Top Things to do in Belize City

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There aren’t many attractions in downtown Belize City, but there’s plenty of things to do nearby. After numerous emails, I’ve decided to make a list of activities for one-day cruise passengers and business trip travelers who are staying in the city for the weekend or a few days.

In no particular order, here are 18 things to do in Belize City:

1. Tour the city

Your guide will take you on a short scenic tour of Belize City and discuss Belize’s culture, economics and architecture. You will be able to grab lunch at a local restaurant or market and view some historical buildings. This activity can be done on a van or horse and carriage. tourbelizecity.com

2. The Belize Zoo

jaguar at belize zoo

@KirstenAlana marvels at the jaguar as she sits inside a cage.

This is a perfect activity for animal lovers and families. The Belize Zoo isn’t your ordinary zoo, here you will only find rescued animals that are native to Belize and they roam “free” in large enclosures that replicate their natural environment. The zoo focuses on conservation education and wildlife rehabilitation and protection. It is known as “the best little zoo in the world.” Belizezoo.org

3. Museum of Belize

Set inside the historic Queen Elizabeth’s prison, the museum of Belize is perfect for anyone interested in learning about Belize’s history and culture. Here you can witness various small exhibits which include ancient maya relics, insect gallery, a stamp collection and vintage photos. Museumofbelize.com

4. St. Johns Cathedral

This is the oldest Anglican Church in Central America. This tour isn’t anything grandeur but you should definitely visit if you like British colonial architecture or want to hear about the role the church played in Belizean history. The church has over 150 active members, old cemetery and runs a school. This is usually part of the “Belize City tour.” Stjohnscathedral.com

5. The Government House

The Government House is one of Belize’s most preserved colonial buildings. It is now designated a house of culture but in the past it was used to host foreign dignitaries and as the residence of the Governor General of Belize. Here you can witness vintage furniture, historical documents and photographs. A visit here is usually included in the “Belize City tour.” Belizegovernmenthouse.com

6. Altun Ha

Altun Ha Mayan Ruin

Retro photo of Altun Ha’s main temple

Roughly an hour away from the city, Altun Ha is one of Belize’s most visited archaeological sites. This Maya temple is featured prominently in Belize’s national beer and it’s where the famous Jade Head of the Maya Sun God Kinich Ahau was found. Altunhabelize.com

7. Belize Tourism Village

For anyone coming on a cruise, the tourism village is unavoidable since it’s the port of entry. It’s a great place for souvenirs, booze and duty free items. If you decide to just stay here, you won’t get a real Belizean experience. Some areas of Belize City can be dodgy but you’re safe with a guide. Another option is to skip the city and go cave tubing/ ziplining or visit attractions like the Belize Zoo and Mayan temples. Belizetourismvillage.com

8. Old Belize

Escape the city and head to Old Belize for a day of relaxation with the family and kids. This location is a popular Marina where sailors from around the world dock their yachts. Onsite you can find a man-made beach, zipline, waterfall, restaurant and private museum with informative facts about Belize. Oldbelize.com

9. Goff’s Caye

Goffs Caye is the perfect spot to spend the day and enjoy a picnic lunch. You get to eat fresh BBQ lobster, conch or fish and drink as much rum punch as you want. The water is beautiful and it is possible to go snorkelling right off the island. You get to see countless Marine wildlife and colorful corals. Goffscayebelize.com

10. Caye Caulker

Pristine beach in Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker can be a bit secluded

As you arrive you will feel all your worries and stress disappear. Caye Caulker is known for it’s relaxed vibe and down to earth locals. Spend the day swimming in the calm waters of The Split and drinking cocktails at The Lazy Lizard or choose to go snorkelling or diving nearby. Other popular options include sailing and manatee spotting at Swallow Caye. Belizeadventure.ca/caye-caulker

11. Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is Caye Caulker’s more developed counterpart and Belize’s most visited destination. The town is named San Pedro and it hosts beautiful beaches, upscale resorts and some of the best dining in the country. Spend the day diving the world famous Blue Hole, snorkelling Hol Chan or relaxing at a beach bar. Belizeadventure.ca/ambergris-caye

12. Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley

Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley offers the best snorkelling experience in Belize. During a trip here you will see pristine coral gardens and swim with countless marine wildlife. Sea turtles, nurse sharks, stingrays and all kinds of colourful fishes can be spotted on a regular basis. This tour can be easily done from Caye Caulker or San Pedro. Holchanbelize.org

13. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

If you’re a bird lover and fishing fanatic, this is a place you have to visit. Located in the quaint Kriol village of Crooked Tree,this sanctuary provides refuge for hundreds, if not thousands of migratory and resident birds. It’s a marshland so expect to mostly see wetland birds. This place is approximately 30 miles away from Belize City. Crookedtreewildlifesanctuary.com

14. Xunantunich

Maya stucco frieze Xunanunich

Stucco Frieze at El Castillo

Xunantunich is more impressive than Altun Ha and is a must-see for archaeology enthusiasts. It is an hour away from Belize City and you have to cross a hand-cranked ferry to get there. Lush jungle surrounds this site and it’s main temple El Castillo (130 ft) offers spectacular views of nearby villages and Guatemalan mountains. Xunantunichbelize.com

15. Actun Tunichil Muknal

Actun Tunichil Muknal is one of most amazing experience you’ll ever have. This guided tour involves trekking through the jungle and rivers before arriving at the mouth of cave. You have to swim to enter and then make your way through obstacles before arriving to the “dry chamber/ cathedral” section where you witness Maya relics and sacrificial remains. Belizeadventure.ca/actun-tunichil-muknal

16. Cave tubing and Zip-lining

Cavetubing and ziplining is loads of fun and is probably the most popular cruise excursion. Cavetubing is an interesting way to mix swimming/ floating and cave exploration. Ziplining is perfect for adrenaline junkies wishing to soar above the rainforest canopy tops. It’s better to book this as a private tour because you might avoid the crowds and it’s cheaper – the Cruise ship’s price is $150 USD per person and others charge $100 pp. Caveandziplinebelize.com

17. Community Baboon Sanctuary

The Black Howler Monkey, locally known as a Baboon, is a spectacular creature to see in the wild and should be on everyone’s to-do list. A short trip from Belize City (30 miles), this reserve is located in Bermudian Landing, a small Kriol village. Along with Howler Monkeys, you get to see other wildlife and also witness everyday village life. Howlermonkeys.org

18. Lamanai

Lamanai's mask temple

Lamanai’s mask temple

Lamanai is located in the banks of the New River in Orange Walk. It takes some time to get there (this is not for cruise passengers) but that’s my favourite part! It involves a scenic 26 mile boat ride where you can experience countless wildlife encounters. A guide helps you spot creatures such as exotic birds, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, river otters and crocodiles. Belizeadventure.ca/lamanai

 

About Lorenzo Gonzalez

Lorenzo Gonzalez is the founder of Belizeadventure.ca, a resource for travel information on Belize. He enjoys traveling, social media and Paranda music. Contact him at lorenzo [at] belizeadventure.ca. Learn more...
  • Andrea

    HI! We are staying one or two night in Belize City. We fly out at noon on a Monday. I was hoping to stay in Caye Caulker instead of Belize city, but I’m worried we could miss our flight? Should I be concerned? Would you recommend staying in Belize City closer to the airport – and if so any hotel recs? Thanks!

    • http://www.belizeadventure.ca/ Lorenzo Gonzalez

      Yeah I recommend you stay in Caye Caulker, you’ll have a much better time. You have two options to get to the airport. Book a morning flight transfer from Caye Caulker to the airport (1/2 hour) or take the early water taxi to Belize City (2 hours) and then a cab to the airport (1/2 hour). If you’re at the PGIA 1 hour before your flight you’ll be ok.

  • http://www.atlanticibl.com/ Atlantic International Bank Ld

    Great list, Belize has so much to do that it would take more than a day to enjoy the country. In each district you are introduced to different cultures and new adventures.

    • http://www.belizeadventure.ca/ Lorenzo Gonzalez

      Thanks!

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  • Rocco Del Forte

    Hi, this is a very helpfull page thank you for that. I do want to know though how to get to swim with whale sharks and skydive into the blue hole? Like in some videos.

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