Backpacking Belize

A small country with many adventures - that is Belize! With almost 400 kilometres of coastline, Belize has a lot to offer, and the interior is covered in lush, green rainforest, providing incredible biodiversity of flora and fauna.



Have fun exploring our ideal backpacking itinerary for Belize.


Important Basics

Official language

English

Capital city

Belmopan

Form of government

Parliamentary Monarchy

Best time to travel

January to April

Currency

Belize Dollar

Telephone area code

+501

Fun Facts
  • Before Belmopan, the capital city of Belize was Belize City.
  • In Belize, you won’t find a McDonald’s branch or any other fast-food restaurants from the big chains.
  • In Belize, there is a Jaguar reserve in Cockscomb National Park.

Cities

Belize City

Start your trip in the capital, Belize City. Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, was a British colony until 1964 (which explains the many English names) and gained its independence in 1981.

Belize City isn’t very popular with travellers and is meant to serve more as a starting point for your journey. As in any capital city, you’ll find everything you need, but some neighbourhoods should be avoided after dark. Nevertheless, it’s still worth spending one or two nights here. At the Museum of Belize, you can learn about the history of this small country, and then check out the Baron Bliss Lighthouse and its expansive view of the Caribbean Sea.

In one of the city's hostels, you can sleep in a dorm for as little as €20 per night.

Sarteneja

When you leave Belize City, head north towards the Mexican border and on to your next adventure: Sarteneja, a small fishing village on the Sarteneja peninsula, which juts out into Corozal Bay and the Caribbean Sea and is home to Belize’s largest coastal lagoon.

If you're looking for peace and quiet, you’re in the right place – you won’t find too many tourists in Sarteneja, just local fishermen and a few expats.

The town is dotted with dusty streets, goats running freely, coconut palms, and white-sand beaches and is surrounded by water shimmering in all shades of blue. It seems like a little paradise.

Enjoy a good night’s sleep in a hostel for around €15 per night.

San Pedro

Had your fill of rest and relaxation? Off you go to the southern part of Ambergris Caye, to San Pedro – a town buzzing with action and one of the most popular places in Belize. Plan the boat ride from Sarteneja in advance since departure times are usually very early in the morning. The boat and bus ride will cost you about €27.

Fun fact about Ambergris Caye: it’s (allegedly) the island that inspired Madonna’s hit song “La Isla Bonita.”

Try to avoid the three main streets where most of the restaurants, shops, and hotels are located – you’ll only find typical tourist traps, overpriced souvenir shops, and “tour guides” at every corner. Head to the real San Pedro, a little further away from the city centre. Be sure to stop at one of the food stands or BBQ grills along the road for some inexpensive Creole food like garnaches (small corn tortillas with bean puree, cheese, and pickled onions), which make for the perfect snack.

With its colourful houses, smiling local fishermen, cold beer, and beautiful sunsets, you can’t help but be happy in San Pedro.

Get a bed in a dorm in town for €25 per night.

Caye Caulker

A boat trip takes you from San Pedro to the neighbouring island of Caye Caulker. The island is only 8 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide and much less touristy than Ambergris Cayer.

The island's motto is "Go Slow", so just enjoy your time here and relax. From here, you can book a tour to the Great Blue Hole, the 124-metre deep sinkhole off the coast of Belize. This requires a diving licence and strong nerves, as the journey includes a three-hour boat ride.

Those who shy away from the depths of the sea and prefer to stay in shallower waters can snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

In one of the hostels on Caye Caulker, you not only have the opportunity to stay in an 8-bed dorm for €11 a night, but you are also sure to meet one or two like-minded people with whom you can share your backpacking experiences.

Hopkins

Heading south, you have solid ground under your feet again. By boat and bus, you'll eventually reach Hopkins, named after a famous English missionary.

The Belize Barrier Reef can also be explored from here, so if you haven't had enough of snorkelling, you can continue to explore the underwater world here.

Hopkins is ideally located for visiting Belize's Mayan sites. All of the ruins are located inland on the border with Guatemala, so it's a good idea to leave early in the morning to allow plenty of time on site. The most famous ruined city in the country is Caracol. The extensive ruins are located at the foothills of the Maya Mountains and were first settled in 1200 BC.

The best-preserved ruins are Xunantunich and are located about 40 kilometres from Caracol. So, you can visit both in one day. Xunantunich translates as "stone woman" and the site consisted of a total of 25 temples and palaces during its magnificent period.

In Hopkins, you'll be out and about a lot. To relax at the end of the day and enjoy some peaceful nights, find a place to sleep in one of the hostels. For €15 a night, you can get a bed in a 14-bed dorm.

Placencia

Go further south to Placencia – a village that has long been popular among travellers.

