26 Amazing Things to Do in Belize: Ultimate Belize Travel Bucket List

A hidden Caribbean gem, Belize is one of the most underrated, naturally beautiful countries in the world. Free from crowds and ripe for adventure, Belize has no shortage of dense jungles, sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, lively coral reefs, ancient Mayan ruins, and exotic wildlife. In other words: Belize is a tropical dream, wrapped up into one tiny Central American country. Whether you want to scuba dive, hike to a waterfall, helicopter over the Blue Hole, or lounge on the beach and sip cocktails, there are endless amazing things to do in Belize.

Here’s your ultimate Belize travel bucket list, complete with 26 epic things to do in Belize! Add each of these to your Belize itinerary and you won’t regret it.

Table of Contents

What to Do in Belize: 26 of The Best Things to Do in Belize

Best Destinations to Visit

First up, let’s tackle the best destinations in Belize, from Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker to San Ignacio and Hopkins Village – which, in turn, are home to all of the best things to do in Belize!

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Things to do in belieze

#1. Lounge in Luxury on Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is the largest island off Belize’s coast, and it’s well worth a visit for at least a few days! If you’re after the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation, surrounded by turquoise waters and teeming coral reefs, then Ambergris Caye is your place. Especially if you don’t mind luxury accommodation at an affordable price!

Ambergris Caye’s main town, San Pedro, is home to endless colorful wooden houses, beach bars, seafood restaurants, and chic accommodations. San Pedro is perfect for kicking back, roaming sandy streets, and lounging at beach clubs. Meanwhile, the town’s proximity to the reef makes it a top spot for scuba divers and snorkelers.

Water sports abound on the island, including swimming, fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. But if water’s not your thing, then there are plenty of nature hikes and walks to do, there’s a small Maya site to visit. and you can explore the island by bike.

Here are the best tours to book from Ambergris Caye:

  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40′ Sirena Azul Sailboat
  • Premium Private Fishing, Snorkeling and Beach Cookout Tour
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour
  • Private Sailing & Snorkeling Tour
Where to stay in Ambergris Caye:

Luxury ($$$)

  • Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection
  • Pelican Reef Villas Resort

Mid-Range ($$)

  • PUR Boutique Cabanas
  • DayDreamin Boutique Hotel
  • Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club

Budget ($)

  • Ambergris Sunset Hotel
  • Sandbar Beachfront Hostel
  • Drift Inn San Pedro

Click here to find more amazing deals on Ambergris Caye accommodations!

#2 “Go Slow” on Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is Ambergris Caye’s less-visited, more budget-friendly little sister. There are no cars on this small, laid-back island – only golf carts!

It’s the perfect place to chill out, enjoy the “go slow” pace of island life, soak up the Caribbean sun, drink a few Belikins (local Belizean beer), and let loose at a reggae bar. This island definitely has more fun, backpacker vibes happening.

Caye Caulker is famous for its seafood, and there are endless waterfront restaurants to choose from, serving up fresh lobster, crab, and conch dishes. (Heaven!)

Caye Caulker is even closer to the reef’s best diving and snorkeling spots, making it the perfect place to book a few different excursions from.

Here are some epic Caye Caulker tours:

  • Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
  • All-Inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
Where to stay in Caye Caulker:

Luxury ($$$)

  • Caye Reef Condos
  • Coral View Hotel & Resort

Mid-Range ($$)

  • Hummingbirds Cabins
  • Colinda Cabanas 

Budget ($)

  • Go Slow Guesthouse
  • Blue Wave Guest House

Click here to find more amazing deals on accommodations in Caye Caulker!

#3 Experience Garifuna Culture in Hopkins Village

Known as the friendliest seaside village in Belize, Hopkins is easily my favorite place to stay in the entire country!

While the beaches are not the best ever, Hopkins is the perfect place to visit if you want to live slowly, experience the amazing Garifuna people, their rich culture, and rustic village vibes. The local food is also fantastic.

One of my favorite memories in Hopkins was going on a fishing trip with a local man named Patrick. (Everyone knows him, just ask around if you want to go fishing! You’ll probably find him in the marina.) We caught a few fish, and that night, the caretaker of our rental home, Marta, offered to cook us a feast of local dishes, including the fresh fish. Amazing. The warm locals and their food are what make Hopkins the best destination in the country – in my opinion!

