It always amazes me how many things there are to do for such a small country. I broke them down into 2 classifications: water activities and mainland activities. With almost a decade of being here, I’ve been fortunate enough to have done many of them and some things more than once. I’m not saying I’m an expert on these tours, but I do know a little and am happy to share my experiences with you.
During my time living in Belize, I have formed some great friendships. A few of those friends just happen to own Tours and Excursions businesses so it is only natural many of us that live here share the same friends and end up taking their tours, which makes for some great adventures. I have created a more extensive listing below but first, here are 2 of my favorite Ambergris Caye tour companies I’ve been out with many times over the years, and one well-recommended mainland company along with which tours they offer:
Many of the excursions on land can be done in combination with other tours and often over several days. What you do, really depends on what area you are staying in, how much time you have and how much you want to spend. I’ll list out everything and then come back to each one and write a little about it. There is Mayan Ruins, Cave Tubing, Zip-Lining, the Belize Zoo, Horseback Riding, hiking/walking/biking tours, or jungle/waterfall tours.
On land, Belize is best known for its Mayan Ruins and there are a dozen or so but the five major excavation sites that are well worth your visit are: Lamanai, Altun Ha, Caracol Xunantunich, and Tikal which is actually in Guatemala. I have been to 2 of the 5 and they both had their own uniqueness. Altun Ha is great if you want a slightly shorter day and Lamanai is a longer tour but well worth it. If you want to really make time, you can do Tropic Air Lamanai tour. Xunantunich is also a favorite to many because of its beauty and preservation. It is usually offered with a second tour like river kayaking or horseback riding. Unless you are really into Mayan ruins or studying to be an archeologist, you will probably only have time to visit one. Side note: If you want to see a lesser developed site without leaving Ambergris Caye I highly recommend touring Marco Gonzalez Maya Site site with Jan Brown. It may be small but it is very cool and the ground is covered in pottery shards making for a unique experience.
In Maya culture, caves were considered as the entrance to the underworld. You will obviously get wet and depending which caves you are at, there is a 30 – 45 min trek through the magnificent jungle first. The nature walk is easy and just about anyone can do it. This adventure usually offered in combination with another tour. We went cave tubing and to the Belize Zoo on our first trip way back in 2004, before moving to Belize. 5% tours discount code – tacogirl
This one is for those who have an adventurous heart and I am sure it is a very exhilarating ride to say the least. Zip-Lining is often offered with Cave Tubing, which makes for an incredible day. If you’ve never done it before, it is well worth the time. If you’ve done it before, then I’ve been told it is pretty much the same as anywhere. Although I do know people that skydive around the world, so I can see the draw of being able to say the same or zip-lining if you are an adrenaline junkie.
The Belize Zoo is a must do for all animal lovers. The jungles of Belize and the nearby rain forest are teaming with wildlife and the Belize Zoo has quite a collection. As you’ll notice right away, this is not your typical zoo and the day tour is excellent. If you can swing it, plan on an overnight stay at their Tropical Education center and do the night feeding tour. Day or night, this is an excellent family tour as it is always a kid’s favorite.
Belize has some incredibly beautiful mountains and jungles. One of the best ways to experience them is on horseback. You will most likely get to see some wildlife along the way and often times you get to stop for a swim in one of Belize’s many waterfalls. If you are a seasoned rider you will not want to miss this. They have tours for beginners too and this is another great excursion for the whole family.
Hiking/Walking/Biking, Jungle/Waterfall or Bird-Watching Tours
As mentioned before, the majestic and very beautiful jungles and mountains of Belize are the perfect backdrop for one of these tours. These tours are all a little more laid-back and family oriented. Nature enthusiasts will definitely enjoy these types of tours. Bring plenty of sunblock (eco friendly if possible) and bug spray to get through the day. Oh, and don’t forget your camera to capture those priceless vacation memories.
It amazes me that as many great things as there are to do on land in Belize, there are even more to do on the sea. The waters surrounding the islands and shores of Belize are warm and turquoise blue. I am especially fond of the ocean and here are some of the things you can do on the water while visiting Belize: SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing, swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and sailing.
Famed underwater explorer Jacque Cousteau discovered the Great Blue Hole in 1971 and people have been coming to Belize to dive ever since. The Blue Hole is a small part of the much larger Barrier Reef that runs along the entire shore of Belize. This reef provides dozens of amazing dive spots with warm water, incredible visibility and gorgeous sea life. Belize is widely known as one of the best places to dive on Earth. There are plenty of dive spots for all levels of skill, from beginner to Divemaster.
