Belize | A small paradise on Earth

Belize | A small paradise on Earth


If you’re looking for a change of scenery, a Jamaican-style destination, wild nature and exceptional seabeds, head for Belize, a little-known destination for European travellers.




Belize, bordering the Caribbean Sea, is a small country on the east coast of Central America between Mexico and Guatemala, covering some 22,900 km². Its main source of income is tourism, and it shares with Honduras the world’s second largest barrier reef, with 250 kilometers of coastline after that of Australia. It opens onto the Caribbean Sea to the east and dense jungle to the west.

From north to south, a multitude of atolls, made up of thousands of mostly uninhabited islands, are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Atolls are a type of low-lying coral island in tropical oceans, surrounded by mangroves and home to a wealth of marine life.

Belize is also an immense tropical jungle which, like the Petén in Guatemala, conceals numerous Mayan sites, some of which are difficult to access. The city of Caracol, famous for its truncated pyramid, or the archaeological sites of Lamanai and Altun Ha, both close to the ancient capital.

I invite you to consult our practical guide to Belize to help you prepare for your trip.

This country is a veritable paradise on Earth for nature lovers. You’ll find wild forests, jungles, mountains and beaches as far as the eye can see, offering a landscape unlike any other in the world. You’ll also find numerous land and marine reserves home to a wide range of species, including dolphins, manatees, sharks, parrots, howler monkeys and jaguars. Belize is renowned for being home to many exceptional species in different locations such as the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, where you’ll encounter dwarf kingfishers and turkey vultures. The Red Bank Village invites you to meet the Scarlet Macaw between January and March and between November and May to discover the other species. But coming to Belize without visiting at least one island is sacrilege, and you’ll regret it!

However, this diving and snorkeling destination attracts a large number of divers who come to explore the Blue Hole or snorkel in the protected reserves. You’ll be walking barefoot all day along the main avenue, and if you feel like it, you can take a day trip to discover the famous Isla Bonita.

In Belize, we find ourselves on Anglo-Saxon soil, an English-speaking island lost in a Spanish-speaking Latin American ocean. You’ll think you’re in Africa, thanks to a large black population called the Garifunas, descended from slaves imported from Jamaica and St. Vincent. The Garifunas are said to be the only black people on the American continent who have never been enslaved. In Belize City, the cocktail is surprising: a strange mix of British traditions and Caribbean customs. A guaranteed change of scenery!

Due to the high prices on the islands, we only stayed about ten days in Belize. But for those with the means and the time, here are a few must-see sites in the country:




We arrived in Belize City on the famous yellow American School Bus from Chetumal, a border town with Mexico and a must-see for its 7-colored lagoon. Belize City, reputed to be a dangerous city, is a good place to take a water cab, which will take you to Caye Caulker in just 45 minutes. You’ve arrived in the incredible lagoon of the Caribbean Sea!

Cake Caulker is a tiny islet barely 2 kilometers long and 500 meters wide. It takes less than 15 minutes to walk across town. There’s not much on this island, but we loved it! There are no cars (apart from a few golf carts for the lazy ones), the streets are made of sand and you can walk barefoot in this village that looks like a vacation resort. The locals are super cool and laid-back. Seeing me with my backpack, loaded like a mule, looking in all directions for a hostel to sleep, they shouted at me in English, beer in hand and sitting in their deckchair: GO SLOW MI AMOR, LIFE IS GOOD, TAKE YOUR TIME ! (Slow down my darling, life is great, take your time! to be pronounced with a hyper coooooool relaxation accent )

In fact, at the entrance to the village, you can see a sign with the island’s motto: “go slow” translation ralentis! It’s here that we were going to take a breather and relax under the coconut palms, swim in the crystal-clear waters and contemplate the marine life. We couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere: slow-paced life, adorable locals, cocktails galore, evening lobster barbecues on the beach, a few swimming breaks, pretty little colorful houses and several diving/snorkeling centers offering their services. We thought we were in Jamaica! I also loved watching the islanders returning to port, laden with conch shells to be eaten in soup or ceviche!

It’s the perfect spot to relax, even if it has to be said that the area is very touristy and popular with Canadians and Americans. The north of the island is colonized by beach bars where alcohol flows freely from morning to night.

For sunset lovers, it’s on the west coast of the island that the to surrender!

There’s no shortage of activities on Caye Caulker, including fishing, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking, but beware that these outings are often organized as tours and therefore subject to a charge.

My only disappointment would be that Belize’s beaches are either non-existent or very, very small. In general, we sunbathe on the island’s many pontoons, which are set up all over the place, and sit on the little bits of white sand found here and there.





