Belize Travel Guide: 17 Travel Tips for Digital Nomads
With these Belize travel tips, you’ll uncover the hidden gems of this charming Caribbean country, from its incredible natural wonders to its colorful culture.
There’s a reason why Belize is known as the jewel of Central America. Tucked between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea, this tiny, charming country is a treasure trove of mesmerizing natural wonders, vibrant culture, and a tapestry of Mayan and colonial history.
Many digital nomads often overlook Belize as a travel destination. But being an English-speaking country with a low cost of living and many relaxing natural attractions makes it perfect for a stress-free work-travel adventure.
In addition, Belize has lots of remote working spots with nearby tourist activities in popular destinations like Caye Caulker and San Pedro Town. It also has a lively nightlife, perfect for socializing with locals and other digital nomads.
So, are you planning to visit Belize? Read this blog as I share some Belize travel tips for a convenient and budget-friendly stay here as a digital nomad.
Top 17 Travel Tips for a Great Stay in Belize
1. Plan Your Trip in Advance
I bet you’ll agree that Belize is an underrated tropical paradise. When you ask people where they want to go on a trip, this country is rarely at the top of their minds.
So, I’m quite sure that you are also unfamiliar with Belize. You might know it's a Caribbean country with gorgeous beaches teeming with whale sharks and coral reefs. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg; there’s more to Belize waiting for you to uncover, like its savory cuisine, vibrant urban life, rich biodiversity, and fascinating ancient Mayan sites.
It’s essential to plan your trip before visiting Belize. Research the country's culture, norms, history, and society. It will also give you a glimpse of its must-see places so you can make the most of your time here.
More importantly, your research will help you prepare for the kind of life you’ll expect here. For instance, you’ll discover that most of Belize’s towns and cities are small, so they’re quite walkable (or bikeable), while buses are the main form of public transportation to hop between cities.
After the “research stage,” it’s time to make a detailed plan. Set your travel budget and schedule and ensure they align with your Belize travel itinerary. Then, decide where you want to stay (e.g., hostel, hotel, or apartment) and how you want to travel (solo or group).
Continue reading my tips for Belize travel below to help you complete your plan.
2. Consider the Cost of Traveling to Belize
Like other Central American countries, Belize is affordable for digital nomads. It's a bit more costly than Costa Rica, Peru, or Panama, but it's way cheaper than developed countries like the US or UK. To put it in perspective, rent, food, and utility costs in New York City are almost 150% higher than in Belize City.
A minimum budget of $40 daily is enough to have a decent (shared) hostel room, ride local transportation, and eat cheap street foods. But if you want to explore some of the top destinations in the country, I suggest a daily budget of $80 to $90.
Here are some wallet-friendly Belize travel tips for digital nomads:
- Local buses are the cheapest intercity transportation, costing around $1 to $5 per trip. Car rental (or ownership) is not advisable, as gas prices here are typically pricey. Hitchhiking is quite common here as well. If you’re lucky, some locals might give you a free ride.
- Private hostel rooms with free Wi-Fi and toiletries are among the cheapest accommodations for digital nomads. You can avail one for $35 to $50 per night. You can also rent an air-conditioned apartment in some areas, like Placencia, for $1200 to $1500 monthly.
- Belize’s local meals in roadside stands or cheap restaurants usually cost around $5 to $8 per serving. Some fast-food restaurants also offer meals for as low as $6.5 per serving. Street foods like empanadas are the cheapest option, usually starting at $2.
3. Choose the Best Time to Visit Belize
If you want to enjoy Belize’s beaches and rainforests fully, I highly recommend visiting it during its dry season, typically around November to mid-April. While tourism is at its peak during these months, its attractions are rarely overcrowded, so you can still visit them stress-free.
If you want to save money, you can visit during its off-peak season, usually September to October. Belize is in the rainy season during this period, with most businesses charging lower prices.