Hopkins is centrally located, making it a great hub for exploring more of the mainland, the jungle, and the cayes just off the coast.

Where to stay in Hopkins Village:
  • Belizean Dreams Resort
  • The Lodge at Jaguar Reef
  • Hopkins Bay, a Muy’Ono Resort
  • Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

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Click here for more amazing deals on Hopkins Village accommodations!

#4 Soak up the Sun & Local Cultures in the Placencia Peninsula

When it comes to Belize beach escapes, Placencia stands out as one of the best. A laid-back fishing village and resort town on the mainland, this tropical paradise offers everything you could possibly want in a relaxing vacation: from pristine white-sand beaches and top-notch restaurants to luxurious accommodations and plenty of nightlife options.

With its diverse mix of locals, Placencia is perfect for anyone looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant mix of pan-Belizean, Garifuna, Creole, and international cultures.

Placencia is also an amazing jumping-off point for exploring some of the cayes nearby. Whether you’re venturing out into the open sea on a boat excursion, going fishing, or simply taking a dip in crystal clear waters, there’s no shortage of adventure here in Placencia.

Here are the best tours to book from Placencia:

  • Cave Tubing & Xunantunich (Mayan Ruins) From Placencia
  • Snorkel the Perfect Tropical Isle Silk Caye with Turtles, Rays & Sharks
  • Snorkel and Island Experience at Laughing Bird Caye National Park
Where to stay in Placencia:

Luxury ($$$)

  • Caribbean Beach Cabanas – A PUR Hotel
  • The Ellysian Boutique Hotel
  • Mariposa Belize Beach Resort

Mid-Range ($$)

  • Driftwood Gardens Guesthouse
  • Maya Beach Hotel

Budget ($)

  • Anda Di Hows Hostel

Click here to find more amazing deals on Placencia accommodation!

#5 Stay at an Eco-Resort in the Cayo District

If you want to disconnect and immerse yourself in nature, then stay at an ecolodge in the Cayo District!

At an ecolodge, you’ll wake to the sounds of the jungle canopy. You’ll hike through the jungles, swim in watering holes, kayak down rivers, get massages, and eat delicious Belizean food. And fall asleep to the sounds of cicadas, rushing water, raindrops, and rustling leaves. What more could you ask for?

My favorite eco-lodges in Belize are:
  • Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
  • Table Rock Jungle Lodge
  • The Lodge at Chaa Creek

No doubt, staying at an ecolodge is the best way to experience the wondrous natural beauty of Belize!

#6 Spend the Night on a Private Island

One of the most luxurious things you can do in Belize? Oh, you know, just staying on a private island!

If you have a big group or a special occasion, this can be an especially amazing experience – and surprisingly affordable too (in some cases).

private islands you can stay on include:
  • The Enclave
  • Gladden Private Island
  • Little Harvest Caye Belize
  • Ranguana Caye Cabanas
  • Kanu Island

Click here to search for other private islands to rent out!

Best Cultural Activities

#7 Explore Ancient Mayan Ruins

You can’t travel to Belize without visiting at least a few ancient Mayan ruins! There are dozens of ruins scattered throughout Belize – each one more fascinating than the last.

Compared to nearby Mexico and Guatemala, Belize receives so few tourists every year, that you’ll often have these amazing archaeological sites all to yourself… If you don’t count the howler monkeys, toucans, and jaguars hanging out in the surrounding jungles.

The best ruins sites to check out in Belize are:
  • Xunantunich (One of the most impressive archaeological sites in Belize, Xunantunich is located in Western Belize near the border with Guatemala. Far away from everything, but worth the trek.)
  • Cahal Pech (Ruins dating back to 1200 BCE. Easy to access, Cahal Pech is located in the town of San Ignacio Town.)
  • Lamanai (Features the impressive Mask Temple, Lamanai is a former Mayan city, located in Northern Belize, in the Orange Walk District)
  • Caracol (One of the largest archaeological sites in Central America, Caracol was once one of the most powerful Maya cities, until it was abandoned in 900 CE. Located in the Cayo District, about 50 miles south of San Ignacio.)
  • Altun Ha (Close to the coast, Altun Ha is an easy day trip from Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker, as well as Belize City. There, you’ll find the Green Tomb.)

