Island Adventures North America

Discover The Best Of Belize In 10 Days – A Sample Itinerary

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on
March 8, 2020
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Although Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America, it offers a vast amount of different adventures. Nestled between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, the former British colony is located right on one of the most popular backpacking routes through Central America. Rich coral reefs along the coast and inland Mayan ruins hidden away in the lush rainforests, Belize is home to a variety of landscapes. From exciting cave exploration tours, relaxing island stays to snorkel trips on a tiny atoll – Belize has the right activity for every traveler.

This 10-day Belize itinerary takes you to the most famous attractions and gives you the chance to explore the diversity this country has to offer.

The Route In A Nutshell

Day 1: Belize City – Caye Caulker
Day 2: Caye Caulker
Day 3: Caye Caulker
Day 4: Caye Caulker – San Ignacio
Day 5: San Ignacio
Day 6: San Ignacio
Day 7: San Ignacio – Placencia
Day 8: Placencia
Day 9: Placencia
Day 10: Placencia – Belize City

Highlights Of The Trip

– Unwind on the reggae island Caye Caulker
– Snorkel with sting rays and nurse sharks
– Visit the impressive Mayan ruins of Xunantunich
– Go on an once-in-a-lifetime cave adventure in the ATM Cave
– Enjoy the laidback beach vibes in Placencia
– Go scuba diving/snorkeling in the Silk Cayes

Belize_Xunantunich Village

From dream beaches to lush jungle: Belize is a small but super diverse country that you can easily explore in 10 days.

10-Day Itinerary

This itinerary starts and ends in Belize City. The route follows a relatively tight schedule. So, if you like to travel slowly, feel free to add an extra day here and there.

Day 1: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Caye Caulker

After arriving in Belize City, make your way to the ferry terminal, book a ticket and take the next ferry to Caye Caulker. It’s the perfect place to sleep off your jetlag and relax after a long journey.

Almost everything on Caye Caulker can be reached after a relatively short walk from the pier. If you have a lot of luggage, you can also take a golf cart taxi.

In the evening, take a stroll around the island and familiarize yourself with the coolest bars and restaurants.

Day 2: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Caye Caulker

If there is no breakfast at your accommodation, you can have a very delicious breakfast at Amor Y Café while enjoying fast WiFi and getting used to the tropical island climate.

After breakfast, go on a small island exploration tour on foot. Take a walk around the streets, check out the cute cafes on the right and left and grant yourself an hour in one of the hammocks that are spread around the island. The hammocks and swings often belong to restaurants or beach bars. In this case, I recommend simply ordering a soft drink or cold Belikin and staying in the place as long as you like.

A particular highlight of Caye Caulker is the Split, which divides Caye Caulker into two parts. Right on the Split is one of the most famous bars on the island, the Lazy Lizard. During the day, the Beach Club invites guests to swim, sunbathe and relax, in the evening the place often becomes the center of parties and live music.

If you want to save a few bucks on cocktails and chill on a floating tire in the water, I recommend checking out Sip ’N’ Dip near Lazy Lizard.

Spend a relaxing day on the island and just leave your everyday life behind.

In the evening, you can either go out to eat in one of the many restaurants or sit down at one of the local street food barbecues and enjoy the night with a handful of other people and lots of rum punch.

Also, I recommend booking your snorkeling tour for the next day. There are countless tour operators on Caye Caulker who offer more or less the same excursions at pretty similar prices. If the full-day tour at USD 60-70 is too expensive for you, you should at least go on a half-day snorkeling tour. This trip usually costs around USD 35 and includes three snorkeling spots as well as a visit to the small seahorse reserve near the Iguana Reef Inn.

caye caulker - relaxing

The laidback island of Caye Caulker is the perfect spot for a relaxed vacation.

Day 3: Caye Caulker

Accommodation: Caye Caulker

Today you’re off to the Belize Barrier Reef! If you don’t have as much time for breakfast as the day before, go for a delicious bagel and quick coffee at Ice ’n’ Beans, the only real coffee shop on Caye Caulker.

Regardless of the tour you booked, you’ll be spending the day in one of the largest reef systems in the world.

On the full-day tour, you have the opportunity to swim with manatees, see dolphins, go to many snorkeling spots and enjoy a delicious lunch aboard the boat. The half-day tour also takes you to a few snorkeling spots just a few minutes from Caye Caulker. Among them is Shark Ray Alley, where you can swim with stingrays and nurse sharks in shallow water. Definitely a highlight of your trip and unique travel experience!

caye caulker - nurse sharks

Snorkeling with nurse sharks and sting rays off the coast of Caye Caulker.

Back on Caye Caulker, have a relaxed few hours before heading to the Iguana Reef Inn for sunset. Here you have a perfect view of the setting sun, surrounded by hammocks, deck chairs, a sandy beach and a small dock. The hotel bar is also located directly on the beach so that you can round off the perfect sunset experience with a cold Belikin.

caye caulker - sunset vibes

Beautiful sunset from the west coast of Caye Caulker.

Day 4: San Ignacio

Accommodation: San Ignacio

In the morning, take the ferry back to Belize City and from there make your way to San Ignacio. The best option in terms of value for money is the shuttle service from Marlin Espadas.

You can book it directly at the ferry terminal – the bus will take you to San Ignacio in just 2-2.5 hours.

Go to your accommodation and relax for the rest of the day. If you want, you can stroll around the center of San Ignacio in the evening. There are a few cool restaurants and bars here. I found the general vibe here to be very pleasant as it is a lot less touristy than the offshore islands of Belize.

