10 Top Things to Do in Belize with Kids

Belize with kids - Tobacco Caye

Are you looking for your next family holiday destination? One that combines relaxation with adventure? Welcome to Belize! 

With one foot in Latin America and one in the Caribbean, Belize is one of the best countries in Central America for kids. 

Offering something for the whole family, Belize is a natural wonderland. 

On the one hand, you’ve got a tropical Caribbean coastline with pristine reefs, aquamarine waters and stunning beaches. The other is a carpet of dense rainforest covering the mainland, filled with unique wildlife, extensive cave systems and ancient Mayan cities.  

Igniting a sense of adventure and curiosity in kids of all ages, Belize will keep everyone happy. Whether you’ve got jungle fanatics, water babies or wildlife lovers. 

In this post, we’ll share the top 10 things to do in Belize with kids, to help you start planning your perfect family getaway. 

This is a guest post in our Discover the Americas series by Sally Rodrick

colorful huts in Tobacco Caye Belize

Why Belize is a great family holiday destination 

Belize is a fantastic destination for a family holiday. 

Besides the obvious allure of idyllic tropical islands and jungle adventures, the tourist infrastructure and culture of the country further cements this small but mighty country as a fantastic place to travel with kids. 

  • English is the first language: a former British colony, Belize is the only country is Central America where English is the official language. This makes navigating the country a whole lot easier and less stressful. But also allows the kids to engage and connect with the local community. 
  • Family is important in Belize: and kids are welcomed with open arms. They are catered for at most resorts and tours around the country, and Belizeans love showcasing their country to small visitors. 
  • It’s full of fun and exciting adventures: all family holidays should be fun, right? But the kids aren’t necessarily interested in traipsing around cities or enjoying the luxury of resorts. All the main attractions in Belize revolve around nature, and are tailor made for adventurous kids. The whole family will have good old fashioned FUN all over Belize. 
  • It’s a small country: whilst it packs a lot into its small space, it means travel times aren’t too long between destinations. When you’ve got the whole crew in tow, this makes travel days a lot smoother for everyone. 
  • It’s safe: Belize often gets a bad wrap when it comes to safety, but the reality is, most of the risk is isolated to the south side of Belize City and is primarily due to gang wars. The rest of the country is safe and the tourist industry and infrastructure are well equipped to safely receive visitors. 
Belize with kids Kayaking
Belize Barrier Reef

Top things to do in Belize with kids

1. Go snorkelling on the Belize Barrier Reef

Snorkelling in Belize is like hopping into a real-life aquarium! A rainbow of corals, thousands of species of reef fish and an abundance of large marine life, like turtles, rays and even manatees, Belize’s underwater world is truly spectacular. 

Older kids who are confident in the water will love a day spent on the water on a snorkelling tour. 

snorkelling in Belize with kids

Although the Belize Barrier Reef stretches the entire length of the country’s coastline, the most common departure point for these tours is Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. 

These two popular islands are not only fantastic family destinations in Belize, they’re also right on the doorstep of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a particularly spectacular section of the reef. 

You can choose from half or full-day tours, and an experienced boat captain and guide will take you to a number of different snorkel sites. The waters around Belize are generally calm, so snorkelling conditions are pretty good for the kids. 

The guides are passionate about the reef and are a wealth of information on all the species you’ll see while snorkelling. They’ll guide you underwater and point out things the kids might not have found themselves. 

shark snorkelling in belize

One of the most iconic stops on these tours is Shark Ray Alley, where you can jump in and swim with (friendly) nurse sharks and giant Caribbean stingrays. While some littlies might be a bit nervous, if you’ve got a brave adventurer, they will love the chance to snorkel amongst dozens of sharks! 

2. Float through a cave on an inflatable tube

Offering the perfect mix of adventure without too much exertion required, cave tubing is one activity you can’t miss in Belize with kids. 

What’s cave tubing you ask? This uniquely Belizean activity involves floating on an inflatable inner tube, on an underground river through a cave. Pretty cool, huh?! Your kids will think so too. 

cave tubing with kids in belize

There are several cave systems around the country, but the most popular place for cave tubing is the Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. This is best accessed via a day tour from San Ignacio. 

