19 Bucket List Worthy Things to Do in Belize

Known for its beautiful cayes, excellent scuba diving, gorgeous turquoise water, and many opportunities for adventure, there are far more fun things to do in Belize than can possibly be covered in one trip!

We spent almost two weeks exploring the beauty of Belize, from its beaches to its Mayan cities to the incomparable ATM Cave–but we still barely scratched the surface of this exciting country.

So, in order to create this Belize bucket list, we teamed up with several other travel bloggers to curate a guide to the top attractions in Belize!

Whether you want to climb a Mayan pyramid, take a flightseeing tour of the famous Blue Hole, relax with your toes in the sand on one of the best beaches in Belize, or even rent an entire island (!), we have you covered on this guide to what to do in Belize.

Here’s what to add to your list of things to do in Belize to ensure that you plan a trip you’ll never forget.

view of docks on a caye in belize framed by palm trees with a yellow boat to the side

The Best Seaside Things to Do in Belize

Take a sunset cruise on Caye Caulker.

From Daniel and Ilona of Top Travel Sights

Joining a sunset boat tour in Caye Caulker is one of the best things to do in Belize.

It is also one of the most relaxing activities on Caye Caulker and the perfect way to end a day.

Sunset cruises usually start around an hour before sunset, so the boat has time to cruise along the coast.

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This allows you to enjoy a drink and admire the island’s colourful houses and palm trees from a different perspective.

The cruise then takes you to the western side of the island, where the sun sets.

Here, you can watch the sun go down in the sea as it lights up the sky.

Multiple companies offer boat tours on Caye Caulker, and it pays off to compare offers to see what they include.

Typically, you will have some drinks and snacks included, but there’s also the option of enjoying dinner on the boat.

sunset over the water on caye caulker with sailboats visible in the background

Go scuba diving in Belize.

From Daria of The Discovery Nut

Located near the second largest barrier reef in the world (the Mesoamerican Reef System or the Great Mayan Reef), Belize is a world-class diving destination.

Diving enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Belize to explore its pristine coral reef and dive in the famous Blue Hole, a large marine sinkhole right off the coast of the country.

The best way to access the Blue Hole and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is from Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. 

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Many tour companies in San Pedro, the largest town on Ambergris Caye, sell diving tours to Hol Chan Marine Reserve (which means a small channel in the Mayan language), and if you have never dived before, you can get your diving certification here as well. 

There are daily flights to Ambergris Caye from Belize International Airport that take about 20 minutes.

If you are traveling on a budget, you can also catch a taxi to the boat terminal and take a boat from there to San Pedro, the largest city on Ambergris Caye which will take about 40 minutes to 1 hour. 

Regardless of how you choose to travel, scuba diving is, hands down, one of the best Belize attractions, and it belongs at the top of your Belize bucket list!

colorful reef system in belize with two scuba divers in the background, one of the best things to do in belize

Live the slow life on Caye Caulker.

From Erika of Erika’s Travelventures

Caye Caulker is one of Belize’s small Caribbean islands that embodies the “island getaway” vibes.
 
If relaxing and unwinding is high on your list of things to do in Belize, Caye Caulker is the perfect place to spend time.
 
The island’s unofficial slogans are literally “Go Slow”, and “No shirt, no shoes… no problem.”
 
Caye Caulker’s eastern coastline is the best place to grab a hammock or a picnic table to enjoy the sunny weather and the sounds of the ocean.
 
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A number of local restaurants and cafes here can serve you fresh ground coffee, detoxifying fruit drinks, or refreshing Belikin beer (the beer of Belize) with local delicacies like lobster or fried plantains. Whatever you need to feel the most relaxed! 
 
Another popular spot to chill out on Caye Caulker is the Split, where a large pier, perfect for sunbathing, juts out into the ocean.
 
To cool off from the sun, there’s a nearby tiki bar where you have a drink in the shade, or jump right into the clear blue waters.
 
Spend the entire day here like many travelers do, stay for a brilliant sunset, and recharge your batteries in Belize. 
 
view of caye caulker belize from across the water, one of the best places to visit in belize bucket list

Swim with stingrays and (nurse) sharks at Shark Ray Alley.

