You can definitely see a lot of Belize in two weeks.
I was in the country for 20 days, but if you’ve only got two weeks, Belize is the perfect size for you to make a good effort at seeing everything the island has to offer. Two weeks in Belize is also a much better idea for your budget than three… as I came to find out.
This Belize travel blog will help you plan your trip. I’ve created an in-depth itinerary for two weeks in Belize that’s going to ensure you have the best trip possible. Read on for the details.
You’ll see the same things to do in Belize advertised in every city and town; this is because Belize is so easy to get around by bus (scroll to the end for advice on in country travel) and there’s a set route in Belize most people follow to see the best of the country.
Belize really is a great country for independent backpackers to explore as much as possible in a short time.
Itinerary for 2 Weeks in Belize
Day 1: arrive in Belize City
Arrive into Philip S W Goldson Airport in Belize City. There aren’t any public transport options for getting into Belize City unfortunately so you’ll need to get a taxi to Belize City. This will be $50BZD / £20. Don’t let them charge you more, but you could offer less.
If you’re a solo traveller you could try and partner up with someone to make it cheaper, although I guarantee the taxi drivers won’t like it.
Belize City is only 15-30 minutes away from the airport depending on the traffic. I’d recommend you spend two nights in Belize City to readjust and have a look around the old capital of Belize.
I stayed at the Sea Breeze Hotel in Belize City. I’d only recommend this place if you’re looking for the cheapest hotel accommodation possible though. The sheets were the most threadbare I’ve ever seen any piece of fabric. The place was also surrounded by barbed wire – good for security I guess. The room was fine though and had a view out onto the street off the balcony, a fan and a shared bathroom all for $50BZD / £20 per night.
They did have some better rooms but I went for the cheapest.
I visited The Radisson for a beer while I was in Belize City – really nice but at around £100 per night, way above my budget, maybe not yours?
Afternoon in Belize City Old Town
You could spend the afternoon in the Old Town in Belize, or looking round the shops in the new. Either grab some street food in town for your dinner, or try out the Smokey Mermaid Restaurant and Bar by the beach. The menu and the surroundings were cool, but sadly they don’t serve food on Sundays, the day I was there. I went to Celebrity Restaurant, thought to be one of the best in the city, my shrimp curry was pretty average though and shockingly for me, I didn’t eat it all.
Belize City was totally instagrammable. You know what I mean – a bit dark, dilapidated, colourful, interesting and kind of grimey. But so cool.
Day 2: explore Belize City
Get up, get the Belizean fry jacks for breakfast – you’ll eat a lot of them in two weeks in Belize, and you might not fit in your trousers by the end but it’ll be worth it – and then go to the Belize City Zoo.
There’s no need to get a taxi, don’t listen to what the taxi drivers say, you can get a bus for $3BZD / £1.20 each way and 40 minutes. Just ask the conductor to let you know when you’re about to come up to the zoo and he’ll let you off.
There’s loads to see at the zoo. It’s difficult to say how long you’ll be there – I guess it depends how into the animals you are. You can take a look at some of the animals you’ll see at Belize Zoo here.
The food at Belize City Zoo looked a bit grim, but they have the usual snacks and coffee bar you’d expect in case you’re worn out after seeing all those animals.
Still day 2: The Tourist Village
Get the bus back and go straight to the Tourist Village on the harbour. Here you’ll find at least four restaurants worthy of a meal. They shut down at 5ish after the cruise ships have left so make sure you’re back in time. You can enjoy a few cocktails and beers before or after looking around the many shops there.
As the name suggests, the Tourist Village is pretty touristy, but it’s good for a little look around. It was built to entice all the cruise ships in and has bought millions of pounds into Belize. All good.
How safe is Belize City?
Before I went to Belize City I was nervous, in fact I wouldn’t have even bothered going if I didn’t need an emergency trip to the dentist, but I actually really liked it there.
I stayed for three nights and didn’t have a problem.
After two months of struggling with Spanish in Guatemala and Mexico I enjoyed the fact everyone spoke English in Belize, and although you do get banter from the guys hanging out on the street I definitely wouldn’t call it hassling.
Give back as good as they give and know when to move on and you’ll be fine. Or ideally, just ignore them and carry on.