You’ll take a short walk through the jungle (around 30 minutes) before you reach the mouth of the cave system. Your guide will rope all your tubes together and attach them to his, ready to navigate you through the cave. 

It takes about half an hour to float through the cave. There are some calm sections, and others with rough rapids. Your guide will yell ‘butts up’ when there is a shallower section coming to avoid any nasty scrapes. 

There are unique stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave, and kids will have fun guessing what each of the formations looks like. 

Cave tubing in Belize with kids

Emerge back onto the calm, jungle-lined river for a leisurely float back to your starting point. There’s plenty of wildlife to spot along the way too, with toucans flying overhead and iguanas lazing on the sunny banks. 

3. Stay in a jungle lodge

Accommodation that will also keep the kids entertained? Winning! 

Belize is full of amazing jungle lodges, where accommodation is blended with nature. 

Generally located outside any main town, staying in a jungle lodge is a place to sleep and an activity all in one. 

Jungle Lodge in Belize

Most properties have extensive trails to explore, wildlife spotting opportunities right from your room, and other fun outdoor activities to keep the kids busy. 

There really is an endless number of jungle lodges to choose from around the country, but one that particularly stands out for kids is Chaa Creek Lodge, outside San Ignacio. 

Their on-site butterfly farm will enchant kids of all ages to see vibrant blue morpho butterflies break out of their cocoons. They offer tubing and canoeing on the Macal River that runs through their property, as well as miles of trails to explore. There’s a huge pool, volleyball and games to entertain all ages.  

4. Visit an ancient Mayan city

History might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about kid-suitable activities on holidays. 

But what if that history was right in front of them, and they could see, touch and even climb it? 

Belize has several well-preserved Mayan cities around the country, which provides insight into this ancient civilisation. Caracol, Lamanai, Cahal Pech and Xunantunich to name a few. 

xunantunich Mayan Ruins in Belize Depositphotos
Xunantunich Mayan Ruins | Depositphotos Milosk50

Xunantunich is probably the best set of ruins for kids. Its ease of access from San Ignacio means it doesn’t have to be a full-day activity, and getting there involves a hand-cranked ferry ride over the Mopan River. 

Once inside the site, kids will be amazed at the sheer size of these ancient, hand-built structures. A highlight of the visit is climbing to the top of El Castillo, a 40-metre (130 ft) high temple, to get 360-degree views over the jungle. 

5. Enjoy the calm Caribbean beaches

There are tons of great beach destinations around the world for a family holiday, but so many of them have rough beaches with big waves and strong currents that aren’t safe for kids to swim in. 

Not Belize! You can look forward to calm, warm Caribbean seas, that are often quite shallow. Great for kids of all ages, you can be comfortable to watch the kids splashing around the comfort of a lounger. 

The Split Caye Caulker
The Split Caye Caulker

If you’re set on a long stretch of soft sand, Placencia on the mainland is the best choice. The cayes don’t often have big sandy beaches. Never fear, there are still plenty of gorgeous swimming spots. The Split on Caye Caulker is a deep channel with a jumping platform, and Ambergris Caye has a lot of fun over-water bars and restaurants on the docks. 

6. See native wildlife at the Belize Zoo

For a guaranteed chance at spotting some of Belize’s unique species, take the kids to Belize Zoo. 

Not like a traditional zoo, with cramped and sad enclosures, the Belize Zoo only houses rescued Belizean wildlife in large enclosures that closely replicate their natural habitat. 

Education is a huge priority at the zoo, and the kids won’t even realise how much they’re learning about the animals, conservation and wildlife protection. 

An iguana in belize

Near impossible to spot in the wildlife, the zoo hosts a majestic jaguar and other big cat species. You’ll see monkeys, the country’s national animal the tapir, coatis, peccaries and more! 

The Belize Zoo is an ethical wildlife experience the whole family will enjoy. 

Located between Belize City and San Ignacio, this is a great way to make a travel day more exciting. 

7. Take a Mayan chocolate-making class

What kid doesn’t love chocolate? 

Chocolate was a sacred and important part of Mayan culture, and continues to be one of Central America’s largest exports. 

