Belize City, Belize – History, Things To Do & Tips

Belize City Belize

Belize, formerly named British Honduras, is famous for its beautiful scuba diving sites and attracts tourists from all over the world. Though not the capital, Belize City is the largest and busiest city in the state.

Belize City lies in Central America. Tourists come here to do scuba diving, especially in the Great Blue Hole region, visit Maya ruins, and enjoy the beauty of nature and wildlife. The city also offers excellent kid-friendly activities for those traveling with their families.

Suppose you’re planning a trip to Belize or are interested in visiting it soon. In that case, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about the country, popular attractions and activities, the best times to visit, foods to try, and more.

General Information

The country of Belize can surprise you with its unique history and fascinating sites spread throughout this small country. If you don’t know much about Belize yet, here are some general facts to get you started.


Belize is in Central America and measures just 8,867 square miles (22,966 square kilometers), making it a tiny country. Although it is pretty small, it isn’t the smallest country in Central America–the smallest is El Salvador, while Belize is the second smallest.

It lies near countries like Guatemala and Honduras. Due to its connection to the Caribbean, Belize is rich in sunny beaches, beautiful natural sea sites, and good places for diving.


The Maya resided in Belize for many generations and are the earliest known settlers in the country. They left behind many ruins and places that you can visit today to learn more about the history of Belize. The Spanish came along later but never formally occupied Belize.

British colonizers followed the Spanish. While the Spanish people never colonized Belize, Honduras became a British colony in 1862 and was named British Honduras. Belize remains English, and many Belizean people speak Spanish.

A few years before gaining complete independence, they changed the state’s name in 1973, and British Honduras officially became Belize. Today, it has one of Latin America’s most stable democratic governments.

Travel Tips

If you’re considering visiting Belize, here is some information to help you thoroughly plan the trip. If you organize everything beforehand, it is easier to enjoy your vacation without any worries or confusion.

Best Time To Visit Belize

Due to the tropical climate, the best times to visit Belize are determined mainly by when it is not severely rainy. If you want to experience the dry weather, it’s best to arrive during winter. It’s important to note that Belize is in the northern hemisphere, so winter coincides with the US winter.

Due to the dry weather, February is arguably the best month to plan your trip.

However, there is always a chance of rain in some regions, such as Toledo District and Placencia. Still, it is an excellent opportunity to experience the tropical climate and enjoy its unique traits.

Ways To Get to Belize

There are ten airports in Belize, but the only international one is in Ladyville. It is called Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) and is the easiest way to enter Belize.

Seven American and two Canadian airlines fly to Belize, with a couple of regional companies also operating in the region. If you’re flying from the Eastern hemisphere, you will likely have a layover in the US.

The country is small, so traveling within it is relatively straightforward. You can use public transport or get a taxi in urban areas, but most destinations are easy to reach on foot. You can also take ferries or water taxis to get to the islands.

Local Currency

The local currency in Belize is called Belize Dollar. Two BZD equals one US dollar, so the prices are easy to convert and estimate: you divide the value in BZD by two to get how much money is in USD.

However, if you have US dollars with you, don’t bother changing them into local currency. American dollars are welcome in Belize and accepted anywhere in the country. Always have cash with you because some places may not accept certain cards (especially American Express).

Costs and Budget

Depending on how you would like to spend your vacation, the overall price of the trip will differ. The number of activities you wish to try and the comfort level you’re used to will determine how much this journey will cost you.

Thankfully, there are plenty of accommodation options in Belize. Since the high season is during winter and spring, accommodation will likely be more expensive during this period. So if you want to visit Belize on a budget, it’s best to go during summer or fall.

A search on for February (which is during the high season) gives many price ranges for two adults. You can find hostels and hotels for as low as 60 BZD, but if you want something more luxurious, you could spend upwards of 600 BZD per night for two adults.

Budget meals at local places and fast food restaurants cost about 10-15 BZD per serving. Dinner at a more fashionable restaurant will cost you 50-100 BZD.

Traveling by taxi is an excellent way to get around Belize, and it’s not too expensive. Unfortunately, the country doesn’t have any ride sharing apps (like Uber), so taxi cabs are the only alternative. For example, a taxi from Belize airport to the city costs 25 USD (50 BZD).

Regarding activities, you can do free things in Belize, such as visiting the Belize Sign Monument or the beach. However, other things cost money.

Below are some examples of activities and their general costs as of 2022:

  • Dive Haven snorkeling trip: 50 USD (100 BZD)
  • Dive Haven snorkeling course: 150 USD (300 BZD)
  • Sea Sports Belize scuba diving: from 146.25 USD (294.19 BZD)
  • Xunantunich ruins tour: from 75 USD (150 BZD)

Places To Visit

What is there to see in Belize? The list is very long. You can take your pick of Maya ruins, ocean depths, natural reservations, and many other exciting places worth visiting in Belize. If you’re planning a trip here, there is much to pack into your schedule.

Belize City

Albert Street Belize City

You will visit Belize City inevitably, as it is the only gateway into the country. Belize City is the former capital and largest city in the state, so it has many attractions that might interest you.

However, is Belize safe? It’s important to remember that it has level 3 – Reconsider Travel level assigned by the US government.

While the country is level 2, Belize City, in particular, is not recommended for visiting due to the high risks associated with violent crime. Always be vigilant when traveling around the city and avoid having expensive items (such as phones and jewelry) out in the open.