Day 3: get to Caye Caulker
Get up, pack your stuff and swing by the coffee shop by the Caye Caulker water taxi. They have loads of different varieties of the good stuff and you might as well try the Belizean special – the cinnamon roll – while you’re there.
There are two companies that run water taxis out to Caye Caulker. The Caye Caulker Water Taxi has two boats a day and is a lot cheaper (return $29BZD / £12), while the Belize Water Taxi goes more often and was $30BZD / £12 one way.
I accidentally used both, sadly for my return ticket, and can say that the experience is exactly the same so it’s up to you whether the time or money is more important.
It takes about 40 minutes to get across. Make sure you have your camera ready for the beautiful approach into Caye Caulker.
Book your Caye Caulker activities before you go, to guarantee a spot!
Accommodation on Caye Caulker
I stayed at two different places on Caye Caulker, which I’d only recommend to budget backpackers: Dirty McNasty Hostel ($32BZD pppn) and Blue Wave Hotel ($22BZD pppn). A lot of people I met had booked one night at a hostel and then moved to some cheaper accommodation on the island once they were there as there was plenty about, it just wasn’t advertised.
Spend the rest of the day in Caye Caulker wandering around and getting to know the place. There’s some great food on Caye Caulker – my favourite restaurant was definitely Enjoy, or try Sobre las Olas right on the waterfront.
Tip for you; go in the afternoon rather than the evening. The sandflies are buggers.
Down at The Split you’ll find the perfect spot for lying in the sun with a beer. The guy from the crazy boat you’ll see there will probably try to get you to buy him rum. He’s funny. Humour him, and if you’re feeling generous, treat him too.
My favourite place at night on Caye Caulker was the Sports Bar and Grill followed by I&I Bar. They’ve got swings at the bar, what more could you want?
Be careful of Voodoo Bar though, it’s pretty sketchy in there.
Look at the prices of all the tours in Belize on GetYourGuide.com
Visiting the Blue Hole in Belize
Have a look around and work out what tours you want to do while you’re in Caye Caulker.
If you do want to check out the Blue Hole you’ll need to book on in good time and check what days the tours go before you start making any grand travel plans.
I’d recommend to do any diving with Frenchie’s Diving School, they’re awesome. If you’ve got more than two weeks in Belize consider doing your Open Water PADI with them, or your Advanced, depending on what level you’re at.
I did and you can check the link for the full review.
Day 4: have fun in Caye Caulker
Today’s the day for diving. If you’ve managed to afford and seek out a dive trip to the Blue Hole, well done.
Other options for what to do on day 4 of your two-week Belize itinerary include Esmerelda and anywhere on Goff’s Caye. There are lots of companies offering the same kind of trips, and the only one I can personally vouch for is Frenchie’s, who I did my PADI course with, but ask around to find the right one for you.
Watch my little video about snorkelling at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve here
If diving’s not your thing then instead you could:
- Explore the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve
- Go paddle boarding
- Try wind surfing
- Rent out a kayak
There are no cars on Caye Caulker, just a few business vans that had to apply for a special licence. People get around on bikes ($5 an hour, definitely worth a go) or golf carts if they have further to go. You can rent them out if you’re lazy or if just want to put the pedal to the metal at 5mph.
Restaurants on Caye Caulker
Sometimes I tried to be cheap and eat from the shop, but everything, and I mean everything, that I bought in the whole of Belize that comes in a packet tasted dry and stale.
Raisin bran, cornflakes, chocolate bars, crisps, sweets, all included.
My most successful attempt was bread rolls and tuna, but then a dog came and attacked me for the tuna and I came home a bit tipsy and ate the other two dry bread rolls, meaning I’d scoffed four in a day.
Not my proudest moment.
The barbecues by Frenchie’s Diving School are a good shout. Huge lobster, or “ghetto lobster” as my friend called it, for cheap as chips and you can scoff the lot on the picnic bench by the water.
Fry Jacks in Belize
Forget the fresh lobster and morning catch fish, the most popular thing to have for breakfast in Belize is fry jacks. I’d never heard of them before either. I’d heard a murmur surrounding they’re deliciousness as soon as I arrived on Caye Caulker, but it took two weeks of being in Belize until I finally got round to trying it. And all thanks to my new Belizean friend Nadine.
