Belize in January
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 7:49 AM Last Post By: hopefulist
Nov 12, 2012 7:30 PM
Belize in JanuaryHello all,
A friend and I are headed to Belize for a couple of weeks beginning Jan 12. We are both seasoned travelers, but have never been to such a vacation oriented destination (no judgement there - we're kind of pumped). We've booked our first 4 nights in Cayo to get our bearings, then we had planned on winging it. There's a lot of debate on this forum about booking vs not booking. Is not booking a reasonable thing to do that time of year for budget travelers as long as we're not married to a particular lodging? I got caught once in Otavalo, Ecuador without a place to stay, and it was kind of a long night that I don't care to repeat.
Nov 13, 2012 5:53 AM
1Although January is high season in Belize, there's usually a slowdown after the first week or so of January that lasts through the month, before ratcheting back up to the peak in March (the biggest month of the year for tourism in Belize) and at Easter.
Overall, annual hotel occupancy rate in Belize is only around 40%, so on average six of ten rooms are empty.
You can certainly find places to stay in January, although some places -- typically the best-value and best-run properties -- may be full on a given night.
Actually, I don't think it's accurate to describe Belize as "such a vacation oriented destination." Belize gets the fewest number of international tourists of any country in Central America, and outside of three or four areas -- Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia in particular -- tourism is not the #1 local industry.
At least that's been my experience traveling in Belize over the past 21 or 22 years.
Nov 13, 2012 8:41 AM
2For most of Belize, most of the time, I wouldn't reserve in advance.
However, there are some instances when I would reserve in advance...
1. Ambergris Caye does not have a lot of lower budget accommodation -- I'd reserve.
2. Caye Caulker has a good selection of lower budget accommodation, but Yuma's House hostel is very popular -- if you have your eye on that place, I'd reserve.
3. Weekends on the cayes can get busy and the lower budget places will fill first -- I'd reserve if arriving on a weekend.
4. Holiday periods.
If you don't reserve, it won't mean you'll be sleeping in a park. You will find a room, but will be paying $20 to $40 more.
Nov 14, 2012 7:48 AM
3Post #2 gives good advice; I just want to add two points
1. If you want to be on the beach, reserve;
2. If you are stuck and can't find anything in your "budget range", as Mr B said you will be paying more, in other words, look at the higher price options, not the cheaper ones - there is probably a good reason why they are not full.
Nov 28, 2012 4:33 PM
4I agree, as long as you don't care where you stay you will be alright.
LAN, I find it hard to believe that Belize gets less international tourists then El Salvador and Nicaragua. I believe they have surpassed just about everything but Costa Rica and maybe Panama. They are a big tourist business now.
Dec 8, 2012 7:22 PM
Dec 9, 2012 6:54 AM
This is the World Bank ranking of international tourist arrivals in Central America. Some of these numbers go back a couple of years, but they haven't changed that much and the relative rankings don't change. See http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ST.INT.ARVL
One big reason that Belize ranks so low is that it gets very few Spanish-speaking visitors from other CA countries, Mexico or South America.
Another is that Belize's total population is low, so it gets few visits from former citizens now living in the U.S. or elsewhere and returning home to visit family, whereas countries with much larger populations such as Guatemala (15 million versus 330,000 or so for Belize) get a bunch, and they count as international visitors (which of course they are). I throw in Mexico, just for reference, even though it's not a part of Central America.
1. Costa Rica -- 2,100,000
2. Guatemala -- 1,876,000
3. Panama -- 1,324,000
4. El Salvador -- 1,150,000
5. Nicaragua -- 1,011,000
6. Honduras -- 896,000
7. Belize -- 239,000
Mexico -- 22,260,000
Dec 9, 2012 7:49 AM
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