After the years we’ve had, pretty much everyone is ready for a vacation. The world is full of so many beautiful places, some more popular than others. For a trip somewhere beautiful but less well-known, consider the country of Belize.
Belize is a small country on the east side of Central America. Sitting just south of Mexico, Belize is sandwiched between Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea. It’s a small nation, about the size of New Jersey, and populated by less than half a million people.
Belize has a number of amazing things to do and see, from beaches to coral reefs to Mayan ruins. We’ll guide you through the best and worst times to visit and fill you in on all you need to know before booking your trip.
Why You Should Visit Belize
Belize has the potential for almost any kind of vacation you may want. Are you looking to relax at an all-inclusive beachfront resort? Belize has that. Are you hoping to go snorkeling and scuba diving around coral reefs? Belize has that.
Are you planning on visiting historical sites and ancient ruins? Belize has those, too. The sparkling blue water of the Caribbean Ocean provides plenty of activity for your vacation.
Tourists can relax on the beach or visit one of the many cayes to soak up the sun. For more action-oriented travelers, there are snorkeling and scuba diving options galore and a visit to the Belize Barrier Reef is a must.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on land, however. Guests can explore caves and even go tubing through them or visit a national park like Mountain Pine Ridge River Forest Reserve.
History buffs will love a trip to Belize, as the area was once the location of the height of Mayan civilization.
Try a boat ride to Lamanai or ride a horse to Xunantunich. Nature lovers can’t forget the Belize Zoo or the Wildlife Sanctuary in Crooked Tree, especially if they’re traveling with children.
The zoo is home to some rarely seen rainforest animals like margay, coati, gibnut, kinkajou, and tapir. Within the Crooked Tree Sanctuary, you’ll find 300 different species of birds and a variety of land and water animals.
Overall Best Time to Visit Belize
The best time to visit Belize is during the country’s dry season, from November-mid-April. Visiting during the dry season doesn’t just mean less rain and clearer skies.
Traveling November-April also means warm temperatures in the high 60s to mid-80s. Temperatures are generally hotter in November, cooling slightly from December through February as cold wind from the north passes through.
Temperatures are then more stable in the 70s until May. The weather during the dry season is ideal for many of the activities available in Belize.
Water sports, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all things you want to do while the weather is nice. If snorkeling and scuba diving are your primary plans, you’ll want to visit when the water is clearest, from March through June.
For those looking to travel to the Mayan ruins, it’s best to go at the beginning of the dry season, so the air isn’t quite as hot and dry. Of course, the best weather brings the most tourists.
The busy season in Belize typically averages about 50,000 tourists a month. Tourism in Belize hits its peak in December and January, with another peak in March as well.
Cheapest Time to Visit Belize
Because the dry season is also the busy season, prices drop during the rainy off-season. Travelers on a budget will want to plan their trip between May and October when hotel rates drop 20-40%.
If you’re daring, you may be able to snag a walk-in rate during June, September, and October. Hotels often have excess capacity during these months and may offer rates of 15-20% off the already discounted rates.
If you have time for a more extended stay, check to see if there are discounts or special offers if you book several nights. You may be able to get a night or two free.
We see that hotels in Belize are cheaper in the off-season. However, it’s important to remember that for those in the U.S., this covers summer vacation and a peak travel time, so airfare won’t necessarily be less expensive.
If you want to save money while not sacrificing sunshine, try visiting in May once hotels drop their prices.
The temperatures are hotter, averaging between 75°-90°F, but rainfall stays pretty low at this time. The average rainfall in May is 4.12 inches, which is less than in November, December, and January. Traveling at this time also avoids hurricane season.
Least Busy Time to Visit Belize
The least busy time to visit Belize is the same as the cheapest time- during the rainy season. Tourism drops from May to October so much that some resorts even close for the off-season.
This time of year in Belize, the weather is hot and humid. Temperatures are usually in the high 80s, and the country may see nearly a foot of rain during some of these months. September and October see a particularly low amount of tourists.
In 2018, September saw only 21,500 tourists and October only 25,000. By this time, summer vacation is over, and families are traveling less. September is often the rainiest month in Belize, with an average rainfall of over 11 inches over the month.
Worst Time to Visit Belize
The off-season between mid-spring to late fall is the cheapest time to visit because tourism is low. Tourism is low because of bad weather. No matter how much you want to see Mayan ruins, no one wants to hike to an ancient temple in blustering winds.
No one wants to go snorkeling or visit a wildlife reserve in heavy rain, either. September and October usually have the most rainfall. September averages over 11 inches of rain every year, while October is just over 10 inches.
During these months, you may risk flooding, muddy roads, and closed attractions. The rainy, wet season in Belize is also hurricane season.
While Belize doesn’t get hit quite as often as the areas further north, a hurricane still makes landfall every few years. August is the month with the most recorded hurricanes.
