Visiting Belize

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Belize with a group of 14 year olds

July 2013

We are considering a trip to Belize next summer as an eighth grade promotion trip for our daughters. Does anyone have any experience with travel in Belize, specifically Dangriga? Did you rent a car? Did you stay somewhere else? Did you travel to the Mayan ruins? What about the water, snorkeling? How much Spanish was needed? Any advice or experience would be appreciated. Belize Excitement

My wife, three teen-age children and I went to Belize last year and had a very enjoyable time. English is spoken as much as Spanish because the country used to be in the British Commonwealth. We did not visit Dangriga but went into the interior of the country and stayed at the Adventure Company and Jungle Lodge. If your family enjoys lying around the pool and/or all-day adventures, you should consider this place for at least four days. Check out the website and you will see the different choices offered. Accommodations are nice, the food good and plentiful and the staff experienced and friendly. The riverview tree house rooms are really worth the splurge. Have fun! Roger

Family vacation in Belize

March 2012

My husband and three kids (13, 10, and 6) will be traveling to Belize in June this summer for a vacation with a group of friends. Initially I was quite excited, however, I have since read a few postings on travel websites that indicate Belize can be dangerous due to gang crime. I would love to hear from families or couples who recently traveled there to know if it is a good place for families to visit. Concerned mom

We went to Belize two years ago and had the most fantastic vacation. We saw no crime at all. What we saw of Belize city (within walking distance of the airport) wasn't too nice. But I'm sure that you're not staying there. You probably won't even leave the airport because you'll take another small plane to your final destination. We went to Ambergris and could not have enjoyed it more. The people were friendly. San Pedro is somewhat run down but it has character and is pretty clean.

Go and enjoy your trip! Super jealous!

Hmm, I know quite a few individuals/families that have traveled to Belize and had positive experiences there, but I have to say it was one of the few countries I've been to where I had largely negative experiences.

At times I felt like street crime was a risk, but my main issue was with some of the tour operators for diving/snorkeling trips. Do not go with anyone not recommended by the larger, more notable guidebooks if you're going on an excursion. I nearly drowned. (And this was hardly my first time snorkeling.) We ran into the author of the Rough Guide to Belize while we were on our trip and when I told him about my experience he seemed to indicate that my situation was not unusual and that there was a reason he only recommended certain operators.

I will say taking a swim hike into some of the caves with ruins was one of the coolest things I have done while on vacation anywhere--that was more rural and with one of the two licensed operators for that kind of trip. --Fan of happy and safe travels

My husband and I just got back from an amazing vacation in Belize. My understanding is that crime is practically nonexistent, and 99% of the crime is in Belize City, where you won't be staying anyway. We stayed at the Jaguar Reef Resort in southern Belize. It is completely off the beaten track, and there were lots of families staying there (there is an all-inclusive option if you're interested). I can't wait to go back with my 2-year-old son and can't recommend it highly enough. Anon

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Belize in January! We were there for a week. We spent 3 nights in Bullet Tree Falls right outside San Ignacio, and 3 nights at a private island resort off of Dangriga. Both had their own charms and we had a wonderful time, and talked to many wonderful people. We never felt unsafe, but we try to be conscientious travelers (no flashy jewelry, no purses, backpacks kept close by, etc)

We took both the public bus system, taxis, colectivo taxis (shared taxis), and private shuttle. For a group like yours, esp with children, I'd recommend hiring a private shuttle. William's Shuttle is fantastic. Feel free to email me with any other questions! Corinne

If it is a trip into the jungle with lovely accommodations and scenery plus a variey of exciting adventures, we can highly recommend a lodge called Caves Branch in Belmopan, Belize. Or, if one has a preference, the pool offers quiet and relaxation. We recently went there with our children and had a wonderful time. There are many trips offered each day and one is able to go on any of them which particularly is of interest. Some trips we all went on while other days the children went on one while my wife and I went on a different one. The guides on these trips are locals who are trained in mountain and jungle rescue and safety is their primary concern. They are terrific. Check out their website at '' Our children still are talking about how much they enjoyed the time there. We stayed for 5 days and could have stayed longer. The food is fresh, local and prepared just before each meal. The sounds of the jungle are amazing. Roger

Belize with Toddlers? Caulker, Ambergris, Jungle??

Oct 2006

Ok.... we had an expiring credit for airline tickets, it was the last hour, of the last day, and we picked Belize off the list of destinations because, well, why not? It seemed better than Newark. But now I have no clue what to try and book or do. A hotel, a private home, and which caye? Ambergris, Caulker? My kids are 1 and 3..... it would be nice to have at least two rooms for our use so they can nap, etc. I've read that there is a lot of sea grass on Ambergris due to proximity of the reef, so swimming is not great... if so, do I need a pool? Is sea grass a problem in Caulker? We need good restaurants, we are sort of miserable failures at cooking. And what about the jungle? People love it? But with two little kids should we save the jungle or another visit. HELP. Any guidance or opinions will be gratefully received and considered with the utmost of care and attention Shelley

I think going to Belize with your kids will be great. I have 3+ years of experience with Belize, both as a tourist and resident. I didn't have kids at the time, however.