4. Explore the Must-Visit Destinations in Belize
Don’t miss the stunning attractions Belize has to offer. For nature lovers, there are lots of white sand beaches, lush jungles, beautiful terrains, and coral reefs teeming with marine life.
For history buffs, plenty of its archaeological sites showcase ancient Mayan ruins. For thrillseekers, tons of rappelling, snorkeling, and diving sites will keep your adrenaline pumping.
Check out my list of Belize’s must-see destinations to help you plan your travel itinerary:
- Caye Caulker: Your Belize escapade is incomplete without giving this limestone coral island a visit. Caye Caulker is a well-known tourist destination for its crystalline turquoise waters and laid-back vibe. Island locals have this “Go Slow” mantra, encouraging travelers to chill and just lounge on the beach. But I highly advise you to go blazing and try diving or snorkeling to see some stingrays, sharks, or manatees on this gorgeous island.
- Ambergris Caye: This is one of Belize’s largest islands and one of travelers’ sought-after destinations. It boasts marvelous natural sights like beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, and limestone caves with diverse flora and fauna.
You can also snorkel or dive to see its vibrant reefs, which are part of the second-largest coral reef system on the planet (the Belize Barrier Reef). This reef is around 0.5 miles east of the Ambergris Caye shoreline and runs over the 25-mile island.
- Placencia: This enchanting village is your best bet to see Belize’s great beaches. Around 16 miles of glittering beaches await, where you can go fishing, kayaking, or diving. You can also trek to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary to see those rare nocturnal jaguars.
- San Ignacio: Located in Belize’s western district of Cayo, San Ignacio is a town brimming with natural attractions like the Barton Creek Cave, where you can see some stalactites and stalagmites, and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve with beautiful waterfalls and rivers.
This town is also home to ancient Mayan archaeological sites like the Xunantunich ruins, where you can see old Mayan ceremonial platforms, stone carvings, and the famous El Castillo (an ancient Mesoamerican step-pyramid made as a Kukulcan temple).
- Caracol: Go back in time as you witness the largest city of the ancient Mayan civilization. Caracol is now an archaeological site about 25 miles south of San Ignacio town. Its main attraction is the 140-foot tall “Caana” (Sky Place), the largest Mayan pyramid and currently Belize's most prominent artificial structure.
- Tobacco Caye: This island is only about two football fields in length. But don’t underestimate its beauty, as it’s every water sports enthusiast's dream. Its crystal-clear Caribbean waters will entice you to snorkel or dive deep within its rich marine ecosystem surrounding coral atolls. You’ll also love its palm trees and mangrove ranges, which complement its low-key remote island atmosphere.
5. Pack Appropriately for Belize
So you now have a travel plan, schedule, and target destinations; what’s next?
Prepare your travel suitcase! Below, I’ll share my Belize must-bring essentials so you’ll not miss important stuff to put in your pack:
- Lightweight clothes: Belize is typically warm and humid all year round, so it’s advisable to bring lightweight and loose (preferably cotton) T-shirts, shorts, or skirts. You can also bring light long-sleeved shirts and pants as protection from bugs.
For women, sundresses or blouses are great for tourist spots. For nighttime, a cardigan is advisable. Don’t forget to bring swimwear and a sarong if you plan to hit the beaches.
- Layers: Some nights can be chilly in Belize, so bring light jackets.
- Waterproof jacket: Always bring this (or a raincoat) for possible torrential rains. You can also have a small umbrella with you.
- Footwear: Flip-flops or sandals for beaches; walking (or athletic) shoes for streets; hiking boots for trekking or jungle visits.
- Sunscreen: Preferably with high SPF. Make sure that it's reef-friendly, especially if you’re going to dive or snorkel.
- Hat (or cup) and sunglasses: The sun is intense on beaches or streets, especially around 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., so protect yourself against its rays.
- Bug repellant: As protection from insects when traversing jungles.