Situated directly on the sea, the combination of white beaches, glittery-blue water, and palm trees will blow you away. If you don’t want to work on your tan, get off the beach and take time to get to know Belize's flora and fauna – an excursion to one of the three nearby nature reserves can be booked at any of the local tourist agencies.

Placencia itself is known for its restaurants and bars, so enjoy the unique blend of Latin American and Creole influences that its cuisine has to offer. Try local dishes like cochinita pibil, a marinated, braised pork dish that originates from the Mayas – the meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. Seafood is also a staple, as the Caribbean plays a large role in daily life.

Enjoy Caribbean vibes and a bed for €12 per night in a hostel.

Finish up your trip and return to Belize City, as all international flights depart from there. A bus from Placencia to the city costs about €9. If you spend the night in the city before heading home, stay in a hostel – the staff will usually help you arrange a taxi to take you to the airport, so you don't have to worry and can fly home completely relaxed.


Belize City

Belize City

Start your trip in the capital, Belize City. Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, was a British colony until 1964 (which explains the many English names) and gained its independence in 1981.

Belize City isn’t very popular with travellers and is meant to serve more as a starting point for your journey. As in any capital city, you’ll find everything you need, but some neighbourhoods should be avoided after dark. Nevertheless, it’s still worth spending one or two nights here. At the Museum of Belize, you can learn about the history of this small country, and then check out the Baron Bliss Lighthouse and its expansive view of the Caribbean Sea.

In one of the city's hostels, you can sleep in a dorm for as little as €20 per night.

Sarteneja

Sarteneja

When you leave Belize City, head north towards the Mexican border and on to your next adventure: Sarteneja, a small fishing village on the Sarteneja peninsula, which juts out into Corozal Bay and the Caribbean Sea and is home to Belize’s largest coastal lagoon.

If you're looking for peace and quiet, you’re in the right place – you won’t find too many tourists in Sarteneja, just local fishermen and a few expats.

The town is dotted with dusty streets, goats running freely, coconut palms, and white-sand beaches and is surrounded by water shimmering in all shades of blue. It seems like a little paradise.

Enjoy a good night’s sleep in a hostel for around €15 per night.

San Pedro

San Pedro

Had your fill of rest and relaxation? Off you go to the southern part of Ambergris Caye, to San Pedro – a town buzzing with action and one of the most popular places in Belize. Plan the boat ride from Sarteneja in advance since departure times are usually very early in the morning. The boat and bus ride will cost you about €27.

Fun fact about Ambergris Caye: it’s (allegedly) the island that inspired Madonna’s hit song “La Isla Bonita.”

Try to avoid the three main streets where most of the restaurants, shops, and hotels are located – you’ll only find typical tourist traps, overpriced souvenir shops, and “tour guides” at every corner. Head to the real San Pedro, a little further away from the city centre. Be sure to stop at one of the food stands or BBQ grills along the road for some inexpensive Creole food like garnaches (small corn tortillas with bean puree, cheese, and pickled onions), which make for the perfect snack.

With its colourful houses, smiling local fishermen, cold beer, and beautiful sunsets, you can’t help but be happy in San Pedro.

Get a bed in a dorm in town for €25 per night.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

A boat trip takes you from San Pedro to the neighbouring island of Caye Caulker. The island is only 8 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide and much less touristy than Ambergris Cayer.

The island's motto is "Go Slow", so just enjoy your time here and relax. From here, you can book a tour to the Great Blue Hole, the 124-metre deep sinkhole off the coast of Belize. This requires a diving licence and strong nerves, as the journey includes a three-hour boat ride.

Those who shy away from the depths of the sea and prefer to stay in shallower waters can snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

In one of the hostels on Caye Caulker, you not only have the opportunity to stay in an 8-bed dorm for €11 a night, but you are also sure to meet one or two like-minded people with whom you can share your backpacking experiences.

Hopkins

Hopkins

Heading south, you have solid ground under your feet again. By boat and bus, you'll eventually reach Hopkins, named after a famous English missionary.

The Belize Barrier Reef can also be explored from here, so if you haven't had enough of snorkelling, you can continue to explore the underwater world here.

Hopkins is ideally located for visiting Belize's Mayan sites. All of the ruins are located inland on the border with Guatemala, so it's a good idea to leave early in the morning to allow plenty of time on site. The most famous ruined city in the country is Caracol. The extensive ruins are located at the foothills of the Maya Mountains and were first settled in 1200 BC.

The best-preserved ruins are Xunantunich and are located about 40 kilometres from Caracol. So, you can visit both in one day. Xunantunich translates as "stone woman" and the site consisted of a total of 25 temples and palaces during its magnificent period.

In Hopkins, you'll be out and about a lot. To relax at the end of the day and enjoy some peaceful nights, find a place to sleep in one of the hostels. For €15 a night, you can get a bed in a 14-bed dorm.

Placencia

Placencia

Go further south to Placencia – a village that has long been popular among travellers.

