Belize has some special ingredients for a family holiday. It's both affordable and safe, especially compared to other Caribbean destinations, and it's small and easy to navigate. Belizeans are famously friendly, and traveling with kids will often break down barriers between tourists and residents, sometimes opening doors to local hospitality.
Best Regions for Kids
- Belize District
Many of the Belize District activities and attractions are designed with the cruise-ship passenger in mind. Turns out that cruisers and kids have some of the same criteria: fun stuff that's easy to reach and easy to enjoy in a limited time frame.
- Northern Cayes
The boat ride itself is a sort of adventure. Once you reach these paradisiacal islands, the adventure continues with swimming, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and more traditional beach fare.
- Cayo District
Older kids especially will enjoy the wild west and all of its jungle activities.
Belize for Kids
Fun & Games
Attractions in Belize – sea life, exploring caves, climbing ruins, watching for birds, wildlife and bugs – will delight kids as much as grown-ups. Most tours and activities can easily accommodate children and teenagers, although they are generally not appropriate for toddlers and babies. With these wee ones, activities might be limited to playing on the beach, swimming in the sea and swinging in the hammock. That's not the worst vacation either.
Most towns and tourist destinations have parks and public beaches where your little ones can frolic with the locals. If your child speaks English, there'll be no language barrier to mixing with local kids.
Your kids will probably be happy to eat most typical Belizean and Mexican foods, such as sandwiches, rice and beans, fried chicken, hamburgers and tacos. Bakery goods, pasta and pizzas are additional favorites. Tropical fruit smoothies are delicious and healthy.
For the most part, Belize is safe and healthy for you and your family. Be cautious concerning insect bites, sunburn and, of course, water and sanitation.
If you do not intend to do much traveling around the interior, consider going local. Public intercity transport is usually on old American school buses that have retired to Belize, so your kids will probably be familiar and comfortable (as long as the journey is not too long). Most car-rental companies can provide child seats – usually free of charge – but it's advisable to inquire when you make your reservation. Around the cays, most transportation is by boat, which is a fun activity in itself.
Belize attracts plenty of families for an exciting and exotic adventure vacation.
Action & Adventure
- Caving As long as your kids are not afraid of the dark, they will be thrilled by cave-tubing at Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve or canoeing into Barton Creek Cave.
- Maya ruins All of the Maya ruins offer a chance for kids to run, climb and explore.
- Horseback Riding Some Cayo lodges offer jungle horseback riding, including Banana Bank Lodge and Mountain Equestrian Lodge.
- Ziplining Ride Belize's fabulous ziplines across the jungle canopy at Mayflower Bocawina National Park, Calico Jack's or Angel Falls Belize Xtreme Adventures.
- Belize District Besides hiking, biking, kayaking and horseback riding, Bacab Eco Park also has an amazing swimming pool.
- Ambergris Caye Kids get a kick out of fish. Take them snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye.
- Belize District Sightings (and hearings) of the black howler monkey are practically guaranteed at the Community Baboon Sanctuary.
- Belize District Children love to get up-close-and-personal with the animals at the Belize Zoo. Even teens are keen on the night safari.
- San Ignacio Kids come face to face with some scaly monsters at the Green Iguana Exhibit at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel.
- Around Placencia For traditional sun-and-sand activities like sandcastle-building, kite-flying and wave-wading, beaches are the best at Placencia or Hopkins.
- Central Cayes Snorkeling and kayaking are on your doorstep at family-friendly Thatch Caye or budget-friendly Tobacco Caye.
- Ambergris Caye Children's yoga classes are just the beginning of the fun at Ak'bol Yoga.
- Ambergris Caye The giant waterslide into the sea, floating trampoline and sailing classes are sure to keep little ones entertained at Caribbean Villas.
- Hummingbird Hwy Many exciting land adventures can be delivered in one handy place at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.
- Bullet Tree Falls Your family can sleep in a tree house at Parrot Nest Jungle Lodge.
- Cayo District Trek Stop is an affordable ecolodge with loads of kid-friendly fun.
- Punta Gorda Explorers will get lost and found again in the jungle maze at Hickatee Cottages.
- Toledo District The cool cabins at Cotton Tree Lodge are connected by a jungle boardwalk.
- Belize District Life-size replicas of Garifuna homesteads and logging camp scenes bring history to life at Old Belize outside of Belize City.
- Cayo District Learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and play disc golf at Tropical Wings Nature Center.
- Toledo District At Ixcacao Maya Belizean Chocolate kids can learn how to make chocolate with plenty of tasting throughout the process.
- Hopkins Kids will enjoy learning Garifuna drumming at Lebeha or other schools in the village.
Successful travel with children requires some forethought.
When to Go
Kids are less likely to tolerate the tropical showers that occur often during the rainy season. Considering that Belize is an outdoor-activity sort of place, you're better off taking your children during the drier months (December to May).
Before You Go
Make sure your children are up-to-date on all their routine vaccinations such as chicken pox, tetanus and measles, in addition to any special vaccinations recommended for Belize.
What to Pack
In the towns and tourist destinations, grocery stores are stocked with basic necessities, but you are not guaranteed to find the exact brand your child is accustomed to, so make sure you bring enough supplies. Other more specialized children's items might be difficult to find.
Feature: Don't Leave Home Without…
- Child-safe sun block
- Child-safe insect repellent
- Children's painkillers
- Swim diapers
Where to Stay
- Most hotels, lodges and resorts welcome children – some with special activities and even childcare. Many places allow children (usually under the age of 12) to stay for free or at a reduced rate. The icon c indicates accommodations that are family-friendly.
- Look for suites, cabins and condos that have the possibility of self-catering (eg in-room kitchenette). Eating at 'home' is an easy way to save money on meals, to make sure everybody gets to eat what they want, and to avoid waiting for tables and the other hassles of dining out with children.
- Inquire in advance about the availability of high chairs and cribs at your accommodations. Some resorts and restaurants will be able to provide these upon request but it's worth finding out for certain so you can make alternative arrangements if necessary.
- Holiday rental sites such as Airbnb are a good option for booking houses or apartments.