Island Hopping, Mayan Ruins & The Blue Hole: A Guide to Belize
Introduction to Belize
This was a great 10-day solo spontaneous trip. It wasn’t planned for until about a week before my actual flight date. Reason: I’ve always wanted to see the Blue Hole in person and to be quite frank with you… there was a really affordable flight deal running during the time I booked my trip to Belize City. My never-ending-wanderlust-mind figured this was the right time.
So for this trip, I decided to explore some of the hot spots here in Belize: Caye Caulker Island, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Hopkins Bay. I skipped out on San Pedro Island, Placencia and Punta Gorda, so you might want to consider these places as well if you will have a longer time to visit. These are popular tourist destinations so you make sure to add them to your list when visiting.
After having one the most scenic long distance flight from Miami to Belize City, I headed straight to the Caye Caulker Island after landing. The distance between the island and Belize City was only 30-40 minutes on the Belize Water Taxi . The city of Belize is not known to have much, so I did not spend much time there.
I loved visiting Caye Caulker, I found it to be so authentic and the food was really tasty. Some of the best sunsets can be seen from here and if you are eager to visit the Blue Hole, you can book a tour from here too. During my 3-day visit on the island, I did an overhead helicopter tour of the Blue Hole with Tropic Air. Seeing the blue hole was on my list, so I was really happy to have crossed it off; nothing like seeing it in person.
Whilst the tour can be a little pricey ($175-up) it is one of my top recommendations of things to do when visiting Belize.
Organised Tours in Caye Caulker
Blue Hole tour: A 25-minute scenic flight over the second largest barrier reef in the world with Tropic Air.
Hol Chan Snorkeling Tour: A full-day snorkelling tour stopping in 3 different locations; 2 of them being in the reserve with Ragamuffin Tours.
Manatee Watch Tour: A guided Manatee watch tour off the coast of Caye Caulker with Caveman Tours.
Blue Hole Diving Tour: You can actually dive the Blue Hole. A bucket-list item for many scuba divers. See Belize Diving Services for bookings.
You can also do a day-tour from here to San Pedro Island using the ferry.
Belpoman is the capital city of Belize. Located just 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from Belize city, I was excited to get within this region to start exploring the Mayan Ruins.
Capital cities are usually really crowded, but with a population of just over 16,000 people, Belpoman has a very laid-back atmosphere. For travellers, the capital is more of a transit city.
Things To Do & See in Belmopan
Guanacaste National Park: with a $5 Belizean admin fee you can enjoy a day’s hike in the central part of Belize.
Jaguar Park Cave: known for it’s zip lining and cave tubing. You can find and book tours on Chukka
I wanted to mix the island life with some Mayan history. Xunantunich right outside of Belmopan; no more than 20 minutes away has the largest Mayan ruin in Belize. It is located within the region of the Guatemalan border and promises to have a few exciting things to do if you consider on visiting the region.
Things To Do & See in San Ignacio
Xunantunich Mayan Ruin: as pictured below. If you are keen to see some Mayan Ruins whilst in Belize be sure to check out Xunantunich.
Cahal Pech Mayan Ruin & Museum: another Mayan ruin that is accessible by foot from the city centre of San Ignacio.
*The ATM Cave tour is highly recommended. Though I did not experience this first hand, it’s a dare-not-to-miss experience.
Dangriga is the cultural capital of Belize. With only 2 hours south of Belize City and 1 hour from San Ignacio, the southern capital has a high cultural influence of the Garifuna and Belize’s very own Punta music.
Apart from it’s cultural influence, here are a few other things you can experience while being in Dangriga
Things To Do & See in Dangriga
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve: Cockscomb is internationally recognised for the first jaguar preserve. It is also known for it’s nature walks, waterfalls and it’s wildlife viewing.
Stay: Thatch Caye Resort
During my fist couple of days here, I checked into the off-island bungalow resort: Thatch Caye Resort. This resort is approximately 25-mins away from Drangriga’s main coast by boat. Sitting on a mile long island, you can enjoy 360° views from your room and the sunset steps away from your door.
Thatch Caye Resort is an all-inclusive resort, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a warm breakfast, an afternoon lunch and a customised dinner (sometimes it includes the catch of the day); a plus if you ask me. A complimentary bar is also in the mix.
This way my very last stop in Belize before heading to Guatemala. Hopkins is just 1 hour South of Dangriga. Also a central capital for the Garifuna culture, Hopkins a very small town known for it’s colourful-country housings, fishing and of course, diving.
Hopkins is also one of the best places to learn and enjoy the Garifuna drumming. But, please be warned; it’s addictive.
Things To Do & See in Hopkins
Fishing: if you are fan of fishing then Hopkins is the best place to participate in fishing tours. Local guides offer fishing trips from reef fishing to deep-sea fishing. You can check out the fishing tours here: Blue Horizon Belize
Diving : one of the most recommended activities to do in Belize, especially in the South. 5-star PADI diving and snorkelling tours can be done with Belize Underwater.
*You can also gain access to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve from here in Hopkins just by renting a bike.
Stay: Hopkins Bay Resort
During my Stay in Hopkins, I checked into the Hopkins Bay Resort. An Ocean-beach villa, 25 minutes by bike outside of the main square.
The views from my villa are impressive. On a day-to-day basis, I casually enjoyed the sighting of dolphins.
With regards to dining, Hopkins bay offers a Full Meal Plan; $80 per day which include meals 3 times per day.