Belize Family Vacation | 1 Incredible Week in Belize with Kids

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A Belize family vacation offers something for everyone. For the adventure-seeker there is cave tubing, spelunking, zip-lining, and some of the best scuba diving spots in the world along the Belize Barrier Reef. For the culture and history buff, Belize is a melting pot of different cultures and has numerous Mayan ruins to explore. A foodie? You will fall in love with Belizean food. It is amazing! For the beach bum, the islands – or cayes as they are called in Belize – offer you long stretches of beautiful sand, fruity drinks, crystal clear water, and as much seclusion and serenity as you seek. But the real fun comes from visiting Belize with kids!

Belize has a reputation as an adventure destination. So, you may be wondering if it is even worth visiting an adventurous country like Belize with toddlers, babies, or even older children? We did! And surprisingly, we found the country to be extremely kid-friendly with a lot of family-friendly activities we could enjoy. That’s why a Belize family vacation is a wonderful experience for the whole family.

This Belize travel guide details how to spend the perfect one week in Belize and what you need to know if visiting Belize with kids.

family on vacation in Belize in front of the Belize sign
Visiting Belize with kids is an adventure for the whole family!

Our Belize family vacation experience

For anyone planning a trip to Belize with toddlers or young children, there are some popular activities and tours you will not be able to do. But don’t let that discourage you, because there are plenty of things to do on a Belize family vacation, even if visiting with young kids. 

Regardless of whether you are taking a Belize family vacation, traveling solo, or traveling as a couple, we would encourage you to check out different parts of the country, as they are all vastly different. We spent one week in Belize and split our time between Ambergris Caye and the town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District, located in far west Belize. While we would have loved to explore the cities of Placencia and Hopkins in the Stann Creek District, we simply did not have enough time.

The only area of the country I would not recommend spending much time is Belize City. Even the locals tell us it isn’t a safe city for tourists. Beyond that, Belize’s true beauty is mainly found on its islands, along the coast, and in the country’s fascinating jungles.

If visiting western Belize, a drive into Guatemala is quite easy and definitely worth a day trip from San Ignacio to the Tikal Mayan ruins.

FIND THE TOP-RATED GUIDED TOURS AND EXCURSIONS IN BELIZE HERE.

How to get to Belize

Most likely if you are visiting Belize, you will fly into the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport located just outside of Belize City. The airport is about a 30-minute drive from the country’s capital city. Eight major airlines and five regional ones fly into the airport, including most of the US carriers such as United, Delta, American and Southwest. The airport is relatively small, and getting through customs was painless.

Belize airport where a Belize family vacation starts
The airport in Belize city, where your Belize family vacation will most likely start.

Getting around Belize

Depending on where you are going in Belize, you have a few options for transportation from the airport. You can rent a car and drive, get a taxi or arrange a shuttle with your hotel, or if you are heading to one of the islands you can take a 15 minute flight from the airport to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. You can also get a taxi into town and take the ferry for $20 US per person.

Many people visit Belize on a cruise, so you can also arrive in the country by boat. Additionally, you can cross the border between Guatemala and Belize or between Belize and Mexico if traveling by land.

One week in Belize with kids

We visited Belize with our daughter when she was just a toddler, so everything we did in Belize is suitable for even young children. If visiting Belize with older kids, you’ll have even more options of things to do in Belize, like exploring the popular Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. 

Although anecdotal, we found locals in Belize are very friendly and welcoming. In fact, our little, blonde toddler was a superstar everywhere she went, especially in western Belize and in Guatemala, which is an easy drive across the border.

While the country of Belize may be known for its adventure sports, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Belize, even activities that you can do with babies and toddlers.

Baby in Guatemala on a day trip from Belize
There are plenty of things to do in Belize with toddlers. Although if visiting Belize with older kids, there are even more things they will be able to do and enjoy.

Things to know before visiting Belize with kids

Here are a few important things to know which will make your Belize family vacation more enjoyable and easier for everyone.

Safety in Belize

Safety is a primary concern for any family traveling abroad. I always recommend checking with your country’s state department for appropriate safety information as travel advisories can and do change. The United State’s state department information on Belize can be found here.

