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12 Incredible Things to do in Belize on a Family Vacation

12 Incredible Things to do in Belize on a Family Vacation

Located in Central America, Belize is one of the fastest-growing destinations in the Caribbean. Home to extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems, Belize provides a variety of locations for families to explore all accessible by air on short and affordable flights. Here are 12 incredible things to do in Belize to add to you family’s vacation itinerary.

Things to do in Belize – Cayo District

The Cayo District of Belize is known for its lush jungles and archaeological sites and for being home to the most visited caves in Belize. Families flying into the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, will find plenty of reasons to head west on the Price Highway and explore this area. These eight things to do in Belize’s Cayo District should not be missed.

Explore Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archeological Reserve on a Cave Tubing Tour at Jaguar Paw Cave

Things to do in Belize include the cave tubing tour through the Nohoch Chen'tn Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve

The cave tubing tour through the Nohoch Chen’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve will mesmerize children and adults alike. Families suit up with lifejackets, headlamps, and personal tubes and embark on a part hike, part float adventure. Families can book a private tour guide through their hotel or book a tour with a variety of tour groups.

Inside a cave in Belize

The tour begins with a look at above-ground caves in the area. Here, tour guides explain how the caves are formed while sleeping bats hang from above.

The hike continues with an in-depth look at the local fauna. Belize is home to 4,000 different native flowering plants including the black orchid, Belize’s national flower. There are also 700 different species of trees in Belize.

Tour guides educate and entertain by sticking their hands in trees full of termites to show tourists how to find protein and water to survive in the Belize jungle.

Things to do in Belize include the cave float tour

The river journey begins at the mouth of the Jaguar Paw Cave. Families are tied together ensuring no one floats away and the group enters the cave where darkness envelopes them. Headlights illuminate every corner of the cave where sparkling stalactites and stalagmites hang from the ceiling of the cave.

The tour not only explores the scientific formation of the caves but the deep Maya history that is found at Jaguar Paw Cave. The tour ends with an introduction to Xibalba, the Maya underworld.

To venture into the cave, children must be 40 inches tall.

Jaguar Paw Zipline Adventure

Jaguar paw Zip Line Adventure
Photo by Jaguar Paw Belize

Families looking to extend their tour can add on a stop at the Jaguar Paw Zipline Adventure. Open to kids age five or older, the Zipline Adventure features seven zip lines that range from 150 feet to 600 feet between the treetop platforms.

Zip through the jungle and over archeological sites while learning about the biodiversity and history of the area.

Try Belize’s National Dish

Things to do in Belize

Belize is a country full of culture and diversity. Although the national language is English, it is not hard to see the Maya roots mixed with Creole, East Indian cultures and more in Belizean cuisine. As a result, the food in Belize is delicious and Belize’s national dish of rice and beans is not to be missed.

Other customary local foods to try include fry jacks, a deep-fried dough served with breakfast, and stewed pumpkin, a sweet candied treat originating from the Maya people and customarily served in the fall.

Receive the Royal Treatment at San Ignacio Resort Hotel

San Ignacios Resort Hotel in Belize

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel has famously hosted Royals including Queen Elizabeth II and more recently Prince William. Families staying at the hotel will receive the royal treatment while sleeping in luxury. This hotel offers a variety of two-bedroom suites including the Royal Suite and Jungle View Suite.

Room in the San Ignacio Resort hotel in Belize
Photo by San Ignacio Resort Hotel

The San Ignacio Resort is home to an incredible restaurant run by the most amazing staff. Servers scan the jungle behind the hotel during breakfast and point out to guests the arrival of Belize’s national bird, the Keel Billed Toucan.

For even more wildlife sightings, book the Jungle View Suite. Eat breakfast on your private patio while spider monkeys swing through the trees directly in front of you.

Visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project

Iguana in Belize

Located at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, the Green Iguana Conservation Project is an interactive exhibit and rehabilitation centre for the iguanas of Belize.

Known as the San Iggy Hotel, guests enter the enclosure with a tour guide who explains how the project serves not only to rehabilitate hurt iguanas but serves as a breeding ground for iguanas who will be placed in the wild at maturity.

things to do in Belize Green Iguana Conservation Project

Visitors can interact with iguana rescues who will never return to the wild but cannot handle iguanas preparing to go into the wild after hatching at the project. The tour is both educational and entertaining for travellers of all ages.

Explore the Jungle at Night

Things to do in Belize
Kinkajou photo via Shutterstock

A few hotels in the San Ignacio area including the San Ignacio Resort Hotel offer nighttime tours of the jungle. Brave travellers are suited up with headlamps and bug spray and follow a tour guide into the jungle to find Belize’s creepy crawlers.