I recommend San Pedro on Ambergris Caye for you all. Touristy, but not compared to Cancun or other places. Not too many cars, beach sand streets, slow pace, English spoken. You can rent a house/apt. for a reasonable price, lottsa decent restaurants.

Caye Caulker is right next to San Pedro and used to be the more ''backpacker'' version of SP. But, it is now becoming just like SP. Both cayes do not have natural sand, but have had huge amounts shipped in. So, the beaches are nice, but not really ideal for swimming due to seagrass, etc. But, little kids don't seem to mind! Boat traffic can be a problem in places.

The real action at both cayes is at the reef, which is easily visible from shore. There's Hol Chan, a protected place to snorkel, Shark Ray Alley and lottsa fishing day trips. I'd get a place with a pool, hang out with your kids, charter a day trip to go fishing and or snorkeling. I'm not sure about the safety of snorkeling near the reef for kids, though (sometimes there's lottsa surge).

Inland, you could go to Belize City (watch your back) and catch a bus or rent a taxi/van to take you 1 to 1.5 hours inland to Cayo (San Ignacio). Great town, lottsa things to do, stay at Martha's in SI.

Better yet, stay outside of town at the Parrot Nest and stay in real ''tree'' houses. Good restaurants, take a day trip to see Xunantunich, a Mayan ruin outside the town, canoe down the river. Remember that Belize is not cheap compared to much of Central America. You can use your US money, but not your change.

Have fun! Enjoy Belize!

Belize is a wonderful place and the people are very friendly. I went to Ambergris Cay with my daughter (then 15) and my parents about 18 years ago - it was a fabulous vacation! I have talked to several people who have also been there, and seen several reviews on BPN - all positive. Ambergris Cay has an extensive website with lots of tips - The prices are reasonable, the food is wonderful, and all ages will enjoy themselves Want to go to Belize again!

We went to Ambergris Caye. The beaches are fine for kids. A pool would also be nice. Try the little huts just off the beach for inexpensive but authentic and tasty meals. We ate at one called ''Nellies'' or something like that. Great tacos, etc. Belize is a poor country but has some beautiful areas. You can find condos to rent online loved the diving in Belize

Honeymoon in Belize in October

April 2003

My fiance and I are considering Belize for a honeymoon in October; yet, we know little about it. If you've been there (especially for a romantic vacation) and have any recommendations on places to stay(near the beach ideally), things to do, or any special packages you know of, I'd really appreciate your advice! Thanks! marjorie

My brother got married last May on Ambergris Caye (I don't know if I spelled that right), an island off of the main country of Belize. It is an amazing place! Beautiful...friendly people. We stayed at a wonderful place called the Victoria House. We rented golf carts to drive all over the island- into town, out to dinner, etc. The scuba diving was incredible. It's very easy to take a plane ride back to Belize to see the ruins, jungles, etc. One night, we took a boat to a resort called Mata Chica- north of the town- talk about romantic!! Little bungalow type places right on the ocean, a delicious restaraunt. Congratulations, and enjoy your honeymooon. I can't wait to get back to Belize! Molly

We went to Belize and Costa Rica for our honeymoon and had an incredible vacation! Such a perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. First, we flew to Belize and stayed at a low key resort called Victoria House. A small collection of bungalows right on the beach. Incredible scuba diving right there, and wonderful meals. Then we travelled to Blancaneuax, which is the lodge owned by Francis Ford Coppola in the Belizean rain forest. An amazing place with great hiking and the most beautiful, rustic setting ever. While there we took a day trip to the Tikal ruins in Guatemala which was a fantastic experience. They offer all sorts of one day outings along those lines -- hikes, river rafting, spelunking, etc. We then flew to Costa Rica and had a similarly incredible time. If you want more information don't hesitate to email. jberg

Going to Belize with a group of teens and parents

February 2003

I am planning a ''camp it up'' trip to Belize next December (taking a group of families) and I am seeking advice and information. If anyone has been to Belize in the last few years and would be willing to tell me about it (and especially how it was for the kids and teens), I would appreciate it. thanks, ellie

Hi, We travelled to Belize in December for 10 days and it was wonderful for our extended family (2 kids age 3 and 6). We stayed on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye -- about a 10- minute plane ride from the mainland. There we hung out in the ocean, did some snorkeling, swam in the pool, rode bikes and kayaked. We also took several day trips into the jungle to check out the wildlife (lots of alligators, iguanas, monkeys), hike Mayan ruins and ride inner tubes through underground caves. The people are very friendly and seem to love kids. I'd be happy to share more info about our specific tours/hotels if you want more details. Claudia

If the previous post about Caye Ambergris sounded appealing to you, but you find Ambergris too expensive, consider its budget-priced next-door neighbor, Caye Caulker. We liked it better anyway.

