Belize Holidays: An Overview

Belize's many and varied attractions include Mayan ruins and 174 miles of coastline fringed with numerous atolls, known as Cayes, and the second greatest barrier reef in the world.

Saskia and Will are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • The wildlife - over 500 species of birds call Belize home, and these share their rainforest habitat with howler monkeys, spider monkeys, coatimundi and tapirs, among others
  • If you're really lucky, you may spot the elusive jaguar - or one of its more diminutive cousins such as the puma, ocelot, margay or jaguarundi
  • The culture - the rainforests of Belize are literally littered with ancient Mayan ruins, but only a tiny percentage have been excavated. We especially love those at Lamanai and Caracol, but there are many more to explore

Belize Luxury Holidays: The Detail

Divers and snorkellers have long known about the spectacular reefs off the coast of Belize, but the mainland is also rich in flora and fauna, with 40% of the country set aside in conservation areas, which makes for incredible exploratory fodder on a luxury holiday. The lush rainforests are still home to jaguar, puma and various species of monkey, as well as the beautiful, brilliantly plumed quetzal.

Formerly British Honduras, Belize is a country defined by various cultures, languages, and ethnic groups including descendants of the Mayans, whose civilisation dominated this region for centuries. Mayan links are evident in well-preserved remains such as Xunantunich, with its plazas and temples, and Caracol's 138ft tall Sky Palace Pyramid.

Did you know

  • Belize is home to the rare howler monkey, which is one of the world's top ten loudest animals
  • It is the only Central American country with English as its official language
  • Belize is home to the 'Royal Rat' - a delicacy that is said to taste similar to rabbit. It became famous when Queen Elizabeth was served one on her visit to the country
  • Roads have speed bumps to control the traffic in place of traffic lights
  • The national motto of Belize is 'Under the Shade, I flourish'

The inland area of Belize is home to dense rainforests but also - bizarrely - pine forests more reminiscent of Europe than Central America. There are luxury lodges here that are the perfect place for some luxury holiday downtime before or after the beach, or for anyone crossing over into Belize from Tikal in Guatemala (an excellent combination). And on the subject of Tikal, while none of the Mayan sites in Belize matches the imperious site in Guatemala, the likes of Cahal Pech are definitely worth a visit, as are the cave systems, such as at Actun Tunichil Muknal, which were often used as Mayan sacrificial sites. Spooky but spectacular.

And then there are the beaches and Cayes of the coast with excellent laidback lodges (with more popping up all the time) from which to explore the Lighthouse Reef System, the second longest reef system in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reef is also home to the Blue Hole, a perfectly circular sinkhole filled with countless species of marine life including angelfish, sponges, barracudas and different species of shark as well as impressive coral formations and extraordinary stalactites. The water temperature is a thoroughly civilised 76 degrees (or even warmer) as far down as 130 feet, making this a bucket list essential for divers. Closer to the surface, the cayes and coastline are also home to the extraordinary and endangered manatee or sea cow.

Our Latin America team have stayed in all the best lodges throughout the country and work with the top guides for cultural and wildlife excursions. We only use the finest dive operators and can arrange dive trips to see whale sharks in this, one of the few places on the planet where marine biologists know when, why and where they congregate. The last Original Travel consultant to dive in Belize saw eight whale sharks on his solitary dive. Not a bad return.


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Original Highlight

It's size! The population is just under 330,000, which means no over-development and no hectic hustle. Belizeans are warm, friendly and extremely relaxed. In two weeks you can see and do most of the country, allowing for a rich and diverse experience.

Will, Original Traveller

A note on price

It’s not possible to fly directly to Belize in a day, so a stop-over is necessary (USA, Guatemala or Mexico, usually). Flights range from £600 - £1,000. Travelling within the country is relatively inexpensive, and a two week trip to Belize starts from £2,500 per person excluding international flights Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 24°C / 75°F
  • Rainfall — 12cm / 5.0 inches
  • Water Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
Language

English

Currency

Belize Dollar

Visa Requirements

Not required

Religion

Catholic

Food & Drink

Roasted Breadfruit & Fried Jackfish, Golden Apple Drink

What to pack

a hat with brim for sun protection

Flight from London

10:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -3 hrs


Top picks for Belize

El Secreto

El Secreto

The Cayes

El Secreto is an exclusive and secluded resort on the sandy shores of an island enjoying views of the palm fringed beaches and protected reef of nearby Ambergris Caye.

