With two days in Belize’s main port city, there’s time to sample both marine treasures and ancient Maya ruins nestled in the pristine Belizean rain forest. Here’s how to maximize a short stay for the best of Belize by land and sea.
Start the day with a flyover of Belize’s marine geography on a helicopter tour that soars above the barrier reef and surrounding islands. Or, catch a water taxi from the port to nearby Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, two of the most popular nearby islands for visitors thanks to their laid-back Caribbean vibes.
Get an underwater perspective on the barrier reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a snorkeling trip. Tours depart from both the cayes and Belize City, cruising to protected spots such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Turtle Garden, and Shark Ray Alley for snorkeling. Some tours include beach time.
If you made your way to an island via water taxi, stay for dinner—try an upscale seafood or casual Caribbean jerk shack. Do check the ferry schedules so you don’t miss the boat to Belize City. If you took a snorkeling tour with included transport, spend the evening relaxing at a waterside Belize City restaurant.
Venture into Belize’s lush interior to try the country’s signature outdoor activity—cave tubing through underground rivers once used by the ancient Maya people for sacred ceremonies. For a double dose of adventure, combo tours pair a float through glittering caverns with an aerial zipline course.
Learn about the mighty Maya civilization from above ground with a visit to ancient sites such as Xunantunich, Altun Ha, or Lamanai. Tours get you there from Belize City with included transport and guides who share the history of royal palaces, temples, and stone carvings. Alternatively, take a tour of Traveller’s Liquors, the distillery that makes local favorite One Barrel Rum, for a behind-the-scenes look at barrel aging and distilling techniques for this Caribbean staple.
After a full day of exploring Belize’s wild jungles and ancient past—or perhaps some time spent doing a rum tasting—devise your own bar tour by stopping at various bars and restaurants in Belize City’s waterfront downtown.