Many U.S. citizens desire to visit Latin America, but they don’t necessarily speak Spanish and are justifiably concerned about the safety of many Central and South American countries.
Because of these conditions, one small country in Central America has seen an uptick in visitors in recent years, as English is widely spoken, and many areas of the country are relatively safe.
The name of this country is Belize, and it’s bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the south/west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Belize is politically stable and boasts a relatively strong economy.
The country features numerous vacation and resort properties, subtropical jungles and rainforests, and ruins from the ancient Mayan civilization. From 1840 to 1981, Belize was a British colony, and today, it remains a component of the British Commonwealth.
The easy accessibility and natural beauty of the country have led to much tourism, and within Latin America, this small nation is known as one of the region’s most biologically diverse and ecologically pristine states.
More than 130 miles of barrier reefs protect the country’s eastern shores, and these, along with three offshore atolls and hundreds of tiny islands, are great places for snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and sailing.
In this article, our experts will guide you on getting the most out of a trip to Belize for the least expense. Read on to find out more!
Average Trip to Belize Cost in 2023
An average seven-day vacation in Belize will set you back about $1,900. This amount can be broken down as follows:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $618
- Average Flight Cost: $591
- Food, Drinks & Activities: $539
- Transportation: $143
- Total Cost: $1,891
Of course, these figures are approximate and will vary according to which type of accommodation you choose, what food you consume, and which activities you partake in.
The best time of year to visit Belize is in the dry season — between January and May, when temperatures will mostly be in the 80s. Between May and early August, visits to Belize may still be tolerable, as rain tends to fall only in the afternoon.
But between June and December, the weather gets wetter, and the risk of hurricanes increases. Note that two of the country’s most celebrated events, Carnival Week in San Pedro and the Chocolate Festival in the Toledo District (in the south of the country), are in February and at the end of May, respectively.
The three most popular places to vacation in Belize are San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and San Ignacio. San Pedro is the biggest town in Ambergris Caye, a large island that juts out into the waters of the Caribbean in the north of the country.
Caye Caulker is a bohemian coral island to the south of Ambergris Caye, and San Ignacio is a town on the far western side of Belize that sits on the western bank of the Macal River.
While Belize City is right on the ocean in the middle of the country’s east coast, know that there can be violent crime in the city’s south side (see “Things to Know” below), so you might want to think twice about staying there.
Belize Trip Cost: Average by Item
A number of sources say you should book accommodation for a trip to Belize at least six months ahead of time, particularly if you’re planning on staying at one of the more exclusive or higher-end resorts.
A mid-range hotel in San Pedro will cost $178 per night, whereas a four- or five-star luxury hotel will cost about $300 per night. A vacation home/home-stay rental in San Pedro will run about $229 per night, while a budget hotel might be only $67 per night.
In Caye Caulker, a mid-range property will run roughly $147 per night, while a luxury resort will average about $282 per night. A vacation home/home-stay rental will cost about $80 per night, while a budget hotel will be about $65 per night.
And in San Ignacio, a mid-range property goes for about $136 per night, while a luxury property will be about $320 per night. A vacation home/home-stay rental may be $87 per night, while a budget hotel might cost $37 per night.
On the lower end of the scale, there are plenty of youth hostels in Belize, and many are open to backpackers. The cost of these averages about $25 per night.
And if you’re really determined to save money, the cheapest option might be to camp out, which could be free, depending on where you do it, or cost between $5 and $10 per night.
Flights to Belize should be booked three to seven months ahead of time to get the best prices. That being said, there isn’t a huge difference in cost between booking for the high season and for the low season — it’s about an 18% difference.
To give you a rough guide, roundtrip flights from NYC to Belize average about $754 in the high season (late December to February).
To save money on airfare, try flying United or American Airlines and laying over, stopping over, or using connecting flights in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, or Charlotte, North Carolina.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Meal prices in Belize will vary based on where you’re choosing to eat, but in general, budgeting about $29 per day for food should be sufficient. Meals at hotels and resorts will obviously cost more than eats purchased in a cheap restaurant or on the street.
Drinks are priced fairly reasonably and will cost about what they cost in the U.S. In theory, the tap water is safe to drink in Belize (at least in the larger cities and resorts), but some travelers have said the taste is a bit chlorinated.
For this reason, you may want to opt for bottled water or use a refillable container you can top up at your hotel.
There’s no shortage of activities for you to partake in in Belize, including boating, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, diving, hiking, rafting, zip-lining, and exploring the many waters, caves, and ancient ruins throughout the country.
Tour operators can often set you up with a guide for many of these activities, which can run about $100 for a full day. The east coast of the country features white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, atolls, and islands that are mostly free to access.
