Ancient Mayan Ruins. Amazing snorkeling. Hidden waterfalls. When we chose Belize for our family vacation we were looking for an adventure. Belize checked all of the boxes and it didn’t disappoint.
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A lot of people visit Belize via the cruise ship port. While cruises are a great way to get a taste of a country if we had visited this way I am not sure I would have fallen in love with this beautiful country. If Belize City is all you see you are missing out. There is so much more.
The Belize airport is small, so small we exited the plane directly on the tarmac. Then we were directed to walk to the right on a long sidewalk to immigration. The immigration process was fairly quick and we were easily able to get a taxi just outside the door.
For our trip we planned on staying on the island of Amergris Caye for part of the trip and San Ignacio for the remaining part of the trip. This allowed us a base close to all of the things we wanted to see.
From Reef to Jungle – Our Belize Adventures
We started our Belize adventure on Ambergris Caye, so we had the taxi take us from the airport to the water taxi terminal. The taxi ride took about 25 minutes.
At the terminal employees take your luggage to have it checked at the curb, so you won’t have to haul it down to the terminal. From here we walked passed some shops to the terminal were we purchased tickets for the water taxi.
San Pedro and Ambergris Caye
After a few days we returned to the mainland and made our way around Belize by car. The second part of our vacation we made our base in San Ignacio. From Belize City this is about a two hour drive down Western Highway.
Cayo District | San Ignacio
We woke up early every morning while in San Ignacio to shop for breakfast. Fresh produce is offered every day in San Ignacio, Belize. We could find bananas 10 for $1.00. They always had a great variety of vegetables to choose from too. At lunch time if we were near town we would grab some hot food from the street vendors.
San Ignacio has an open-air farmer market every day, however on Saturday it is a huge event. Saturday’s farmers markets bring in vendors from the surrounding areas of Guatemala and Honduras.
If you are visiting St. Iganacio, don’t forget to visit the farmers’ market.
The market has lots of choices of grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat. Vendors also offer street food and handcrafted items. The Saturday market in San Ignacio is a great place to find unique souvenirs.
Belize’s Mayan Ruins
See Belize Mayan Ruins. Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave) was the best tour we took in Belize. It is a day excursion where you will ford rivers, hike through a jungle, swim to and through a cave.
Xunatunich Mayan Ruins were my favorite ruins we visited in Belize. You have to take a wooden ferry across the river just to access the ruins. The stone carvings are amazingly intricate and from the top you have amazing views of Belize and Guatemala.
See Belize’s Waterfalls
Thousand Foot Falls is the tallest waterfall in Central America, so we had to go. It is quite the adventure just to get to this remote place. You can can see both Thousand Foot Falls and Big Rock Falls in one day trip from San Ignacio.
Green Iguana Conservation Project
The Green Iguana Conservation Project ended up being one of the kids’ favorite place we visited. Not only was it very educational, it was amazing to be surrounded by so many iguanas.
Stann Creek District
While based in St. Ignacio we took several day trips – one of these was to the ocean village Dangriga. On the way to Dangriga we stopped at St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park . Then we continued down Hummingbird Highway for another hour before we reached town.
St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
Take a hike or cool off in the swimming hole at St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park.
We continued north for a few minutes until we reached Pelican Beach Resort. They had a beautiful beach area and a great restaurant. This area was very peaceful. They had a great pier with several hammocks.
Nine miles from St. Igancio, Belize is the border of Guatemala. We took a fascinating day trip to Guatemala to see the ancient Mayan city of Tikal.
Things to See and Do in Belize District
- Community Baboon Sanctuary
- Belize Sign
Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary is a unique experience where you can learn about the Black Howler monkeys of Belize and walk through their natural habitat.
There are two Belize signs in Belize City. One near the Tourist Village docks, which is the area where cruise ship passengers arrive and one at the Seashore Promenade. The Belize sign pictured below is off of Seashore Drive in Belize City not too far from the airport.
Good to Know
Belize is the only Central America country with English as an official language. However, you will hear many languages spoken here including Spanish and Kriol.
The Belize dollar $2 = $1 USD, so this makes it easy to figure out how much something costs. We found that hotels and tours were listed in US prices, stores or restaurants (basically places locals would visit) were listed in Belize dollars. If you have any doubt, just ask. We never had a problem using US money at any place we visited.
Most places will take major credit cards, however on several occasions the internet was down in town and then you will need cash. It is always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
Belize can be seen by taking tours or a taxi cab to the sights. Many people we met chose this route of transportation. However, renting a car gives you the independence and ability to see so much more of this beautiful country.
Renting a vehicle enabled us to explore three of the six districts while we were here. Our adventures in Belize were more affordable for our family of five to see because we rented a vehicle. To learn more about renting a car and driving in Belize, please visit our page on transportation.