Explore Belize On The Cheap

Caye Caulker Caribean colors
Reading Time: 3 mins

If you’re used to traveling cheaply in Central America, when you enter Belize you’ll notice that your money can’t go as far. This is because similar to Costa Rica, Belize is a bit on the expensive side compared to Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. But don’t give up yet, by smartly planning your Belize vacation, you can still do Belize on the cheap while having a great travel experience.

Travel to Belize costs more than Central American counterparts because its population is very small (approx 390,000 people), and aside from a few local products, EVERYTHING is imported. For instance, the average price for gas in Belize is $6 USD per gallon while it’s $3.50 in the U.S. Just imagine how this effects the economy.

See also: Best Cheap Hotels in Belize and Top Beach Areas in Belize

However, there’s a positive side to everything, and for Belize, it’s the country’s unspoiled beauty — since not many people visit Belize (approx 250,000 overnight tourists visit per year). The charm of the country is its uninhabited rainforests, the simple and friendly people, and the “quiet” towns.

Below are three top destinations in Belize that I recommend adding to your itinerary in order to have an affordable vacation in Belize.

1. San Ignacio, Cayo

macal river canoeing in San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
Canoeing the Macal River near Downtown San Ignacio

Located in Western 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, see top things to do in San Ignacio. If you want to Tikal, 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.

Where to Stay in San Ignacio:

2. Caye Caulker

caye caulker the split
Playing corn hole at The Split

Of all the beautiful islands of Belize, Caye Caulker is the most popular for backpackers. Everyone seems to love the small size of the island (only five miles long), the Caribbean vibe, and the laid back style of the locals — 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 Great Blue Hole should be on your bucket list. P.s. The Blue Hole can also be seen from an airplane which is an amazing experience.

Where to Stay in Caye Caulker:

3. Placencia

aerial photo of placencia Belize
Aerial photo of Placencia

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 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 snorkeling and BBQ lunch on the beach, and taking the Monkey River and Manatee Watch tour. I personally believe the best beaches in Belize are in Placencia.

Where to Stay in Placencia:

If you prefer upscale travel, check out this list of luxury hotels in Belize or Beachfront resorts in Belize.

For Belize travel itineraries, check out 7 days in Belize or 14 days in Belize.



Reader Interactions


  1. Usta Çiftçi says

    If you have a particular hotel in mind, calling the hotel directly can often result in better rates. Since you’re able to speak with someone in real time, the staff will often be privy to rates that aren’t advertised online. Have a nice travel..

  2. US Kingdoms says

    I am traveling to Placencia in June and am so excited about my trip. We did budget friendly planning we set the amount and worked within that and I think it's going to be a great trip. Love reading your blog. – J

  3. Denis Maldonado says

    great blog Lou!
    Very informative and has a local's vibe to it.. def sharing man:)

  4. Michelle Williams says

    No hostels in placencia? I want to spend a week there at $15 or less a night if possible?

  5. shauna says

    Anyone know of affordable place to stay in the San Ignacio area with a jungle vibe? Tree house or something similar would be awesome!

  6. sonnie says

    Any one would like to tell me please that “Which one is the most favorite tourist place in Belieze” ?

  7. Caro_PassportandaToothbrush says

    Uy, me encanta!! Thanks for the tip, we’re looking for budget destinations, closer to Canada, will keep this post in mind!

  8. Pennilessandfree says

    Cheers for the tips Lorenzo. Actually writing this from Caye Cualker…what a gem of a place! I’m heading to San Ignacio in a couple of days and quite keen on seeing the ATM cave and maybe doing some cave tubing. Do you have a recommendation for a good tour company?

  9. Cassie says

    Great ideas, we need to get on planning a trip down there, I’ve been to nearby Yucatan and Kevin’s been all around Guatemala, but hearing the cost of Belize has kept us from crossing over. I’m really intrigued by the cultures and history of the country, I had no idea there were creole culture down there!

    And what is this Blue Hole you keep mentioning? Do you have an earlier post you could link to from this one? I’ll google it now…

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez says

      The Blue Hole is on every serious diver’s bucket list. It is a massive underwater sinkhole that is even visible from outer space. I haven’t written about it but I plan to do so in the future. There is so much to share… lol
      You and Kevin need to get down there! I can help with recommendations when you’re ready… 🙂

  10. Red Hunt says

    Good old Caye Caulker…good memories from there. The overnight sailing sounds like a blast…something to do next time I visit!