- Toiletries: This includes soap, shampoo, deodorants, towels, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
- Documents: Bring your passport, visa, ID (driver’s license or a valid government ID), ATM cards, and reservation receipts (for flights or hotels). I recommend sorting them into a smaller bag to get them quickly.
- Electronic devices: Laptops, smartphones, chargers, portable Wi-Fi routers, etc.
6. Stay Safe in Belize
Good news! Belize is pretty safe for travelers and digital nomads. It’s uncommon to hear reports about tourists being violently attacked here.
But as with other countries, petty crimes are pretty common in Belize. Stay vigilant, especially when using public transportation or walking in the streets, because pickpockets are quite rampant here.
7. Learn the Visa Requirements for Belize
Remote workers can apply for a digital nomad visa to stay in Belize for up to 6 months (with the opportunity to extend). This visa gives you a work permit and the privilege to bring your spouse and dependents without applying for another visa. It also grants student permits for your children to study in the country.
Here are the qualifications to be eligible for a Belize digital nomad visa:
- You work remotely for a company or own a business operating outside Belize.
- You must have a minimum annual salary of $75,000 if traveling solo or $100,000 if traveling with a spouse and dependents.
- You must have travel insurance with a minimum coverage of $50,000.
Meanwhile, here’s the list of documents you must prepare to apply for a visa. They must be original copies and written in English:
- Proof of clear criminal record (from local police)
- Proof of income (e.g., bank statements)
- Proof of employment (e.g., employment contract released by the company)
- Proof of residence in Belize
- Travel insurance certificate
- Visa Application form
Submit the requirements to the nearest Belize embassy or consulate in your area or email Belize’s Immigration Department.
8. Consider All-Inclusive Vacation Packages
Many romanticize solo travel because of the thrill of exploring a foreign land independently. But let’s be honest—solo travel means extra hassle as you must plan everything: flight, accommodations, itinerary, meals, and more.
As a digital nomad, any additional stress is a big no-no, mainly if you aim for a productive work-travel experience. So consider an all-inclusive vacation package when visiting Belize.
With this option, you’ll pay a fixed price upfront to a travel company, and they’ll set every component of your getaway.
Here are more reasons to avail of an all-inclusive vacation package in Belize:
- You’ll have a complete picture of your travel expenses since you must pay them all simultaneously.
- You’ll feel safe during your stay because the tour agency will provide accommodations dedicated to travelers.
- You don’t have to stress out planning your itinerary, as the tour company has already included your destinations in the package.
9. Make the Most of Belize Itinerary
Make the most of your Belize trip by making an itinerary of top attractions to relax, immerse yourself in its local culture, and try its heart-stopping adventures.
To prepare your itinerary, list all the destinations you want to visit. Afterward, decide how much time (hours or days) you want to spend at each destination. Consider the available accommodations in each destination if you plan to spend the entire day there. Hostels (or hotels) near public transportation are highly preferable.
I suggest using a map to craft a more organized and efficient itinerary. As much as possible, your destinations must be near each other to save money in terms of transport.
Here’s a sample of a Belize travel itinerary you can take inspiration from:
- Spend your first four or five days of stay in Caye Caulker. Enjoy its laid-back atmosphere, or try its water adventures.
- Visit San Ignacio Town and explore its forests and rich wildlife.
- Have fun on the charming island of Tobacco Caye. Dive, snorkel, or ride a boat to enjoy the Caribbean waters and its pristine beaches.
10. Experience the Local Cuisine
Belize’s culinary scene is as vibrant and diverse as its culture. Its Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and traditional Mayan influences have created unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Belizean dishes generally feature flavors from spices, herbs, stewed meats, and tropical fruits. You’ll also love their zesty seafood menus teeming with tuna, lobster, or shrimp.
Check out Belize’s must-eat dishes below:
- Ceviche: Ceviche is a seafood dish with diced cubes of conchs, fish, lobster, or shrimp marinated in lime (or lemon) juice. The taste is enriched by adding garlic, onions, and peppers. Ceviche is best served with corn chips, patacones (fried green plantains), or rice.