I was with two friends and we went out for dinner to Sobre des Alos on the waterfront in Caye Caulker. We got chatting with the waitress, Nadine, who’s awesome, and by the end of the night she’d invited us round for breakfast to her house the next morning.
Home cooking in Belize
At 9am we trotted round. And true to her word she’d started creating the little bundles of despicable deliciousness. She was so lovely and generous inviting the three of us to come in and sit in her home I’m still feeling warm inside from her kindness. We bought her a present, but she got up early and started baking, especially for us.
“I’ve never had so many people round, ever”.
Nadine made us a seemingly endless supply of fry jacks with fried beans and egg on the side. Her two-year-old son entertained us with marbles and a keyboard while she slaved away in the kitchen. Twenty minutes later and the three of us, her, her son and her cousin all sat down to watch Finding Nemo and scoff the tasty treats.
I managed three, while my friend Dick (pictured, real name) shovelled down seven.
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So what are fry jacks?
The Belizean breakfast of fry jacks is basically deep fried dough, served up with something to scoop, usually ham, eggs and beans. Apparently they’re pretty easy to make, but there’s a real art to making them well, which is what Nadine did.
To make fry jacks you mix flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil and water together then pan cook and proof. Then you fry them up and serve warm.
Fry jacks are generally made separately to the sides but you can get also get them to go and they’re served like a Cornish pasty with all the filling inside, like this one I bought in Benque, Belize. For as long as I’ve got left in this beautiful country I’ll mostly be eating these, when I’ve got time in between the snapper, king steak, lobster and rice and beans that is.
Day 5: off to Ambergris Caye
Time to holiday like the rich people do.
Hop on a water taxi from Caye Caulker and get a lift over to Ambergris Caye for two nights. Here you can get a cheap deal to go to the Ho Chal Marine Reserve – it’s just at the bottom of the island less than five miles away.
I’m gutted that the bad weather while I was there meant I didn’t get the opportunity to do this, as it’s one of the number one things to do when you’re in Belize, hopefully another time.
My two weeks in Belize, well 20 days, were in December and the weather was rough.
Stay at San Pedro Backpackers on Ambergris Caye if you’re on a budget, or check out one of the fancier places if you can. If they have private beaches, food included and activities at the hotel they can actually work out to be better value.
Shop around for the best deal for accommodation on Ambergris Caye.
READ MORE: 52 Coolest Things to Do in Belize
Day 6: another day to chill on Ambergris Caye
Go shopping, enjoy the bars, check out the beach at the top, do yoga, go kitesurfing, pamper yourself, cycle around, do nothing – there’s loads to see and do on Ambergris Caye.
Choose wisely: today is your last day on an island before getting back to the mainland.
Some people would spend all of their two weeks in Belize on Ambergris Caye, from what I experienced it’s definitely a top destination for honeymooning Americans. But be warned, it’s pretty expensive out there!
PART TWO of the Two Weeks in Belize Itinerary
Now we move onto part two, which all goes on recommendation from what I wanted to do if the weather was better, and from talking to other travellers along the way. I can’t personally recommend the following. I wish I could. One day I’ll be back.
I went through Placencia and Dangriga, I spoke to a lot of people, but I never actually stayed in either. I spent my last few days in Belize in Benque instead.
So Day Seven to Twelve are based on what I’ve read, researched and been recommended by other travellers.
Day 7: get to Placencia
Time to get back to the mainland I’m afraid.
Catch the water taxi in your own time and head back to Belize City. Remember to stand at the right jetty to get the water taxi you bought the return to, not like me who ended up having to buy another ticket.
When you touch down in Belize City there’s no need to get a taxi to the bus station. If the drivers say any different they’re just playing you. It’s less than a ten-minute walk up Orange Street and to the left when you get to the top. You’ll definitely see it, or feel free to ask anyone. I walked this route twice, once with backpack and once without, and was fine.
If you need the toilet go buy something in the café I told you about for Day Two. You do not want to go in the bus stations, trust me.
At the bus terminal ask one of the guys in the yellow tshirts when and where the next bus to Placencia is. It’s not a big station, you’ll be fine.