Unfortunately, Belize does have its fair share of violent crime, although it is mostly gang related and concentrated in the capital city, Belize City. Tourists are rarely targeted in Belize, but as with anywhere else, be aware of your surroundings and practice common sense.

Language in Belize

As part of the British Commonwealth, the native language in Belize is English. In fact, it is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. While English is widely spoken in Belize, many locals also speak Spanish, Creole (which is kind of like English with a Jamaican accent) and Maya, the native language of the Mayan Indians.

Currency in Belize

Stores, restaurants, and hotels take US Dollars or Belizean Dollars. The exchange rate is 1:2. One US Dollar equals two Belizean dollars. Make sure to always double check the exchange rate before you travel to a new country, as this information can change.

Stores and restaurants in Belize

You will not find American chains, even on the more touristy islands. The lack of western chain stores and restaurants is refreshing, but if you have a serious Starbucks addiction or you are visiting Belize with kids that won’t eat anything but McDonald’s, consider yourself forewarned.

Essentials for children in Belize

You can easily find everything you need for babies and toddlers, like diapers and milk, in the grocery stores. However, if your baby requires formula I’d recommend bringing your own, as brands vary. Snacks, children’s over-the-counter medicines, and other items for older children can also be purchased at grocery stores. 

How to spend one week in Belize

Belize is an incredible and inexpensive destination, making a Belize family vacation or holiday a perfect getaway. Whether you are seeking a beach vacation or a jungle escape completely off the grid, you and your kids will love visiting Belize. Here is a look at our one week Belize itinerary for visiting Belize with kids.

Day 1 in Belize

  • Arrive at the airport.
  • Pick up a rental car. (You will want to rent from Crystal Auto rental if you plan to cross the Belize border into Guatemala.)
  • Visit the Belize Zoo
  • Continue your drive to the San Ignacio area. Read our post on driving in Belize here.
  • Check into a relaxing jungle lodge and unwind after your day of traveling.
  • Dinner at the lodge.

Day 2 in Belize

  • Wander through the streets of San Ignacio
  • Tour the Green Iguana Conservation Project
  • Visit the San Ignacio market (if on a weekend)
  • Explore the Belize Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech and Xunantunich

ALSO READ: Things to do in San Ignacio, Belize

Day 3 in Belize

father and child at Tikal in Guatemala
A day trip to Tikal in Guatemala is a must if you have at least one week in Belize.

Day 4 in Belize

Day 5 in Belize

Day 6 in Belize

  • Day at the beach, snorkel, play in the sand, kayak, paddleboard, or just simply relax
  • Alternative if visiting with older children: take a guided snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve or the Great Blue Hole

Day 7 in Belize

  • Shop, eat, and drink in San Pedro
  • Visit Secret Beach
Secret Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Ambergris Caye. | Photo by Merrit Thomas

ALSO READ: Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Top things to do in Belize with kids

There are so many memorable family activities in Belize that you and your kids will love. Here are our top recommendations for things to do in Belize with kids – or without.

Jungle Resorts

Deep in the jungles surrounding San Ignacio in Western Belize, you’ll find various fun, luxury eco-lodges that are great for a Belize family vacation or even a romantic trip as a couple. 

Chaa Creek Resort is perhaps one of the most popular for families. It includes a Butterfly Exhibit, Natural History Center, Horseback riding, an organic farm, nature reserve and an infinity pool. The resort offers lots of guided tours and vacation packages for families. 

Table Rock Jungle Lodge is another 5-star luxury eco-lodge in the Belizean jungle located right on the river. Also with an organic farm, jungle trails, and river activities available on the property, you could spend a full day at the lodge and have a blast without having to ever leave.   

Table Rock Jungle Lodge in Belize
Staying in a jungle lodge in Belize is one of the best things to do in Belize with kids.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW OF TABLE ROCK JUNGLE LODGE HERE.