If you can, I recommend renting a car during your time on mainland Belize, so you can easily explore the archeological sites, jungles, and nature reserves in your own time!

Click here to book your Belize rental car.

#8 Eat Traditional Belizean Food

I’m obsessed with Belizean food! As any foodie knows, the cuisine of a country is often reflective of its history and demographics. Belize is no exception.

Just like its population, the cuisine of Belize is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. Each ethnic group brought its own unique cooking styles, techniques, and spices to the table, making Belizean cuisine some of the most flavorful, colorful, and unique in the world.

With Maya, Mestizo, Afro-Caribbean, East Indian, and British influences, there’s a lot to discover… And it’s all delicious.

If you’re familiar with Mexican cuisine, you’ll recognize some of the Maya- and Mestizo-influenced dishes like tamales, cochinita pibil, and salbutes (which are like tostadas).

But there’s so much more to explore! Other popular dishes include rice and beans, stewed chicken, plantains, and lots of seafood. (Hello, juicy, gigantic lobsters. I love you.)

If you’re staying in Ambergris Caye, consider this Premium Private Fishing, Snorkeling and Beach Cookout Tour so you can experience a sea-to-table Belizean meal!

#9 Feast at the Lobster Festival in Placencia Village

The Placencia Lobsterfest is a must-attend event for any lobster lover. It all started in 1998, when the organizers set up a single table with the hope of drawing more visitors to the area and improving the local economy.

Fast forward to today, and the festival has grown into one of Belize’s biggest festivals, attracting thousands of attendees from around the world. Go, and you’ll find an unbelievable variety of lobster dishes: from traditional lobster pies and grilled lobster tails to fusion dishes like lobster fajitas and lobster pizza.

There’s also live music, a fully stocked bar, and dozens of other food vendors serving up mouthwatering Belizean specialties – including lionfish.

#10 Celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day

Celebrated every year on November 19th, Garifuna Settlement Day is a party you won’t want to miss!

Think: Rhythmic drumming, singing, and traditional dancing. Locals donning colorful outfits. Street parties, boat parades. And plenty of traditional food. The excited energy is infectious. If you’re lucky enough to be in Belize during Garifuna Day, you’ll be in for an amazing cultural experience you won’t soon forget.

The best places to be for this cultural celebration are either Hopkins Village or Dangriga – with Placencia Village there as a good third option!

Best Water Activities

#11 Experience the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and undoubtedly Belize’s most precious attraction – and one of the top reasons to visit Belize.

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When it comes to underwater adventures, few places compare to Belize. This country in Central America is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). Though in my opinion, it’s far more lively, colorful, and impressive, making it a true underwater paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.

The clear, warm waters offer excellent visibility, and the abundance of marine life is truly breathtaking. Whether you’re exploring a shipwreck or swimming with stingrays or turtles, there’s no shortage of excitement beneath the waves in Belize.

Grab your mask and fins and dive into an underwater adventure you’ll never forget!

Here are the best tours on Belize’s Great Barrier Reef!

  • From Caye Caulker: Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
  • From Ambergris Caye: Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour
  • From Hopkins: Barrier Reef Snorkel: Half Day

#12 Get Scuba Certified

As I mentioned, Belize is spoiled with some of the most incredible coral reefs on the planet… So I can’t think of a better place to get scuba certified!

Dedicate three to five days of your vacation in Belize to getting certified and you’ll reap the benefits for the rest of your time in Belize – and your life! Just imagine all of the underwater experiences you’ll unlock.

The Blue Hole is calling!

Where to stay for a scuba diving certification course:
  • Coco Plum Island Resort (Coco Plum Cay)
  • Belizean Dreams Resort (Hopkins Village)
  • Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort (Hopkins Village)
  • Blue Marlin Beach Resort (South Water Caye)
  • Huracan Diving Lodge (Long Caye)

#13 Scuba Dive in the Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is Belize’s most insane dive site.

This massive underwater sinkhole is over 300 meters wide and 124 meters deep. It’s a little eerie, considering how dark it gets as you descend… and the strange deep-water creatures you’ll encounter. You’ll meet more than just reef sharks and turtles down there, that’s for sure.

If you’re an experienced diver, the Great Blue Hole should be #1 on your Belize bucket list. It’s one of the best things to do in Belize – if not the best!

#14 Snorkel in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Dive into the world of magnificent coral reefs and marine life at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, just off the coast of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.