You can get a delicious dinner at Authentic Flavors, which is a cute hidden gem in San Ignacio.

Also, book your tour to the ATM Cave tonight. There are various tour operators scattered around San Ignacio. I recommend Maya Walk Tours as they not only have trained and qualified guides but the price also includes transport and full catering as well as all insurances for the tour. Keep in mind that the ATM Cave Tour is a cave adventure where things can quickly go wrong if you are not careful. Therefore insurance makes sense for these kinds of exploration tours.

Day 5: San Ignacio

Accommodation: San Ignacio

Make your way to Xunantunich early in the morning (around 7 a.m.). You can take a local bus towards the Guatemala border and ask the driver to drop you at the ferry to Xunantunich. The ride is only 15 minutes and super cheap.

Cross the Mopan River and then follow the trail up to the visitor center of Xunantunich.

Arriving early in the morning has a couple of advantages including the fact that you’ll have the entire complex to yourself and it is more pleasant to walk around in the morning than in the burning midday sun.

The ruin complex consists of more than 25 temples, the most famous being El Castillo, which towers over all other buildings. You can even climb up and enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire Mayan site and the jungle around.

⭐TopTip: Take some food with you and have a picnic shortly after sunrise overlooking the whole valley while sitting on one of the walls of El Castillo. An unforgettable bucket list-worthy moment!

Belize_Xunantunich

The impressive Maya ruins of Xunantunich are one of Belize’s main attractions.

Day 6: San Ignacio

Accommodation: San Ignacio

Today will likely be one of the highlights of your Belize trip: the ATM Cave tour.

The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (short: ATM) can be reached after an hour’s drive from San Ignacio, with a good 20min of it leading you through the middle of the Belizian jungle.

During the tour, you get to trek through the jungle, swim through rivers, climb into a deep, impressive cave and find yourself among ancient artefacts of the Mayan culture. This day trip is definitely not for the faint of heart – even the most adventurous travelers may reach their limits while climbing through the sometimes narrow tunnels of the cave.

But don’t worry: the local cave guides are well-trained and know the cave system like the back of their hands.

Belize ATM Cave

Visiting the ATM Cave is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (c) Maya Walk Tours

Day 7: Placencia

Accommodation: Placencia

Today you’re going to head back to the coast, to the Placencia peninsula.

The easiest way to travel between San Ignacio and Placencia is to book a shuttle service. However, it will be a lot cheaper if you use the local buses. To do so, take a bus from San Ignacio to Belmopan, change buses and go from there towards Dangriga. Some buses continue to Independence after a short stop in Dangriga. From here you will then be able to jump on a ferry to Placencia. The route sounds much more complicated than it is and with a certain degree of flexibility, this trip won’t be a problem at all. 😊

Once in Placencia, go to your accommodation and spend the afternoon on the beach, sip a cocktail at Tipsy Tuna or grab the lunch deal (until 5 p.m.) at the Barefoot Beach Bar.

If you want to go diving/snorkeling the next day, it is best to book your tour with one of the local dive shops that night.

Placencia_Hammock

The Placencia peninsula is a popular destination among divers and snorkelers.

Day 8: Placencia

Accommodation: Placencia

Another great highlight of your trip is waiting today: a diving or snorkeling trip to the Silk Cayes.

The small coral islands are located an hour’s boat ride (sometimes you can even see dolphins!) from Placencia. If you ever wanted to feel like a castaway, this is your chance! In fact, some of these tiny islands only have a few isolated palm trees and a toilet house.

They are surrounded by a breathtaking coral reef, which is perfect for diving and snorkeling. Underwater you will find nurse sharks, stingrays, many colorful reef fish, a wide variety of corals, moray eels, lobsters and turtles. In between the dives, you’ll be served a fresh lunch on the island while also having the opportunity to take a few unique photos for the ‘gram.

⭐TopTip: Splash Dive Center in Placencia not only offers daily trips to the Silk Cays, but they are also perfectly equipped to make your snorkeling or diving day unforgettable.

Placencia_Laughing Bird Caye

The tiny islands around Placencia are perfect for both diving and snorkeling.

Day 9: Placencia

Accommodation: Placencia

On your last day in Placencia, you can simply laze around, stroll around the little town, check out some of the souvenir shops, lie on the beach, rent a kayak or just have more delicious cocktails in one of the colorful beach bars.

Placencia is a super laidback place, and it will be easy to meet any other travelers or locals if you are open to it.

Day 10: Belize City

It’s time to go back to Belize City.

You can either take the bus, shuttle service, or if it is not too expensive, a flight. Taking the plane is, of course, the quickest option to get to Belize City and an experience you likely won’t forget as the aircraft is small and flies relatively low so that you can enjoy a beautiful panorama in good weather.

How To Extend The Trip?

If you have more time, consider traveling to more places in Belize. Either explore the island of Ambergris Caye or the sleepy coastal town of Hopkins. A visit to the Jaguar Reserve or a multi-day stay in the jungle would also be exciting.

However, if you still have a week and don’t want to stay in Belize, it’s pretty easy to travel to Mexico via Chetumal or to Guatemala via Melchor de Mencos and Flores.

Another great travel destination nearby is Honduras, though I do recommend flying there as traveling by bus is a bit more complicated and, above all, time-consuming.

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About Me

Hi there, I'm Lena! I love being on the move around the world - travelling, diving or taking pictures. I've recently started dealing with and writing about ways to make diving more affordable. I enjoy sharing my experiences and tips with y'all, fellow budget backpackers and budget divers! Read more

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