10 Incredible Things to Do in Belize

Lamanai's mask temple
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Are you planning a trip to Belize and overwhelmed with the numerous recommended popular attractions and must-do activities in Belize? If this is you, you’ve come to the right place! With over 15 years of experience working in the tourism industry, I can tell you exactly what are the best things to do in Belize.

See also: 10-step Belize Travel Guide and Top Places to Stay in Belize

But why should you trust my advice? I’ve personally visited most destinations in Belize, both with and without guides. I also worked for many years as a bartender/ server and later as a marketer at several resorts in Belize, which means I’ve personally heard countless in-person reviews from travelers. So without further ado, here’s my list of the most popular things to do in Belize.

1. Go Snorkeling

Snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef to see beautiful coral gardens

Belize has many wonderful snorkeling hot spots. Two locations worth mentioning are the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and South Water Caye Marine Reserve. There you will see pristine coral gardens and swim with countless marine wildlife.

From the two, Hol Chan is the most popular snorkeling destination, which can be easily visited from Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye. Sea turtles, nurse sharks, stingrays, and all sorts of colourful fishes are spotted there on a regular basis. But the SWCMR is equally as beautiful and has less visitors.


2. Explore Belize’s Caves

Explore the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave aka ATM Cave
ATM Cave

Of the many caves worth exploring in Belize, Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) provides the most amazing experience. This guided tour involves trekking through the jungle and rivers before arriving at the mouth of the ATM cave.

You have to swim to enter the cave and then you make your way through narrow crevices before arriving at the “dry chamber/ cathedral” where you witness amazing cave formations, ancient Maya pots and relics, and even sacrificial remains. If you prefer a more leisurely option, try cave canoeing at Barton Creek.


3. Go Scuba Diving

Fly over the Belize Blue Hole for beautiful scenic views of the Great Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef

Belize has no shortage of amazing scuba diving sites. The most popular dive site is the Great Blue Hole, which is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef. I mention diving the Blue Hole here since it is on every diver’s bucket list, BUT be wary that it’s not recommended for everyone unless they’re experienced divers and into cave diving.

For divers that prefer seeing colourful corals and marine wildlife, other sites such as Half Moon Caye Wall and Long Caye Aquarium are much better first options. Also, the Blue Hole is not great for snorkeling since you won’t be able to see much. Oh, and did you know that often a better experience than diving the Blue Hole, is seeing it from the air? This can be done by booking a Blue Hole flyover tour.


4. Visit Maya Temples

2012 Winter Solstice in Belize

Belize was once the epicentre of the Maya civilization. In fact, the country has the highest concentration of Mayan temples in Central America. If you’re wondering which of the many sites you should visit, I’ve written before on this topic and have included a link below for you to check out.

A quick summary of the post is that the most visited site in Belize is Altun Ha, due to cruise tourism; Lamanai has the coolest adventure since it involves riding a boat there; my favourite is Xunantunich, especially if you go horseback riding; and Caracol is the largest and possibly the most important site in Belize.


5. Explore Belize’s Cayes

Kayaking in Belize

Most people that travel to Belize are interested in visiting popular beach destinations such as Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Although I enjoy these places, if you really want a unique island adventure, I recommend visiting remote atolls such as Glover’s Reef and small cayes such as Tobacco Caye.

A couple of years ago I spent a week beach camping at Glover’s Reef and I had an unforgettable remote adventure. Imagine spending all day kayaking and snorkeling or relaxing on a hammock with a cold beer in hand, and then falling asleep under the stars to the sound of waves crashing against the reef. It was truly amazing.


6. Go Wildlife Spotting

Harpy Eagle at the Belize Zoo

Belize has an abundance of wildlife and visiting sanctuaries and nature reserves is a good way to spot them. However, the easiest way to see Belizean wildlife is by visiting the Belize Zoo. Known as the ‘best little zoo in the world’, it is the perfect activity for animal lovers and families with kids.

Far from an ordinary zoo, the Belize Zoo only has rescued animals that are native to Belize and they are in large enclosures that replicate their natural environment. The zoo focuses on conservation education and wildlife protection and rehabilitation.


7. Experience the Belizean Jungle

Rio on Pools in Mountain Pine Ridge

I recommend exploring the Belizean jungle by visiting its national parks. My favourite is the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, which consists of a beautiful landscape of rolling pine forest spread over smooth, granite hillsides in Cayo, Belize. This off-the-beaten-path national park is home to many wildlife and natural attractions thus making it the ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Along with birding, hiking and swimming, visitors can explore caves, waterfalls, and the Mayan site of Caracol. Other popular jungle destinations in Belize include the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower Bocawaina, Chaa Creek Nature Reserve, and St. Herman’s Blue Hole.


8. Go Cave Tubing

Cave Tubing in Belize is done at Nohoch Che'en Cave in Caves Branch

In Belize, no matter where in the country you are, you’re never too far away from water. This means that there’s always plenty of opportunities to either be near or on the water. Believe it or not, an extraordinary way to explore Belize is through cave tubing.

Cave tubing involves visiting the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch archeological reserve to river tube into a series of limestone caves that the ancient Maya once used for rituals. Angela Wu, blogger at Belizing wrote about this incredible tour and it’s definitely worth a read. P.s. The same location allows for Ziplining adventures.


9. Discover Belizean Food and Culture

Hudut Garifuna Food in Belize

Belize is a melting pot of cultures and depending on where you are in the country, there are different cultures and languages. The most popular people of Belize are the Mestizo, Creole, Maya, Garifuna, and Mennonite.

A recommended way to experience Belizean culture is through cuisine. Go to local restaurants and ask for favourite dishes such as rice and beans, caldo, fry jacks, and hudut. Or how about taking cooking lessons? For example, if you’re in the Garifuna village of Hopkins, learn how to make Hudut, or even better, combine your cooking lesson with Garifuna dancing and drumming.


10. Go Birdwatching

Birding in Belize is great at Agua Caliente

Belize is home to more than 500 species of birds and most of them can be seen without having to venture deep into the jungle. For example, the Keel-billed Toucan, Belize’s national bird, is often seen on roadsides throughout the Cayo and Toledo Districts.

And, the elegant Jabiru Stork, which is the largest flying bird in Central America, can be easily seen in Crooked Tree Village. In fact, the Wildlife Sanctuary in Crooked Tree is possibly Belize’s premier birdwatching hotspot. See the link below for many other birding options.


There you have it, these are some of the most incredible attractions and activities to do on your Belize vacation. It shows that whether you’re interested in having an active adventure or a relaxing trip, Belize has something for you.

Where to Go in Belize

To truly explore the country, I recommend spending a minimum of one week in Belize. A good recommendation is to spend half of your time in the rainforest of Belize and finish off your travels by visiting the coast or the Cayes.

  • Placencia and Hopkins are the most visited coastal towns, followed by Dangriga; all which are located near each other in Southern Belize.
  • As for popular mainland destinations, San Ignacio serves as the principal hub for travelers seeking the many eco-adventures that Cayo has to offer. Orange Walk and Punta Gorda in Toledo draw a few visitors. And Corozal is possibly the least visited destination in Belize.

Where to Stay in Belize

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