When I first drew up my Belize itinerary, I had no idea it would end up being one of the most exciting and memorable trips ever. I mean it, I was tearing up on my last day knowing I had to leave this incredible country. (Not only because I had just acquired the sunburn to end all sunburns.) That’s how amazing, beautiful, fun, delicious, welcoming, and surprising this place is.
For that reason, I’m so happy to share with you this perfect 7-day Belize itinerary so you can have just as an unforgettable time as I did.
How long to spend in Belize
How long you should spend in Belize all comes down to how long you can spend in Belize. Having never been there before, I didn’t want to commit too long in case I didn’t like it. But I wanted to give it enough time to experience both the jungle and the island side of things.
That being said, you could certainly spend a month here and never have a boring moment – there’s that much to do here. But, one week is still a great amount of time in which to explore the ancient Mayan sites, get up to some adventures in the jungle, and chill out on the Caribbean beaches. In my opinion, 7 days makes the perfect Belize itinerary for first time visitors.
Best time to visit Belize
Similarly, the best time to visit Belize is whenever you can visit Belize. However, there are definitely more preferable times around which to plan your Belize itinerary. For instance:
December – May
December – May is Belize’s dry season and definitely the best time to visit. You’ll have clear, sunny days and very little chance of vacation-ruining rains. It will also be plenty warm enough during this time despite this being the “winter” months.
However, this is also the most popular / busiest time to visit Belize. Tourist season in Belize peaks at Easter! So, it will be a bit more “crowded” than other times, prices may be higher, and hotels and tours may have limited availability. But, this is Belize, not the Amalfi Coast in July, so you should be just fine (as long as you plan accordingly).
June – December
June – December is Belize’s wet season when you’ll most likely encounter some rains. However, this isn’t set in stone (‘cause weather be weather), and June, July, and even August can still be great months to travel.
I personally visited in June. It was HOT (bordering on too hot actually) and, despite being the “wet season,” was actually super dry. So, you can plan for the most “ideal” situations, but again, weather be weather.
Popular Belize events
There are also a handful of popular annual events in Belize you may be interested in planning your Belize itinerary around. Check out:
Lobster Fest – Belize’s Lobster Fest is an annual celebration that takes place in July in Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, and Placencia.
Chocolate Festival of Belize – Belize’s chocolate festival takes place in late May in Punta Gorda (the “chocolate capital of Belize” apparently).
International Music and Food Festival – Belize’s International Music and Food Festival is held in Ambergris Caye in late July, mon.
7-day Belize itinerary at a glance
Now I’ll get into the nitty gritty of my perfect Belize itinerary. This 7-day itinerary actually starts on Day 0 (arrival day, we don’t count that). It includes 3.5 days in the jungle and 3.5 days on the islands. *chef’s kiss*
Day 0: Arrive in Belize; transfer to your jungle eco-lodge
Day 1, jungle: Jungle adventures in the Cayo District
Day 2, jungle: Day trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala
Day 3, jungle: San Ignacio and ATM Cave tour
Day 4, jungle/islands: Wake up in the jungle, transfer to Caye Caulker
Day 5, islands: “Go Slow” in Caye Caulker (or not)
Day 6, islands: Unforgettable snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef
Day 7, islands: Soak up that island life before departing
Belize itinerary, day 0: Arrive + transfer to San Ignacio
The start of your perfect Belize itinerary begins with arriving in Belize (obviously). You can fly to Belize with Alaska Air, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines, and United. You can even get direct (nonstop) flights to Belize from:
- Seattle, Los Angeles (Alaska)
- Dallas, Miami (American Airlines)
- Atlanta (Delta)
- Fort Lauderdale, Houston (Southwest Airlines)
- Duluth and Minneapolis, MN (Sun Country Airlines – If you know what Sun Country Airlines is then I guess you’re reading this in Minnesota.)
- Chicago, Denver, Houston (United Airlines)
You’ll want to fly into Belize City (airport code BZE), the former capital of Belize (but not really an especially worthwhile city to visit). From Belize City, you’ll start your Belize itinerary in the western part of the state – in the Cayo District near the town of San Ignacio. But first you’ll need to get there.
