Belize Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Belize is an up and coming destination and also a popular stop off with people traveling through Central America. View our Belize travel guide with advice, ideas for the best things to see and do and information about itineraries, costs, how to save money, and more!
Belize Travel Ideas, Backpacking Trips & Gap Year Programs
Travel to Belize
We highly recommend visiting Belize as you can experience history, temples, islands and some of the best beaches in the region.
Our destination guide aims to give you all the information you need to have an amazing experience in this amazing country. Find affordable backpacking and gap year ideas with advice for amazing things to do and how you can be more than just your average traveller.
You can also get recommendations for budget travel tips, where to stay and advice how to stay safe.
Get inspired to visit Belize today!
- Capital: Belmopan
- Currency: Belizean dollar (BZD)
- Area: 22,960 km2
- Population: 288,000 (approx)
- Language: English, Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna, Creole
- Country Code: +501
Top Reasons to Travel to Belize
Belize is a small country so you can experience the highlights in a small period, here are some of the best things you should do:
- English speaking locals which makes the experience easier
- One of the best places for adventures sports in Central America
- See the ancient Maya sites of Altun Ha and Lamanai
- Go eye to eye with sharks at the Hol Chan marine reserve
- Go island hopping
- Jungle trekking
- Relax on spectacular beaches
If you come from an EU country, or from the USA, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Jamaican, Australia or Malaysia you will not do not get a visa and you will be granted entry on arrival. You can visit Belize on a tourist visa and you will only need a valid passport.
Weather & Best Time to Visit Belize
Throughout the year and especially during summer it get very hot in Belize so stay hydrated and avoid drinking excess alcohol. Rainy season usually arrives right on schedule, expect lots of rain but the temperature will still be warm which makes traveling in Belize bearable.
Travelling & Backpacking in Belize
Belize is a very accessible country by flying, crossing overland or arriving by boat. From the airport in Belize City you can take a taxi or shuttle bus to hotels and hostels in the centre, we recommend you try to eat and get everything done early due to most places closing early and the place getting eerily quiet.
We recommend leaving Belize City after a day or two, you could get a bus for 2.5 hour west to a town called San Ignacio. This is a very friendly location with relaxing guesthouses and hotels which are clean and also well located for activities on offer here. Once in San Ignacio you can catch a taxi to the nearby ruins of Cahal Pech, this is a small site but the temples are impressive and usually very deserted compared to other busy locations.
A cheaper option than seeing the Caracol ruins is to see another easily accessible Maya site called Xunantunich (Soo-nahn-too-neech) which is just a short bus ride from San Igancio. You will need to get a ferry (boat from a small dock) across to the site that just slowly shifts across and takes all of 3 mins to complete the move. There will then be a short (uphill) walk to reach the site and you are free to explore all the temples. There are lots of different things to see, all very impressive and some brilliant views from up top when you climb them.
The town of Dangriga on the coast and also Hopkins are both highly rated places to visit. The little village of Hopkins is around one hour from Dangriga and it is a very relaxed destination. You might want to rent bikes and ride about to take in the local sights, the Sittee River is lovely whilst the beaches are beautiful. Placencia is somewhere else you might like to visit, like Hopkins but more developed and you can reach this destination via another town and a water taxi. You can easily spend a few hours here relaxing on the beach.
From Hopkins you can head South to a place called Punta Gorda or you might want to go up North to a place called Caye Caulker via Belize City. Caye Caulker is an island that's a real favourite with backpackers and we highly recommend visiting. There are lots of stalls, bars, restaurants and the main focus is all about the snorkelling and the diving.
From Belize City you can take a water taxi to Ambergris Caye - San Pedro (30 mins), this is a very developed and more expensive location than Caye Caulker so somewhere to avoid if you are on a budget. Corozal is also a popular little town too and there are some more ruins to see here.
Gap Year in Belize
Interested in the idea of spending a gap year in Belize? Find amazing trips and programs on our directory.
Belize Budget Travel Tips
Belize is only a small country and costs are quite low compared to the east coast of Mexico for example but there are still ways to keep costs down. Stay in guest houses as opposed to hotels, avoid eating in expensive restaurants and cut back on adventure activities. Travelling on public bus is the cheapest way to get around, you might want to learn basic Spanish to make this easier.
Health & Safety
You shouldn't encounter any security or safety issues in Belize, crime against international visitors is very rare. The main tourism office is a good place to get information, you can get some great tips and also map which has a historical walking itinerary on the back. This will help you get your bearings and also felt a lot better about the place after that.