Cacao Chocolate growing in Belize

A hands-on kid-friendly activity, they’ll get to learn the entire bean-to-bar process. Learn how a cacao bean is picked, ground, dried and turned into the tasty chocolate we know and love. The kids will have a chance to get involved in all the steps, and of course, try some at the end! 

There are a few popular places to take chocolate-making classes around the country. AJAW Chocolate & Crafts in San Ignacio is a great option, as well as the Belize Chocolate Factory on Ambergris Caye. 

8. Fly over the rainforest ziplining

Older thrill seekers will be excited at the chance to soar over the rainforest canopy by zipline. 

Zipline operators in Belize are professional and adhere to strict safety standards. Generally, this activity is available for kids 6 years and up (dependent on the operator), with younger and lighter guides riding tandem with a guide. 

There are multiple zipline courses around the country, but one particularly thrilling option is at Angel Falls, which hosts the fastest, longest and highest zipline in all of Belize! 

If your mob are really adventurous, you can opt for a combo tour that combines ziplining with rappelling down the waterfalls. 

9. Explore caves and waterfalls at Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Located 1 hour from San Ignacio, Mountain Pine Ridge is a protected natural area preserving Belizean pine forests. 

The area feels at odds with the rest of the dense rainforest found around the country, but it’s a great day out with caves, waterfalls and natural swimming pools to explore. 

Mountain Pine Ridge Belize

The Rio Frio Cave gives intrepid explorers the chance to wander around inside a huge cave, and just up the road, the Rio On Pools are a unique series of natural pools and small waterfalls amongst scenic granite rock face. 

The cherry on top is Big Rock Falls, a thundering waterfall with a huge pool below. Brave kiddos will love jumping in from the rocks. 

None of these sights require a particularly long or strenuous walk. There is a short, but steep staircase at Big Rock Falls, but otherwise the day isn’t too challenging for kids of all ages. 

Mountain pine ridge waterfall in belize

You can join an organised tour from San Ignacio, or if you don’t mind a bit of dirt-road driving, this can easily be done as a self-guided day trip. 

10. Relax at a kid-friendly beach resort

The perfect way to end any Belize family vacation, choose a resort in one of Belize’s many coastal towns or cayes. 

There aren’t the usual big chain brand names in Belize, and kids are the last people to care! 

They’re welcomed at most resorts, and many cater specifically for families with large or adjoining rooms and self-catering facilities. 

Ambergris Caye is the best choice for a more typical resort experience. Closely followed by Caye Caulker, which focuses more on guesthouse style accomodations but still has the usual sea, sun and sand activities.

The Split Caye Caulker Belize
Caye Caulker

For something really unique, take the kids to a remote caye for a true castaway experience! Belize has over 400 cayes to choose from, and many have laidback resorts that the whole family will love. 

Most aren’t any bigger than a football field, and kids will enjoy the novelty of being so remote. Spend your days swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing or simply having some downtime in a hammock. 

Check out Tobacco Caye, Turneffe Atoll and King Lewey’s Island Resort. 

Tips for travelling Belize with kids

  • Best time to visit Belize: is during the dry season, which is usually November – April. Being a tropical country, rain is possible yearround, but you’ve got the best chance of dry sunny days in this period, without the intense heat and humidity of the wet season. 
  • Getting to Belize: Belize has one international airport, the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. It receives flights from a number of North American cities, and neighbouring Latin American countries. 
  • How to get around: Belize is a small country, and it’s easy to navigate. With kids, renting a car is the easiest and most convenient way to see the mainland. Driving is safe and straightforward, and roads are generally in good condition. Travel to and between the cayes is best done via water taxis. Golf cart rental is available on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. 
  • Currency in Belize: Belize uses the Belize Dollar (BZD). However, this is fixed against the US Dollar (USD) at a rate of $1 USD = $2 BZD. You can pay for things all over the country with either currency. You might get change in a different currency, though. Credit cards are widely accepted at larger tourist establishments, but always have cash on hand for smaller local restaurants and markets. 

About the Blogger

Sally is the voice behind the blog Sally Sees. She fell in love with Latin America, and loves inspiring and helping others to plan epic adventures in this incredible part of the world.

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Lady kayaking in the aqua waters of Belize
Lady snorkelling underwater in the Belize Barrier reef with text overlay Top 10 things to do with kids in belize

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