While hotels and flights could potentially be cheaper, your trip could end up being a waste of money or even costing you. It would be incredibly disappointing to spend money and time on a trip, only to be stuck in the hotel for your entire vacation because the weather is too stormy to do anything.
Planning to take a trip during hurricane season could end up costing you money if your trip is canceled. Even if Belize isn’t in the hurricane’s path, a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast could cause flight delays and cancellations.
If the thing that makes your vacation miserable is crowds, the best time to avoid Belize is in December, January, and March. In March of 2019, before the pandemic hit, Belize saw nearly 58,000 visitors come through.
Meanwhile, February had just shy of 50,000 visitors, and April had about 46,500. If you avoid the busiest months and avoid the bad-weather months, you’re still left with several months of the year to have a fantastic visit to Belize.
Things to Consider
- Once you’ve set the dates of your trip, book any tours you plan to take right away. These tours can fill up fast, especially in the busy season.
- Belize hosts multiple festivals and events each month. Plan your trip around one or a few to get a real taste of Belizean culture.
- Whether you plan on visiting during the dry season or the rainy season, be sure to dress and pack appropriately. Sunglasses and sunscreen are going to be necessary for sunny weather, while rain gear like boots and umbrellas will be useful during the rainy season.
- Tipping isn’t required in Belize, but it’s typical to tip those in the hospitality or restaurant industries.
- Thanksgiving and Easter bookend the dry season, and these holidays are often some of the busiest for tourism in Belize. However, if you decide to brave the crowds for Easter, make sure you check out some of the amazing Easter weekend events.
- As of February 2022, Belize travel health insurance is required for all foreign tourists. This plan is only $18 and covers you for 21 days. Covered under this plan are any medical expenses, and it covers up to $2,000 for a stay in quarantine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions associated with visiting Belize.
What are the languages spoken in Belize?
Thanks to British Colonialism, Belize didn’t gain its independence until 1981. As a result, the primary language spoken in Belize is English.
However, many other languages still persist today, and many have been added. You may find Belizeans speaking Spanish, Belizean, Creole, Mayan, German, Garifuna, and Chinese.
What type of food is common in Belize?
The food in Belize is a mix of several different cultures. The majority of food that you’ll find is a mix of Central American and Caribbean cuisine, but you’ll also find Chinese and Indian influences as well.
What is the currency of Belize?
The currency of Belize is the Belize dollar, represented as B.Z. Typically $2 in Belize dollars is equal to $1 U.S. dollar. Belize dollars come in paper currency in denominations of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Coins come in denominations of $.01, $.05, $.10, $.25, $1, and $2.
Is it safe to travel to Belize?
The U.S. Department of State has classified Belize as a Level 2 Travel Advisory, meaning to use increased caution. This is the same rating that the neighboring region of Quintana Roo, Mexico, has and is less than the Level 3 travel advisory for other Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
The Level 2 advisory is a result of violent crime and gang activity within the country. To keep yourself safe, the State Department recommends that you avoid going out at night, exercise caution at ATMs, and don’t make yourself a target by, for example, wearing flashy jewelry.
However, Belize City specifically holds a Level 3 travel advisory, recommending that tourists should avoid visiting the city. Belize City is the largest city in Belize and is where the majority of violence and gang activity occurs.
What are the best Vacation cities in Belize?
Determining the best vacation cities is going to depend on the kind of vacation you want. If you’re looking for a typical tropical vacation with beach time, snorkeling, and scuba diving, you’ll want to visit one of the cayes.
A caye, pronounced “key,” is an island primarily made up of sand and coral, and Belize has several. Ambergris Caye is the largest caye and the one most popular with tourists.
The island offers multiple resorts for lodging, plenty of beach space, and the second-largest barrier reef in the world. For a vacation more focused on history and culture, you’ll want to move further inland.
The Cayo District on the west side of Belize bordering Guatemala contains several Mayan sites. San Ignacio is the capital of the Cayo District and is conveniently located near several sites and attractions.
From here, you can travel to the Raptor Center, Botanical Gardens, multiple national parks, and the Mayan sites of Caracol or Xunantunich. But why choose? Many travelers opt to spend part of the trip on the mainland and part of it on one of the cayes.
What do I need to travel to Belize?
When traveling to Belize from the United States, there are a few things you want to have with you.
- A U.S. passport valid for the entire duration of your stay
- If flying to Belize, a return ticket
- Enough funds to cover the cost of your trip
If you’re traveling by car, there may be fees to pay depending on the route you take and how long you plan to stay.
So, When Is the Best Time to Visit Belize?
So what’s the best time to visit Belize? To fully enjoy all the sites and action, most tourists visit during the dry season from November through April. This is also the most expensive time to visit Belize.
The rainy season sees lower prices and fewer tourists but also rainy, windy weather. For a nice compromise, try visiting right before or right after the rainy season begins.