Ready for an adventure in beautiful Belize without spending all your savings? Exploring this tropical paradise can sometimes be a challenge for your budget since, after all, the country is known as the most expensive country in Central America after Costa Rica. This itinerary and helpful tips will help you explore Belize without exceeding your budget.
Belize is a unique travel destination in Central America with many different cultural influences. Besides having plenty of culture to soak up, the beautiful nature is also a big reason to plan your Belize itinerary. There are quite a few national parks with lush jungle and overgrown Mayan ruins, as well as colorful coral reefs in the Belize Barrier Reef that you can explore while snorkeling and diving.
Belize itinerary for 1 or 2 weeks
San Ignacio ➤ Caye Caulker ➤ Hopkins ➤ Placencia ➤ Belize City (or Punta Gorda to Guatemala)
There are several ways to start your Belize itinerary. For example, it’s possible to fly into Belize City, the only place in the country with an international airport. But sometimes it can be more advantageous to start your itinerary from one of the neighboring countries if there are no direct flights.
For example, fly into Cancun in Mexico and then fly to Belize City. Or travel on to Chetumal where it’s possible to take a water cab to Caye Caulker.
But you could also fly into Guatemala City. There are two border crossings with Belize; one in the north (from Flores to San Ignacio) and one in the south (from Livingston to Punta Gorda). So it’s also possible to travel around and do a combined Guatemala and Belize itinerary.
The charming town of San Ignacio is located in western Belize, near the border with Guatemala. Surrounded by lush jungle, San Ignacio has a relaxing atmosphere and is a paradise for nature lovers.
You can explore the impressive Mayan ruins there, such as Xunantunich and Cahal Pech, or go for an adventure like tubing through ATM caves, zip-lining across the rainforest, and swimming in refreshing cenotes. Walking through these overgrown remnants of an ancient civilization is an extraordinary experience.
Number of days in San Ignacio: 2-3 days.
From San Ignacio, travel via Belize City to the tropical island of Caye Caulker next to the Belize Barrier Reef. With its relaxed and casual atmosphere, Caye Caulker is the ultimate destination to unwind. Here the locals live by the motto “Go Slow.” Enjoy the island’s slow pace and relax on a hammock under swaying palm trees.
Number of days in Caye Caulker: 3-5 days.
From Caye Caulker, you can travel back to Belize City and from there take the bus to the fishing village of Hopkins. But what’s even cooler is a three-day sailing trip across the Belize Barrier Reef to the village of Dangria, near Hopkins. Such a trip costs at least $500. That includes overnight stays on idyllic islands, 3 meals a day, drinks and lots of fun.
Once you arrive in Hopkins, you can enjoy cultural experiences with the Garifuna culture with their own music, dance and food. Also, in Hopkins you can enjoy sun, sea and beach as well as lush national parks with cool hikes to waterfalls and viewpoints.
Number of days in Hopkins: 2-3 days.
From Hopkins, take a bus to south Placencia. Placencia is known as a lovely place with one of the most beautiful beaches in Belize. It’s a great place to hang out with a drink in your hand.
In addition, Placencia is a perfect base to spot whale sharks during the months of March through June. And throughout the year you can take a beautiful trip down the Monkey River where you can spot howler monkeys, crocodiles, various birds and even manatees.
Number of days in Placencia: 2-3 days.
Onward travel to Guatemala
From Placencia, you can choose to travel back north to Belize City or continue your journey to Punta Gorda where you can cross the border to Guatemala. Belize and Guatemala are perfect countries to combine!
Useful tips for your Belize itinerary
Check what currency something is priced in
In Belize, people pay in Dollars. Both American Dollar (USD) and the Belize Dollar (BZD). You can pay in either currency, but it’s usually slightly more beneficial to pay in the local Belize Dollar.
In 2023, the USD is worth about 2x as much as the BZD. Therefore, anything priced in USD will be doubled when you want to pay in BZD. Double check beforehand what currency the price is listed in if that is not clear.
Leave your Spanish dictionary at home
Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language and Spanish not the dominant language. This is pretty easy when your Spanish is not that advanced. People also speak Creole, a mix of different languages.
Try to book your accommodations in advance
After my backpacking adventures through Southeast Asia, I was used to the “luxury” of booking accommodations last minute. There you can find great cheap places a day in advance. But I learned that in Belize, and in more Central American countries, it’s not really possible. Especially in high season (from January to April), the cheap accommodations are usually full weeks in advance.
So it’s advisable to actually set your itinerary and book your accommodations in advance, especially in the smaller villages where there is less supply. Sometimes it’s still possible to cancel them last minute if you change your mind.
Budget and costs Belize
Except for Costa Rica, Belize is the most expensive country in Central America. This is mainly due to the fact that the country produces few products itself and is dependent on imports. Traveling around Belize, therefore, can be quite pricey.
In these kinds of disadvantages of traveling, I see challenges and I figured out how you can still travel around Belize just fine on a smaller budget.
Fortunately, distances in Belize are not very long, so you don’t have to spend endless days on the road. The most common means of transportation in Belize is the local bus and also the cheapest option. For a 2-hour ride you pay around €3 to €5.
The buses come in both luxury versions and run-down rusty ones. The luxury bus is the brand new Floralia bus line that has been running between Belize City and Punta Gorda since 2023 and stops in the towns in between. This version is much more comfortable than the old buses, so it’s worth it because the price difference is minimal.
When traveling to Caye Caulker, you will also take the water cab. A one-way ticket costs about €15 from Belize City, and it’s more economical to buy a return ticket. This is a good plan if you are sure to travel back to Belize City.
Finally, cabs are also widely used in Belize, but they are obviously a lot more expensive. A lot more expensive. It is wise to agree on a price with the cab driver in advance and be sure to negotiate a bit.
Belize is becoming more backpacker-friendly. That means there are more cheap places to sleep such as dorms in hostels. A bed in a dorm costs about €15 to €30 per night.
If you prefer more privacy or are traveling together, you can count on about €30 to €50 per night for a budget double room. Budget means, without air conditioning and usually a shared bathroom.
For something more luxurious, you’ll quickly pay around €60 to €80 per night.
Budget rooms sell out pretty quickly, so make sure you book your accommodation several weeks to a month in advance, especially in high season.
Food and drinks
Food in Belize can be very cheap if you stop by the local street food stalls. Then you can already score a meal for €3 to €5.
In local restaurants you pay slightly more, namely €8 to €10 for a main course. And in a more luxurious restaurant you can easily spend €20 for a meal.
Drinks cost around €2 to €4.
Best time to travel this Belize itinerary
In Belize, the wet season usually begins in late May and ends pretty much around December. It can rain heavily and temperatures nevertheless remain high which makes for high humidity and muggy conditions. If you prefer to avoid the rains, travel during the dry season from January to April. This is the best travel time for planning an itinerary through Belize.