How to get to San Ignacio from Belize City
There are a few different ways to get from Belize City to San Ignacio and they all vary wildly. Choose wisely. Maybe do as I say and not as I do.
Public bus from Belize City to San Ignacio
Personally, I opted for the public bus. The trip takes between 2-3 hours and costs around $4 total, but the ride is anything but smooth, literally and figuratively. The bus is dirty and crowded (you might actually have to stand the whole time). It makes frequent stops and the whole thing is just chaotic.
Because it’s really just an old American school bus, there are no seatbelts, luggage racks, or air conditioning. There’s not even a website or ticket system. Just open windows letting in all the road dirt and exhaust fumes and a topless woman breastfeeding in the seat next to you while her infant stares directly into your eyes.
You’ll need to take a cab from the airport to “the bus station” and this is where my assistance leaves you because what comes next is totally random. Ask around for the bus to San Ignacio, ask how to pay, ask where you should be picked up, and prepare for it all to seem just totally made up on the spot.
Once on the bus, know now that I’ve been told you need a PhD in order to drive in Belize – a degree in pothole diversion. So, hold on to your butts! BUT! The public bus is cheap and the ride will certainly be one you never forget.
Belize City to San Ignacio by rental car
You can certainly rent your own car to get from Belize City to San Ignacio. But, do you have a PhD? I’m told this is mandatory. (And from what I’ve witnessed personally, oh hell yeah it is.) The ride is going to be rough and will take about 2 hours. Check out the best local Belize car rental deals here and godspeed.
Private shuttles from Belize City to San Ignacio
Otherwise, you can take a private shuttle to San Ignacio from Belize City. This will also take about 2 hours (no stops to pick up coconut salesman, go figure) but will cost just slightly more than $4. Some charge per person and others offer big discounts the bigger your group is.
There are lots of times to choose from and you’ll get the ride all to yourself, all the way from BZE to San Ignacio. Check out the best Belize shuttles here:
Hotel pickup in Belize City
Another option I highly recommend is to just have your lodging arrange a pickup at the airport for you. Yes, this is going to be the costliest option, but it’s also the most stress-free!
For this Belize itinerary I’m going to recommend you stay at the Black Rock Lodge (more on that in a minute). They offer private airport shuttle service all the way from the airport to their front door. (Because of their remote location, you would still have to get picked up in San Ignacio because you need a special vehicle to get to their property.)
If you’re staying at Black Rock, book your airport pickup with them and call it a day! Otherwise, check to see if your jungle lodging offers the same service.
Also check out: 17 Things that Shocked Me in Belize
Where to stay in the Belize jungle
There are a handful of fantastic jungle lodges to choose from in Belize, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out the Black Rock Lodge. This place is one of my all-time favorite lodging choices and that’s still an understatement.
BRL is a completely self-sufficient eco-lodge deep in the rainforest. It’s bursting with awesome jungle adventures, resident wildlife, an amazing staff, and so much more. The food and drinks here are so good and everything is produced on site, ethically, and sustainably.
Seriously stop me or I will rave about this place for dayzzzz. Instead, I wrote an entire post about how awesome this place is – read my Black Rock Lodge review here. You can read more reviews and book your stay here. You can also watch this quick video I made about them here:
Other accommodation options
However, if Black Rock Lodge should be all booked up by the time you go to reserve, other popular and nearby jungle accommodation options include:
- Ka’ana Resort & Spa – beautiful location, lots of activities and spa treatments, amazing food
- Mahogany Hall Luxury Boutique Resort – spacious suites, botanical setting, highly-rated staff
- Table Rock Lodge – excellent reviews, very jungle-y, on-site restaurant and bar
- See all San Ignacio-adjacent lodging here.
Settle in to your jungle accommodations
Once you’ve made it to Black Rock Lodge, you’ll be greeted with a welcome drink and a quick tour of the property. Spend more time exploring on your own while you wait for dinner, or go ahead and put on your bathing suit and head down to the river. (If you can make it over the rapids without falling off your tube you get a free drink!)
