Belize family vacation: How to spend one week in Belize with kids

Traveling to Belize with a toddler.

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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.

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, 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.

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 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.

Parenthood and Passports - Guatemala with a baby or toddler
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

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

Day 2 in Belize

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

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.

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. 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.

 Rio Frio Cave Belize caves for kids
Belize has some of the most extensive underground cave systems in the world.

Beaches

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.

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.

Waterfalls

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.

Rio On Pools - kid friendly waterfalls in Belize
Rio On Pools is a great 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.

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? COMPARE PRICES ON FLIGHTS TO BELIZE AND 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!

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23 comments on “Belize family vacation: How to spend one 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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