From Seanna of Seanna’s World

One of the best activities in Belize is take a boat tour out to Shark Ray Alley, located only about 10 minutes by boat from Caye Caulker.

This part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is home to a cornucopia of nurse sharks and stingrays, which you’ll have the opportunity to swim and snorkel with.

Tours usually last about 2 hours, and tour companies will provide snorkels and masks, and life jackets for the boat.

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The nurse sharks and stingrays are safe to swim with, and fascinating to watch.

Do your research on which company to take the tour with, as there are several offering the trip from Caye Caulker, with varying ethical practices.

Some tour guides feed the sharks to ensure they come out, but this is wildly irresponsible as it upsets their natural ecosystems.

Always ask about their sustainability policy before committing to a tour company for this fun Belize attraction.

group of nurse sharks as seen under the water at shark ray alley, one of the top attractions in belize bucket list

Enjoy a scenic flight over the Great Blue Hole.

From Jenifer of The Evolista

Belize is a unique travel destination with many natural landmarks that will blow you away, but nothing compares to the Great Blue Hole.

While it’s on every diver’s Belize bucket list, a scenic flight over the Great Blue Hole is the only way to actually see it.

From the water, it just looks like the (beautiful) ocean.

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One of the best places to catch a scenic flight is the popular tourist island Ambergris Caye, where tourists flock year round to enjoy the crystal clear waters and amazing reef.

You’ll get a bird’s eye view of those amazing coral reefs when you take off.

The flight to the Great Blue Hole takes 15 minutes and then the pilot will circle it three times in both directions for a one hour total trip.

Every person has their own window seat and a fantastic view to get tons of photos.

The excursion is a little on the expensive side but worth every penny to experience one of the top attractions in Belize.

aerial view of belize great blue hole with a plane wing visible in one corner of the photo

Go snorkeling in Caye Caulker.

From Joanna of The World in My Pocket

Caye Caulker is one of the most beautiful and laid-back islands in Belize.

It is known for the slow pace of life and the fresh lobsters most of the restaurants on the island serve.

There are no cars on the island, only a few golf carts, a few mopeds, and plenty of bicycles.

One of the best things to do in Caye Caulker is go snorkeling in the Hol Chan marine reserve and the Belize Barrier Reef – the second largest reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

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There are two types of tours which you can book if you want to go snorkeling in Caye Caulker: half a day or full day.

Depending on what you go for, the itinerary will differ.

Some tours will include trips to see manatees and turtles, whilst some will only include the shark alley.

No matter which tour you go for, there will be plenty of things to see on the snorkeling trip.

The reef is home to many different species of fish, Moray eels, nurse sharks, Manta rays, and plenty of gorgeous corals.

At the end of the trip, most boats head over to the other side of Caye Caulker, where the protected giant tarpons live. 

Book your Caye Caulker snorkeling tour today!

sea turtle swimming under the water near a coral reef in belize

While your days away on Ambergris Caye.

Whitney of Designs for Travel
 
Staying on the famous island of Ambergris Caye, while in the country of Belize, is a must on any Belize itinerary
 
Ambergris Caye is most widely known for its reef, which is the second-largest in the world. 
 
It’s an amazing experience to hire a boat and go out to the Belize Barrier Reef system to snorkel or scuba dive. 
 
Staying on Ambergris Caye has a relaxed feel with a slow relaxed pace. 
 
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Choose accommodations at a beachfront resort in order to spend the most time possible relaxing at the beautiful white sand beaches or swimming in the aqua blue ocean. Don’t miss the beautiful sunrises and sunsets! 
 
Walking around the town of San Pedro to visit the shops and restaurants is another fun thing to do. 
 
If you are staying at a place that has a barbeque, you can hire a personal chef to cook locally caught lobster for you. 
 
Ambergris Caye is an incredibly relaxing place, and relaxing is definitely one of the top things to do in Belize!
 
view of beach huts over the water on ambergis caye belize things to do

Take a day trip to Laughing Bird Caye National Park.

