Belize is a very small and often overlooked country in Central America. It’s not the most popular travel destination, but it should definitely be more popular than it is because this little country offers so much to travelers: jungle, adventure, delicious cuisine, and beaches. What more could you want out of a vacation to Central America? Aside from what it offers, Belize is a very safe travel destination and the primary language spoken is English if that’s important to you.
So now that you have decided to visit Belize on your next trip, where should you go?! Well, check out our One Week Itinerary for Belize, so you can get the ultimate Belizean experience and see everything this wonderful country has to offer!
Day 1: Arrival and Transport to San Ignacio
Once you arrive in Belize, head to San Ignacio on the western edge of the country near the Guatemalan border. We know nobody likes additional travel after a long flight, but visiting San Ignacio first makes more sense for your Belize vacation than doing it at the end of the trip.
When you get to San Ignacio, explore the small city, get some food, drinks and just relax. The next few days on this Belize itinerary will have you on the move, so just enjoy being at your destination. After all, you earned it after a long day of travel!
Day 2: ATM Cave
For Day 2 in Belize, you are going to head to the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, which is more commonly referred to as the ATM Cave. It’s about an hour van ride outside of San Ignacio, but definitely worth the trip.
Wherever you are staying in San Ignacio can probably organize this excursion for you. Otherwise, there are plenty of companies with trips out there right in the center of San Ignacio. In order to be a guide and take a tour group through the ATM Cave, you need to be licensed, so there are not any unlicensed guides that can take you in. This helps cut down on scams for ATM Cave tours.
The ATM Cave in Belize is something you need to do while traveling to Belize! Don’t believe us? Check out our full post on Why the ATM Cave in Belize is a Must-Do!
This trip will take most of the day. You’ll get back to San Ignacio in the late afternoon. From there, relax, check out some restaurants or bars in town or head to the nearby Xunantunich Mayan Ruins.
If you are exhausted from your morning caving adventure but still want to see Mayan Ruins, don’t worry because tomorrow you will be heading to the most impressive Mayan Ruin site in Central America. So relax and enjoy inland Belize.
Day 3: Tikal, Guatemala
You are on the go again for Day 3 in Belize on this itinerary. However, this time you will be leaving Belize and crossing the border into Guatemala to visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal, the most remarkable Mayan ruins accessible to the public in the world.
Like the previous day, this is a long day as the trip to and from Tikal takes about 3 hours each way, including the border crossing. This day trip from San Ignacio most likely can be organized through wherever you are staying or it can be booked through the same organization that you did the ATM Cave experience through.
They will take you to the Belize-Guatemala border where they help you through the border crossing process. On the Guatemala side, a Guatemalan guide will pick you up and drive you to Tikal. They do this because it’s a Guatemalan law that your tour guide has to be Guatemalan so as to keep more locals employed and keep more money in Guatemala.
Once you get to Tikal, you will be awestruck by the size and quantity of Mayan ruins. It’s unbelievable that they were able to construct these structures without modern technology and that they have lasted this long without crumbling or being destroyed.
As a pro tip, make sure to bring water and snacks for the day as you will be walking around the entire Tikal site, and it can get super hot. Most tour companies have an included lunch after your visit, but that will be after about a 3 hour walking tour of Tikal.
For more information about visiting Tikal, read our post on Visiting the Tikal Ruins from Belize for everything you need to know about making your day trip to Tikal the best it can be.
When you get back to San Ignacio from Tikal, get your stuff packed and ready to go for the morning because you will be heading back to the coast of Belize to see a different side of this small, Central American country.
Day 4: Travel to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
An early morning ride, which can probably be organized by your accommodation in San Ignacio, will bring you back to Belize City where you will then take a water taxi out to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
We recommend that you purchase your water taxi tickets ahead of time online, but you certainly do not have to. You can purchase them HERE.
The total travel time will be about 3 or so hours before you finally arrive in San Pedro, which will be a totally different vibe from that of San Ignacio.
San Pedro is located on Ambergris Caye, which is a small island just off mainland Belize in the Caribbean Sea. San Pedro is visited more often by tourists than San Ignacio, and it’s noticeable almost immediately. There are some bigger resorts and more visible signs of tourism. It’s also considerably more expensive than San Ignacio.
When you get to San Pedro and get settled, head to Palapa Bar, get a drink, and float in the water. It’ll feel great after being stuck in the sticky, humidity of inland Belize. From there, head out to dinner or get a few more drinks.
Day 5: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Now that you’re all settled in on San Pedro, rent a golf cart—the island’s most popular form of transportation—and drive up to the Secret Beach. Secret Beach is a small but beautiful beach that’s tucked away from almost everything else on Ambergris Caye.
Our recommendation is to pack some snacks and drinks for your day trip up to Secret Beach because while they have a few restaurants and bars, it can get pricey.
When you pull into Secret Beach with your golf cart, there will be workers from different restaurants trying to get you to go to them. Simply park your car and find a place that suits you. Don’t be swindled into going to “the best” one, a.k.a. whichever one they work for. . .
Make sure to head back to San Pedro while there is still sunlight out and before your golf cart is due back. It would be a slightly dangerous drive at night. Plus, you don’t want to get charged extra for not returning the golf cart.
Once back in San Pedro, head to dinner at Elvi’s Kitchen right in the center of San Pedro. Elvi’s has been a staple on San Pedro for about 40 years and serves some of the most delicious food in a truly unique atmosphere. It’s a little pricier than other places on the island, but it’s totally worth it!
Day 6: Water Taxi to Caye Caulker
On the morning of Day 6, you are on the move again! This time, you are headed back on the water taxi to Caye Caulker, another island off the coast of mainland Belize. However, Caye Caulker has a completely different vibe from that of San Pedro.
While San Pedro is of the resort-type crowd, Caye Caulker is much more of the chill, relaxed island vibe. It is a lot smaller than San Pedro and is most easily navigable on foot. You can walk to everything here because the island is so small, and everything is so close together! The only time you will need to use any other method of transportation is to get to Koko King Beach, which we recommend doing once you are all settled in on Caye Caulker.
Koko King Beach is a beach that’s part of a private hotel on Caye Caulker. However, you have to take a ferry to get to it because Hurricane Hattie destroyed the middle of Caye Caulker in 1961. Today, they call it The Split. It’s a quick ferry ride that’s “free” if you buy something at Koko King Beach, like food or a drink.
It’s a remarkable beach that does not get too crowded and has plenty of room to lay out and enjoy the Belizean sun. If you are looking for some more beach time during your one week in Belize, head to Koko King while on Caye Caulker.
Day 7: Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Your last day in Belize involves something a little bit more on the adventurous side, a snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Not impressed? Well, it’s the second largest barrier reef in the world!
It may not be as well known as the Great Barrier Reef, but the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world and a lot easier to get to from the United States than Australia.
The snorkeling adventure will take most of the day and you will see a huge variety of fish, sharks, and potentially even a manatee! Most excursions, that once again can be booked through your accommodation, supply lunch which is included in the cost. Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and water though because it will be a long day in the sun. If you tend to get seasick, bring something for that as well.
Once you’re back from snorkeling, shower off, get something to eat, and unfortunately, start your packing because you leave the wonderful country of Belize tomorrow.
Day 8: Leave Belize
Sadly, it’s time to leave Belize. Take your water taxi back to Belize city and a taxi from the water taxi terminal to the airport. Make sure you book your water taxi back with enough time to get all the way to the airport as it’s about a 20 minute drive from where the water taxi drops you off.
It’s now time to bid farewell to the under-visited, Central American country of Belize.