- Rice and Beans: This classic lunch (or dinner) meal is often served in local Belizean homes. Red kidney beans are cooked and mixed with rice and other spices to prepare this dish. You can then serve it with fish, meat, and fried plantains.
- Chimole: Tracing its roots from Mayan and Mexican cuisines, this chicken soup is dark because of the mixture of achiote (from annatto seeds), garlic, onion, and other spices. It also typically has boiled eggs and some vegetables.
- Tamales: Also known as bollo, Tamales is a traditional Mayan dish made of corn dough filled with steamed pork or chicken meat and boiled in plantain leaves.
- Salbutes: This popular Belizean street food is puffed fried corn tortillas topped with shredded chicken (or meat), radish, cabbage, and tomato.
- Hudut: This well-known Belizean stew was originally from the Garifuna people and was eventually adopted by the locals. This dish contains coconut milk, fish, and fu-fu (ripe mashed plantains).
11. Engage in Sustainable Tourism Practices
Belize tourism has quickly grown in recent years, and it’s just a matter of time before it becomes one of the leading tourism hotspots for travelers and digital nomads.
However, the massive influx of tourists may hurt its biodiversity and natural environment. For instance, unfettered littering and poor sanitation may induce pollution and disease that may harm the environment.
So, as a guest of this country, you must be an eco-conscious traveler to maintain its beauty. Here are some travel tips in Belize to support sustainable tourism:
- Cut your carbon footprint: For example, you can walk, bike, or ride public transportation to your destination.
- Respect the environment: Don’t litter in jungles, beaches, or hiking sites. Also, keep your distance from wildlife and don’t disturb their habitat.
- Support local businesses: Most of these businesses create handmade products made from natural resources around them. Help them thrive by purchasing their creations.
- Choose eco-conscious accommodations: Stay in hostels, hotels, or resorts that practice recycling and renewable energy usage.
12. Stay Connected
Top destinations like Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, and Placencia have numerous cafes, restaurants, resorts, and hotels with fast Wi-Fi. However, you can’t always rely on these public Wi-Fi spaces since they can sometimes be unstable (especially if many users are connected).
You can purchase a local SIM card if you want to access the Internet anywhere in Belize. Both physical and eSIM cards are now available in mobile provider stores, usually in malls, convenience stores, or airports. Note that you must present your passport to avail yourself of one.
Digi (formerly DigiCell) is Belize's fastest and largest mobile network operator. It also has the widest reach in the country but may have low reception in some rural areas. A Digi SIM card costs around $11.50.
If you want a cheaper SIM card, try the one from Smart! that costs around $7.43. Unfortunately, it has a smaller reach than Digit (but it works well in most cities).
13. Learn Basic Spanish
As a former colony of the British Empire (formerly called British Honduras until 1973), Belize is the only English-speaking Mesoamerican country. Around 63% of its population are English speakers, so you’ll do fine here even if you’re not fluent in Spanish.
However, most locals use Spanish at their homes since this language is still one of the most dominant in the country (more than 56% of the population speaks it). Only a few converse in English at home. So, if you want to hang out with local Belizeans, I recommend knowing some basic Spanish phrases like the following:
- Hola (hello)
- Gracias (thank you)
- Buenos días (good morning)
- Buenas tardes (good afternoon),
- Buenas noches (good evening)
- Me llamo…(my name is…)
- Por favor = Please
- Disculpe (Excuse me)
- Mucho gusto (nice to meet you)
- Hable Ingles? (do you speak English?)
14. Be Prepared for Outdoor Adventures
Nothing beats the thrill of outdoor adventures, especially in a tropical paradise brimming with breathtaking views. So when you visit Belize, don’t miss YOLOing with these activities that will make your trip extra memorable:
- Spelunking: Belize is well-known for its beautiful caves, like San Ignacio and Caye Caulker. Don’t miss the chance to ride a boat and witness incredible stalactites that stood against the test of time.
