Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

7 Great Beaches Near Belize City Cruise Port

Belize beach
Belize beach; credit: Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board

Cruise and other visitors to Belize searching for long stretches of white sand beaches have been surprised to find that it has no such thing. Most of the coastline is covered in mangroves.

Cruise visitors to Belize City will find some decent beaches right off the coast at some small islands also known as cayes. The first two options on this list are possibilities for cruise visitors. The rest are options for hotel and resort visitors.

1. Goff’s Caye

The tiny island of Goff’s Caye right off the coast is a common shore excursion for beach lovers. Belize City cruise visitors will take a 30-minute boat ride to reach it. The cost is about $55 for a four-hour excursion from national excursion operators such as Viator.

2. Starfish Island

Starfish Island, also known as Banister Caye, is another four-hour shore excursion a boat ride away from the cruise port. Carnival offered the excursion for $63 including lunch. Price subject to change at any time.

3. Ambergris Caye

Belize City and Gof’s Caye Map

Just off the coast of Belize City lies one of the country’s largest islands, Ambergris Caye. This particular beach island is one of the main destinations for vacationers.

The island is home to several small beaches that are among the best in the region for lounging in the sun and swimming in the clear blue Caribbean waters. The island also is home to the small city known as San Pedro. There are several options for overnight luxury accommodations. As such, visitors can have extended vacations on the island of Ambergris Caye alone.

Travellers can take boat rides from Belize to the island either via excursion agents or hotel workers. Ambergris Caye is a tourist hot spot for diving, snorkeling (as it borders the Belize Barrier Reef) and various water sports.

4. Caye Caulker

Belize beach
Belize beach; credit: Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board

A smaller island that is a stopover on the way to or from the mainland and a little south of Ambergris and northwest of Belize City is the small Caye Caulker, one of the offshore islands in Belize.

Caye Caulker has a more intimate, small-town, laid-back feel. The beaches here are neither as large nor as particularly stunning as those of the more popular Caribbean destinations. But they are some of the best beaches close to Belize City.

Beyond the aesthetics are a wide range of activities available on the island. Of particular note is Caye Caulker’s popularity as a world-class snorkelling destination as the Belize barrier reef is partly located just off the coast. Beyond that, other activities include sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and of course swimming.

Water taxis are available for transportation to Caye Caulker, costing approximately BZ$35 to $40 for a round trip.

5. Coco Beach Resort

Coco Beach Resort is, as its name suggests, not a beach per se, but a beach resort. It was included here for its simplistic beauty and the breath-taking beach nearby, one of the best in Belize.

Forming a part of the Ambergris Caye group of beaches, the location is just about three miles from San Pedro. Visitors can enjoy a pristine white sand beach as well as the amenities of a luxury resort.

6. Cucumber Beach, Old Belize

Cucumber Beach is not a natural beach but more of a man-made salty pool. Old Belize is a tourist spot about 5 miles from central Belize City. It is relatively easy to get there by bus for about BZ$1 each way.

It’s a nice place to relax and sunbathe, with tasty food and a bar. But the water is not as good as natural beaches. Moreover, the facility has suffered from the effects of various hurricanes and is just now putting itself back together again.

7. Placencia Peninsula

Anyone who is staying for a while in Belize may want to visit Placencia Peninsula. Unfortunately, it is 180 miles away from Belize City, so it’s a full day’s trip. It is included here due to its beauty as well as the availability of transportation from the city. It’s a fun little town that’s infused with tourists and expats as well as plenty of restaurants, hotels and shopping centres.

The 17-mile-long peninsula is home to a small unremarkable village, but tourists enjoy spending time here because of the availability of white sand and warm waters.

Popular activities here include swimming, snorkelling and simply lounging on the beach. There are also great hotel accommodations choices for those who want to spend a little extra time in the area. 

During the high season, this beach sees immense crowds, so visitors may need to plan ahead and make reservations. Placencia Peninsula is also the most common place to find actual beachfront hotels.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
April 30, 2021