A jewel in the crown of Central America, Belize is one of the topmost tourist attractions of the region. Formerly known as the colony of British Honduras, the country is beautifully perched between Mexico and Guatemala, and is the only country with English as the official language in Central America.
Belize is highly recognized among travelers for its mesmerizing Caribbean coastline and a laidback atmosphere that takes away all your stress and worries the moment you step out into its beautiful surroundings.
The country is also known for its diverse culture and a plethora of scuba and snorkeling activities that attract several hundred enthusiasts from all around the world.
Of course, with such a vast coastline, the beaches of Belize make for the primary attraction in the country, but that is not all. In fact, the country is home to many plush jungles, the Mayan ruins, several uninhabited islands, the exotic flora and fauna, and last but not the least the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest of its kind in the world and a World Heritage Site.
Belikin is the national beer and hitchhiking is the usual way to go about traveling from one place to another.
Let us now consider the top ten beaches of Belize according to their popularity and what they offer.
Popularly described as “barefoot perfect” by residents around the area, Placencia, in southern Belize, is known to be home to some of the best beaches in Belize. With its 16-mile long coastline and several pristine beaches, Placencia is surrounded by the Caribbean in the east and the Placencia lagoon in the west.
The distance between the city and Placencia is 185 km approximately and can be covered within 3 hours by road or half hour by air.
Known for its gorgeous white sandy beaches, the peninsula is full of adventure activities like snorkelling, diving with whale sharks, sailing, and lots of inland excursions. One day tours are available for those who wish to explore the Belize Barrier Reef.
The beaches of Placencia peninsula origin at Maya Beach in the north, covers Seine Bight, and end in the lap of Placencia Village.
A wide range of accommodation including beach resorts, luxury oceanfront hotels, beach huts, and hostels may be rented in the peninsula. Yachts are available to rent for the night as well.
2. Ambergris Caye
Home to one of the best dive sites in the country if not in Central America, Ambergris Caye offers a laid-back atmosphere, plenty of water sports, top in line snorkeling, and is the largest island among the hundreds of islands in northern Belize.
The town can be a bit overcrowded as compared to other beach towns in the country, however, finding serenity is as easy as hiring a boat from one of the many piers and travel up to the north of Ambergris Caye.
Exploring the spectacular Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, also known as the Great Mayan Reef, is the most significant attraction in the area and can’t be missed at all. The reef includes several protected areas including the Belize Barrier Reef, the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park.
Enjoy the $1 ‘chicken drop’ game at Wahoo’s Lounge and get a chance to win $100 towards your bar tab.
Reflected upon as the friendliest village in Belize, Hopkins is located roughly 140 km from Belize city and 65 km from Placencia.
Easily accessible by bus or car, Hopkins is a traditional Garifuna village with its natural vibe intact. No paved pathways, no high rise modern buildings, and no beach cleaners to clean seaweeds, palm leaves, and fallen coconuts, the beach at Hopkins is exactly what a laid-back natural beach surrounding should be.
The only resorts are located far away from the coastline and into the city making the atmosphere around the beach completely tranquil. The natives are warm and friendly and believe in welcoming everyone with open arms.
Hopkins is surrounded by quite a few waterfalls, mountains, and reefs, and is home to natural attractions such as Bocawina National Park and Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve.
4. Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker, another gem in the list of Belize’s best beaches, is strictly a Caribbean paradise. Accessible only by a water taxi from the city, the island swears by the motto of living slow and peacefully.
Don’t be surprised when you see NO CARS here because they are not allowed. Everything on the island is within proximity so you can either walk around or rent a bicycle to have a day riding your bike around the island.
A typical day in Caye Caulker involves a lot of laying around in a hammock and snorkeling when you want a break from hammock swinging. If you get restless and want more, take a day trip to Belize ruins and spend your time cave tubing.
The island has more backpacker hostels and guesthouses than plush hotels which are a giveaway for the kind of vibe and atmosphere that Caye Caulker has in store for you.