This natural wonder boasts an incredible variety of underwater plant and animal life and is the perfect place to go for a snorkeling tour. With its crystal-clear waters, endless schools of fish, and rainbow-colored coral reef, Hol Chan is truly a tropical ocean dream.

The reserve is also an important nesting ground for several endangered species of sea turtles and an awesome place to swim with these majestic creatures up close.

Here are the best Hol Chan Marine Reserve guided tours!

  • From Caye Caulker: Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
  • From Ambergris Caye: Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour

#15 Swim with Sharks in Shark Ray Alley

As its name suggests, plenty of sharks and small stingrays patrol Shark Ray Alley (which is located one mile south of the Hol Chan cut).

If you want to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals, here’s your chance. (And don’t worry, they’re only harmless nurse sharks! So you’ll most likely live to tell the tale.)

But that’s not all. In Shark Ray Alley, you’ll also see majestic sea turtles, ferocious barracuda, and a variety of other colorful fish.

Here are the best Shark Ray Alley tours!

  • From Caye Caulker: Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
  • From Ambergris Caye: Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour

#16 Take a Helicopter Tour over the Belize Barrier Reef

The ultimate Belize bucket list item (in my eyes, anyway!) is taking flight over the reef and the Great Blue Hole. The views from the helicopter of turquoise waters, coral reefs, white-sand beaches, and lush rainforests below will steal your breath away.

The experience is absolutely insane. And pricy. But oh-so-worth-it. There aren’t any adequate words for how special this experience is!

And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also go skydiving over the reef! I’ll leave that to you, though. If you do, report back.

Here’s the best helicopter tour over the Great Blue Hole & Barrier Reef!

  • Great Blue Hole & Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour

Best Nature Activities

#17 Actun Tunichil Muknal – ATM Cave

If you’re looking for a crazy adventure, then spelunking in the underworld – AKA the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM Cave) in Belize is definitely for you. This cave is a living museum and Maya archaeological site, guarding many ancient artifacts (and even skeletons!) that have been calcified into the earth.

You’ll need to take a guided tour to the ATM Cave, where you’ll learn about the ancient Maya rituals and ceremonies performed there, including bloodletting offerings, food offerings, and human sacrifices. Archaeologists have discovered 15 human remains within the cave, five of which are still visible.

The journey to get to the cave is also half the fun! You’ll have to hike, swim, crawl, climb up and over boulders, and really push yourself. Once you reach the cave, you’ll be rewarded with stunning rock formations and a feeling of awe at the history that’s hidden beneath the ground!

No doubt, the ATM Cave is a top Belize attraction and one of the best things you can do during your trip! Click here to book your tour from San Igancio.

#18 Hike in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature lover’s paradise. Hiking trails through dense jungle give way to waterfalls, swimming holes, and insane views of the Maya Mountains all the way to the Caribbean Sea.

Expect to see colorful birds, playful monkeys, and even the occasional jaguar – if you’re there early in the AM, super quiet, and lucky AF.

The sanctuary also contains remnants of a Maya city that was once inhabited by over 20,000 people. With its combination of natural wonders and cultural treasures, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is truly a place like no other.

#19 Explore the Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Mayflower Bocawina is my favorite national park in Belize! Located just outside of Hopkins Village, on the eastern edge of the Maya Mountains, this park is easy to get to, but not as busy as some of the other parks and reserves!

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An amazing (and to be honest, dangerous!) hiking spot, Mayflower Bocawina National Park offers a variety of trails, from mild to kick-your-ass-difficult with steep inclines.

Highlights of Mayflower Bocawina are definitely Antelope Falls (SO worth the treacherous climb!), New Waterfall, Maya ruins, ziplining, rappelling down the waterfalls (if you haven’t had enough of an adrenaline rush yet!), and the endless nature.

As with every park in Belize, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the sights and sounds of the rainforest as you explore, and you might be lucky enough to spot the elusive jaguar in its natural habitat. Especially if you go at dawn!

If rappelling and ziplining sounds like a good idea, book this tour: Jungle Canopy Zipline & Waterfall Rappelling – Bocawina Falls

#20 Go Cave Tubing and Spelunking

If you haven’t been spelunking (cave exploring) before, then you’re in for a treat. Beyond the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave (ATM Cave), there are so many other really cool caves to discover.