Belize City to Placencia
When you get on the bus, you can either put your bag at the front, in the back, or sit with it uncomfortably near you. This was the option I went for and although I suffered numb bum, pindles and needles and stiff back trying to sit with it under me so I could share the seat, it was worth it not to worry.
Just because I like to imagine the worst case scenario about these things.
The conductor will come round and take your money, no need to faff at the driver. Now you can just sit back and enjoy the ride through the beautiful Belizean countryside.
Placencia is 230km away from Belize City and will take around 5 hours on the bus. Put some effort into your people watching and landscape admiration and the time will fly by, seriously.
The best recommended budget hotel in Placencia is Lydia’s Guesthouse where you can get a twin room for around £12 per night. You’ve arrived in Placencia, home of some of the best beaches in the world, so now’s the time to just chill out and enjoy.
Day 8: relax in Placencia
You could spend another day relaxing on the beautiful beaches, or you could head over to the Cockscomb Wildlife Reserve.
It’s globally recognised as the world’s first jaguar preserve and as well as the beautiful big cats, you’ll also find cascading waterfalls, panoramic mountain views, nature trails, furry mammals, colourful insects, scaly reptiles and a whole load of different types of birds.
You can also climb one of Belize’s highest points, if you feel the need, Victoria Peak. You can easily book through your hotelier.
Day 9: relax in Dangriga
Get the bus back up the country again, to Dangriga. It will take about 90 minutes, but leave early so the journey is done and out of your mind and you’ve got the rest of the day to look forward to.
After nearly two weeks in Belize you’ll have noticed the obsession with Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, surely?
Well, in Dangriga you can take a tour around the actual factory where it’s made and if you’re lucky, you might even be led by Marie Sharp herself. Gutted I didn’t get to do this!
The Garifuna culture is alive and loud in Dangriga. Make sure you visit the Gulisi Garifuna Museum to find out more about the history of the Garifuna people and the big statue of the drums in the centre will all start to make sense.
Day 10: Dangriga
Have a mooch around. Dangriga isn’t a big place but you’ll find lots of interesting spots if you take the time to explore. If you fancy taking part in one of Belize’s biggest industries this could be the day to charter out a fishing boat so you can go and explore the waters and cook up your gains at the end of it.
The fishing charters here will take you out to some of the most beautiful cayes in the world.
Day 11: head to San Ignacio
After the likes of Caye Caulker and Placencia you’re going to love the prices in San Ignacio. I couldn’t find a solo accommodation I liked enough to spend the money so ended up staying at the Benque Resort and Spa in Benque (it definitely wasn’t what I’d class as a spa, but it was only $27BZD per night (£8.60), and I ended up with a private room).
If you’re travelling in a two or more you’ll be fine with the hotels of San Ignacio, but I actually ended up enjoying Benque.
More on that on Day Thirteen.
I reckon I spent about £920 on my first two weeks in Belize, and about £80 in the final week in Benque. It’s cheap as chips, or rice, which you’re more likely to find here.
In San Ignacio there’s loads to do. I’ll bullet point to make things easier, with a list of approximate prices and links. Just to reiterate, I can’t personally recommend these activities and companies but the links I give are from the number one providers on Trip Advisor.
- Horse riding
- Green Iguana Conservation Project
- Maya sites
- Canoeing the Macal River
- Botanical Gardens
Day 12: San Ignacio
Time to do whatever activity you couldn’t fit in yesterday. And to stuff your face with more of the cheap food and drink available in this part of Belize.
The number one recommended place to eat here is Roots Wraps and Smoothies – great for veggies, health freaks, vegans and others.
Day 13: San Ignacio but go to Benque
Take the bus from the centre of town to Benque 10 minutes away. It will be about $1/2. I spent 6 days in Benque, just chilling out after spending a small fortune in Caye Caulker. It’s a cool place, ridiculously cheap as you can see in my article on the Coolest Things to Do in Belize, and the costs section at the end.
There’s not actually that much to do in Benque itself. If you’re looking for a quiet time to work, chill, be with your loved one / whatever I’d recommend you substitute my San Ignacio recommendation for a stay in Benque instead.
Anyway, back to the two-week Belize itinerary.
Take a walk around Benque – you’ll find cute houses, real people, and that they speak Spanish here. Go to the main Constitution Square at the right time and you’ll find an awesome brass band made up of about 30 kids playing chart tunes.
