The tiny, English-speaking country of Belize is a paradise for the curious traveler. Its diverse, untouched landscapes, a mash-up of cultures and cuisines, and your ability to snorkel among the reefs and to hike through the jungle all in one day make this Central American country the perfect destination for those looking for more than just sunshine.
Long known as a spot for paradise-seeking backpackers, Belize is now blooming with options from simple thatched-roof cabanas to luxury, amenity-filled lodges, resorts and private cayes.
Whether your stay is simple or extravagant, you’ll be surrounded by a barefoot island vibe and a laid-back lifestyle.
The best time to visit Belize
For dreamy, tropical weather perfection — sunny, dry days and cooler nights where you may actually reach for a long-sleeved shirt — late November through April is the ideal time period to visit. While you will want to make lodging reservations in advance during this high season, fear not — the country hasn’t yet seen a huge influx of vacationing hordes.
Heat and humidity start to rise into the summer and the heart of the rainy season spans from August to November. The good news is that, unless there is a tropical storm in the area, rains generally last just a few hours in the afternoon or overnight. These off-season months are packed with local holidays and festivals as well as deals on flights and accommodations.
What to pack for a trip to Belize
Belize’s go-slow attitude translates to the dress code. The only essentials are a swimsuit, flip-flops, a few pairs of shorts and sunscreen. Throw in a hat for added sun protection for sailing or picnicking on an endless white sandbar.
If you are planning jungle adventures like night-hiking or cave-tubing, bring a pair of quick-drying pants, sturdy sports sandals (like Chacos or Tevas) or breathable, wet-dry hiking shoes.
A light windbreaker for winter and spring evenings or a summer sun shower is also recommended.
The best way to get around Belize
The easiest and fastest way to travel around Belize is by small plane. Tropic Air’s fleet of three- to 14-seater Cessnas can cross this little country in less than an hour or hop to one of the nearby islands in 15 to 20 minutes. There is no better way to see the hundreds of mostly uninhabited cayes (pronounced “keys”), the miles and miles of coral reefs and swaths of unexplored jungle than from the sky.
Most beach villages and towns can be explored by foot, but grab a golf cart if you plan to explore for a few days. On the largest island, Ambergris Caye, golf carts are the main mode of transport for locals and visitors, and they are the perfect way to visit the myriad bars and restaurants up and down the coast.