  • Diving in Belize

Belize is mainly visited to explore The Blue Hole, the island’s most famous and mythical dive site discovered by Commandant Cousteau in the 1970s. These are limestone caves that collapsed during the Ice Age. Today, it’s a large hole 300 meters in diameter and over 120 meters deep, renowned for its stalactites and stalagmites that can reach 8 meters. This “blue hole”, as it’s called, is splendid and more spectacular from the air than by boat, but once you’re underwater, you’re intoxicated by the depths!

You must have at least the PADI (level 1) to make your dream come true. I had just passed my first level in Mexico and was new to diving, but I was determined and curious, so I decided to go on this well-supervised outing!

The dive lasts one day and is divided into 3 dives: the « Blue Hole », « l’Aquarium naturel », A huge drop-off with beautiful barrel sponges, this is also a very colorful site full of fish, with frequent encounters with reef sharks, turtles, parrotfish and groupers. Finally, the day ends with the third dive spot « Half moon island »

Departure is early in the morning, at 6am. I was a bit anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. After 2.5 hours on a speedboat, we arrived in the area. Seen from the air, the Blue Hole looks like a navy blue circle surrounded by turquoise waters. Seen from below, the weather was grey, the water black and the sea rough – rather capricious weather for January! It suddenly made me feel less vibrant. A shiver ran through my body but nothing serious, I was about to dive to a depth of 40 metres!

The thrills are guaranteed, and we were lucky enough to spot a bull shark roaming the area! The dive itself is very short: 8-minute descent to 40 meters, 5-minute stay at 40 meters to slalom between the huge boulders, then about 8-minute ascent and 5-minute stop at 5 meters. All in all, less than 30 minutes. Back on the surface and after a moment’s rest and a pineapple break, we set off again for two more dives, this time on the Mesoamerican Barrier. The corals are in good health, but the show comes from the vibrant aquatic life. An expensive but unforgettable day out, expect to pay around US$200/p for the 3 dives indicated.



  • Pensez à réserver en avance le blue hole pour la plongée car les places partent vite.

➡️  Vérifier les disponibilités du blue hole et réserver


  • Activités Coup de cœur et à sensation. Profitez de magnifiques vues aériennes sur le Grand Trou Bleu du Belize lors d’un vol privé en hélicoptère.


  • Découvrez le meilleur de San Pedro, d’Ambergris Caye et de la barrière de corail du Belize , comme peu l’ont vu. Pendant environ 25 minutes, vous profiterez d’une vue plongeante sur North Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, la barrière de corail de Belize, Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley





  • Snorkeling from Caye Caulker

An energetic sailboat that lets you snorkel the wonders of the underwater fauna in Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark alley. This is where our adorable guide asked us to jump off the pontoon and swim right into the middle of the school of nurse sharks! He’s a funny guy, so we let him jump first! We felt more reassured when we saw him swimming among those rough fins! So many memories: huge stingrays approaching us, gigantic corals and schools of multicolored fish all around us, sea turtles we followed with our Gopro. Don’t miss this eye-popping sea outing!

From Caye Caulker, book this excursion in advance.

➡️ Check availability and book


Departing fromAmbergris Caye, you can book this snorkeling trip in advance.

➡️ Check availability and book



  • The manatees of Belize

To observe the manatees of Belize, simply go to the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary. Organized outings sold on site. Aboard a sailboat on an organized tour, you can spend the day encountering manatees, weather permitting. Accompanied by local guides, around 15 of you will be on board for an exceptional day of reggae music. You’ll make several stops to see these inquisitive animals, but you may also come face to face with stingrays, multicolored fish – including superb green moray eels – and nurse sharks. Lunch is often included and includes caracol or lobster ceviche, a local specialty not to be missed.





Even if the island is small, there’s still plenty of choice when it comes to hotels. Here are a few places I recommend:

Food on the island is expensive, so if you want to treat yourself, go chez Joe, an emblematic character who passed away 3 years ago, but who barbecued lobster tails for you, a delight! Cow’s foot soup can also be an interesting culinary experience! Personally, I haven’t tried it, but you can often find it in popular restaurants. Otherwise, the restaurant menus feature Mexican cuisine (burritos, fajitas, ceviche, etc.) and American cuisine (the inevitable burgers). Not to mention all the Chinese and Indian restaurants popping up everywhere.

If you come to Belize between June and February, it’s lobster season! Far less expensive than in Europe or North America, you can feast on it in a variety of ways: ceviche, tacos, barbecued, boiled, burgered, grilled, in Thai sauce, in fajitas and with pasta.

