One week is just enough time to see a few of Belize’s major destinations and get a taste for just how much more there is to discover. This Belize itinerary includes plenty of self-guided activities, as well as some guided tours. One thing is certain: You won’t run out of things to do and see!

palm trees and kayaks on the beach in Caye Caulker

Enjoy the beach in laid-back Caye Caulker. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Day 1

Arrive at the international airport just outside of Belize City. Hop on your connecting Tropic Air domestic puddle-jumper flight to laid-back Caye Caulker; stay camera-ready to capture the gorgeous views. After dropping off your bags at the hotel, schedule a snorkel trip to Caye Caulker Marine Reserve for the next day, then watch sunset at The Split and Lazy Lizard Bar, the island’s social headquarters. Continue on with dinner alfresco at Habaneros—pick the fresh catch of the day and relax on the outdoor veranda. Walk the sandy streets up to I&I Reggae Bar for a drink on the rooftop and some island tunes.

a grouping of nurse sharks in belize

Nurse sharks in Caye Caulker. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Day 2

Today you’ll head out on a half-day morning snorkel trip to Caye Caulker’s Shark Ray Alley, before hopping over to San Pedro. Swim and snorkel alongside a dozen or more nurse sharks and stingrays, among other marine life, and admire coral gardens. Back on the island, grab your things and catch the early afternoon water taxi to bustling San Pedro. Spend the rest of the day walking around San Pedro Town, with plenty of opportunities to shop, eat, swim, bar hop, and be merry. Grab a romantic dinner at Finn & Martini or Maya specialties at Elvi’s Kitchen, and end the night with drinks at the beachfront Señor Marlin’s Sports Bar. If you’re a night owl, continue on to Jaguar’s Temple nightclub.

Day 3

Catch the first water taxi to Belize City. Stash your bags at the water taxi terminal while you explore the Swing Bridge, the Fort George area, and the Museum of Belize for an hour. Transfer to the Cayo District by bus, shuttle, or car. As you travel along the George Price Highway, visit The Belize Zoo or stop for a hike at Guanacaste National Park, near Belmopan.

Arrive in downtown San Ignacio and settle into your guesthouse or stay in Cahal Pech Village, with stunning views and access to nearby ruins. For more solitude, opt for Black Rock Lodge, one of the area’s remote jungle lodges. Spend the evening strolling the mellow town, then grab food at Crave House of Flavors on West Street.

aerial view of the maya ruins of xunantunich in Belize

Pay a visit to Xunantunich Archaeological Site. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Days 4-5

Rise early and visit the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, either on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. Or opt instead for a canoe trip up the Macal River. Depending on the water level, you might make it to duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge, where you can tour the Belize Botanic Gardens. If you’re more adventurous, spend the day on an exhilarating cave trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve.

Day 6

Inland or island? A couple of puddle-jumper flights—or a drive down the Hummingbird Highway—will get you to Dangriga. Take an afternoon trip to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can hike through the rainforest past fresh jaguar tracks and chill in waterfalls under a green canopy. End the night with dinner back in Dangriga at Pelican Beach Resort and head to town for cold beers and dominoes under a thatch cabana at Wadani Shed.

Island lovers could instead hop on a boat and transfer to nearby Tobacco Caye or South Water Caye for diving and snorkeling along the pristine southern barrier reef and some blissful beach time. These islands are oh-so-stunning and romantic.

Day 7

Take a Tropic Air puddle-jumper flight back to Belize City, and start planning your return.

two women sitting in lounge chairs on Hopkins Beach

Extend your stay with a visit to Hopkins and soak in the Garifuna culture. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Extend Your Stay

From Dangriga, catch the first bus down to Hopkins and soak in some Garifuna culture, go beachcombing, and enjoy fine dining. Sign up for a drumming lesson at Lebeha Drumming Center or a half-day Garifuna cooking class at Palmento Grove Lodge. Bury your toes in the sand while enjoying a traditional Garifuna meal at Laruni Hati Beyabu Diner, or wine and dine at Chef Rob’s Gourmet Cafe.

Spend the next day fishing, lazing in a hammock, or bicycling through Hopkins to the nearby village of Sittee River.

This one-week best of Belize itinerary gives just enough time to see a few of Belize’s major destinations and get a taste for just how much there is to do in this Central America destination.  It includes plenty of activities, as well as guided tours.

Excerpted from the Twelfth Edition of Moon Belize.