Best Belize Activities and Restaurants During a 10 Day Trip (with a Side Trip to Guatemala)
As a food blogger it’s important to travel and explore. It expands your pallet and awareness of cultures. I found plenty of recipe inspiration with my recent trip to Belize, with a side trip to Guatemala. My Tropical Shrimp Civeche Tacos recipe was based on menu items I tried out there. This post will show you some of the Best Belize Activities and Restaurants during a 10 day trip I found.
It is by no means an extensive list as there are so many amazing things in the country of Belize. While we packed in daily activities, tours and restaurants, there was still so much more we wanted to try. We stayed in Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, San Pedro and the Tikal ruins in Guatemala. We didn’t stay in Belize City, so this guide won’t cover that. Read on for all the highlights and best Belize activities and restaurants during a 10 day trip. I can’t recommend it enough, and is a must for any travel list.
Best Belize Activities and Restaurants During a 10 Day Trip
We stayed in Caye Caulker (pronounced Key Caulker) the first 3 nights. This tiny island is about 5 miles long and surrounded by warm, vibrant, beautiful Caribbean seas. It’s very touristy, but not in a bad way. The official language of Belize is English, making travel very accessible. You can use American dollars anywhere, the exchange rate is an easy 2:1. You’ll feel right at home, safe overall just relaxed here. There are no cars on the island as you can walk pretty much anywhere. For further distances you can rent or take a golf cart taxi.
Best Activities in Caye Caulker:
- Caye Caulker Marine Preserve: There’s snorkeling and diving tours offered all over the island for a very reasonable rate. There’s half and full day tours that visit various places. The half day visits their local reef as well as a smaller version of shark ray alley. You literally swim with dozens of nurse sharks and stingrays, and is an experience like no other.
- Lazy Lizard Bar: The bar right at the end of the split has sand volleyball courts, live DJ, pool bar and good happy hour drinks.
- Beach time and swimming: Not all spots on the island offer accessible swimming due to sea grass. There’s some peers, but the best place is at the split where you can jump right in the water from the built-in sea wall. A good amount of our visit was spent just relaxing on the beach and in the warm ocean water.
Best Restaurants in Caye Caulker:
- Errolyns House of Fry Jacks: Best fry jacks in the country are offered at this little walk-up shack. For about $2-3 US you can get a huge fry jack filled with items such as beans, cheese, chicken, ham and/or egg. A fry jack is stuffed and fried piece of dough, with a fluffy, crispy and chewy texture.
- Wish Willy’s Picnic: This backyard-style restaurant (literally in a backyard) offers outdoor seating and a handwritten menu with limited, but delicious options. We had very affordable whole fish and a shrimp dish. One of our favorite meals of the trip.
- Blue Beard French Restaurant: A French restaurant in Belize? Yes and worth a visit. It’s right on the beach with beautiful views and a unique menu.
- Godfrye’s Seaside Grill: Tucked away near the water taxi docks you’ll find this gem of a restaurant. Nice atmosphere with a creative menu. Plus the best mojitos (which were blended slushee style) I’ve ever had.
- Chef Juan’s Kitchen and Pastries: A small walk-up shack with nice outdoor seating. They’re known for their whole lobsters (well technically all of Belize is) but we just missed the season. Instead I went with grilled conch steaks. A bit like calamari and definitely unique to Belize.
- Hibiscus: One of the most upscale restaurants on the island. The atmosphere and service is nice, but didn’t feel the food justified the high American prices.
- Ice N’ Beans: Another one of our favorites. This donut and coffee shop sits right on the beach with outside seating. We visited here daily for blended coffee drinks as well as this dessert, I mean breakfast, below.
We bypassed Belize City and took a bus straight to San Ignacio, about a 2 hour drive inland. This lovely town is one of the best spots on the island for tours and activities. The majority of them start from here. On top of that, the setting and restaurants are worth a visit alone.
Best Activities in San Ignacio:
- San Ignacio Farmer’s Market: This outdoor market happens daily, but Saturday is the main day when most vendors are there. You’ll find plenty of local produce and foods, handmade items, souvenirs and prepared street food.
- Xunantunich Ruins: This is a short 40 minute ride and an easy tour that brings you to one of the most unique ruins in Belize. It’s a large site, but easy to walk and can be done within a few hours. You’ll find some very unique carvings built right into the ruins.
- Cahal Pech Ruins: A very accessible ruins that’s just a short drive or 20 minute walk from downtown. You probably won’t spend more than an hour here, but worth it if you have time.
- Chaa Creek Butterfly Farm: This resort-style lodge offers a wide range of tours for guest or visitors. We didn’t stay there, but if budget allows it’s very popular with Americans. We stayed in town for a more authentic visit to experience local culture. You can take a 30 minute taxi ride each way for some of their tours. The butterfly farm is an informative tour where you learn about their hatching and rehabilitation efforts. You’ll stand among hundreds of vibrant blue butterflies and even get to hold some of them.
