Belize is a small Central American country nestled between Mexico and Guatemala. It is a tropical paradise that offers stunning barrier reef to rainforests and ancient Mayan ruins. We visited Belize at the end of May so when wet season just started. During our trip we visited San Pedro, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio and Hopkins.
When we arrived in Belize City we took flight to San Pedro. It is just 15 minutes flight. But also you can take a bout which will take about 1hr to reach. We chose flight because we arrived too late in Belize City to take a boat. San Pedro is located on the popular island of Ambergris Caye, coastal town with beautiful beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. We stayed in Blue Tang Inn.
Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel in the world-renowned Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and swim alongside colorful tropical fish, spot majestic sea turtles, stingrays and nurse sharks at the famous Shark Ray Alley.
Rent a golf cart and drive around. Go to Secret Beach to enjoy bars in the water (e.g. Swing Bar).
Just a short boat ride away from San Pedro lies the laid-back island of Caye Caulker. This tranquil paradise is the epitome of “go slow” island life. With no cars and a relaxed atmosphere, Caye Caulker is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun. We stayed in Barefoot Caye Caulker Hotel.
Also from here you can take a tour and swim with nurse sharks and stingrays. They also offer night snorkel tours.
You can also experience feeding big fish Tarpon ($5 BZD/bucket with fish). As you dangle the fish over the water, watch in awe as the tarpon leap out of the water. We got chance to feed also frigate birds.
Iguana Reef Inn is the place where every day between 4pm and 6 pm they are feeding stingrays and on other side of dock you can see seahorse on the ropes. You can’t miss this opportunity and we go to chance also feed the rays.
Located in the western part of Belize, San Ignacio is a gateway to the country’s lush jungles and ancient Mayan ruins. And we stayed in the jungle in beautiful Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge a Muy’Ono Resort.
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins
When we arrived first day we went to ruins of Xunantunich, which is just a short 30-minute drive from San Ignacio. While guided tours are available we decided to venture on our own. With its smaller size, Xunantunich can easily be explored within an hour. The absence of large crowds allowed us to appreciate the solitude and serenity that surrounded us.
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave
Of course we couldn’t miss Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave. This tour is a must and it is great experience. This cave served as a site for sacred rituals and offerings to the gods. After a moderate hike through the rainforest and a swim across a refreshing river, you will find yourself at the entrance of the cave. As we venture deeper into the cave, we saw ancient pottery, ceremonial vessels, and even human skeletal remains. Throughout the tour, our guide shared fascinating stories and insights into the Mayan civilization, painting a vivid picture of their lives and spiritual practices.
Due to the delicate nature of the cave and the precious artifacts it holds, access to ATM Cave is limited and strictly regulated. Visitors are required to be accompanied by certified guides and you can not bring camera with you. Our tour included lunch and rum punch. Remember to take socks because close to sacred place you can not wear shoes.
Caracol Mayan Ruins
Ruins are located in the western part of Belize, near the border with Guatemala. The drive from San Ignacio to Caracol takes approximately 2.5 hours, traversing a path that winds through the rainforests. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended. Along the way, we encountered ongoing construction as a new road was being built.
We climbed the steep steps of the Caana (Sky Palace) pyramid, reaching its summit to take in the breathtaking panorama. But perhaps the most captivating aspect of Caracol was that while parts of the city have been excavated and restored, much of it still remains hidden beneath the dense vegetation.