Best towns to stay in Belize
Located in the south of Belize’s Ambergis Caye Island, the charming town of San Pedro is ideal for any traveler to stay for several days. Ambergis Caye is known as ‘Isla Bonita’ thanks to Madonna’s famous hit single, which was filmed on this very island. It certainly is a typically beautiful Caribbean island, and San Pedro is its prize gem!
San Pedro is a former fishing village now turned into a major tourist destination. With its small population, pristine beaches and wide range of hotels and bars, San Pedro suits the needs of any traveler. However, San Pedro is most famous for its world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. It is home to the incredible Belize Barrier Reef- the second-largest barrier reef on the whole planet! Transportation is also very practical in San Pedro. Many hotels offer free bicycles to get around the island, and taxis are readily available.
Accommodation in San Pedro
Just south of Ambergis Caye lies another beautiful Belize island- Caye Caulker. It is a smaller, more budget-friendly option to Ambergis Caye, but is definitely still a worthwhile travel destination. Caye Caulker is ideal for relaxing on the beach and soaking up the local Caribbean vibes and culture. With a lively but not overcrowded tourist scene and very friendly locals, you will quickly feel at home here.
As well as lounging on the beach, there are numerous tourist activities to enjoy on the island. You can participate in numerous water sport activities, such as windsurfing, kayaking and of course snorkeling. For the cultured traveler, there are day tours to the Lamani Mayan ruins. Although Caye Caulker is very small and there is no airport, it is thankfully easily to get to. Situated just over 20 miles from Belize City, you can easily travel between the two by water taxi.
Accommodation in Caye Caulker
In southern Belize, the pretty village of Placencia is growing rapidly in popularity. Placencia is another former fishing village now turned into a tourist hotspot. It forms part of the pristine Placencia peninsula- 16 miles of stunning coastline. Placencia Village is a great base from which to explore other parts of the peninsula. There are numerous luxury hotels to choose from in Placencia, and a range of high-quality local restaurants.
Placencia is also famous for its watersport activities, especially snorkeling. It is perfectly situated at the southern end of the Belize Barrier Reef. Snorkeling reaches its peak during the whale shark season. Many tourists and locals are eager to swim with the whale sharks- fascinating and friendly creatures! For adventurous travelers, taking a day trip to the jungle is a great option. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary reserve is ideal for hikers and animal lovers, and is easily reachable from Placencia.
Accommodation in Placencia
The town of San Ignacio in Western Belize is an ideal place to stay for nature lovers and travelers wanting to immerse themselves in local culture. Located in Belize´s Cayo District, San Ignacio is easily accessible from Belize City by public transport. With a plethora of shops and restaurants, the town is abuzz, particularly during the weekend. There is a nice mix of tourists and local residents.
San Ignacio also certainly has plenty of tourist attractions. Its great location close to the jungle makes it an ecotourism hub, and there are many environmentally-friendly hotels in the town. San Ignacio is centered around eco-tourism. You can take a trip to the nearby Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and admire its beautiful nature and wildlife. In addition, San Ignacio is ideally located with easy access to the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. You can easily combine a few days of ecotourism with historical sightseeing.
Accommodation in San Ignacio
Another former fishing village, Hopkins has gained a name in the tourism industry in recent years, although it is still far from being overcrowded. Located in Southern Belize, Hopkins is well-connected to the national public transport. Whilst it is only small, it is well worth spending a few nights in this pretty seaside town.
Hotels range from budget to luxury, and Hopkins really does have something for all types of travelers. Hopkins is perfect for the cultural traveler- it is the centre of the Garifuna culture in Belize. The Garifuna people are of Afro-Caribbean descent, and this is evident in the delicious local food and their traditional music. As well as this cultural immersion, Hopkins is perfect for snorkeling due to its close proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. Or you can simply relax on one of the town's splendid beaches whilst admiring the scenic surrounding Mayan mountains.
Accommodation in Hopkins
If you want to stay in a dream destination that is off the beaten track, head to Maya Beach! It is quiet, quaint and unspoilt but easily accessible by public transport or taxi. This tiny beach town on the Placencia Peninsula is a beach-lover´s paradise, with miles of sandy beaches, hammocks and several seafront hotels. Watersport enthusiasts can also find plenty to do here and there are a number of snorkeling and diving tours further along the peninsula.
For travelers who love the jungle, the Monkey River Tour is a logical option whilst staying at Maya Beach and this can easily be done in a day trip. You can take a boat tour along Monkey River and admire its thick surrounding jungle and wildlife. Another popular day tour from Maya Beach is to the Lubaantun Maya Ruins, from where you will hike into the caves of the famous Blue Creek.
Accommodation in Maya Beach
Dangriga is another fascinating cultural hotspot that makes for a rewarding stay when in Belize! Capital of the Stan Creek District in Southern Belize, you will have a rich and varied experience in Dangriga Town. Along with Hopkins, it is the centre of the Garifuna Community in Belize. The Belizean ‘Punta Rock’ genre of music was born here, and there are many local music festivals throughout the year which celebrate this genre.
As well as the culture, Dangriga is located at the southern end of the Belize Barrier Reef, so is a very convenient place for snorkelers and divers to stay. Nature lovers will be in their element, as the town is surrounded by dense jungle and nature. You can easily take a day trip to the Cocksombe Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Lounging on the beautiful sandy beaches and eating some delicious local dishes will make you feel in paradise.
Accommodation in Dangriga
Moving up to the very northern part of Belize, Corozal is an excellent alternative destination off-the beaten track. It is gaining popularity in the tourism industry, though, despite remaining unknown to many travelers. Corozal is a relaxed, tranquil town on the Belize/ Mexican border. Just a short drive from Chetumal (Mexico’s Quintana Roo state capital), there is a strong Mexican influence in Corozal, from the food to the local customs. It is easy to make the short day trip over the border.
Despite being a small town, there is plenty to do in Corozal. Why not relax in Corozal Bay and swim in the clear blue sea, or go snorkeling and diving a bit further out? Corozal is also a great base for a variety of day trips. You can venture to the Sarteneja Fishing Village, the nearby Shipstern Nature Reserve and enjoy the stunning coastal views from the Cerros Maya Ruins.
Accommodation in Corozal
Another idyllic destination to stay a few nights is Punta Gorda- the capital of the Toldeo District on Belize’s Southern Caribbean Coast. There are many touristy activities in the district as a whole that are typical of Belize’s main attractions. Punta Gorda is a great base from which to explore. Adventurous travellers can go fishing or snorkeling in the pristine waters of Garbutt’s Marine, participate in watersports and take tours to reefs further out along the coast. There are also several classic Mayan archeological sites within the district that would satisfy any history buff.
What is particularly interesting about Punta Gorda is its cultural diversity. Here, you will encounter a mix of Mayan, East Indian and Garifanu communities. This is also reflected in the varied local restaurants and cultural traditions that are maintained. There are numerous hotels to choose from in Punta Gorda, and the town is well-connected to public transport.
Accommodation in Punta Gorda