You can also spice up your cave exploration by hiking to the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, where you can see the human skeletons of people sacrificed on this site.
- Diving/snorkeling: Belize’s marine wildlife is always a must-see, so try exploring underwater the massive Belize Barrier Reef system, the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, or the famous diving site Blue Hole Natural Monument. Who knows? You might meet whale sharks, sea turtles, or manta rays as you navigate the Atlantis.
- Ziplining: Have a bird’s eye view of Belize’s stunning landscapes as the wind rushes past you while ziplining. Belize City and Southeast Belize regions are among the top destinations for ziplining sites.
- Hiking: You can also conquer the summit of Victoria Peak (Belize’s largest mountain) and meet its rich wildlife or the Maya mountains of Western Belize with stunning waterfalls, rivers, and jungles, as well as historical Mayan relics.
- Horseback riding: What's a better way to venture into Belize's jungle trails than riding a horse? Many think horseback riding is boring, but just think how marvelous it would be to see ancient Mayan sites while riding a traditional transport.
- Jet Skiing or Windsurfing: The Caribbean Sea is perfect for thrilling water activities like jet skiing or windsurfing. Other top destinations for these activities are Ambergris Caye and Placencia.
To ensure your safety, always adhere to the instructions and reminders provided by your tour guide or other professionals on the site. If you’re diving or snorkeling, ensure that you have a complete set of gear approved by the staff in the area. Also, most diving sites require proof that you’re an experienced diver, so make sure to present one.
It’s also important to respect Belize’s natural environment and biodiversity. When hiking or traversing forests, don’t stray from the trail and keep a gentle voice to avoid disturbing some natural habitat in the area.
15. Capture the Moment
Don’t forget to take a shot of every breathtaking sight in Belize. I highly recommend bringing a DSLR camera to capture high-quality pictures of nature or historical sites. It also has a long battery life and is adaptable to low-light conditions, albeit quite bulky and costly compared to other cameras.
You can bring a mirrorless camera instead if you prefer a more portable and lighter device. However, it’s quite low-performing compared to DSLRs and consumes batteries faster.
16. Protect Against the Sun
The best way to protect yourself against Belize’s intense sun rays is to stay out of the sun. But that's a bummer! Who wants to miss its pristine beaches and turquoise waters?
So here are some ways I suggest you enjoy your trip while protecting yourself from Belize’s hot weather:
- Use a sunscreen (with a minimum SPF rating of 15) labeled with a “broad spectrum,” as it can protect you both from UVA and UVB rays of the sun. Apply at least 1 full ounce of sunscreen 20 minutes before exposure.
- Wear baseball caps or brimmed hats when walking the streets or exploring the beaches.
- Avoid direct exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the ozone layer is usually weakest.
17. Embrace the Belizean Lifestyle
I think the mantra of the Caye Caulker people is a good reminder to enjoy your stay here—“Go Slow.” Don’t rush; let yourself savor every second of your visit here. Be present in the moment, appreciate nature, and disconnect from the fast-paced life you’ve left in your home country.
Make the Most of Belize
And that concludes my list of Belize travel tips. With its affordable cost of living, awe-inspiring attractions, and unique culture, this country must be on every digital nomad’s bucket list. Grab travel insurance now from Nomad Insurance and continue exploring Belize so your mind is truly present.
People Also Ask Questions
Q: What I wish I knew before traveling to Belize?
You must first know the culture, norms, traditions, transportation modes, and must-see destinations of this Caribbean country to help you plan your trip.
Q: What do you need before traveling to Belize?
Before traveling to Belize, you need a digital nomad visa to stay here for up to six months.
Q: What are some things tourists should be careful about in Belize?
Petty crimes are some things tourists should be careful about in Belize. There are many pickpockets, especially on public buses and streets.
Q: Do I need malaria pills for Belize?
No, malaria is not prevalent in Belize.