From Nikki of She Saves She Travels 

If you’re looking for a guide on things to do in Belize, then a visit to Laughing Bird Caye must be on your list!

With gorgeous white sand beaches and the perfect turquoise water, this tiny island is a must see!

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Located off the coast of Belize near Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye National Park is a protected area available to visitors only through day tours.

It’s the perfect snorkeling spot, as it’s located on the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System which is the 2nd largest reef zone in the world.

Expect a day trip to Laughing Bird Caye to include snorkeling gear, lunch and drinks and lounge chairs.

Bring your own towel, cocktails (if you’d like them) and your favorite camera to take photos of this magical place in Belize.

It’s bound to be a day to remember!

view of the small laughing bird caye with palm trees as seen from the shallow water surrounding it, one of the best activities in belize

Spend a night (or more) on a private island.

From Nicole of Grow Far Grow Close

One of the best things that you can do in Belize is rent The Enclave, a private island resort near Placencia. 

The Enclave boasts 7 villas that sleep a total of 26 people.
 
Each villa is luxuriously appointed with large beds, elegant bathrooms, separate living rooms, and private patios, all of which have private and unencumbered views of the Caribbean Sea.
 
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In addition to unlimited access to swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding from your own shores, the resort offers its own swimming pool.
 
Around the pool, you have enormous shared living spaces, such as an outdoor living and dining rooms, and a covered kitchen and bar. In addition, there is a separate villa with a multimedia room, air hockey and other games. 
 
One of the best features of the Enclave is the private staff.
 
For your stay, you have your own chef who cooks all your meals. You are given a choice from an extensive menu for your lunches and dinners.
 
In addition, you either bring your own alcohol and wine, or order it directly from the store so that all of your drinks are offered at cost, without any markup.
 
It is a few minutes boat ride from the island to Placencia, and you are close to some amazing excursions that you can easily book through the staff. 

Renting the Enclave for a week is actually more affordable than you might expect if divided between a large number of guests.

For the beauty, serenity, luxury and unparalleled service, it is quite frankly an must- do experience in Belize waiting for you to try.

colorful cocktail being held in front of bright blue water

Adventurous Attractions in Belize

Go caving with the dead at Belize’s ATM Cave.

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Belize is touring the ATM Cave.

This is the #1 reason that many travelers visit San Ignacio (us included), and this adventurous Belize attraction is not to be missed.

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) is a sacred Mayan historical site, and the name translates to “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher.”

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The Mayans believe caves to be the opening to the underworld, and remains of offerings as simple as corn in clay pots and as brutal as the full skeleton of a human sacrifice victim can be seen right where they were left long ago–give or take a little water movement.

This is a wet cave and essentially has two major draws in one tour: first, the Mayan history and relics, and second, the adventure portion.

The natural formations are stunning, and the obstacles–from climbing a roughly 15 ft. rock to reach a new room to squeezing into a tunnel so tight that rock touches your neck on both sides at the entrance–make this the perfect place to get adrenaline racing.

Be prepared to get wet, get a workout in, see some unforgettable sites… and to not get any photos of it. 

Absolutely no cameras are allowed in the ATM Cave, so come prepared to keep only memories.

Book your exciting ATM Cave tour today!

entrance to the atm cave bucket list belize experience with small waterfalls in the river
The entrance to the ATM Cave.

Try cave tubing.

From Kylie of Between England and Iowa

Cave tubing in Belize is a unique way to experience Belize and a great way to enjoy the natural landscape.

Tours typically start with a short hike, maybe 25 minutes or so, through the rainforest with all of the gear for the float.

Tubes, helmets, head torches, and life vests are provided.

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During the walk there are lots of different flora and fauna, there’s even a monkey troupe that calls the area home.

The river float lasts for around 1 hour 30, the tubes are all tied together in a train formation while floating through the caves.

The caves are significant in the Mayan faith.

The guide will point out various rock formations that represent animals and figures in the Mayan stories and myths.

Cave tubing can be combined with other activities such as zip-lining, ATV riding, or a visit to ‘Altun Ha’ Mayan ruins.

