than Christmas and Easter holidays the island doesn't get too loud or rowdy. It's fairly quiet and other than street vendors, things close down pretty early on the south side.) You can rent a cart but for just a few days I wouldn't bother. A taxi is your best bet by far. (Taxi #9 is my man Lelo; he'll give you a good rate and he keeps his taxi spotless.)

Important Info:
  • Belize doesn't do "all-inclusive" to my knowledge... everything is à la carte which quickly adds up

Day 4

If you're a diver, what better time to hit the reef or the world famous Blue Hole. *It would be ideal to coordinate at least one of your nights in San Pedro to be a Friday or Saturday. Why is that you say? One word: Fido's! There's nowhere on this island where I've had more fun, drinking rum & soda and dancing the night away.

Day 5

Sleep in, relax, explore, explore, explore...

Breakfast at Estel's; an absolute "must-do"!
Pier at Victoria House
Banyan Bay; one of our favorite spots to stay cool
Stingrays on the beach, just south of Central Park
Boca del Rio beach walk
Can't forget a stop at Manelli's for a scoop of homemade ice cream!
Definitely not for kids, the nightclubs are open 'til 5am!
Church anyone?

Days 6-11

Pack up & say goodbye to San Pedro. Take the 20 minute water taxi ride over to one of my favorite places in Belize... Caye Caulker and just chill. Enjoy the white sand, island music, street vendors and of course the food & drink!

Caye Caulker
arriving at the water taxi pier on Caye Caulker

This smaller island is far nicer than Ambergris Caye in my humble opinion. It's cleaner, quieter and has more of that Caribbean feel where San Pedro feels more like being in Central America with it's busy roads, loud streets and smell of exhaust fumes. Yes, the bigger hotels and resorts are located in San Pedro but along with that comes the hustle and bustle of tourists everywhere. I much prefer the quiet beauty of Caye Caulker.

Not that you could miss it but be sure to stop by The Lazy Lizard for a cold drink and a swim at the split.

So many beautiful fish to see at "the split" on Caye Caulker
Days 12, 13

Caye Chapel
 Now that you're well rested, it's time to pick up the pace again. Today's the day we say goodbye to Caye Caulker and head out for a bit of adventure and more sight seeing. (Did I mention packing light for this trip?) These last 2 days are best spent on the mainland exploring all that lush jungle we talked about earlier. (Did you think I would let you leave without doing this?) There are howler monkeys to marvel at, cave systems to lazily drift down, toucans & beautiful flora and fauna to see, Mayan ruins to climb & explore, jungle canopies to zip through, amazing people to meet and fascinating history to be learned. If you're a golfer, maybe a stop on Caye Chapel is in order as well. This is championship golf at its finest without tee-times, roundtiming or round limits. It's an 18 hole, par 72 course designed mainly by Larry Addington with 4 par-5 holes. Get ready to have your skirt blown up!

My photos don't do this place justice.
The long hike up, up, up...
Destination reached!
Getting back down is much more enjoyable. Wheee!
Turquoise rivers wind through the limestone cave systems.

Day 14

Time to say goodbye... I'm sure by now you'll be exhausted and ready to get back home to share the memories of this trip with friends and family.Who am I kidding? This is the part where you start planning the next trip!

I'd love to hear what your perfect Belize vacation would look like!

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