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Belize 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. 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 if visiting Belize with kids. Belize has a reputation as an adventure destination. So should you even visit 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. In fact, a Belize family vacation can be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Here’s how to spend the perfect one week in Belize and what you need to know if visiting Belize with kids.
Our Belize family vacation experience
For anyone planning a trip to Belize with toddlers or young children, you may have to a bit more research. But regardless of whether you are taking a Belize family vacation, traveling solo, or as a couple, I 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. I would have loved to explore the cities of Placencia, Hopkins, and Corazol, but we simply did not have enough time.
The only area of the country I would not recommend spending 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 the trip to visit 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. A total of nine airlines fly into the airport, including all of the major American carriers, United, Delta, American and Southwest. The airport is relatively small, and getting through customs was painless.
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 16-month-old daughter, 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 ATM 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.
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
The native language in Belize is English. And while English is widely spoken in Belize, many locals also speak Spanish, Creole (which is kind of 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. I personally found the lack of western chain stores and restaurants 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.
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 our Belize family vacation.
Day 1 in Belize
- Arrive at the airport.
- Pick up rental car. (You will want to rent from Crystal Auto rental if you plan to cross the Belize border into Guatemala.)
- Drive to 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
- Explore the town of San Ignacio.
- Visit the San Ignacio market (if on a weekend)
- Explore the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech and Xunantunich
ALSO READ: Things to do in San Ignacio, Belize
Day 3 in Belize
- Day trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala
- Visit the town of Flores, Guatemala
Day 4 in Belize
- Day trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
- Swim below a waterfall at Big Rock Falls
- Relax at Rio On Pools
- Explore the eerie, yet kid-friendly Rio Frio Cave
- Spend the evening kayaking in the river and enjoying some technology-free time at the jungle lodge
Day 5 in Belize
- Drive to Belize City
- Ferry to the island of Ambergris Caye
- Check into a budget-friendly, spacious beach resort
- Relax on the beach or swim at the resort pool
Day 6 in Belize
- Day at the beach
- Snorkel, play in the sand, kayak, paddleboard, or just simply relax
Day 7 in Belize
- Shop, eat, and drink in San Pedro
- Visit the Butterfly Jungle
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.
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. While the ATM cave is the most popular cave tour in Belize, it is definitely geared more toward older children and adults. But there are still numerous kid-friendly caves in Belize that are more suitable for those traveling with younger children.
Belize makes for an inexpensive beach vacation for families. On Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker 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 will clean up the seaweed each day. 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.
Belize has it’s 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. Roads in the reserve are not paved and can be very bumpy. But if you are up for an adventure, Rio On Pools and Big Rock Falls can be great waterfalls in Belize to visit with kids.
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.
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.
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!