An Ideal Week in Belize with Kids

Stay on a catamaran for ease of exploring Belize's many cayes. Photo courtesy of Emily and Ed McMahan
Stay on a catamaran for ease of exploring Belize's many cayes. Photo courtesy of Emily and Ed McMahan

Belize’s compact size and fantastic combination of marine life along the coast, jungle and Mayan ruins make it an enticing option for family adventure. Visiting Belize is often compared to Costa Rica, although Belize has the added benefits of world-class snorkeling, Mayan history and a small footprint, making it easy to get from the jungle to the beach in less than three hours – and the bonus of English being spoken everywhere.

We chatted with expert CB Family Travel Advisor Kiki Humes to take the guesswork out of planning a Belize family vacation. To make the most of your Belize itinerary, Kiki suggests starting with a few nights in the jungle followed by time along the coast. If you are willing to add a stop in the middle, she says, include two nights at the slightly more remote Lamanai Outpost Lodge for an authentic and varied jungle experience.

Best Itinerary for Belize with Kids
Touring the Lamanai Mayan ruins is a highlight of a stay near Orange Walk

Belize with Kids: A Great 1-Week Itinerary


The jungle in Belize is filled with Mayan treasures and delights for active families. Highlights include cave exploration, river tubing, walking trails and ancient ruins.

The ruins at Xunantunich were a major Mayan ceremonial site and are a favorite for the remains of plazas, palaces and temples that you can freely climb and roam. Families note that the area is not overrun with tourists, making for relaxed, enjoyable exploration. Plan this excursion for early in the day to avoid the heat, as there is little shade.

Ready to start planning the ultimate getaway to Belize?

That's what we do! Our Family Travel Advisors can help you choose where to go, book vetted accommodations, design a custom itinerary, arrange private guides and more. Click to send us a request!

Next up is cave exploration, which is a huge draw for families. A guide is key for navigating and learning about these caves dating back to Mayan times, such as ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknalcave) or Barton Creek cave, which is often done by canoe. River tubing to appreciate the region’s biodiversity will reward you with its fantastic parade — from spider monkeys to toucans and a wealth of other tropical birds.

Time in the jungle is slower-paced, focused on nature and often leaves an opportunity to relax and be at leisure in the afternoons, as well as to savor Belize’s warm and inviting hospitality.

Best Itinerary in Belize with Kids
Fishing, boating, swimming in the ocean and other simple outdoor joys are part of a stay at Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Lamanai Outpost Lodge

From the jungle, families can continue straight to the coast or take a short transfer via road and riverboat to the bungalow-style Lamanai Outpost Lodge. This simple, secluded property near Orange Walk Town allows the chance to get even more up close and personal with the Belize terrain. Lamanai rates includes all meals and activities, but nothing is firmly planned. Families are free to choose intimate experiences and outings with the hotel’s expert staff, which range from crocodile encounters to river tubing among howler monkeys and visits to nearby ruins.

Best Itinerary in Belize with Kids
An extended catamaran cruise make exploring Belize’s coastline and cayes a breeze


The Belize coast has a decidedly more casual, almost Caribbean vibe, and the biggest draw here (in addition to all the yummy seafood) is the incredible snorkeling. The UNESCO-protected Belize Barrier Reef can easily be explored by a half- or full-day boat excursion. Manatees, stingrays, dolphins and plentiful fish will be on vivid display, and it is not unusual to catch lobster, snapper, grouper or other sea creatures to bring back to your hotel and have them cooked for dinner.

After a quick-hop flight from Lamanai to the waterfront, choose whether to anchor your coastal stay on land or at sea. Families rave about a multi-night catamaran cruise, with guest quarters on a spacious, well-staffed boat that has the added benefit of all meals and activities being baked in. A catamaran trip can also easily suit a larger family, two families staying together or a multigenerational group.

Best Itinerary in Belize with Kids
Tiny, idyllic Tobacco Caye invites families to unwind

Touring by catamaran allows for easy exploration of the north or south cayes (flat islands atop coral reefs). The north cayes are great for a first-time trip — you can stop in the bustling town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye as well as the small Caribbean isle of Caye Caulker. Alternately, explore the south cayes, which are considered a bit quieter. Catamaran staff are at the ready to help families visit the many small islands by dinghy or to facilitate snorkeling. There’s always something to do from the boat, such as fishing, stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking; you can also opt out and simply enjoy reading a book or listening to music in the sun.

Best Itinerary in Belize with Kids
An underwater paradise awaits snorkelers

If your family would prefer to explore the coast from land, San Pedro is the most popular home base. There is also the slightly more relaxed atoll of Placencia, which is connected to the mainland and allows for easy access to activities such as the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve. Other local activities include a full-day hike to the waterfalls, ziplining, a cocoa and spice farm tour or a visit to a local Mayan village. Families love the appeal of getting around San Pedro and Placencia by golf cart, which can be rented as an add-on to a hotel stay.

For its combination of easily navigable and distinct terrains and varied activities, there is something for everyone on a Belize vacation with kids. Recent CB clients had this to say about their family trip: “Belize was just incredible. The people, cultures, history, archaeology, ocean research, adventure, food. Wow.”

Families Should Know

Belize is best suited for kids 8 and up to handle the pace and activities on offer. International flights readily serve Belize City in this truly year-round destination. Most families choose to visit from Thanksgiving through spring break to avoid the summer heat, but it is worth noting that Belize doesn’t have a rainy wet season like similar destinations such as Costa Rica.

Relevant Links: 

Browse all family-friendly Belize accommodations and activities on Ciao Bambino

Ancient ruins and jungle adventures in Belize with kids

The best Belize travel tips for families

A family vacation in Panama, with converging continents

25 tips for visiting Costa Rica with kids

Editor’s Note: Photos courtesy of Emily and Adam McMahan. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let Ciao Bambino! Plan Your Dream Trip with Kids

Get the latest family travel news, exclusive deals & more!

Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll be the first to know about special promotions, perks, tips and hot destinations.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign In

Want to save all the great intel and tips you are finding on Ciao Bambino? My Trip Planner allows you to bookmark articles, family-friendly hotel reviews, and family vacation packages. Simply click the heart icon on anything you want to save. Site registration is required to get started. Happy planning!

Create an Account

Please fillout the form below to create your free My Trip Planner account.