15 things YOU MUST do in Belize City

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Belize City is often the first touchpoint for travelers arriving in Belize since it hosts the country’s only international airport. From there, most people venture to the cayes and mainland.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Belize City, you should know that there aren’t many top tourist attractions in the downtown core. However, there are plenty of things to do near the city!

Top Things to Do in Belize City

Museum of Belize in Belize City

The activities I’ve put together below are great for one-day Port of Belize cruise ship passengers and business trip travelers that are staying in Belize City for a weekend or a couple of days.

1. Historic Belize City tour

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

2. The Belize Zoo

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.”

3. Altun Ha

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.

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.”

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 Here you can witness vintage furniture, historical documents and photographs.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.”

6. 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.

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.

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.

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.

  • www.goffscayebelize.com

10. Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley

Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley offer the best snorkeling 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 colorful fishes can be spotted on a regular basis. This tour can be easily done from Belize City, Caye Caulker, and San Pedro.

11. Xunantunich

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 its main temple El Castillo (130 ft) offers spectacular views of nearby villages and Guatemalan mountains.

12. Cave tubing and Zip-lining

Cave tubing and zip-lining is loads of fun and is probably the most popular cruise excursion. Cave tubing 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 around $100 pp.

  • www.cavetubinginbelize.com

13. Community Baboon Sanctuary

The Black Howler Monkey, locally known as a Baboon, is a spectacular creature to see in the wild and therefore, visiting the Community Baboon Sanctuary should be on everyone’s to-do list. Just 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.

14. 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.

15. Lamanai

Lamanai Maya Ruin is located on 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 favorite 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.

Is Belize City safe to visit?

In contrast to other destinations in Belize, downtown Belize City has a reputation for crime and gang violence. As a result, it is not recommended that visitors explore Belize City on their own and instead book organized tours to stay safe. For this reason, typically, most people vacation elsewhere in Belize.

What is Belize City known for?

Belize City is known as Belize’s old capital and the center of commerce. Unfortunately, the city is also known for its high rate of poverty, which culminates in high crime and gang violence that is not seen elsewhere in Belize.



Reader Interactions


  1. Lesley Walcott says

    My friends are going to Belize in Feb for my bday. We are thinking of staying in the city either the first night or last night. what is your sugesstion and what can we do in the city? we are going to stay else where for the remaing nights. four days and five mights.,

  2. esteban says

    buenas Lorenzo

    pienso ir una semana a Belice en este Diciembre, en que distrito me recomiendas que me quede si quiero disfrutar de las bellas playas y sitios arqueologicos que el pais ofrece.


  3. herman ben says

    awesome blog Lorenzo, I have donated some beer money for you, keep up the good work!

  4. Patsy Montes says

    We are going to be there for a day (cruise) this week. My granddaughter really wanted to see a colorful toucan and swim with the dolphins! Her only request. Any suggestions?

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez says

      Toucans and lots of other cool wildlife can be seen at the Belize Zoo. All the animals there are only from Belize and rescued/ donated. Belize doesn’t really offer swimming with dolphins tour – for that you will have to go to Cancun or Cozumel. But tell her she can swim with Whale Sharks in Placencia during the Whale Shark season!

  5. Rocco Del Forte says

    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.

  6. Andrea says

    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!

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez says

      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.