Cave Tours

Belize is one of the best countries on earth to experience the underworld. There are so many incredible cave systems throughout Belize that you can explore on your own or on a guided tour. Caves had an important place in Mayan culture, so naturally many of the caves in Belize were significant to the original settlers of the area. Many are believed to have been sites for burials or important leaders and even human sacrifices.

The ATM cave is the most popular cave tour in Belize, but it is definitely geared more toward older children and adults. Portions of the guided tour involve swimming or wading through water.  Children must be at least 5 years old to visit Actun Tunichil Muknal and a guided tour must be booked in advance.Even if you are visiting Belize with kids who are too young for ATM Cave, there are still numerous kid-friendly caves in Belize that are more suitable for those traveling with younger children.

Rio Frio Cave in Belize
Rio Frio Cave is a great way to explore the underworld in Belize with young children who can’t do the Actun Tunichhil Muknal tour.

Islands and Beaches

Belize makes for a great beach vacation for families. On Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, the two most popular islands in the Belize cayes, you can find all sorts of lodging options ranging from budget hostels to luxury resorts. Although the beaches are seaweed prone, many of the resorts clean up the seaweed each day to provide pristine stretches of sand for their guests. 

Belize is also known for having some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the world. To experience the best snorkeling and diving in Belize, we recommend booking an excursion, as the best snorkeling spots are easier reached by boat.

Beaches in Ambergris Caye
Seaweed often washes up on the beaches in the cayes, but many of the beach resorts will rake it up daily.

The two best diving or snorkeling spots in Belize are the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the famous Great Blue Hole

Waterfalls

Belize has its fair share of beautiful waterfalls, but a word of warning, getting to them is often a challenge. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is home to several waterfalls that let you swim right up to the cascades. It is also home to one of the tallest waterfalls in Central America, Thousand Foot Falls. 

Roads in the reserve are not paved and can be very bumpy, so be sure to read our guide on driving in Belize before attempting a self-drive through the reserve. If you are up for an adventure, Rio On Pools and Big Rock Falls can be great waterfalls and natural swimming holes in Belize to visit with kids.

Rio On Pools - kid friendly waterfalls in Belize
Rio On Pools is a lovely waterfall in Belize to visit with kids, and a favorite natural swimming spot for locals.

Mayan Ruins

Of course, you would be remiss to take a Belize family vacation and not visit at least one of the incredible Mayan ruins sites in the country. From impressive pyramids to entire ancient communities that have been uncovered, the Mayan ruins in Belize are not only popular tourist attractions, they are important historic and cultural sites. 

A guided tour is the best way to truly appreciate Mayan history and the cultural heritage sites like Caracol, Xunantunich, or Lamanai.

Mayan ruins San Ignacio Belize
Belize is home to some of the most incredible Mayan ruins in Central America.

It is also an easy day trip across the border from Belize to Guatemala to see Tikal National Park, believed by scholars to have been the largest and most influential Mayan city of its time. 

Why Belize is awesome for kids of all ages

Belize is inexpensive, easy to get to from the United States or Canada, and extremely welcoming for families. While older children will enjoy the adventurous activities like cave tubing and ziplining, there are plenty of activities for families traveling with kids, both on the mainland and on the islands. Whether you are looking to explore or relax, Belize has plenty of spectacular places where you can make memories your children will cherish for a lifetime.

READY TO BOOK? FIND THE BEST RATES FOR FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTELS AND LODGING.

Have a question about planning a Belize family vacation? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts or questions about visiting Belize with kids in the comments below!

Like this guide to Belize with kids? Pin it to start planning your Belize family vacation!
This Belize family vacation guide was first published in 2016 but was updated in May 2022 for accuracy, current information and additional activities you can do in Belize with kids.

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23 comments on “Belize Family Vacation | 1 Incredible Week in Belize with Kids”

Belize is awesome. We stayed at Belizean Shores during our honeymoon. Great resort. It would be nice to get back there with the baby. This post brings back very good memories!

We loved it there! And so did our daughter. She enjoyed playing in the pool and watching her daddy do canon balls. 🙂

We are looking into going with our 4 year old daughter and another couple with their 15 month old daughter, so this is very helpful! Glad you had a good trip!