- Rum tasting at Marie Sharp’s: They offer hot sauce and jam tasting. The rum tasting was a unique opportunity to try your choice of six local rums. The owner does the hour-long tasting and provides fascinating details on the history and culture of Belize. Definitely a highlight of the trip.
- Caricol Ruins or Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave: We didn’t have time to do these tours as each is a full day trip. Based on research they come highly recommended.
Best Restaurants in San Ignacio:
- Great Mayan Prince: Lovely restaurant just a short walk from downtown. Beautiful setting, superb service and delicious food. Prices were extremely affordable: appetizers, two seafood mains, two desserts and a few rounds of drinks were under $40 US for two people. Best meal for the price we had out there.
- Authentic Flavors: As the name suggests a very authentic restaurant right in the heart of downtown. There’s a nice view from their upstairs seating. Highly recommend their mango fish tacos.
- Cenaida’s Belizean: A taqueria-style restaurant with great food and prices. Their micheladas are a must.
- Ko-ox Ham-nah: This was very popular and one of the few places that had a wait on the island. The food was decent but overall seemed a bit touristy and was probably over-hyped.
- Martha’s Guesthouse: A cute restaurant that’s part of an hotel. We had a simple Belize breakfast here. Service is a bit slow, but the setting is nice.
- Ice Cream Shoppe: A nice little ice cream shop with elaborate creations. The ice cream was good and best of all there’s cool AC and indoor seating.
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
This is another popular island in Belize. It’s about 1 hour and 30 minute boat ride from the mainland, and a lot larger and busier than Caye Caulker. While there’s more options here, we didn’t find the vibe and setting as nice. We only stayed a couple days, and didn’t have time to visit beaches outside of our resort. They may plenty of other great options, but I’ll discuss what we had time to do.
Best Activities in San Pedro:
- Hoi Chan Marine Reserve: This is another half or full day snorkel trip. Surprisingly our trip was shorter than the one at Caye Caulker, with less stops. Still worth doing but we liked the other reserve better.
- Shark Ray Alley: Usually part of the same tour and visits a spot where you can swim with nurse sharks and stingrays. It’s scary at first, but a surreal experience once you build up the courage to jump in.
Best Restaurants in San Pedro:
- Elvi’s Kitchen: An absolute must on the island. While it’s downtown and doesn’t have ocean views, it does have a sand floor. The fry jack tacos (ours were stuffed with carnitas) was probably the most unique and best tasting meal of the trip. We didn’t make it here till our last day, but would have came back for this dish multiple times if we could.
- El Fogon: A popular restaurant with outdoor seating and live music certain nights. The menu and food was good, but a bit pricey and service was extremely slow.
- Palapa Bar: Built right on the ocean, this bar and restaurant offers spectacular views and great drinks.
- Paradice Cream: A cute ice cream shop with a variety of unique flavors. The ice cream was amazing and there’s a chalkboard wall to document your visit and write where you are from.
We didn’t do much in Belize city as it’s not the safest and most tourist-friendly part of the country. We did visit the Belize Zoo. This world-famous zoo offers a unique experience to see local wildlife. The zoo rescues injured or abandoned animals, or ones that are likely to be killed by farmers, and provides a habitat that’s close to nature. They offer encounters with some of the animals to get you up close and personal. Like a full-size jaguar licking your forehead close!
Tikal Ruins: If you visit Belize then a side trip to Tikal should be mandatory. It’s a few hour tour ride from San Ignacio, and is the largest and most unique ruins in Central America. You can do a day trip, but will probably feel rushed. We opted for an overnight tour through Maximum Adventures.
It’s an investment but well worth the price. You leave at noon and arrive late afternoon. It includes an overnight stay at the Tikal Inn. Once settled you have private tour guide to take you through ruins. It ends with a climb up Temple 4 to watch the sunset over the jungle. The magical experience cannot be explained with words or even pictures. Then you return to the lodge for an authentic Guatemalan meal and well needed rest.
Next morning starts around 4 am for a trek through pitch black jungle (a guide is required) to another large temple. After a climb you sit atop and wait for the sunrise. The jungle literally comes alive with the sound of birds and howler monkeys. After the sun rises you explore more the ruins for a couple hours, then return to the lodge for breakfast before heading back to San Ignacio.
I wish we had additional time to explore more of Belize and Guatemala, but it was still an amazing trip with plenty of things to do and eat. While this guide of Best Belize Activities and Restaurants During a 10 Day Trip may only scratch the surface of this unique country, I hope you find it a good starting point for your next visit to Belize.