Where to stay

Sunrise Ride from Blancaneaux Lodge

Sunrise Ride from Blancaneaux Lodge

Inland Belize

There is no better way to start the day than from on a horse surrounded by nature. The sunrise ride from Blancaneaux Lodge is suitable for all levels, regardless of skill and ability.

What to do

Gaïa River Lodge

Gaïa River Lodge

Inland Belize

Gaia River Lodge is a peaceful sanctuary retreat in Belize’s Mountain Pine Ridge, perched in the natural beauty of pine forest overlooking spectacular waterfalls in the lodge's grounds.

Where to stay

Belcampo Belize

Belcampo Belize

The Belizean Coast

Belcampo Belize is a luxurious eco-lodge with 12 private cabanas that open into the heart of the Belizean jungle.

Where to stay

Dive the Blue Hole

Dive the Blue Hole

The Cayes

Part of the Lighthouse Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Blue Hole is 60 miles off the mainland of Belize and is one of the greatest dive sites in the world.

What to do

Turtle Inn

Turtle Inn

The Belizean Coast

Set on a long, narrow spit of land, just inches above sea level, Turtle Inn is sandwiched between the open ocean to one side and a lagoon, home to manatees, on the other.

Where to stay

Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Inland Belize

Lamanai Outpost Lodge is situated on the banks of a 28 mile long lagoon amid the remnants of a major Mayan city.

Where to stay

Matachica

Matachica

The Cayes

Matachica is just a stone’s throw from Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, on a powdery white sand beach. Think low-key barefoot vibe; more for the laid-back traveller than the set-in-their-ways traditionalist.

Where to stay

Caracol Belize

Inland Belize

Belize

Rainforest and pine forest, abundant wildlife and Mayan sites make this an exciting and adventurous destination.

Where to go

Belize Nurse Sharks

The Cayes

Belize

There are thousands of islands, or cayes, along the coast of Belize.

Where to go

Visit Caracol

Visit Caracol

Inland Belize

Located in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol is the largest Mayan archeological site in Belize, so large in fact that it would have once covered an area much larger than present day Belize City (the largest metropolitan area in the country of Belize) and supported more than twice the population.

What to do

Chaa Creek

Chaa Creek

Inland Belize

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is recognised as an exemplary model of sustainable development within Belize’s rainforest.

Where to stay

Blancaneaux Lodge

Blancaneaux Lodge

Inland Belize

Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, Blancaneaux Lodge is a peaceful retreat located in the central forests of Belize, just outside the town of San Ignacio.

Where to stay

The Belizean Coast

The Belizean Coast

Belize

The southern coast of Belize is still relatively undiscovered, and we have sought out the hidden gems that make the most of the stunning coastline.

Where to go

Chan Chich

Chan Chich

Inland Belize

There are several lodges in Central America that are near to Mayan cities, but only one actually in the ruins of one.

Where to stay

Belize Catamaran Trips

Belize Catamaran Trips

The Belizean Coast

A catamaran trip up and down the Belizean Coast is one of the best, if not the best, ways to explore Belize’s world famous reefs, islands and underwater world.

What to do

 Caving in Belize

Caving in Belize

Inland Belize

Not only do the caves in Belize offer a wide range of activities they are also of historical significance, as many of the caves were important Mayan ceremonial sites.

What to do

Hidden Valley Inn

Hidden Valley Inn

Inland Belize

Nestled in its own 7,200 acre nature reserve, Hidden Valley Inn is one of the most secluded properties in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest and largest parkland in Belize.

Where to stay

I'd like to thank you for your expert advice and guidance in helping us to create this holiday.

Michael

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