The history, the landscape and outdoor adventure, the people and food: all of these came together to make Belize one of our favorite family travel destinations. For families in the US that are new to international travel, Belize is an easy place to start . . . English is spoken, the American dollar is accepted, and it’s conveniently accessible from the States.
We took a nine day trip, spending half the time inland at San Ignacio and the other half on Caye Caulker. Our seventeen year old niece joined us on this trip, making us a family of four.
One thing that made this trip ease-filled for our family:
- We did not rent a car. Kai and I were so much more relaxed not having to navigate roads (and on Caye Caulker, there are no cars, only golf carts)! We arranged pick up and drop off through Cayo Inland Expeditions, the tour company with whom we booked the ATM and Tikal tours. The owners of the company were the property managers at our Airbnb; everyone was local, super friendly and awesome!
Fly to Belize City. Airport pickup and drive to San Ignacio. Check in at this Airbnb. A delicious dinner at the The Running W restaurant across the street.
We’d been a bit nervous about signing up for the ATM cave, fearing claustrophobia, and we are SO GLAD we ended up doing it! This is an A-MAZ-ING experience where you hike and cross rivers in the rainforest, then trek through the cave, where you’ll be led to ancient artifacts and human remains. Our tour guides were wonderful and provided lunch afterward. (There are a few tight spaces in the cave, but they don’t last long and always open up to a larger space)
Alternative option: Choose from a plethora of canoe, tubing or zip lining tours.
Our tour guides drive us and help us cross the border into Guatemala. The wildlife and the architectural remains are beyond impressive! This is a very special place, with a sacred kind of energy. Truly incredible.
Alternative option: Xunantunich Mayan ruins. Smaller than Tikal, but very close to San Ignacio, if you don’t want to make the drive to Guatemala.
Open morning to walk San Ignacio town. Afternoon cooking with Eden Valley Mayan Kitchen.
I cannot say enough about this experience! Our authentic Mayan cooking experience began in Yesnia’s garden where she taught us about her medicinal plants, then we cut banana leaves from her trees to use in making tamales. The whole time, Yesnia shares her knowledge as we all cook together in her outdoor kitchen. If you want to feel a connection to the ancient Mayan ways, this is something you must do!
The picture says it all!
Ride bikes, swim and relax in the waters of Caye Caulker.
Snorkel Tour: Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark and Ray Alley
The beauty of the reef and abundance of sea life made this the most incredible snorkeling I’ve ever done!
Alternative option: Scuba Diving the Blue Hole (kids must be 15 or older)
Ride bikes, swim and relax!
Ferry to Belize City. Fly home, grateful.