The Best Belize Travel Tips for Families

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On the eastern coast of Central America, with Mexico to its north and Guatemala to its west, Belize is small compared to its neighbors but still manages to pack in plenty of adventure.

Snorkel in the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world and home to 500 species of fish. Spot toucans, panthers, monkeys and crocodiles in the dense jungles. Visit several Maya ruins to learn about the country’s ancient past. You can even learn to make chocolate from cacao bean to bar.

Belize Travel Tips with Kids
The Blue Hole is one of Belize’s most iconic natural wonders. Photo by Esoteric Vision/esotericvision.com

And, of course, so much of travel is the people you meet along the way. Belizeans are incredibly warm and generous, drawing from several backgrounds themselves. Most locals are Mestizo, a mix of Spanish and Maya heritage, who came from Mexico in the mid-1800s. Kriols, Maya, Garifuna, Mennonites and others make up the remainder of the country’s ethnic groups.

With nature beauty, wildlife, archaeological sites and welcoming people, Belize makes for a perfect family adventure with a little bit of everything. We spoke with our preferred travel partner in the region for insight into the best of Belize with kids. Ready to plan a trip? Contact us — our expert Family Travel Advisors can create a custom vacation just for you!

Belize Travel Tips with Kids
Unusual wildlife like kinkajous await kids in Belize’s jungle. Photo by Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Belize Travel Tips: When to Go, Itinerary Ideas and More

What are some reasons families might choose Belize over nearby countries such as Mexico or Costa Rica?

Belize is a small country in both size and numbers, making it possible to execute a meaningful itinerary that includes reef and jungle within a week — all while having personal interactions with locals that can leave a lasting impression. Its current population is approximately 400,000, compared to Costa Rica’s 5 million or 128 million in Mexico. While Belize is no newbie to tourism, it has far less commercial infrastructure than its neighbors, which can make it still feel relatively untouched. (This means there’s not a single McDonald’s or other U.S. fast food chain across the country to date!) Plus, English is the primary language spoken in Belize, making it easier to communicate with others as well as navigate surroundings.

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Belize Travel Tips with Kids
Glass-bottom boat rides offer a peek at the rich marine life. Photo by Esoteric Vision/esotericvision.com

When is the best time of year to visit, and how long should visitors spend to get a good taste of what Belize has to offer?

The dry season, from November through May, is an ideal time to visit, with comfortable temps and only the occasional shower. February is usually the driest month of all.  The wet season is from June to October. That said, even during the wet season, the rain isn’t debilitating and can have its own charm with everything looking incredibly lush and green.

Belize Travel Tips with Kids
Adventure activities like ziplining make Belize a great choice for school-age kids and up. Photo by Esoteric Vision/esotericvision.com

Is Belize a good fit for families with younger children, or best with older kids?

Most families heading to Belize are seeking soft adventure, including snorkeling, ziplining and cave tubing. Kids age 5 and up tend to enjoy these activities more, but it really depends on the individual family. But families with younger children can still visit and have more of a relaxing holiday compared to an active one. Belize is also a fantastic multigenerational destination and itineraries can be tailored to be as active or relaxing as required by the group.

Belize Travel Tips with Kids
Cave tubing is a laid-back thrill for all ages. Photo by Esoteric Vision/esotericvision.com

To get a good picture of Belize’s natural beauty, wildlife and ancient past, how would you suggest setting up an itinerary with time at the reefs as well as jungle and Maya ruins?

A combination of 3 to 4 days inland followed by 3 to 4 days at the cayes (islands) serves as an ideal itinerary for families. Most international travelers arrive to Belize City International airport. A suggested itinerary could take a family by road and boat inland to the Lamanai area, where they can spot a variety of wildlife and also visit the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, which is one of the best due to the sheer fact that so few people visit it.

From Lamanai, try cave tubing and ziplining experiences near Belmopan, followed by a flight out to Ambergris Caye for snorkeling and fishing. So much of these experiences for families come down to private transport and kid-friendly private guides who can manage the logistics and share their knowledge. Cave canoeing in Barton Creek is another great way to explore the caves.

Belize Travel Tips with Kids
Maya ruins throughout the country appeal to history buffs. Photo by Esoteric Vision/esotericvision.com

What about the Maya ruins in Tikal in Guatemala across the border?

Many visitors to Belize do cross the border to visit the Tikal complex of Maya ruins, one of the most renowned archaeological sites in Central America. However, it is a 3- to 4-hour road trip each way, so it’s recommended that families spend the night in Tikal rather than try to fit it all into one day.    

Relevant Links: 

Browse all family-friendly accommodations and destination ideas in Belize on Ciao Bambino

Belize with kids: Ancient ruins and jungle adventures in a Caribbean paradise

Costa Rica off the beaten path: Our best kept secrets

Living la pura vida at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

UnCruise Adventures review: Explore Panama and Costa Rica in casual small-ship comfort

Best things to do in Nicaragua with kids

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This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.

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