While Belize may be small in size, few other destinations offer such a variety of things to do and see. The Central American country is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and its inland is filled with dense jungles. As a result, there are endless possibilities for those who crave adventure, nature, and new experiences. We often refer to Belize as a melting pot, reflected in its diverse language, culture, and cuisine. Although English is the official language, many speak Spanish, Maya, Garifuna, and Kriol. Being home to vast history, biodiversity, and natural wonders, Belize is a bucket-list trip for most travelers. Check out our list of the top 10 things to do in Belize and make the most of your next vacation.
The western Cayo District is home to several ancient archaeological sites. One of the most impressive Maya sites to visit in Belize is Xunantunich, featuring a unique 127-foot El Castillo pyramid sitting on a ridge above the Mopan River. This guided tour is the perfect mix of adventure and history, providing guests with an opportunity to learn about the past and soak in the culture of Belize. Climb to the top of the pyramid for panoramic views of the ruins, Belize, and Guatemala. We recommend staying in or near San Ignacio for the easiest access to ancient Maya ruin excursions.
Pro Tip: Stay at Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge and horseback ride through the hilltops and valleys of the countryside to Xunantunich!
2. Ranguana Caye Day Trip
If playing castaway on your own private island is on your list of things to do in Belize, Ranguana Caye is the perfect place to do it. The 2-acre paradise is ideal for relaxing, snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef, kayaking, fishing, and enjoying island-style cuisine to the sound of crashing waves. Bully’s Beach Bar has chilled cocktails and good vibes to make your island escape unforgettable. Spend your day in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, where you can do everything or nothing at all.
Pro Tip: Stay the night in three guest cabanas for the complete private island experience!
3. Eat Rice & Beans
Rice and beans are a classic one-pot meal, often considered the national dish of Belize. Frequently served with a choice of beef, chicken, pork, lobster, shrimp, or game meat, it is an essential item in the local diet and can be found just about anywhere. While it may sound basic, the addition of coconut milk (the secret ingredient) makes for a dangerously delicious dish.
Pro Tip: Add Maria Sharp’s hot sauce to your rice and beans for a bit of spice!
4. Eat Fry Jacks
While it may not be the healthiest item, fry jacks are one of Belize’s most popular, mouth-watering dishes. These small triangle-shaped doughs are fried until golden and served as a warm compliment to breakfast or lunch. More popular than standard bread, these mini puff pastries are a perfect accompaniment to traditional breakfast foods and are found everywhere. You can experience fry jacks in various ways, as the tasty treats can accompany sweet and savory ingredients.
Pro Tip: Fill your fry jacks with scrambled eggs and refried beans or honey and jam for maximum deliciousness!
5. Drink The World’s Best Pina Colada at Hopkins Bay Resort
Nothing says Caribbean getaway like sipping on the World’s Best Pina Colada. Hopkins Bay Resort’s newly renovated restaurant is conveniently located poolside and just steps from the beach. Watch as your pina colada is freshly made and blended to perfection with farm-to-table ingredients. Then, sip your chilled cocktail as you relax under the warm sun. Don’t be surprised if you go back for seconds (or thirds).
Pro Tip: Swing at the bar while you grab your pina colada for the complete tropical experience!
6. Garifuna Dancing & Drumming
Music, song, and dance are essential to life in the Garifuna communities of Belize. Their music heavily relies on drums to lead the movement of dancers and the voice of the singers. Travelers have the opportunity to experience Garifuna drumming first-hand and explore the culture through rhythm and beats. While drummers can be found all around the country, they are most prominent in the Garifuna village of Hopkins. Here, visitors can participate in traditional drumming techniques, dancing, and local cuisine.
Pro Tip: Visit Hopkins Bay Resort and pair your Garifuna drumming experience with a culinary adventure!
7. SCUBA or Snorkel The Belize Barrier Reef
Belize has no shortage of incredible SCUBA diving and snorkeling sites, boasting the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef. The reef is home to colorful corals and marine wildlife, including turtles, nurse sharks, and eels. PADI-certified guides ensure guests of any skill level feel comfortable and have the best possible underwater experience.
Pro Tip: Snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef right off the shore of your private island when you visit Ranguana Caye!
8. Fly Fishing & Reef Fishing
Belize is a mecca for travelers interested in fishing. All kinds of fishing–spin, fly, trolling–are available all year. Home to rivers, premier flats, and barrier reefs, Belize has some of the most desired areas in the world for fishing. The mouths of many rivers contain tarpon, snook, and jacks, while the flats are known for bonefish, permit, and barracuda. Find grouper and snapper near the coral reefs, or go deep into the Caribbean Sea to find sailfish, marlin, and pompano. Whatever your level of experience, fishing in Belize makes for an unforgettable adventure.
Pro Tip: Go fly fishing with Blue Horizon and try your luck at catching a Grand Slam– a tarpon, bonefish, and permit all in one day!
Feel the rush of ziplining high above the South Stann Creek River and rainforest canopy. Local guides ensure you are comfortable and provide safety briefings along with a harness, helmet, and gloves. Then, speed through the jungle treetops as you get a bird’s eye perspective of the river canyon and surrounding mountains! 11 decks and 7 lines allow travelers to spot exotic tropical birds, including endangered scarlet macaws, iguanas, and other jungle wildlife.
Pro Tip: After working up a sweat on the ziplines, cool off with a cave tubing excursion through the Mayan underworld!
10. Conch or Lobster Hunt
There’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying freshly made lobster or conch ceviche in Belize. You can even get in on the excitement with a catch-and-cook snorkeling excursion. First, start the adventure by searching turquoise waters for the spiny crustaceans. Then, try your luck at spearing a lobster or conch with the help of your experienced guide. After snorkeling to secure your catch, you’ll relax on the beach while your meal is prepared. Your fresh meal will taste particularly delicious, and your efforts will be well worth it.
Pro Tip: Lobster season in Belize opens in June and closes in February. Conch season runs from October through June.
Bonus: Market Tour on Saturdays at San Ignacio or Punta Gorda Markets
Visit the San Ignacio or Punta Gorda markets on Saturdays and immerse yourself in the region’s kaleidoscope of people, fruits, vegetables, spices, and fish. This popular visitor attraction combines a flea market and a fresh produce bazaar–the perfect place to experience the pulse of local culture. Here you can sample tacos, tamales, pupusas, homemade bread, cheese, and seasonal fruits only found in the Caribbean. Also, don’t forget to explore the unique variety of spices and medicinal herbs.
Bonus: Rum Tasting at Copalli Distillery
From farm to flask, learn and experience each step of the sugarcane rum-making process of Copalli Rum. Start by touring the organic cane fields and harvesting your own sugarcane before heading to the on-site distillery. Tour the entire distillery and bottling facility before traveling to the Agricultural Center. Your guide will teach you how to taste spirits correctly and the science behind the practice.