Hi, I’ve booked 13 day (including travel days) in Belize in November. We will have our 4yo and 16m old. This has been really helpful. I have so many questions, but am probably over thinking things. I’ll start with this one, did you feel safe leaving your stuff in your rental car when you went to different places? Or should we always try to leave things at the hotel and just do day trips everywhere?

If possible, I’d leave your belongings in the trunk or at the hotel. As a general rule, that is just what we do even when traveling in the US. When we first arrived in San Ignacio we walked around that evening and went to eat while all of our bags were in our trunk.

We are looking at going in October with our then 3 year old and 8 month old. We’ve taken the 3 year old to Iceland when he was 18 months and it was great. We’ve never traveled with the baby and my husband is concerned about the baby getting sick from water, food, or mosquitos bc she is so young. She will still be nursing. Did you find that mosquitos were too bad or too little for a baby?

In the jungle near San Ignacio the mosquitoes were not bad at all. Mainly because the native bats eat all the mosquitoes. We did find mosquitoes on the islands though. We used a natural insect repellent made with essential oils since I didn’t want to use DEET on our baby. It works wonders. If you are into essential oils, you can find the mixture here: https://parenthoodandpassports.com/preventing-the-zika-virus-naturally/
We didn’t drink the water. We ordered bottled water everywhere, and I only gave our daughter fruits that had a protective peel (like bananas,etc.) instead of fruit that would likely have been washed in tap water. Hope that helps!

Love this article. I’ll be referencing it lots as we plan our trip here. I’d love to hear more about your packing list and budget! What did you budget each day? Did you take a playpen or were they available with most accommodations? Do you have a favourite stroller or carrier for adventure travel?

Our daughter was close to the same age when we did that trip. We only used a carrier. Depending on what activities you are planning to do, a lot of the paths or roads aren’t stroller friendly.

Thanks for this info! What was your experience with car seats? Our son will be four and we would really like to avoid bringing a car seat, but we haven’t found good info about renting a car seat there, or whether we could use a safe rider travel vest in taxis (which requires either shoulder belts in the backseat or a lap belt plus tether option). Any guidance is appreciated! We would love to stick with taxis and public transportation, rather than driving ourselves. And if this matters, we are thinking we will stay in San Ignacio with some day trips and then head to San Pedro.

We rented a car seat from the car rental company and found it to be adequate. We did not travel by taxi since we rented a car, so I don’t have any experience with that. Are you planning to take a bus to San Ignacio? It’s a couple hours by car. A lot of the hotels have shuttle services, and you can arrange day trips through tour companies that will pick you up. I think your RideSafer vest should work just fine in the shuttles or taxies though.

Hi there! This is very helpful! We’ll be traveling there in January with our three year old and four month old. I was curious if you found places to snorkel from the beach or did you always have to take a tour boat to a place? Thanks for the helpful resource!!

You can snorkel off some of the piers, but the closer you get to the beach, the more seaweed you have. I believe Caye Caulker has better snorkeling than Ambergris Caye where we stayed.

Hi ,

We want to travel with our 5 month old to Belize and visit the ruins. However , we were worried about the roads being too bumpy or unpaved for our little one. The drive to San Ignacio is how long??

Thanks!

I think the drive was about 3 hours from Belize City to San Ignacio. And the road is fine. A small, two-lane paved road. The drive to Tikal in Guatemala is also fine. Where things will get really bumpy is if you plan to drive into the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve to get to Caracol.

Hi there! Love your blog! My husband and I will be traveling with our 5 month old this December and were wondering whether you would suggest that we fly to San Pedro or take a water taxi. Which one did you guys use ? Thanks!

We are visiting in April with a 14 mo. Can you tell us what happens to your rental car once you go to Belize city to get the ferry? And if you turn it in how do you get back to the airport at the end?

We dropped our rental car off at one of the rental car company’s properties, and then they had a complimentary shuttle service to the ferry. We then flew from San Pedro to the airport at the end of our trip, so we didn’t have to worry about transportation from the ferry to the airport.

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