You can work in a light hike, a mountain bike, a more in-depth tour of the property, go for a swim in the pool, or let the resident bird nerd show you all the toucans and other colorful creatures that live nearby.
Soon you’ll enjoy an incredible candlelit dinner among new friends. Then, fall asleep in your hammock under the millions of stars above you (and the Jurassic sounds of howler monkeys across the river that will seep into your darkest nightmares). This Belize itinerary truly is unforgettable.
Belize Itinerary, day 1: Welcome to the jungle!
Today is your first full day of the Belize itinerary. Do you know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby! There are seriously so many options as to how you can spend today.
Partake in some jungle adventures
Personally, I did the following during my time in Belize’s jungles:
Mountain Summit hike in the morning – This trail takes a couple of hours and winds through the jungle up and up to the top of the mountain for excellent views of the rainforest. So much wildlife and beautiful plants and flowers along the way. Also, so much sweat.
Lunch at the lodge – Black Rock Lodge serves three amazing meals a day in the most blissful dining setting. Don’t miss a single meal there, seriously.
Mountain biking – BRL offers mountain bike rental free of charge to their guests. We rode down the road that leads out of the property, past burning wildfires and teak forests and beyond. (And then walked my ass back up because… exhaustion.)
Swim in the river before dinner – All that sweaty fun today led me straight down to the river for a cool swim in nature. Then, another drool-worthy jungle dinner. (There’s also a great pool for those a little fish-phobic.)
Guided night hike through the jungle – A couple we met the night before recommended this to us and it will forever be one of the coolest things I’ve done while traveling. A trained jungle guide takes you along the trails after dark and shows you all the unbelievable things that happen at night.
He points out otherwise unseen nocturnal creatures of all kinds and seriously so much more. It was AMAZING. Important note: you don’t have to hold a tarantula if you don’t want to.
More jungle adventures
Besides the awesome jungle activities we did on the first day of our Belize itinerary, there are many more options for how to spend your day at Black Rock Lodge. You can also choose from:
Canoeing and kayaking – Head out along the Macal River with a trained naturalist guide. Or head to the beach area to do some stand-up paddleboarding. Or just head to bar, no judgment.
River tubing – Do absolutely no work whatsoever and just float down the river. Free rum punch if you can make it over the Black Rock waterfall without falling off! Tubes are totally complementary.
More hiking – Besides the Mountain Summit, there are many more hiking trails that start at the lodge for all different hiking levels. Even a wildlife hike! (Pick up a trail map at the tour desk.)
Spelunking – Take your hiking desire into one of Belize’s awesome cave systems. Search for Mayan artifacts and cool cave formations.
Yoga – This is a wellness lodge of sorts, after all. Borrow one of their yoga mats for free if you didn’t bring one. (I definitely did not include one in my Belize packing list.)
Birding – Follow your nose out to the bird tower for panoramic views with their bird guide! (That’s a toucan joke.) Belize is actually one of the biggest birding destinations in the world.
San Ignacio – Don’t forget you can always head into San Ignacio for market day or just to check out the town.
Most popular Belize jungle excursions
If you’re looking for something a little different (and perhaps more organized and/or guided), check out these most popular Belize jungle excursions around San Ignacio:
- Xunantunich & Cave Tubing Combo Tour – Full-day history and adventure tour, small groups, lunch included. (Or check out this unique tour that combines a visit to Xunantunich and horseback riding.
- Cave Tubing & Jungle Ziplining Combo Tour – Full-day guided adventure through the caves and over the jungles, lunch included
- See all San Ignacio jungle adventure options here.
Belize Itinerary, day 2: Day trip to Tikal
Yes, one of the most popular things to do in Belize is actually leave it for Guatemala. Do with this information what you will, but it’s totally worth it.
Tikal National Park in nearby Guatemala is one of the largest and most important ancient Maya sites you can visit. It’s just a quick drive over the border from San Ignacio and is so cool.