  • For grilled fare in a very convivial setting, take a trip to Wish Willy, a pretty Creole hut, reggae ambience and good-natured service (around B$20 per person).
  • If you’re looking around the island, head off down a street parallel to the main avenue to meet a Salvadoran woman who will prepare her national dish, the famous “pupusas” (a cornflour cake filled with cheese, refried black beans or pork, chicharron) for a ridiculously low price. Enjoy it on a wooden table outside or in your own little house! I hope she’s still here!

The north of the island is colonized by beach bars where alcohol flows freely from morning to night. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beer and cocktails. We enjoyed the atmosphere at the Lazy Lizard at the end of the island.




It’s easy to find an agency on the island, and they all offer pretty much the same services in their small bungalows. Take the time to compare and negotiate prices.


  • Bateau Taxi Belize City to Caye Caulker: minimum $25 Belizean return per person. It’s more expensive if you take the outward and return trips separately.
  • Kayak rental : about $15 Belizean for two kayaks for a few hours outing
  • Full-day boat tour / snorkeling : approximately $140 Belizean per person
  • Location golf cart to get to Caye Caulker. Check availability and book
  • Diving at the Blue Hole: 200$US/p.
  • Certification in Belize is quite expensive. It costs around US$700/800 per person. If you’ve got a little time on your hands and want to dive into the Caribbean, the Sea Horse Dive Shop of Placencia, may be just right for you. PADI Level 1 certification costs around $450. This small, family-run club is renowned for its good atmosphere and friendly team.




Caye Caulker is much more relaxed and cool than neighboring Ambergris Caye. To get there, simply book a water cab from Caye Cauljer and you’ll be there in just a few minutes. Ambergris Caye, the largest island on Belize’s coastline, stretching 40 km north of Caye Caulker, is known as Isla Bonita, the song sung by Madonna. San Pedro is the most important and dynamic town on the island, but also the largest and most American of all Caye Caulker. It’s livelier, with more stores, more activities, small convenience stores and many restaurants. On San Pedro beach, there’s a bar where you can sip your drink from a buoy in the sea: the Palapa Bar & Grill

Despite some construction, the northern part of the island is still quite wild. This fishing village resembles its Caribbean cousins, with its painted wooden houses and sand-covered streets. The beaches are superb and the hotels have facilities for water sports and scuba diving.

If you’re looking for a nice free beach, we recommend Secret Beach sur Ambergris Caye. To get there, you’ll need to hire one of the famous golf carts you’ll come across everywhere. A driver’s license is also required. The beach is really beautiful, and you can even eat with your feet in the water thanks to the picnic tables in the sea! Take the opportunity to buy the famous lobster ceviche from a stand and enjoy it in the water. We were also advised to eat at the Truck Shop and have a drink at the Aji Tapa Bar in front of the sunset.




On the Dangriga and surroundings, discover the Garinagu stronghold and Gales Point, a Creole community at the end of the world. Tobacco Caye with Glover’s Reef, one of Belize’s most beautiful atolls, and Cockscomb Basin Sanctuary, the world’s first nature reserve dedicated mainly to jaguars.

To get to Hopkins, only two buses a day run to this small village, which has nothing of the tourist appeal of Les Cayes. It’s a far cry from the restaurants and resorts of the islands, but the atmosphere is more authentic with real local encounters. Take the opportunity to take a local Garifuna cooking class. A completely different atmosphere awaits you, with Hopkins Beach, said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Belize with its turquoise waters, and the Cockscomb Basin, a 350 km² nature reserve nestled in the south-central part of the country. Not far from this fishing village, you will find cruise the Monkey River and spot howler monkeys, toucans, manatees, giant iguanas, crocodiles and other species that call this river home.

Placencia boasts a beautiful coastline, and Placencia village still exudes tranquility with its pastel-colored wooden Caribbean huts. Belize’s most beautiful beaches can certainly be found here. Take a boat out to explore the offshore cayes, renowned for diving and snorkeling. Numerous agencies offer excursions all over the village, but once again, tours are expensive (around US$60/80 a day).

A little further on, departure from Punta Gorda, visit the Mayan site of Nim Li Punit, then Blue Creek Cave, an excursion that promises magnificent scenery of a turquoise river winding through the jungle and the Sapodilla Caves, surely Belize’s wildest and most beautiful islands.




Before you leave, I invite you to consult our practical guide to Belize to help you prepare for your trip. Please note that as an accredited bespoke travel designer, I offer to accompany you in the creation of your tailor-made trip to Belize and create a personalized itinerary tailored to your needs. Please send me an email at :






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