With its amazingly diverse natural splendor and exotic aura, Belize has long been a favorite for international travelers looking to escape the westernized urban centers on most itineraries.
Bordered by Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, Belize sports some of the area’s most pristine beaches, mountains and tropical forests, most of which are full of caves, wildlife, and rivers.
Though once an English colony, the country is now independent. It has been developing and diversifying its tourism industry for years, which means lots of choices at very competitive prices.
Below are 15 of the best tours in Belize.
1. 8-Hour Actun Tunichil Muknal Tour from San Ignacio
If you’re staying in San Ignacio and are dying to see Actun Tunichil Muknal, this tour deserves a top spot on your itinerary.
The amazing site is full of majestic geologic formations that are unique to the area; you’ll be able to reach them via a short swim through the amazingly clear, blue waters.
The caverns under the water are revered in Mayan lore. Your guide will tell you some wonderful, historical tales, many of which took place centuries ago.
It’s even purported to be a human sacrifice site, so don’t be surprised if you see a tormented soul or two lingering around.
Everything is included except gratuities.
2. Belize Cave Tubing and Zip-lining
If you’re the type who likes getting out into nature, doing some physical activity and getting dirty, then visiting Belize was a wise choice.
This tubing and zip-lining tour will give you and your travel partners bird’s eye views of some majestic natural scenery, and ancient Mayan sites as well.
Part of the tour includes a walk, where you’ll likely see some of the jungle animals that call this part of Central America home.
The tour lasts about six hours. You’ll even get to zip into a few dark caves wearing a miner-style headlamp, which is guaranteed to get the adrenaline flowing.
3. Caye Caulker Marine Reserve 3 ½ -Hour Tour
Caye Caulker Marine Reserve in Belize is one of the region’s preeminent destinations for those who want to commune with nature. Here, you can view some amazing marine wildlife, like eels, sharks, stingrays, and the odd parrot fish.
Tours last about 3 ½ hours and are a great way to spend a half-day while leaving the other half open for another adventure.
You’ll visit a number of different areas of the reserve that are known for different fish, including barracuda and tarpon that can get nearly as long as a full-grown man.
Tours include all the equipment and training you’ll need.
4. San Ignacio and Wanda Mine Tour
In ages past, San Ignacio was home to Jesuit missionaries, who sought to convert Central America’s natives to Christianity. Not surprisingly, their conversion rate was pretty low.
The site was discovered in the late 19th century and has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most well-preserved of its type anywhere in the surrounding region.
The nearby Wanda Mine is a labyrinth of tunnels that once held precious stones and were worked by Spanish settlers and the area’s Guarani Indians.
Though the tour guide’s fee is included, entrance fees to the sites aren’t.
5. Traditional Garifuna Drumming Lesson in Punta Gorda
This fun 75-minute tour is a great way to spend an hour or two. It is always a big hit, especially with the little ones.
The tour is accessible for those in a wheelchair and will give guests a fascinating insight into the local’s cultural heritage.
The Garifuna people are descended from African slaves, whose shipwrecked along Central America’s coast hundreds of years ago, giving them traditions unique to the area.
Though you won’t be an expert Garifuna drummer after your lesson, you’ll have a lot of fun and it’s something you won’t soon forget.
The guide’s fee isn’t included in the price of the tour.
6. Xunantunich Mayan Ruins and Cave Tubing from Hopkins
This tour offers a unique mix of history and outdoor activity that make it a good choice for those looking to get the most for their hard-earned travel dollars.
The Xunantunich Mayan ruins are the tour’s main attraction and you’ll visit them with a knowledgeable local guide.
The tour starts in Hopkins and includes door-to-door transportation to and from your hotel.
After visiting the Mayan site, the tour will switch gears and you’ll explore some of the area’s fascinating caves floating on a big inner-tube.
It’s a great way to stay cool and see some fascinating sights.
7. Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Belize is regionally known as a hotspot for incredible scenery, clear waters, and the many unique and colorful marine animals that call its coastline home.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve is Belize’s most well-preserved reef. It is home to sharks, Moray eels, and fish of nearly every size, shape and color.
Half-day tours are available and include a trip to Caye Caulker.
Cocktails are offered on board if you’d rather recline with an umbrella drink and watch the world float by.