I won’t spill all the details here, because I wrote a whole post on taking a day trip to Tikal – what you need to know, how to get there, what to see, some important dos and don’ts, etc. Check out my full guide to a Tikal day trip here.
And if you already know you want to do this, take a look at some of the Tikal day tour options here:
- Belize to Tikal Day Trip with Local Lunch from San Ignacio – Full day tour, comfortable transportation, your own local guide, includes lunch.
- Private Belize to Tikal Day Tour with Lunch + Guide – Includes a private guide, air conditioned transport, lunch
- See all Tikal day trip options here – Find one that best suits your needs!
You’ll return from your Tikal day trip totally exhausted so take it easy for the rest of the night. Enjoy the amazing dinner at Black Rock Lodge and get some sleep for another epic adventure tomorrow!
Belize Itinerary, day 3: ATM Cave tour
Another epic day in Belize dawns and this will be another you won’t soon forget. Today, book yourself on one of the once-in-a-lifetime ATM Cave tours.
The ATM Cave in Belize (Actun Tunichil Muknal) is another ancient Maya site, but this one is inside a surreal cave system. You’ll swim and tunnel through these ancient caves to get to a skeleton that sparkles. But the path to get there is straight out of an Indiana Jones flick.
If you’ve done any kind of research on what to do in Belize, I’m positive that the ATM Cave tour has dominated those lists. And it is not overrated at all – it totally deserves those top spots!
However… the ATM Cave is not for everyone. It’s an epic adventure, yes, but a challenging one in many ways. Check out my full guide to touring the ATM Cave in Belize here to get all the exciting details and heart-stopping realities.
And if you already know you want to do this, take a look at some of the ATM Cave tour options here:
- ATM Cave Tour and Picnic – Ton of rave reviews, full day, lunch + rum punch included! (This is closest to the one I did – rum punch and all!)
- ATM Cave Tour from San Ignacio – Full day tour, all fees included, packed lunch/snacks/water included
- ATM Cave with Local Lunch from San Ignacio – Full day, lunch and water included, tons of 5-star reviews!
- See all ATM Cave tour options here in case something else fits your style better.
Again, after your full day tour of the ATM Cave, you’re going to be totally pooped. (It’s a physically-taxing adventure to say the least!) Take it easy, enjoy dinner, pass the hell out.
Lemme help you plan! Also read: What to Pack for Your ATM Cave Tour
Belize Itinerary, day 4: Jungle > Islands
After your night of much-needed rest, enjoy one last Black Rock breakfast and prepare to move over to the islands. If you want, squeeze in some last minute birding or hiking, or any of the other awesome activities on-site. Now, make your back towards Belize City and over the water to the island of Caye Caulker.
How to get to Caye Caulker
To get to Caye Caulker you’ll need to take the water taxi from Belize City. The trip takes about 45 minutes and costs just $20 per person.
If you utilize the private shuttle service at Black Rock Lodge, they will happily drop you off right at the water taxi port in Belize City. Otherwise, take your chosen transportation method back to the Belize City and get a (car) taxi to the water taxi dock.
Once on Caye Caulker, you’ll need to either walk or organize a pickup at the port to get to your chosen accommodation. FYI – Caye Caulker is a car-less island. It’s either bicycle, feet, or golf cart from here on out. (The island is just 5 total square miles so it’s not like you’ll have far to go.)
There will most likely also be golf-cart drivers hanging out at the dock in case you need a ride. (This is what we did – just hailed a golf cart once we arrived.)
Where to stay on Caye Caulker
There are lots of totally pleasant places to stay on Caye Caulker, but for my Belize itinerary I trusted my island time to Colinda Cabanas.
We had our own adorable beach cabana for our stay with lots of great amenities, everything we needed actually. The staff was so welcoming and helpful. It was so peaceful and private; I would not hesitate to stay here again! (Seriously, book your room at Colinda Cabanas now!)
Besides Colinda Cabanas, some other popular Caye Caulker hotels include:
- Blue Zen – A favorite of my readers, free bikes, swimming pool, sun terrace and grill, and much more.