For something a bit more strenuous, you could opt for booking a kayaking tour of the caves rather than a float.

Book your cave tubing excursion in Belize today!

view of people cave tubing in belize with rock formations over them

Visit the other Blue Hole of Belize.

From Kat of World Wide Honeymoon

You likely already know all about the famous Great Blue Hole in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

It is well-known for diving, boating, and snorkeling.

However, did you know that there is a blue hole in the middle of Belize too?

Essentially, Belize’s inland blue hole is a cenote.

So if you’re familiar with cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, then that is exactly what you’ll find here at St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park.

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It is a sinkhole made from limestone collapsing and exposing the groundwater underneath.

Many people today love to visit them as they tend to result in an incredible swimming hole in the jungle! 

Located near Belmopan, the capital of Belize, this national park has two caves (perfect for cave tubing!) as well as this big blue hole.

You can go for a swim and cool off in this relaxing blue hole as you admire the bright hue of the water.

It is a perfect addition to any Belize itinerary!

So whether you want to swim, float, go spelunking, or take photos for the ‘gram, St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park is an unmissable attraction in Belize!

st hermans blue hole belize things to do inland

Step inside the Rio Frio Cave.

From Melissa of Parenthood and Passports

Rio Frio Cave, located in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in western Belize, is one of the most easily accessible cave systems in the small Central American country.

One of the only dry caves in Belize, a visit to Rio Frio Cave does not involve swimming or wading through water or any strenuous hiking.

This makes Rio Frio one of the best attractions in Belize to visit with kids.

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The approach walking up to the cave is nothing short of jaw dropping.

The mouth of the cave is a 65-foot limestone arch that greets guests just a short walk from the parking lot. 

Like many caves in Belize, Rio Frio is believed to have been a sacred burial site for the ancient Maya.

And while it isn’t as well known as many of the other Mayan ruins in Belize, archaeologists have discovered Mayan relics in the cave, which confirm the cave’s historic purpose.

You can follow the shallow river all the way through the quarter mile cave, or wander near the entrance and gaze at the stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over the centuries.

entrance of rio frio cave in belize as seen from inside the cave

Historical + Cultural Belize Bucket List Experiences

Explore the Mayan city of Caracol.

From Daniel of Layer Culture

The prehistoric Mayan city of Caracol is both the biggest and one of the most well-preserved ancient Maya cities in Belize.

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For any traveler looking for a magical experience that will take them away from the sandy shores to a remote archaeological site, visiting Caracol is one of the top things to do in Belize.

Located within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve just 40km from San Ignacio the hieroglyphic inscriptions that can be found amongst the gigantic pyramids tell a story of an ancient civilization from which 180,000 people once lived.

Jungle vacation packages can be found as well as 2-3 day hiking trips that give visitors a full expedition tour.

When considering personal safety in Belize with visiting Caracol in mind, be well prepared and have the right gear to be able to withstand the dense Jungle climate.

Book your day trip to Caracol today!

stone stairs leading to the top of a pyramid surrounded by jungle at caracol, one of the best things to do belize

Attend the Placencia Lobsterfest.

From Tanya of Can Travel Will Travel

Belize is famous for its festivals, of which there are many throughout the year.

One of the most popular is the three-day Lobsterfest, held annually to mark the start of the Lobster season.

It’s held on different weekends in different cities to avoid clashes, but the best (at least according to the locals), is in Placencia.

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Tourists and Belizeans arrive from all over the country to devour mountains of lobster dishes made every which way, including grilled lobster, lobster ceviche, lobster thermidor and lobster kebabs.

People are also encouraged to help the environment by dining on lionfish dishes, in an attempt to reduce numbers of the invasive species.

Visitors come to Lobsterfest for the food, but stay for the entertainment and fun.

There’s all day and night long beach parties with live music, well stocked bars, games, contests and competitions, and arts and crafts.

Placencia Lobsterfest is definitely an experience to include in your itinerary if you’re in Belize in June, there are also plenty of other exciting things to do in Placencia to keep you busy for a while.

meal of grilled lobster on a white plate

Climb to the top of a Mayan temple at Xunantunich.