We took our then-8-month-old daughter to Belize in January of 1992 and vastly enjoyed ourselves. Because we didn't speak a word of Spanish, and were travelling with a baby for the first time, we clung to the Cayes at first. They are very sheltered from urban crime and hassles compared with Belize City. We flew into Belize City on Continental, and I was frightened to be plucked out of the line of immigrants and arriving tourists and hustled to the head of the queue. The fear was misplaced - I was moved up in the line because I had a small baby and ''shouldn't have to wait.'' We were immediately offered a flight to the Cayes, and had another paranoid reaction. The flight turned out to be a good buy and great fun compared with a slog into Belize City and a 45-minute speedboat ride to the Cayes. It was odd, though, to be dropped off in a patch of sand the middle of nowhere with our suitcases heavy with pots and pans and diapers, and an umbrella stroller that was useless in the sand. We eventually found our way to the place where we had a reservation, ''Ignacio's cabins,'' a collection of rag-tag wooden shacks right on the beach, where we lived cheaply and happily for weeks. The baby loved the warm, shallow water. I loved it that, of an evening, the women of Caye Caulker would stand around in clusters in the middle of the street (on the Caye, there were no cars to speak of, so that was perfectly safe) talking, and nursing their babies as they stood.

We had one frightening night where our daughter ran a fever that spiked at 105 degrees. There was only a nurse on Caye Caulker, which meant we had to wait until morning, and take her by speed boat to a doctor in Belize City. It was a passing virus, and she quickly recovered. We were impressed by the medical care we got.

The facilities were no-frills, but our doctor, like many in Belize, was U.S.-trained, and seemed very knowledgeable.

Caye Caulker had two nuisances you should come equipped for. One is a few packs of fierce, unrestrained dogs. We had several frightening incidents (and another tourist was bitten), and learned to pick up a good-sized stick before crossing some beachfront properties. (There were piles of sticks at each end, assembled by other passersby.) The other nuisance is biting insects. The mosquitoes and ''no-see-ums'' can be a scourge. These are not a problem when the wind is up, and you can keep them at bay in your cabin by running the ever-present fans 24/7, but put Deet on your socks in the evening, or you are in for misery!

If you venture inland to visit the rainforests, and take the public buses, be ready for a charming custom that startled me at first. While you, the parent, aren't entitled to a seat, seated riders may reach up to you to unburden you of the baby by taking her into their laps. We soon learned to gracefully (and gratefully) assent. Restaurant staff, airport staff and others may also expect to relieve you (and even disappear from view with the baby). We soon discovered she was having the time of her life on these expeditions. An odd souvenir of our visit was that, from that trip onward, our daughter's intense stranger anxiety was confined to Caucasians.

We found Belize fascinating, and on net, a great place to go with a baby. Sign me: a nostalgic procrastinator

Family trip to Ambergris Caye

September 2002

Hi, My extended family (8 of us altogether) are planning a trip to Belize in December. We'll be staying on Ambergris Caye and are looking for recommendations for things to do on the island, day trips inland (especially what not to miss and what's not worth the effort). We have two kids (ages 6 and 3) so any recommendations for the younger set would also be great. Thanks. Claudia

regarding the planned trip to Ambergis caye, Belize - I went there in 1986 over Christmas with my parents and daughter, it was a totally wonderful experience! I wish I could remember the name of the hotel. My daughter (15 at the time, I was 39) and I took a scuba diving resort course, which means you can get certified, after only a few hours of classes, for diving with an instructor accompanying you at all times (it helped that my daughter and I were both very experienced and comfortable in the water). We did deep diving and night diving. The reefs there have a well-deserved world class reputation, the underwater canyons are amazing and awesomely beautiful. If that activity and training is still available, I highly recommend it. And if you are already certified for scuba diving, or have time to do so before your vacation, all the better. Pallas

The cayes are delightful and will be a lovely vacation. Enjoy the manatees! Eat some lobster! Scuba diving on the reef is world class - get certified! Caye Caulker is a 30- minute boatride from San Pedro and prices there are significantly lower. It caters to the backpacking crowd. molly

You HAVE to go to the Community Baboon Sanctuary, about 30 miles outside Belize City. Here's a website with more info: I went there years ago, and it was the coolest place. Number one, you get to see these incredible Howler Monkeys (the locals call them Baboons). Not in cages, but living in the wild. They are HUGE and LOUD. And it's one of those rare, great, ecotourism stories. The locals agreed to stop cutting down the trees in the area, which was destroying the Howlers habitat. In return, they are employeed as guides for the sanctuary, and they also offer meals and lodgings to visitors. If you're adventurous, and you have the time, it would be great to spend the night there. Don't expect luxury lodgings, but it will be the experience of a lifetime. colleen

I don't know what your original question was regarding your trip to Belize, but my brother, Marty Casado, has a business building web sites for the hotels and travel industry businesses there. He loves the country and he *loves* its people. He has travelled there for many years with his own family and he knows most of the business owners in the Ambergis caye area. I'm not current on Marty's web links, but his email address is marty [at] I'm sure he'd be happy to help point you in the direction you're headed. Enjoy your trip! Melissa Casado