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Belize Travel Tips for Cruise and Hotel Visitors

Half Moon Key beach. Credit: Pixabay public domain
Half Moon Key beach. Credit: Pixabay public domain

Hotel and cruise visitors to Belize will surely find different experiences than Cozumel, Jamaica or other Caribbean destinations.

People don’t go to Belize for the beaches, although this Central American country has them. Instead, they often go for history, culture and especially adventure. Cruise visitors who are fans of ecotourism may want to come back for hotel and resort vacations.

Belize is the 13th most popular Caribbean tourism destination, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Nearly three times as many people visit this Central American country via cruise than for overnight vacations. Belize City is one of the most popular western Caribbean cruise ports. It also is close to Cozumel and Roatan, which also are among the most popular western Caribbean cruise destinations.

Top Travel Tips

  • Belize is mostly an ecotourism destination.
  • Cave tubing is the most famous attraction in the country, followed by Mayan ruins.
  • Although warm year round, it also rains quite a bit year round.

Belize Attractions

Belize City Map

Any visitor with a sense of history and culture will want to visit the many Mayan ruins. Anyone with a sense of adventure should try this country’s unique excursion and one of our favorite travel tips—cave tubing. It is one of the best excursions in the Caribbean region.

Cave Tubing—Relaxing yet adventurous is how some tourists might sum up their cave tubing experience. Cave tubing is fast becoming the number one tourist attraction for this exotic country. For 1 1/2 hours, visitors float leisurely on large inner tubes in water the color of sun-ripened limes.

The river takes them underground through cool dark caves on the Sibun River Cave Branch. They take in the beauty of the caves and learn how ancient Mayans used the caves for spiritual purposes. Mayan footprints, 1,000-year-old pottery shards, underground waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites are all part of this relaxing, yet eerie adventure.

The typical cost for this five- to six-hour shore excursion ranges between $75 and $90 per person depending on amenities.

Mayan Ruins—Listen. If visitors are quiet, they can almost hear the rhythmic beating of the drums of this ancient civilization. The Mayan ruins of Altun Hun, Caracol and Xunantunich become the history buff’s playground.

Tourists stroll through excavated ruins, pyramids, temples and ceremonial centers rich in the history of this intriguing country.

Altun-Ha, which is one hour outside of Belize City, is a popular choice. A typical four-hour excursion will cost about $55.

Another option is Xunantunich, about 90 minutes outside of Belize City. This six-hour excursion will cost about $90.

Belize snorkeling
Belize is known for scuba diving at The Blue Hole. Credit: Pixabay public domain

The Blue Hole—Experience diving like never before. The Blue Hole is in the center of Lighthouse Reef. This reef is an atoll that forms an almost-perfect circle 1,000 feet wide and 412 feet deep—so large it can see it from space. Divers can view stalactites three-feet in diameter that were once part of the old cave’s ceiling.

Experienced instructors take divers to depths of 140 feet where they experience the stark beauty of the Blue Hole. Little marine life is around at that depth, unlike usual diving experiences, where the beauty comes from colorful and exotic marine life.

While cave tubing, the Mayan ruins and the Blue Hole are exciting, Belize isn’t strictly for thrill seekers. Vacations in Belize also offer traditional attractions.

Visitors will find nature trails for hiking. Sailing and fishing are also popular tourist activities as well as birding. Belize is home to over 600 species of birds that migrate to Belize or live there year round.

The barrier reef is 185 miles long. Islands lie between the reef and the mainland, creating numerous opportunities for watersports, especially diving and snorkeling.


Mangroves mostly cover the shoreline of Belize. Anyone who visits Belize City will more likely find a beach at some nearby islands.

Goff’s Caye is a common shore excursion for beach lovers. Belize City 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.

Starfish Island, also known as Banister Caye, is another four-hour shore excursion from the cruise port. One cruise line recently offered the excursion for $63 including lunch. The price is subject to change at any time.

Caye Caulker is a smaller island that is a stopover on the way to or from the mainland. It is a little south of Ambergris and northwest of Belize City.

Tourism / When to Go

U.S. and Canadian citizens require a passport if they are stopover visitors. Cruise visitors need their ship ID to exit and re-enter the ship.

March is the most popular month followed by December and February. The least popular months are October and then September, the CTO says. They are the two worst months of the Caribbean hurricane season.

Belize Weather

Belize City monthly rainfall
Average monthly rainfall in Belize City. © 2020 Scott S. Bateman

The average high temperature in Belize City ranges from the low 80s Fahrenheit in the winter to the upper 80s in the summer, according to the Belize National Meteorological Service.

The dry season is brief. It begins in January and ends in April with an average rainfall of about two to three inches a month. December and May are transitional months between the dry and rainy seasons with about four inches of rain each month. The rainy season begins with 10 inches in June and continues through December.

Cruise ships mostly visit the country during the dry season. Far fewer visit the rest of the year.

Both rainfall and temperatures vary more widely throughout the year than the typical Caribbean island. The climate is tropical, very hot and humid.

Currency / Tipping

Currency is the Belizean dollar, but U.S. currency and major credit cards are widely accepted.
Tipping ranges between 10 and 15 percent for hotels, restaurants and tour guides. The hotel room tax is 9 percent.

Culture / Geography

Spanish and Creole are the dominant language, while English is the official language because of the country’s history as a Spanish and then English territory.

Tourism is the dominant economic sector. Geography ranges widely from plains to savannas to tropical rainforests.

Sources / More information

July 11, 2023

Belize City Cruise Port Guide

Altun Ha Belize
Belize City has a nice cruise port, but even more appealing is the wealth of attractions nearby.

12 Best Belize Tourist Attractions

Belize tourist attractions include many Mayan ruins in addition to its famous cave tubing adventure.

Harvest Caye Cruise Port Tips

Harvest Caye Belize
Norwegian Cruise Line has a resort-style, private port of call on the Belize island of Harvest Caye.

Best and Worst Times to Visit Belize

Belize Cave Tubing Shore Excursion

7 Great Beaches Near Belize City Cruise Port

Belize Car Rentals

Belize Mayan Ruins Excursion Tips