The tour conveniently includes pickup and drop-off from your hotel or hostel in or near to Belize City.
8. Altun Ha and Zoo Tour with Lunch
Much of Belize is covered by tropical rainforests which boast one of the most diverse collections of plants and animals found anywhere in the world.
Though many of the animals are reclusive and difficult to see in the wild, The Belize Zoo is the perfect way to experience these amazing flora and fauna without hacking your way through the jungle.
This four-hour tour includes a nifty skip-the-line feature, so waiting around won’t be an issue.
The zoo covers nearly 30 acres of ground and is packed full of plants and animals. There is also an interactive area called The Tropical Education Center, which is probably where you’ll learn the most.
9. Belize Historical Tour
There’s lots more to Belize than just natural beauty. If you’d like to spend time learning about its historical background, this tour is a good place to start.
Belize City was once the colonial capital of this English territory; it is full of English influenced architecture, including a massive, mechanized bridge that spans the river that runs through town.
Though the tour is short, it includes trips to many of the city’s most historically significant sites, such as the Anglican Cathedral, Baron Bliss Lighthouse, and the Memorial Park.
It’s a great bang for your buck and will leave plenty of time for other adventures.
10. Bar-Hopping Boat Tour
Belize does have a bit of a reputation as a party hotspot; if you’re ready to whoop-it-up a bit, this bar-hopping boat tour should be just the thing.
You’ll be driven by boat to a few local bars that are surrounded by some of the most majestic scenery you’ll likely see on your trip.
These tours can get a bit crazy, so they are a great opportunity to let your hair down.
Early and late afternoon tours are available. Though some drinks are included, it’s a good idea to bring some cash if you’d like to grab some food or a shot of the high-dollar stuff.
11. Howler Monkey Adventure Tour
Howler monkeys were named after their shrill calls which act as warnings and can travel for kilometers over the jungle canopy.
The Howler Monkey Sanctuary is an hour northwest of the capital and includes nearly 20 square miles that have been set aside as a safe habitat for these endangered jungle inhabitants.
The drive from the city includes a few notable historic sites that you’ll pass by before heading onto the main road leading to the sanctuary.
From the bus to the sanctuary is only a short walk; you’ll hear the monkeys screeching long before you see them.
12. Great Blue Hole Tour via Private Helicopter
Belize’s Great Blue Hole is one of the country’s most amazing and visited sites and really should be seen on your trip.
The large sinkhole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and isn’t that far from the mainland, especially if you’re traveling by helicopter.
Your flight will soar over a few other notable attractions, like Ambergris Caye and Belize’s Barrier Reef, home to an amazing array of aquatic species.
Depending on the weather, the flight will take between 60-90 minutes. The vistas you see will be second to none – ones you won’t likely forget.
13. Harvest Caye Waterfall Swim from Placencia
Waterfalls are great places to visit for their natural beauty; the waterfall at Harvest Caye is just remote enough that you may not run into a crowd.
It’s a great place to take in nature’s beauty, enjoy a swim, or just relax with a picnic lunch and a good book.
The tour begins in Placencia. If you’d like to add other activities like hiking, tubing or zip-lining, you can customize the tour to suit your interests.
Drinks are provided, though food isn’t, so consider taking some fruit or a few sandwiches in case you get hungry.
14. Goff’s Caye Snorkeling Day-Trip
There’s really no better way to experience and enjoy Belize’s tropical waters than a snorkeling excursion.
Goff’s Caye is less than an hour by boat from Belize City. It’s full of amazing marine life and you’ll feel like you’re farther away from civilization than you really are.
The Caye is comprised of islands of varying sizes, all of which are tropical wonderlands worth seeing.
In addition to snorkeling, you’ll get some free time to explore the islands, swim, or just relax and catch a few rays.
Cocktails are available onboard, which are a great way to end your trip on the boat ride home.
15. Horseback Ride Tour to Mayan Ruins
The Mayan ruins of Xunantunich are one of the country’s must-see attractions. Visiting them on a guided horseback tour is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating ways to explore them.
Your trail follows a river and crosses through a local farm before stopping at the archaeological site. You’ll have plenty of time to take it all in and learn about the area’s history from your guide.
Morning and afternoon tours are available; the morning tour includes a traditional but hearty local lunch.
Tour size is limited to 15, so you’ll get an intimate and personalized experience.