At first glance what appears to be jewels are actually the eyes of wolf spiders, thousands of them. Further into the jungle, you may encounter scorpions, opossums, owls and hopefully the kinkajous that call the Belize jungle home.

Learn Maya Traditions at the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative

Learn traditional Mayan methods at the San Antonio Women's Cooperative

Step back in time with the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative to learn about traditional Maya methods of cooking and pottery making. This group of women has banded together to relearn some of the lost Mayan language and traditions to be able to educate their children in the ways of their ancestors.

Take a tour and learn traditional tortilla making and try your hand at pottery making. The San Antonio Women’s Co-op also has a gift shop with beautiful crafts made by the women in the village.

Explore Ancient Maya Archaeological Reserves

Things to do in Belize include exploring ancient Mayan ruins

Visiting ancient Maya archeological sites is one of the easiest ways to explore Belize. Here, the sites sit in areas that are quite easy to reach. In the town of San Ignacio, Cahal Pech lies minutes from the city. This ruin was once a pasture until the ruins were discovered. Booking a tour through your hotel ensures a guide educated in Maya history will join you to share interesting facts about the ruins.

Another ruin, Xunantunich, lies 70 miles west of Belize City close to the Guatemalan border. This site was a major ceremonial center and is home to 25 palaces and temples.

Things to do in Belize – Ambergris Caye

Home to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island and a popular destination for travelers looking for a relaxed vacation destination. San Pedro is easily reached by air from Belize City.

Scuba diving enthusiasts head to the island to visit the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Belize’s famous Blue Hole. Here are four fun things to do in Belize’s Ambergris Caye.

Visit The Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley

Things to do in Belize
Sea turtle via Shutterstock

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs that spans 190 miles. It is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve covers approximately three square miles and is divided into four zones. This area is a desired vacation spot for snorkelers and scuba divers across the world.

Tour boats bring snorkelers to the reef where turtles, eels, dolphins and manatees are known to congregate. The water is crystal clear and the reef attracts lobsters and large schools of fish.

Things to do in Belize include swim with sharks

Zone D of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is home to Shark Ray Alley. As boats arrive, nurse sharks and stingrays approach looking for scraps of fish. Snorkelers can enter the water to swim amongst the sharks and stingrays but are advised not to touch the marine life.

Spend a Day on Caye Caulker

Things to do in Belize include spending the day on Cay Caulker

Caye Caulker is a do not miss island when visiting San Pedro and Ambergris Caye. A quick boat ride from San Pedro, the vibe of Caye Caulker is laid back and welcoming.

Upon arrival, you’ll likely spot 3-4-feet-long tarpons that congregate near a dock. While in the past tourists were invited to feed the fish off a dock, the dock is now a conservation viewing platform where you can learn more about these fish.

Belize water play at the SPlit

Caye Caulker’s most popular spot is The Split. Formed by various hurricanes, The Split separates the north and south of the island. The north section is a protected forest reserve. On the way to The Split, families can shop in various local shops and check out local tours. Once at The Split, swimmers can jump into the ocean off a platform and snorkel amongst schools of fish.

Explore the Town of San Pedro

Sunbreeze Hotel in San Pedro Belize

San Pedro is the largest town on Ambergris Caye. It is a lively place home to numerous restaurants, bars and shops.

Travelers looking for an oceanfront hotel should check out the Sunbreeze Hotel for a beautiful ocean view, large family pool, and fun restaurant that comes alive at happy hour. Located across from the airport and on the ocean, the Sunbreeze is a great landing spot in San Pedro.

 Belize Chocolate Company

Families can explore San Pedro on foot or by renting a golf cart or bike and commuting like the resident of the city. Make sure to check out the Belize Chocolate Company for craft chocolate made from Belizean beans.

For more to do in San Pedro, check out our article highlighting 10 Fun Things to do in Belize’s San Pedro.

Play at Secret Beach

Things to do in Belize include playing at Secret beach

Accessible by golf cart, Secret Beach in San Pedro is not much of a secret. Here, locals and visitors alike swim in the warm water and play on an inflatable water park.

Various restaurants and bars line the beach and families can rent inflatable cabanas or dine at a table in the ocean. Secret Beach makes for a great destination for families looking to play in the sand and take a day to rest and relax.

For more to do in San Pedro, check out 10 Fun Things to do in Belize’s San Pedro.

The writer was a guest of the Belize Tourism Board. Her opinions are her own.

Lead photo by Zdeněk Macháček. All other photos by Sarah Pittard unless otherwise noted.

Sarah Pittard