And there are lots of different methods of exploring them as well. On foot is obvious. But cave tubing is also a popular and super fun way to get around these caverns. Kayaking is another.

Anyone who’s been to Belize knows that you can’t skip the ATM Cave (see #17 above). But this Xunantunich and Cave Tubing tour and this Cave Kayaking & Zipline tour are also worth checking out, if you have the time!

#21 Green Iguana Conservation Project

According to TripAdvisor, visiting the Green Iguana Conservation Project is the #1 thing to do in San Ignacio. Since ’96, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the threatened green iguanas, who play a vital role in the ecological balance of Belize’s river habitat.

Go there, and take a closer look at these magnificent creatures. You’ll learn about the project iguana incubation, hatching, rearing, and releasing processes.

The Green Iguana Conservation Project also has an “Adopt an Iguana Program,” which raises money for the organization – and also provides scholarships to local kiddos!

For sure, visiting the Project is an amazing way to give back to a country that gives its visitors so much!

#22 Take a Day Trip to Laughing Bird Caye National Park

Nestled off the coast of Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye National Park is an island paradise for nature lovers and an easy day trip.

Named after a population of laughing gulls that used to breed there, Laughing Bird Caye National Park is the home turf of a thriving population of birds and other wildlife, including parrots, pelicans, herons, and iguanas. While the on-land nature is stunning, the real star of the show is the coral reef, which teems with colorful fish and vibrant coral.

Go there, snorkel or dive, or simply relax on the beautiful white sand beaches and soak up the rays. As one of the top attractions in Belize, you can’t miss this!

Click here to book your snorkel and island experience at Laughing Bird Caye National Park.

#23 Explore the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, which is located in the cooler highlands of the Cayo District, is one of Belize’s most popular reserves. And for good reason!

The largest and oldest protected forested area in Belize, the reserve is offers up some of the most spectacular flora and fauna in the country, including towering pine forests (instead of palm trees!), cascading waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers, Maya temples, natural swimming pools, plenty of nature trails, and exotic birds.

It’s safe to say that visiting the Mountain Pine Ridge is a must-do in Belize!

#24 Spelunk in the Rio Frio Cave

If you haven’t had enough cave adventuring yet, then add the Rio Frio Cave to your Belize bucket list. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in Belize!

This massive limestone cave (about 1/4-mile-long!) is one of the many natural wonders found in the Mountain Pine Ridge. The cave was a sacred Maya burial site, and today, it is considered one of the best and most easily accessed cave systems in Belize.

While it’s not for the faint of heart, venture inside and you will be rewarded with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, boulders for climbing, epic photo ops, and cool respite from the heat of the Belizean sun.

Be sure to bring a headlamp. And be careful, a river flows through the cave, so the floor can be very slippery in places!

#25 Visit the Belize Zoo

More a wildlife sanctuary than anything else, the Belize Zoo was established in 1983 as a last resort to give a home and a life to a number of wild animals that were used to create documentaries about tropical jungles.

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is now the home of over 200 native animals, representing more than 45 species. These animals were all either orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, or are being rehabilitated.

If you weren’t lucky enough to see them in the wild, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter animals like coatimundis, tapirs, ocelots, boa constrictors, howler monkeys, tree frogs, and pumas. You’ll love the experience… while supporting a good cause.

#26 Visit the Blue Hole Cenote

This may be a little confusing, but… There is more than one Blue Hole in Belize! But this time, I’m talking about a fresh-water cenote, in the middle of the jungle!

Within the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, located just off the Hummingbird Highway, near Belmopan, you’ll find the inland Blue Hole. This park stretches over 500 acres and features two cave systems, amazing bird-watching various walking and hiking trails, and of course, the cool blue jungle swimming pool that the park is named after!

Mexico isn’t the only country with beautiful cenotes! Go for a hike and a swim in the Blue Hole National Park if you’re in the area.

26 Bucket-List Worthy Things to Do in Belize

No matter what your interests are, there’s something for you to do in Belize. From exploring the rainforest and spotting wildlife to swimming in a cenote or diving on a coral reef, there are endless opportunities for adventure in this beautiful country. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Belize!

Belize Travel: Visiting Belize FAQs

Have you traveled to Belize before? What are your favorite things to do in Belize? If you haven’t, what are you most looking forward to?

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