In my humble opinion, there is no better place on the planet to snorkel. It is the perfect mixture of warm water (about 80Â°F), awesome visibility and many sea creatures to experience. The reef is well taken care of and there are dozens of fantastic places to snorkel. The most common trip is to Hol Chan Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. I’ve been to each plenty of times and every time presents a new experience. I have also enjoyed amazing underwater adventures at Mexico Rocks, Coral Gardens and combo snorkel and beach barbecue up north. Great activities for the whole family and even SCUBA divers will enjoy the snorkeling here.
My friend who owns a small island fishing business says they donâ€™t call it fishing hereâ€¦they call it catching. While I enjoy fishing, I am a part-time fisherman and not a full out enthusiast. If fishing is your passion, there are plenty of annual fishing tournaments in Belize for each type of fishing including deep sea fishing, fly fishing or reef fishing. Belize is best known for Tarpon, Bone, Snook and Permit fishing also known as the Belize Grand Slam. In addition, there are Snapper, Jack and also Barracuda. Some are more abundant depending on the time of year.
For the most part, any day spent on the water is a good day. There is usually just the right amount of wind for sailing and it is always warm with crystal blue waters that are enticing you to jump into them. If you go sailing, you can go for a half day or whole day(s) or a sunset cruise. This is great for the whole family and can usually be incorporated with a snorkeling trip. You can also learn to sail or even rent your own small Hobie Cat or Laser Sailboat.
Iâ€™ve done kayaking, paddle boarding and kite surfing and liked all 3. You definitely have to be more on the fit side for these types of activities. If you are experienced, you can also rent out the gear to do it on your own. Thankfully I had a great instructor for paddle boarding and kite surfing to teach me proper technique and a good friend close by to laugh with at those times when the kite flew us. Kayaking was easy aside from my tipsy kayak partner at the time. I had to dive down and retrieve his snorkel mask 🙂
Whatever activities you decide to do on this trip, be sure to bring sunscreen and bug spray. Consider a zip lock bag or two if you need cheap dry bag options. A few extra dollars for tipping is always welcomed as well. Be sure to share your adventures and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions. I’m here to help.
Glad you like my blog, Jeanne and find it helpful.
I like shark ray and done it many times and will again but beach bbq would come out in the lead cause I am such a foodie ha ha.
You can also try someone who will customize it for you. Eric Henkes at uprising tours 662 – 7413 Eric Henkis – He does snorkeling, fishing, picnics, beach bbq, private charters, and sunset cruises. Not sure if he does outside the reef will check for a guy who does. He will easily customize so just ask him for a quote on your preferred adventure combination.
Thanks for putting together this blog, It is so helpful! Suya tours is offering a full day of snorkeling with three stops and a BBQ lunch. We really wanted to go to Shark Ray Alley, but to do this, we would have to book a different excursion that does not include the full day and BBQ. What do you think? Is there a big difference between shark ray alley and three other three snorkeling stops. Would appreciate your opinion.
Hopefully this is the Eric you are lookig for Kevin. Uprising
Tours 662 – 7413 Eric Henkis – He does
snorkeling, fishing, picnics, beach bbq, private charters and sunset
cruises. I like him because he has music option on his boat.
You might like the lagoon side paddle board tour since it is a bit further to get around lagoon and back side area they take you by speed boat. Then you to a tour through lagoon and mangrove area on paddle boards then boat back. Grand Caribe Resort also rents Kayaks but they are further north so the lagoon is not as easily accessible from there unless you are in really good shape. Their beach front is really nice to kayak at though.
I have been enjoying your blog and find it very useful on my upcoming trip to Ambergris, I am interested in the lagoons and seeing manatees, crocs and other wildlife but have not come across any info for this on Ambergris. Are there any Kayak rentals to see the lagoons and are they a good place to paddle around on your own to see them?
I took the plunge and moved to San Pedro Town on the Island of Ambergris Caye, off the coast of Belize, Central America. Originally from Canada, I made the life-changing move to escape winter for good (in 2006) after one three week vacation.
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Sparking my desire
3 childhood memories that shaped my desire to move to Belize from a young age.
Sailing in the Virgin Islands, seeing a rainbow out the window of an island hopper as we flew from Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, Christmas in Hawaii and many trips to Florida.