An Itinerary For Backpacking Belize – Where To Visit and What To Do
Belize is an amazing country to travel offering plenty of adventurous opportunities. We could have easily spent more than 2 weeks that we did! Travelling around is super easy and basically everyone speaks english. With beautiful national parks and nature reserves, amazing reefs and marine life, and a culture rich in Maya history, Belize is a destination you will not want to miss!
WHERE TO GO IN BELIZE:
Our Belize itinerary consisted of four action packed stops. We spent an amazing two weeks in Belize and could have spent longer! In order of travel we visited Caye Caulker (3 nights), San Pedro (3 nights), Placencia (3 nights), San Ignacio (4 nights).
A super laid back island with the slogan “Go Slow” and you can literally walk the entire island within an hour at most. The island also offers great snorkelling and diving opportunities.
The town on the much larger and busier island of Ambergris Caye. It also offers many snorkelling and diving options as it is super close to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
A long peninsula with a small town at the end. We came here for the relaxed beach vibe and to set it as a base to visit Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. If you time your visit right this may also be your chance to go swimming with a whale shark.
The city next to the Guatemalan border in the west of Belize that offers many awesome activities. Our main highlight in San Ignacio was the ATM caves but there were some awesome off the beaten path things to do as well. Check out our other blogs for more info on that!
Other Destinations Of Interest
One area we were a little disappointed to have to miss is Orange Walk and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in the north of Belize. It is supposed to be beautiful but we were struggling to find accommodations in our budget. Other places worth considering are Hopkins (closer to Cockscomb Basin than Placencia) and Dangriga.
TRANSPORTATION IN BELIZE
Transportation around Belize is very easy and straight forward. Travelling between towns is easily done by taking the local busses often referred to as the chicken bus. We highly recommend you use the chicken bus as it is the cheapest option and gets you feeling like a local! Here is the link to the bus schedule all around the country ->
We would advise still asking someone from your hostel, guesthouse, hotel, etc just to confirm but we found it to be reliable. For transportation to and between the islands you have the water taxi. We recommend paying when you get there and not online as we found the prices in person to be cheaper. Depending on your budget, you can rent a golf cart to get around island or peninsula areas, but these cannot be taken on the main highways. We found a 4 seater golf cart for the day to be around $130BZD($65USD). You can also rent mopeds/scooters for around $100BZD($50USD) daily but companies will not let you take these into areas like Cockscomb Basin and Mountain Pine Ridge due to road conditions. You can rent a dirt bike for a similar price but you must have your motorcycle licence for this. Also, there are car rental options. We also hitched a couple rides. People are often happy to help out and drop you off if they are driving past where you are heading.
SAFETY IN BELIZE
Through our experience, we found Belize to be super safe! We heard some negative things about Belize City so we avoided the area but other than that we found it to be great. The people are extremely kind and helpful. On two separate occasion, some locals driving by saw we were walking in a certain direction and stopped to offer us a ride down to/closer towards where we needed to be. We were not afraid at all walking around at night, but we also did not stray away from common areas after dark just as a general precaution we feel should be taken for all travel locations anyway.
LOCAL BELIZE FOOD
Local Belizean food is AWESOME! Burritos, fry jacks, tamales and garnaches were among our favourites! Common fillings for these include your choice of beans, cabbage, cheese, egg, and a type of meat (chicken, beef, pork). Our personal favourite option was the fry jack! Basically you get your choice of ingredients wrapped up in greasy fried dough (SOOOO GOOD). Tamales are a soft corn based dough that can be filled in the middle with meat, cheese, or vegetables and you eat this with a fork. Garnaches are a essentially a large round tortilla chip topped with beans, cabbage, and cheese. Some very honourable mentions to the delicious food options are pupusas, which is dough with specific ingredients fried in (varies), and tacos which here are almost like mini burritos with your ingredients rolled up in a small soft tortilla
DRINKS IN BELIZE
Belikin is the beer of Belize that comes in your normal lager, light, and stout. You can also find Lighthouse Lager, Landshark Lager, and sometimes Guinness Lager and the odd Heineken. The local alcohol is rum so a good cheap option is a local rum mixed drink. If you ever have the chance to try a bittas, give it a go. It basically is over proofed rum that has been soaked in different herbs and is claimed to have health benefits. It does not have an overly strong alcohol taste and its local so give it a try!
MONEY AND CURRENCY USED IN BELIZE
Belize is not the cheapest country in Central America to travel, but it definitly does not break the bank either. The local currency is the Belizean Dollar (BZD) but most places also take the American Dollar (USD) at a 2BZD:1USD ratio. We only found success withdrawing money from Scotiabank ATM’s. Atlantic Bank only accepts master card and visa, so if you have a visa debit this may work for you (we don’t have this so we’re not 100% sure). We also tried Belize Bank but without success as we were told that their machines do not work with cards that have chips. Caye Caulker does not have a Scotiabank so make sure to withdraw in Belize City if Caye Caulker is your first destination (we made that mistake)! Our daily budget generally ranged between $60BZD ($30USD) to $100BZD ($50USD) but certain activities may sometimes put you over, but its all worth it!