Some fun things to do in Belize city include:

  • Visiting the museum of Belize
  • Getting a water taxi
  • Visiting St. John’s Cathedral

Maya Temples

Must-see Belize sites include Maya ruins, monuments, and temples. You can encounter the remains of a great civilization that existed on this land long before Europeans put their foot on it. Archeology enthusiasts will love:

  • Xunantunich—is located about 70 miles (110 km) from Belize City. It was a ceremonial center of the region where about 200,000 people lived at its best times.
  • Lamanai—was a major Maya city and is now one of the most mysterious of their ruins. We know that it existed as early as the 16th century BC.
  • Altun Ha—constitutes the remains of an ancient Maya city. It is located on the Caribbean shore and hails back to around 900 B.C. The sight of its monuments is genuinely breathtaking and worth your visit.
  • Caracol— is an excellent option to visit while you’re in Belize and is an impressive site of Mayan history. This extensive archeological site is in the tropical rainforest, not far from Belize City.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a popular place among adults and kids alike. If you want to go snorkeling, definitely do it here.

The reserve accommodates a unique community of marine life and comprises four zones. They all represent different habitats, so you can choose the one that interests you most.

You can meet numerous fish species such as:

  • Sea turtles
  • Lobsters
  • Crabs
  • Sharks

Don’t worry—they are nurse sharks and not usually aggressive with humans.

Diving or snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve is an unforgettable experience that can introduce you to the rich marine life and the beauty of the Caribbean.

Things To Do in Belize

What activities apart from sightseeing can you enjoy in Belize? Consider suggestions from this list to add even more exciting adventures to your trip.

Go Diving

First and foremost, if you happen to visit Belize, go diving! There is an incredible variety of unique and beautiful places for you to discover. Belize is the best place to learn if you’ve never gone diving!

The most famous diving spots include:

  • Belize Barrier Reef. This reef is one of the most famous attractions for divers. It is also one of the most precious Belizean natural assets, and UNESCO recognizes the reef as a World Heritage Site.
  • The Great Blue Hole. More experienced divers might want to try this giant underwater sinkhole 125 meters (410 feet) deep. You can descend into its depths through the crystal waters and meet many beautiful marine species, such as midnight parrotfish and Caribbean reef sharks.

Go Caving

If caves fascinate you, especially the old ones with history still alive in their depths, you will find great joy in exploring the caves of Belize.

There are thousands of caves here, all challenging to a different extent. Less risky people can walk through the beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations, while more adventurous ones can get a tour most likely to suit Indiana Jones.

Two great spelunking favorites include:

  • Belizean caves. Here you can encounter underground waterfalls or evidence of human life, like ancient pottery or even real human skeletons.
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. You can find fascinating evidence of the past in this famous ceremonial cave of Maya with over 1400 valuable artifacts, including sacrificial human remains.

Go Kayaking or Canoeing

If you’re a fan of such activities, many fascinating routes await you in Belize. Enjoy the clear waters, lots of sunshine, and beautiful wildlife during your adventure.

You can get a short kayaking excursion or go for a couple of days to see all the islands nearby and explore the waters to their fullest. Or you can choose rivers instead of the sea and go canoeing around the magnificent jungles of the Cayo District.

Taste Local Cuisine

Don’t forget to try the local foods served in Belize! The dish of rice and beans is ubiquitous— almost everyone in Belize eats it regularly, so it’s certainly worth a try when you visit. The staple fare also comes with various types of meat, and you can choose among these options and get your meat fried, stewed, or grilled.

Other local fare includes:

  • Ceviche. This culinary delight is a dish made of chopped shrimp with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, black pepper, and Habanero pepper. Local chefs soak the shrimp in lime juice and then refrigerate.
  • Belize fruit cake. This delicious treat contains fruits doused with rum and aged for at least a week. This cake is a traditional dish that is prevalent during holidays.

Kid Friendly Activities in Belize City

Belize City is a family paradise, with endless options to keep your kids having as much fun as you. The city offers excellent water-based sports and activities and fascinating natural wonders, flora, and fauna.

Some popular kid-friendly activities include:

  • Green Hills Butterfly Farm. Take your little ones to explore dozens of beautiful butterfly species and fabulous birds and creatures such as gibnuts, margays, and agoutis.
  • Belize Zoo. Your little ones will love to meet this zoo’s exciting animals—almost 50 different indigenous species.
  • Eladio’s Chocolate Adventure. Which kid doesn’t love chocolate? This family-run farm offers cocoa trails, and best of all—your little ones can experience the chocolate-making process!

Book a Tour

If you wish to explore fascinating Belizean nature, you can book a tour, visit multiple attractions, or go caving or kayaking with a group of tourists and an experienced guide. Alternatively, you can get an individually guided tour for a higher price.

Getting a tour and trusting a professional to show you the most exciting places, inform you about them, and ensure safety is one of the best ways to get introduced to a new country and region.

What is the relationship between Ambergris Caye and Belize City in terms of tourism and travel?

When considering things to do in Belize, both Ambergris Caye and Belize City offer unique experiences for tourists. Ambergris Caye is popular for its stunning beaches and marine life, while Belize City is known for its cultural attractions and historical sites. Both destinations contribute to the diverse tourism appeal of Belize.

Final Thoughts

Belize is a fascinating country that is worth visiting. You can plan an exciting trip to get unique, captivating experiences, such as:

  • Going scuba diving, caving, or canoeing
  • Seeing Maya temples, caves, and ruins
  • Visiting sanctuaries and national parks with abundant wildlife.

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