5. Turneffe Atoll
Located southeast of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, Turneffe Atoll is one of the three islets of the Belize Barrier Reef, other two being the Lighthouse Reef and Glover’s Reef. It is also the largest coral islet in Belize and in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Officially a Marine Reserve, Turneffe Atoll is home to several endangered marine species and has been a protected area since 2012.
The abundance of marine life such as sting rays, large fish and corals makes Turneffe Atoll one of the best spots for diving for amateurs and experts alike. The island also offers ample snorkeling and catch-and-release sport fishing options.
The Mangroves around the island is what makes the atoll even more remarkable.
6. South Water Caye
Considered as one of the best-kept secrets of Belize, South Water Caye is most popularly known for its 15-acre stretch of off-the-beaten-track diving and snorkeling activities.
The coastline is adorned with soft, powdery white sand which can be best enjoyed by the Pelican Beach Resort. The stretch is decorated with aptly lined coconut trees and hammocks. The reef can be reached easily from the shore as it’s a short swim.
Though there is not much to see and do here except for those mentioned above, South Water Caye is perfect for spending some time in the lap of nature, catch up on reading, and just doing nothing.
7. Silk Caye
Belize may be known to the world for its vibrant villages and towns but the cays are the key attraction around this country in Central America. Silk Caye, also known as Queen Caye to some, is another place you can’t miss when you travel to Belize.
Sugar-white sandy beaches, the vast coastline, and an enthralling community of marine life are what makes Silk Caye worth your while.
The island is also a snorkeling and diving paradise. Hold your breath and get ready to spot rings of corals which have been in existence way before humans have alongwith natural aquatic formations like Fire and Staghorn, Hawksbill turtles, and even Whale Sharks!
Located east of Placencia Village, Silk Caye has no accommodation options so the only way to explore the island is on a day trip. You can also rent a boat yourself if you know how to sail.
8. Glover’s Reef Atoll
Named after the English pirate brothers John and Rodger Glover, Glover’s Reef is a Marine reserve and a World Heritage Site and is one of the three atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef.
The interior lagoon of the islet is speckled with approximately 850 rings of reefs. Five of the major cays comprising the Glover’s Reef Atoll are the Southwest Cay, Middle Cay, Northeast Cay, Long Cay, and Manta island.
There are a handful of dorms, cabins, and camps for travelers to spend their night. The immaculate turquoise waters of Glover’s Reef Atoll are far away from the crowds and offers serenity at its best.
Whether you visit here for marine adventure sports such as diving, snorkeling, and fishing, or you plan to stay a few days relaxing and unwinding, Glover’s Reef is nothing short of a beach paradise.
9. Sapodilla Caye
In a country that brags of over 200 Cayes, Sapodilla Cayes are often considered as the most picturesque Cayes in Belize. Located 40 miles east of Punta Gorda, the Cayes form the southernmost group of Cayes in the famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Sapodilla Cayes’ Marine Reserve is a protected marine reserve as well as a World Heritage Site. It is home to over 14 mangrove and sand Cayes.
Snorkelling, diving, and fishing here are considered as some of the country’s finest.
The beach waters are crystal clear and provide shelter to a wide variety of marine wildlife such as dolphins, sea turtles, whale sharks and Manta Rays. Other popular fish in the region include snappers, spadefish, parrotfish, and angelfish.
10. Laughingbird Caye
Declared a National Park in 1991, Laughingbird Caye is situated 11 miles from the famous Placencia Village.
Considered as a prime spot for snorkelling, kayaking, and scuba diving, Laughing Bird Caye is on every visitor’s list who make it to Placencia.
The Caye derived its name from Laughing Gulls which once inhabited the Caye. Though the Gulls may have drifted away due to increased urbanization, several exotic seabirds such as the blackbird, brown pelican, and green heron can still be spotted in the vicinity.
The Laughingbird Caye National Park has three areas – recreational, buffer, and the preservation area. Some of the common coastal creatures that you can expect to see here are crabs, grunts, barracudas, eels, stingrays, and lobsters.
It is also a popular choice for wedding and honeymoon couples.