The Best Off The Beaten Path Destinations In Belize

Snake Cayes Belize

Snake Cayes, Southern Belize

Many visitors to Belize stick to the typical tourist destinations because they are easier to get to, but there is a lot more to explore besides popular spots such like LamanaiATM Cave, and the Blue Hole.  With the following off the beaten path destinations in Belize, getting there really is half the adventure.  If you consider yourself an intrepid traveler and can endure long, bumpy dirt road trips and a ride into the open sea, these places are well worth the effort.

1. Sarteneja Village

Sarteneja Village Belize

A quiet fishing village in Corozal, getting to Sarteneja requires a two-hour road trip from Orange Walk on some of the worst roads you can find, as well as crossing bridge-less waters on two hand-cranked ferries. Once you get there, grab a snack and sit on the seawall, taking in the crystal clear water and colorful fishing boats.

Sarteneja is also home to Belize’s only manatee rescue shelter, Wildtracks, which accepts volunteers to help with the care and rehabilitation of these peaceful and adorable mammals.

2. Mountain Pine Ridge

Dirt Road to Mountain Pine Ridge

Endure a bumpy ride deep back-a-bush in Cayo district, and you will find red dirt and twisted pine trees of Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve that looks like nothing else in Belize.  Hidden in the Martian landscape are pocket valleys of lush jungle and secret waterfalls with the most refreshing water you’ll ever discover.

My favorite waterfalls are Big Rock Falls and Butterfly Falls. If caving is more your thing, there are several to explore, such as the Rio Frio Caves. Another great aspect of this area is that you can visit Caracol, Belize’s largest Mayan temple.

3. The Snake Cayes

Hermit crab Belize

This destination is the longest journey, but the pristine island is so worth it.  The Snake Cayes lie in protected waters off the coast of Toledo, all the way in the south of Belize.  It is about a seven-hour drive from Belize City to Punta Gorda Town. Then, to get to the Cayes, you must charter a speedboat and hire a TIDE tour guide (the local coast guard).  This is surprisingly affordable with a group.  An hour or so boat ride brings you to the result – your own private castaway island.

Hang up a hammock and watch the wild hermit crabs scavenge for coconuts, or scavenge yourself for coral and shells that have washed up on the perfect white sandy beach.  Or climb the observation tower to get a breathtaking view of the mangroves and turquoise waters. And yes, there are snakes here… but is unlikely you will even notice the boa constrictors peacefully curled up in the top of their palm trees when there is so much else to take in.


Have I convinced you to visit any these off-the-beaten-path locations? I’d love to hear which is your favorite?




About Cathleen Juan

Cathleen first came to Belize as a volunteer almost 10 years ago. She now resides in western Belize with her husband and children. Cathleen enjoys photography, blogging, and working on the family farm.


7 Responses to The Best Off The Beaten Path Destinations In Belize

  1. Andrew August 20, 2013 at 8:01 AM #

    The Snake Cayes keep coming up on forums. I need to make it there.

  2. Laura Howard August 23, 2013 at 8:26 AM #

    Another location is Indian Church and San Carlos Villages, both off the beaten path yet near the large archaeological site of Lamanai, there is large fresh water lagoon, ruins, people, birds, howler monkeys, so fun!!!

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez April 29, 2014 at 8:32 PM #

      Wow, that sounds amazing. I’ve never been there.

  3. Brandy April 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM #

    What is life like in Belize? How do you make a living? We have 3 children 5 and under. We have been researching different places to live. :Loking at things like safety, making a living and school.

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez April 29, 2014 at 8:37 PM #

      Most expats own or work in tourism businesses. I also know a few that are college or university teachers. Western Belize is probably best for raising a family. The cost of living is cheaper than the coast/ cayes and has good schools.


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