If you’re used to traveling in Central America, when you enter Belize you may notice that you can’t stretch your money as much as you did in countries such as Guatemala or Honduras. This is because similarly to Costa Rica, Belize is a bit on the expensive side. But don’t give up yet, by smartly planning your vacation you can still do Belize on the cheap while maximizing a great travel experience.
Travel to Belize costs more than Central American counterparts because the country’s population is very small (approximately 350,000) and aside from a few local products, EVERYTHING is imported. For instance, the average price of gas is $6 USD per gallon while it’s $3.50 in the USA. Just imagine the effect that has on the economy.
However, there’s a positive side to everything, and for Belize, it is the unspoiled beauty of the place — since not many people visit (approximately 250,000 overnight tourists per year). The charm of the country is its uninhabited rainforests, the simple and friendly people, and the “quiet” towns. Below are three destinations that I recommend you add to your Belize itinerary in order to enjoy a budget vacation.
Located in the western part of Belize, San Ignacio is a small bustling town perfect for arranging numerous adventures in the surrounding area. The town is locally known as Cayo, attributed to the district it is in. The Cayo District is recognized for ecotourism; here you can explore ruins, rivers, caves and jungles. In brief, three tours that you can’t miss are the ATM Cave, Cave Tubing and Xunantunich. For a longer guide of activities, check out top things to do in San Ignacio. If you haven’t been to Tikal as yet, many day trips are offered from here. Also, a good bang for your buck experience would be booking a day trip to Mountain Pine Ridge where you can see caves, rivers, and ruins.
Of all the beautiful islands of Belize, Caye Caulker is probably the most popular for backpackers. Everyone seems to love the small size of the island (only five miles long), the Caribbean vibe, and the laidback style of the people — no one is ever in a hurry there. As for tours, due to the closeness of the Belize barrier reef, travelers can experience a wide array of adventures such as snorkeling, diving, fishing, and kayaking. Three tours that you can’t miss include snorkeling or diving at the Hol-Chan Marine Reserve, Manatee watching at Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary and overnight sailing with Raggamuffin Tours. If you’re an excellent diver, the Blue Hole should be on your bucket list. P.s. The Blue Hole can also be seen from an airplane and it’s an amazing experience.
Placencia Village is located at the tip of Placencia, a 16-mile long peninsula in southern Belize that is also home to Maya Beach and the Garifuna village of Seine Bight. Although Placencia Village was once known as a sleepy fisherman village, it is now a vibrant town with a predominantly Creole culture. You will surely enjoy the relaxed vibe, the colorful houses, and the excellent restaurants and bars. Three tours that you must try if possible are swimming with Whale Sharks, visiting a nearby Caye for a snorkeling and beach BBQ tour, and taking the Monkey River tour. I personally believe the best beaches in Belize are located in Placencia.
If you prefer upscale travel, check out these luxury hotels in Belize.