Just south of Mexico, this english-speaking Caribbean country has world-class scuba diving, Mayan ruins and jungle adventures.
1. English is the Official Language
Located just below Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula, most people are surprised to learn English is the official language since it was a British colony! Most locals speak both English and Spanish, and there are loads of American and Canadian expats living there.
2. It Has the 2nd Largest Barrier Reef in the World
You might have heard the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia was officially declared dead in 2016. The next largest barrier reef in the world is actually located in Belize, off the coast of Ambergris Key. It’s home to some spectacular wildlife (nurse sharks, sting rays, sea turtles, etc). While you can also scuba dive the Blue Hole (which is on most scuba diving bucket lists and is a good 2-hour boat ride out) the better wild life is actually in the barrier reef around Hol Chan and the Canyons.
3. The Islands Are "Off the Grid"
Skip Belize City, head to the islands. Ambergris Cay and Caulker Cay are somewhat off the beaten path, so you won’t find big American hotel chains like a Marriott or Hyatt. There are no western fast-food chains, it is all local restaurants and boutique hotels. Case in point, the main form of transportation will be water taxi or bike.
4. Affordable Scuba Certification
I highly recommend Belize Pro Dive Center in San Pedro. You can get PADI certified and go on some 4 amazing dives for about $450. Skip the online e-course, you can do it all there. You’ll learn most of the skills and test answers on your dives, so you don’t need to study much.
5. Two Words: Chicken. Drop.
On a Thursday night, the Chicken Drop is THE place to be! Crowds of rowdy, drunken folks gather around a “bingo-esque” board waiting for a scared chicken to poop on a number.
6. Crazy Canucks is the Best Beach Bar. Period.
We had an awesome time meeting expats and tourists, doing trivia, singing Karaoke and watching Football on the beach.
7. Zipline Through the Jungle!
It’s not scary, really… My husband doesn’t like heights but had a great time. The views are stunning and it’s an exhilarating way to see nature. We had a great time with Jovan at Belize Jungle Trek.
8. Bug Spray is a Necessity
There are some serious bugs… be sure to pack some “tourist perfume”. Off! Deep Woods or something strong is what you'll need here!
Having done both… we will never take the water taxi again. The flight is quick (15-minutes) and has beautiful views! On the way over I got to sit in the cockpit, very fun. The water taxi, on the other hand, crams you on board and it takes over an hour of a very bumpy ride. The plane is about twice the price, but 10X more enjoyable and efficient.
10. Get Jerk Chicken on the Side of the Road
We have plenty of restaurants to recommend on TripAdvisor, but part of the experience of Belize is grabbing food cooked in a grill on the side of the road. It’s casual and quite possibly some of the best food you will eat there.