Natty’s Kitchen serves amazing rice, beans and chicken for $6 and if you’re lucky she’ll have the papaya shake on for $3, an absolute taste sensation. Unfortunately she only had it once out of the four times I ate there.
Another option is to eat at Benny’s Kitchen. You’ll see it advertised everywhere. This was my last meal in Belize and the fried fish and rice washed back with a Belikin beer was delicious. It was quite a bit more expensive than Natty’s at $15 for the food, but there was a lot more choice, more buzz, and if you’re a Brit you might find the restaurant more pleasing. Nattys was more like a front room.
Or get a picnic from one of the little stores and sit by the riverbed. You might even manage to persuade one of the locals to give you a go on their tube.
Things to do in Benque
Opposite Benny’s Kitchen the Xanantunich Ruins are the tourist highlight of the actual town of Benque. Locate the sign and you’ll see the hand motored ferry. Jump on, give them a tip, and jump off again on the other side. The Xanantunich Ruins are about a mile up the road.
I was glad my hotelier recommended I swap the flip flops for trainers as the terrain can be pretty rough and it’s up and down. If you don’t fancy walking it – shame, there are beautiful views – then you can pay one of the taxi drivers to get you there.
The ruins are as you’d expect, but the USP of the Xanantunich ones is the preserved frieze at the top. And the huge iguana running around the grounds. I had a look around, stayed about an hour and then began my descent.
Day trip from Benque
By the way, Tikal in Guatemala is only 1 hour 20 mins from Benque, if your budget and time allow. I didn’t go but it’s one of the most important Mayan sites in the world.
You can easily get the bus back to San Ignacio from the main square, where the tarpaulin bus stop is.
Day 14: back to Belize City
Head back to Belize City in good time to get your flight.
The bus from San Ignacio to Belize City takes around 2 hours, but of course give yourself a little extra for traffic. I left at 6:30am on the workers bus ($5), changed at Belmopan to the express service ($5), and was in Belize City for 8:30am.
I bought myself a tasty pie from the street seller ($1), because I only had exactly $50 left and didn’t want to take more money out. I’d read that the taxi from Belize City to Philip Airport cost $50 and I wanted to be able to say $49 is all I have sir. That kind of thing.
In the end I offered the taxi driver $40 and he happily accepted. Lovely guy, Jason. He told me all about his wife working on border control and how proud they are of their rum here. And he guessed my age at 22 (ha! 30), what a guy.
Great chat to finish my time in Belize.
The journey to the airport is around 15-30 minutes depending on traffic. You might want to stop at the world famous rum store on the way – they make the best two barrel rum in the world. Proven by all their awards.
I arrived at the airport at just past 9am for my 1pm flight. That sleepless night worrying was pointless, just like most worrying is.
Belize Airport is a small airport with a café, a bar, shops selling more Marie Sharp’s hot sauce than you could eat in a lifetime, and an exceptional amount of staff doing very little. You can use US dollars and Belize Dollars here and I recommend the cheese croissant at Le Petit Café ($2).
In fact when this is done I might go and get another one – I’ve got $9 to get rid of after all.
More things to do in 2 weeks in Belize
One of the things I really wanted to do in my two weeks in Belize was to do the Ragamuffin Boat Tour, but along with a trip to the Blue Hole I decided not to.
Again, it came down to the price – it would be 700BZD – and the weather.
Every night I was on Caye Caulker it stormed at night (in late November / December). Sailing down the islands, spearfishing, snorkelling and camping is all fun when the sun shines but the thought of camping out on a little island while it pissed it down did not appeal.
I can do that in England.
If the weather is better for you when you’re there I’d definitely recommend checking it out. Have a look at the Trip Advisor reviews if you want to know more.
One thing to note about your flight to Belize are that it can be a lot cheaper to fly into Cancun and then either get the bus down to Belize City or get the ferry from Chetumal. If you do need to do this and take some time off the itinerary here, I’d say to drop the time on Ambergris Caye. Remember you will need to factor in the exit fee from Mexico and from Belize if you choose to do this.