Situated directly on the sea, the combination of white beaches, glittery-blue water, and palm trees will blow you away. If you don’t want to work on your tan, get off the beach and take time to get to know Belize's flora and fauna – an excursion to one of the three nearby nature reserves can be booked at any of the local tourist agencies.

Placencia itself is known for its restaurants and bars, so enjoy the unique blend of Latin American and Creole influences that its cuisine has to offer. Try local dishes like cochinita pibil, a marinated, braised pork dish that originates from the Mayas – the meat is so tender that it melts in your mouth. Seafood is also a staple, as the Caribbean plays a large role in daily life.

Enjoy Caribbean vibes and a bed for €12 per night in a hostel.

Finish up your trip and return to Belize City, as all international flights depart from there. A bus from Placencia to the city costs about €9. If you spend the night in the city before heading home, stay in a hostel – the staff will usually help you arrange a taxi to take you to the airport, so you don't have to worry and can fly home completely relaxed.

Belize Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Belize City
Home - Belize City
Flight
300
night (dorm)
20
2. Belize City
Belize City
-
night (dorm)
20
3. Belize City - Sarteneja
Belize City - Sarteneja
Bus
7
night (four-bed dorm)
15
4. Sarteneja
Sarteneja
-
night (four-bed dorm)
15
5. Sarteneja
Sarteneja
-
night (four-bed dorm)
15
6. Sarteneja - San Pedro
Sarteneja - San Pedro
Bus+boat
27
night (dorm)
23
7. San Pedro
San Pedro
-
night (dorm)
23
8. San Pedro
San Pedro
-
night (dorm)
23
9. San Pedro - Caye Caulker
San Pedro - Caye Caulker
Boat
10
night (​ eight-bed dorm)
11
10. Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker
-
night (​ eight-bed dorm)
11
11. Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker
-
night (​ eight-bed dorm)
11
12. Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker
-
night (​ eight-bed dorm)
11
13. Caye Caulker - Hopkins
Caye Caulker - Hopkins
Boat+bus
23
night (14-bed dorm)
15
14. Hopkins
Hopkins
-
night (14-bed dorm)
15
15. Hopkins
Hopkins
-
night (14-bed dorm)
15
16. Hopkins
Hopkins
-
night (14-bed dorm)
15
17. Hopkins - Placencia
Hopkins - Placencia
Bus
3
night (10-bed dorm)
12
18. Placencia
Placencia
-
night (10-bed dorm)
12
19. Placencia
Placencia
-
night (10-bed dorm)
12
20. Placencia - Belize City
Placencia - Belize City
Bus
9
night (dorm)
20
21. Belize City – Home
Belize City – Home
Flight
300

Total price.

Flights 600,00
Transportation 79,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 314,00
Total993,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Egg and beans served with Johnny Cakes: Belizeans start their day with an egg and diced tomatoes, a combination carried over by the Maya, and eat it with beans and Johnny Cakes.

Soup

Serre la sus: This is a soup made from fish, cooked vegetables, onions, spices, and coconut milk and goes well with manioc bread or plantains.

Main courses

Rice and beans: Probably the most famous side dish. Rice and beans can be cooked together with coconut milk or a few slices of bacon. Regardless of the variation, it is affordable and delicious – and goes great with freshly roasted tilapia.

Stew(ed) Chicken: Besides rice and beans, chicken is another common staple of the Belizean kitchen and is cut into small pieces, soaked, and stewed. Because of Belize’s Caribbean location, seafood is also often used in stews.

Lobster:  One of the great Belizean seafood dishes is lobster, prepared with a pinch of butter and lime. This special meal even has its own three-day festival.

Drinks

Cashew wine: Made from cashew fruit, this thick wine is often served with a cup of soda.

Fruit juice: The best drink to enjoy while relaxing on a Caribbean beach is refreshing, cold juice. Many cafés in Belize make freshly squeezed, seasonal juices from fruits like mango, papaya, lime, and watermelon.

Ginger beer: A drink made of ginger, orange, and lemon. After fermentation, it’s sometimes mixed with other spices and then refrigerated. It’s the perfect drink for cooling off in the evening after a warm, sunny day.

Belize

The exchange rate for 1 Belize Dollar is EUR 0.42 (as of October 2020). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of living

Food

Free time

Dos

Wear insect-repellent clothing.

Get vaccinated before you go.

Save a bit of the local currency to pay the departure tax when leaving.

Don'ts

Don’t lie under a coconut tree, especially when the coconuts are brown. A brown coconut can fall at any time.

Don’t worry about brushing up on your Spanish. The official language is English.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Not necessary 

Vaccine

Yes 

Additional Remarks.

We recommend researching the travel document, visa and entry requirements for your home country before your departure. If you travel to Belize, consult a health care provider before you leave to discuss vaccination requirements. Important Travel documents must be valid for at least six months.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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