From Sean of Living Out Lau

One of the most impressive Maya archaeological sites to visit in Belize is Xunantunich, or “Maiden of the Rock” in the Maya language.

From the archaeological findings, it is believed the Xunantunich was a civic ceremonial center.

Perched over a hilltop overlooking the Mopan River, Xunantunich has a total of 25 temples and palaces, and excavation is still happening today.

Out of all the temples in Xunantunich, there is one that you must visit: El Castillo.

Translating to “The Castle” in English, El Castillo is the second-tallest structure in Belize at around 40 meters (130 feet) tall.

Unlike many of the Mayan ruins, it is possible to go up the El Castillo, where you will find sweeping views of the nearby valley.

Visiting Xunantunich is one of the things you must do in San Ignacio!

Book your day trip to Xunantunich today!

view of the jungle from the top of a temple at Xunantunich belize

Explore the Cahal Pech Ruins.

Located within walking distance of San Ignacio, Cahal Pech is one of the easiest Mayan ruin sites in Belize to visit for those already planning a trip nearby (though, admittedly, the walk to Cahal Pech from San Ignacio is uphill).

This beautiful, shaded ruin site dates back to 1200 BCE, and at its peak, was home to between 10,000 and 15,000 people.

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It’s lovely to explore on foot, and the shade throughout much of the complex is very welcome in the heat.

The name itself translates to “Place of Ticks”, which is admittedly not the most appealing name in the world–but the city itself, overlooking San Ignacio and Santa Elena, was important to trade routes in its time, and is one of the oldest Mayan cities in Belize.

view of shaded buildings in cahal pech ruins belize

More Fun Things to Do in Belize

Visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project.

At the Iguana Sanctuary in San Ignacio, Belize, you’ll have a chance to learn far more about the lizards that you’ll no doubt see every day when visiting Belize.

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Here, you can hold and feed the iguanas while learning more about the conservation of this fascinating threatened species.

The project is based out of the gorgeous San Ignacio Resort Hotel, which also happens to be a fantastic place to stay while exploring San Ignacio!

kate storm posing with two green iguanas at the green iguana project, one of the best things to do in belize

Learn about conservation at the Belize Zoo.

From Brodi of Our Offbeat Life

The Belize Zoo is a unique and family-friendly attraction in Belize that should be on every Belize itinerary.
 
Started in 1983, it is one of the only zoos in the world that is comprised almost entirely of rescued wildlife.
 
In addition to signs around the zoo giving facts on various species, each animal also gets a sign that describes how it came to live at the Belize Zoo. 
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While self-guided day tours are how most people enjoy the facility, the zoo also offers a private night tour that must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
 
In order to accommodate visitors as much as possible, the Belize Zoo is fully wheelchair accessible.
 
This is also a bonus for families with small children because it means their strollers also won’t have trouble accessing exhibits. 
 
The cost to enter the Belize Zoo is $15 USD for adults and $5 USD for children. Belize citizens and residents are charged $7 BZD for adults and $2 BZD for children. Parking at the zoo is free.
 
The zoo is open seven days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM, except when it closes at 4 PM on Sundays.
 
jaguar sitting on wood and looking at the camera at the belize zoo

Ride in a chicken bus.

Chicken buses (converted North American school buses) are common across Central America, and Belize is no exception.

For long rides, the buses cannot be considered particularly comfortable, but they are an extremely memorable cultural experience and definitely worth trying it!

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Chicken buses between the most popular places to visit in Belize are generally a great place to meet other travelers, and not as hot as expected (open windows make everything better).

We had great experiences with chicken buses across Central America, and Belize was our first place to try them out.

It took a little getting used to, having the money handler on the bus find out where we were going and say things like, “Here, get off at this deserted corner and the right bus will pick you up in 5 minutes”–but they were always right and we didn’t have any trouble getting around.

4 photos of belize attractions including caracol, caye caulker, coral reef, sea turtle. black and red text on a white background reads "belize bucket list"

About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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