- Sea Dreams Hotel – Free WiFi, bar and rooftop terrace on site, free bikes and kayaks
- Weezie’s Ocean Front Hotel and Garden Cottages – Choose from cottages, guest rooms, oceanfront suites, and more. Kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel gear for free!
After your all checked in on Caye Caulker, take a stroll around the main part of the island. Grab some street food, do a little souvenir shopping, then post up at one of the super chill bars along the beach.
Watch the sunset and continue resting up from the past few days of your Belize itinerary. You’re on Caye Caulker now where the motto is “Go Slow” so you better get used to it.
Belize Itinerary, day 5: Go slow in Caye Caulker
This is very hard for me to write, but Day 5 of your Belize itinerary is all about embracing Caye Caulker’s motto and “Go Slow.” I personally am not a go-slow kinda traveler, but it was incredibly easy to adjust here.
This is your day to just chill out in the sun and do nothing (if you don’t want to). If you’re more like me and you still want to do something, check out this list of 23 Exciting Things to Do in Caye Caulker.
For instance, you can spend your day fishing, kite surfing, sailing, swimming, diving, exploring by bike, taking a scenic flight over the Blue Hole, yoga, kayak, meet some seahorses, and much more. And then spend your evening with a sunset sail. See the full list for all the details!
Belize Itinerary, day 6: Snorkeling + the Split
Okay, now that you’re all rested up and ready to get back at it, it’s time to spend Day 6 of your Belize itinerary in the water. Belize is located along the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – the world’s second most incredible barrier reef. (Their words, not mine. But also mine.)
Snorkeling in Belize
For real though, the snorkeling here is unreal. You’ll swim with sea turtles and a million tropical fish, nurse sharks and rays, eels, manatees, and more. You’ll get to explore a sunken ship and learn all about the stunning wildlife in this area from the most accommodating local guides.
Snorkeling in Belize was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip and I took my tour with Caveman Snorkeling Tours. And yes, I wrote an entire post on it because I had such a great time! Also check out: My Day Snorkeling in Belize with Caveman Snorkeling Tours.
I highly recommend Caveman Snorkeling Tours, but if you need other options, also check out these tours that all include small groups, lunch and refreshments, expert guides, snorkeling equipment, and GoPro footage of your underwater adventure:
- Hol Chan Marine Reserve Small-Group Tour from Caye Caulker
- 7-Stop Snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef from Caye Caulker
- Or this 3-stop snorkeling tour for just the highlights (includes snacks but not lunch)
- Check out all Belize snorkeling tours here on Viator and here on Get Your Guide.
Hang out at the Split
After your day of snorkeling, chances are you’ll be super wiped out again (but exceptionally tan). So, for the rest of your day in Caye Caulker, head over to the Split.
The Split is literally a split in the island formed by a hurricane… but now it’s the most popular hangout spot on the island. Grab a bucket of Belikin at the Lazy Lizard and just relax in the turquoise waters or play some corn hole – whatever you have the energy left for.
Belize Itinerary, day 7: Leaving the island life behind
Depending on when your flight home is, you may or may not get to enjoy a little more of that island life before you head out. Grab some last-day fry jacks at Errolyn’s, go for another leisurely stroll, or hang out (literally, so many hammocks) on your nearest over-water pier.
Afterwards, you’ll need to take the water taxi back to Belize City, and then a regular ol’ auto taxi to the airport where you’ll leave the island life behind. It will be a sad day, to say the least.
Belize is an incredible, unforgettable, and, dare I say it, unBelizeable place to visit. The people are so warm and welcoming, the scenery is stunning, and the adventures are epic. Regardless of how you fill your Belize itinerary, consider yourself lucky to be able to experience this Central American wonderland!
More info to supplement your Belize itinerary
- Heading to Belize? Find great places to stay here.
- Need a car? Check out the best rental car deals in Belize here.
- Don’t forget to pick up this guidebook for all your Belize sightseeing. (It includes a day trip to Tikal too!)
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