Visitors to Belize can get around the country using cars, buses, boats, planes, helicopters, and horses. Yes, horses! Horseback riding is a great way to see the country. A horseback tour costs about $100 and can be arranged through a number of companies.
You can also rent a car in Belize; the cost is roughly $81 per day. You’ll need a passport, a valid U.S. driver’s license, and a credit card to do so. A rental car can be one of the best ways to get to some of the more remote Mayan sites.
If you do rent a car, consider getting one with four-wheel drive, as many of the country’s roads are either dirt or not well-maintained (most lack nighttime illumination as well).
Be aware that Belizean drivers have a strange custom of getting into the right lane to make left-hand turns. Also, note that there are no stoplights anywhere in the country; instead, there are speed bumps at major intersections, so be careful!
There are taxis that operate in many locales in Belize. Short taxi rides can cost from $3 to $7, and taxi service from Belize City Airport to Belize City (about a 10-mile journey) should cost about $25.
But be aware that taxis have no metered rates or even a consistent appearance. Therefore, you should negotiate your total fare before getting into a cab.
There are many individual bus lines connecting much of the country (as well as crossing over the border into some parts of Mexico).
But be aware that, because of the relatively poor condition of the roads (“Things to Consider” below) — as well as unpredictable weather — buses can be slow and unreliable.
Bus tickets can cost $5 to $20, depending on the route. A better option is air transportation — planes or helicopters — much of which is synchronized to the schedules of major international airlines for efficient transportation to locations inside the country.
A domestic flight within Belize might cost $75 and take just 15 minutes. Another option — particularly if you’re going to one of the islands or barrier reefs off the country’s coast — is to take a boat or water taxi.
Regular water taxi service runs between Belize City, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker. The cost is about $33 one-way.
Things to Consider
While much of Belize (including the country’s interior jungle lodges) is safe to visit, certain areas — particularly in Belize City — have problems with crime and gangs.
Crimes affecting tourists include burglary, robbery, and pickpocketing. To avoid crime, consider booking any tours with a reputable tour operator that makes use of private transport instead of public buses or taxis.
Stay in reputable hotels away from crowded urban centers (but also away from the remote areas near the Guatemalan and Honduran borders).
Use professional guides for activities, excursions, and day tours. When in doubt about a guide or tour operator, do some research on the web to find out more about them and their history, reputation, and/or licenses.
Other considerations include:
- Try to explore Mayan ruins in the mornings, as crowds of tourists from cruise ships descend on these sites starting at midday.
- Aim for the mornings (even starting before sunrise) for viewing wildlife, as this is usually the best time for spotting many of the animals.
- Roads in Belize can be notoriously poorly maintained, so it can take a lot of time to travel short distances. For these short journeys, a plane (see “Transportation Costs” above) may be faster, although it will usually be more expensive.
- Travelers to Belize must pay $39.25 when they fly out of the country. This exit fee is usually — but not always — included in your plane fare. Double-check with your carrier to know whether you’ll be responsible for this fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
What language do people speak in Belize?
The official language of Belize is English. While neighboring countries and the region as a whole primarily speak Spanish, you’ll hear and see just as much English in Belize as Spanish, Creole, and other languages due to the large numbers of tourists and expatriates from places like the U.S., Canada, and the UK visiting and residing there.
What currency is used in Belize?
Officially, Belize uses the Belizean Dollar (BZD), which is pegged at a two-to-one equivalency to the U.S. dollar, which most major businesses also take. Credit cards are also commonly accepted, and it’s relatively easy to find ATMs (which dispense BZDs).
Is it common for Americans to move to Belize?
It’s been estimated that roughly 20,000 expatriates live in Belize, out of a population of close to 450,000 people. Many of these expats are American retirees, but some actively work remotely from Belize, while others run local businesses.
Is Belize appropriate for children and families?
Yes, Belize is mostly safe for and welcoming of children and families. But be aware that some of the hotel properties make weddings and honeymoons a huge part of their business, so the people staying at these places may overwhelmingly be adults. It’s best to check with your accommodation management ahead of time to see what the guest mix is like and what activities there are for kids.
How much should you tip in Belize?
Generally speaking, you should tip roughly the same, percentage-wise, as you would in the U.S.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Trip to Belize?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$618 total|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$591 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$539 per person|
|🚕 Transportation||$143 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$1,981|
As you can see, costs for a trip to Belize will vary based on when you travel, where you stay, and what you choose to do; staying in a fancy resort on one of the more popular islands will certainly cost you more than staying in a cheap hotel in Belize City.
That said, to be conservative, you should budget a rate of about $200 per day for a one-week trip to Belize. This will include food, drinks, activities, and transportation.
Choosing to go to this Latin American paradise is one of the best ways to experience the beauty this part of the world has to offer. Enjoy your trip, and make some memories to last a lifetime!