My budget accommodation in Belize
BELIZE CITY: Sea Breeze Hotel
CAYE CAULKER: Dirty McNasty Hostel and Blue Wave Hotel
AMBERGRIS CAYE: San Pedro Backpackers
PLACENCIA: Lydia’s Guesthouse
SAN IGNACIO: Benque Resort and Spa in Benque
Travelling by bus in Belize
Getting around Belize by public bus is so easy. It’s only 2 hrs 30 minutes across from Benque on the Guatemalan border to Belize City and 5 hours up from Punta Gorda in the south to Belize City, to the north. There aren’t many roads in Belize as you can see from the map below from belize.com, so you can’t really go wrong, at least I didn’t and that’s saying something. I’ve marked the places I mention, pretty hey?
Belize buses are big sturdy things, with high ceilings and plenty of space. They’re mostly ex-US school buses repainted but with the yet original signage for school kids inside. The buses in Belize are crazy cheap – there’s definitely no need for a taxi or expensive tourist bus.
Routes I rode in my 2 weeks in Belize
- Punta Gorda to Belize City via Belmopan, Dangriga and Placencia $20 / £6.37
- Belize City to Belize City Zoo and back $3 each way / 95p
- Belize City to Benque via Belmopan and San Ignacio and back $9 each way / £2.86
How to enjoy the Belize buses
Once you’ve established you’ve found the right bus, get on and make yourself at home. You can either leave your luggage in the back, on the racks if they have them or keep them with you in the seat. Keep in mind that you’ll need to budge up to fit two people on if your route is busy.
The conductor will come round and collect your money in good time, so no need to faff around trying to get your money out for the driver.
On the Punta Gorda to Belize bus I used the James Line bus service. The bus driver played classic love songs – think Eric Clapton and Celine Dion – loud over the stereo. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a great way to see Belize on my first day from the comfort of the bus.
No such luck on any future buses though!
Top tips for the Belize buses
– When you stop at stations people will get on and try and sell you stuff – drinks, nuts, sandwiches, tamales, sweets and cakes. No pressure, take it or leave it.
– If you’re unsure when to get off, like I was when I went to Belize City Zoo, just tell the conductor where you want to go and they’ll make sure you’re at the right stop.
– When it comes to hailing the bus just stand by a blue bus sign on the side of the road that goes in the direction you want and stick your arm out. The bus will pick up people from different places but I’d say to be sure stand by one of the signs. They’re every 50 metres in Belize City, moreso in the countryside.
– Bus conductors do have change but sometimes it’s easier to keep small bits so you have the right amount.
Let me know if you need any more help with the thought of using the buses in Belize, definitely a more enjoyable experience than in England anyway!
7 interesting facts about Caye Caulker
1. There are only 1600 residents on Caye Caulker.
“Everybody knows everybody and you can’t get away with shit.”
– My Rastafarian hostel guide.
He definitely had a touch of resentment in his voice that made me think, maybe he’d got his fingers caught in too many pies. I’m not one to judge.
2. A whole lobster is just $20BZD (£6.50). The lobster season starts from June 15th for 9 months to give the poor guys a chance to procreate, and if you find them and eat them when it’s off season you’re in big trouble.
3. You need to be a PADI certified diver before you can scuba dive in the Blue Hole. It’s $400BZD (£130) and you get to see three dive sites while you’re out there.
The Blue Hole is a deep abyss that makes you feel teensy, tiny in the scale of the world. There are huge sharks swimming around and the even bigger stalactites and stalagmites that have been there for hundreds of years.
4. The island is only 4 miles long and 0.15 to 1.2 miles wide. It’s easy to cover everything there is to see within a week.
5. There isn’t a main beach on Caye Caulker but everyone hangs out at The Split – the spot where a hurricane in 1961 caused the island to break in half – there’s a pub there called the Lazy Lizard pumping out some tunes, and beer.
6. The sunsets in Caye Caulker are beautiful. But when the sun has disappeared, that’s when the fun really begins. Until about 11pm when everything shuts up, apart from the one club on the island, Voodoo. I went there and it was like someone’s front room, with creepy guys, but you might like it.
7. Caye Caulker has three main streets: Front Street, Middle Street and Back Street. They all run north to south and definitely make things easy when you’re trying to explain where things are. The best sunsets are from the Back Street and there are a few sunset lounges there, but most of the action is on the Front Street.