Spring Break Adventures in Belize

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The Belize sign on the coast, in Belize City.

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Belize was a bit of a mystery to me before visiting. I wasn’t sure how accessible things would be, and I questioned the modernness of its amenities and transportation. I was pretty sure most people would be English-speakers [true], and based on my research, I felt like I could safely navigate from one place to another, as long as I kept my trip fairly basic, depending on well-developed tourist pathways. I’m glad I planned ahead with these preconceptions…my trip went smoothly when it could have been quite a bit rougher if I hadn’t.

One thing I took care of even before leaving was choosing my e-sim with Airalo — 2 GB of data for one week. It really gives me peace of mind knowing that I’ll be able to use pretty much everything I need to use on my phone when I arrive in a new country! Just search for the country you’re planning to visit and you’ll see all the plan options…it’s super easy!

I landed at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, about a thirty minute drive from the town of Belize City. Google Maps didn’t give me any public transportation options and that theory was supported by other traveler’s blog posts, who said that getting a taxi [$30 one way] was really the only option for getting into town. True story. Also, the prices are posted at the airport, so it’s not really appropriate to try to find a driver willing to take less.

I didn’t explore much of Belize City [it’s not reported to be very safe and there aren’t many, if any, places a person might like to see]. In my experience, grocery stores were very small, poorly stocked, and not super easy to find. I only spent my first night here, thankful for the clean and comfortable accommodations that were really close to the water taxi I would take to San Pedro the next day AND where I would be picked up for my cave kayaking tour! I HIGHLY recommend staying at Harbour View Boutique Hotel because of its convenient and safe location.

Also fortunate for me — Martha’s Cafe is right across the street from the hotel, with vegetarian meals on their menu!! I would have been very, very hungry without this option. I enjoyed their lentils in the evening and an omelete with fruit the next morning.

Sadness — I didn’t take even one photo while kayaking [I used my Go Pro instead], so please come find me on Instagram to see a video of my cave adventure with Viator. It was awesome!

After a good night, a couple meals, and a super fun kayaking adventure, the next step in my journey was to take the 1.5 hour water taxi [passenger ferry] ride over to Ambergris Caye [pronounced “key”]. There were plenty of tourists as well as locals on the boat, but it was a fun ride for me! I purchased my one way ticket [Belize Express Water Taxi, $31] on site, before boarding the boat. There are plenty of departure times to choose from, just keep in mind that the LAST departure of the day is at 5:30 and can be easily missed if coming into Belize on an afternoon flight.

I arrived on the island with about two hours of daylight remaining, determined to rent a golf cart before making my way across the island to my remote [and unique] AirBNB. I’m thankful I hadn’t planned to rent a bike for this journey as the road was gravel, and excessively bumpy and dusty. I managed to procure a golf cart [24 hour rental, $50] after visiting a couple shops who either didn’t have any left that day, or were trying to charge me higher than posted prices. This shop owner told me there are 100 golf cart rental shops on the island. WOW.

I was definitely racing sunset on my way out to the Airbnb [13 km took me over 45 minutes], but I made it just in the nick of time and got some gorgeous photos too. 🙂 This stay is super unique, with multiple options on the property [fancier bungalows, more rustic glamping tents, and then the a-frame over-water cabins]. There are both indoor and outdoor showers on the island, an outdoor breakfast nook, bottled water, a variety of seating options [including a swing], and great views on all sides. It’s a BEAUTIFUL spot, far away from any potential noise or craziness, at the end of the road. And just a 10 minute walk away is… Secret Beach!! A gorgeous place for swimming and enjoying the sunshine! Really, this side of the island is pretty spectacular, since it takes time and endurance to get to from the east side of things! I was also pretty grateful to find Harvest Cafe [highly recommend], with a full menu of delicious options [of course, I got fruit and eggs].

Airbnb details: 
Beachfront Cabin in San Pedro, Belize, one of the stays at Villas Secreta
Amenities: comfy bedding, towel, fan, A/C, showers, beach access, Wi-Fi, free breakfast
I spent $142 for one night, which is quite a splurge for me, but I knew I would be spending much less for my next two hostel nights, so it kind-of evened out... [details below]

Another fun place to eat and hang out is the Truck Stop, back on the east side of the island, but north of the main town area. There is a small pool, bathrooms, hammocks, picnic tables next to the lagoon, nightly activities/music, and a variety of food trucks to choose from! I got a pizza, which sustained me quite well!

Speaking of pizza, the hostel where I spent my third and fourth nights also served very yummy food, including pizza. I ordered their lime juice which was excellent as well!

So — the hostel!! I was pleasantly surprised that for only $18/night I could stay in a really clean and comfortable place, also right next to the beach! Seriously, this place has hammocks, a pool, paddleboards and bikes to borrow, beach access, a kitchen area, clean bathrooms, Wi-Fi, A/C, and privacy curtains on their bunks! Absolutely incredible value for that price. I was very happy!! There were many guests here [some solo travelers, some couples] from all around the world [Switzerland, Quebec, etc]. I felt safe and welcomed at all times!

Hostel details: 
Sandbar Beachfront Hostel, San Pedro, Belize
Amenities: bedding, towel, fan, A/C, showers, beach access, Wi-Fi, hammocks, bikes, paddleboards
And, a great restaurant downstairs!

The town of San Pedro itself is very busy, with narrow streets and TONS of golf carts and motorcycles zipping around [driven by both tourists and locals]. There are some cars/trucks on the island, but not many. The streets are bumpy, not always clean, and depending on the part of town, things can begin to look very run-down. The tourism industry is keeping the local economy afloat…without it, I’m afraid things would be pretty rough in places like this. There is definitely a stark contrast between the resorts and the middle of town. #thirdworldcountry #poverty

I decided to take a different mode of transportation back to Belize City and paid $84 for the small plane experience!! I skipped the ferry and the taxi ride to the airport which would have cost me $60 and a lot of time. And the views from the plane were pretty spectacular! Since I was traveling alone, they put me up in the co-pilot’s seat!! 😀 It was the grand finale to my trip! Thanks Maya Island Air!

So, should you visit Belize? Yes, I think so! It’s just important to understand what you’re getting into! Things are set up really well for tourists to arrive and be transported to their chosen activities and resorts. I was able to find reasonably priced accommodations, tours, and food, just not nearly as inexpensive as other places I’ve been to. It’s not a place that I would just wander around using public transportation, and maybe not even rent a car in order to adventure [you sure could, if you’re up for a bit of a challenge].

I’m really glad I went, and I will remember the beautiful water, the friendly people, and the adventurous experiences I was able to have!


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Hi, I’m Laura

I’m based in Washington State and will definitely be showcasing local destinations, but this girl loves to fly all over the world!! If you love adventures and frugal travel, stick with me!