Aug 182012
 
Snorkeling in RIDICULOUSLY beautiful Laughing Bird Caye during our Honeymoon in Belize.

Snorkeling in RIDICULOUSLY beautiful Laughing Bird Caye during our Honeymoon in Belize.

When I’m planning to travel to a new place, I appreciate browsing recommended itineraries detailing where to go and for how long.

To this end, here is the full 12-day itinerary for our amazing Honeymoon in Belize. As always, click highlighted words to go to the more in-depth articles. Colin and I loved the combination of places and the timing we settled upon, and we think you will, too!

We were scared to take these tiny planes around Belize, but they were actually wonderful!

We were scared to take these tiny planes around Belize, but they were actually wonderful!

Day 1:
Fly to Belize City early in the day, then without even leaving the airport, fly directly (we used the exciting little planes of Tropic Air) to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Have the rest of the day to chill out around the hotel and its beach, wander San Pedro, swim, and eat.

Very happy Honeymooning in our beautiful San Pedro resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize!

Very happy Honeymooning in our beautiful San Pedro resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize!

Day 2:
Take a snorkeling day tour! Wear LOTS of sunscreen and re-apply so you don’t get burned like we did, or even wear a shirt and leggings. Our snorkeling voyage took us on a boat to one section of the reef where we saw tons of fish and a sinister-looking eel, then to “Shark Alley” where we swum with (and hugged!) nurse sharks and stingrays. Colin held a giant ray in the air like a pizza!

Swimming with nurse sharks and rays in Ambergris Caye. This photo was taken before Colin hugged the sharks!

Swimming with (and hugging?!) nurse sharks and rays in Ambergris Caye. The sea is clear as a pool!

Day 3:
Take a Scuba lesson (or, if you’re a scaredy-cat like me, explore the town while your husband learns to dive 30 feet underwater). That evening, wander Ambergris Caye and branch out to some further-flung, highly recommended restaurants. Check out the San Pedro nightlife, or just have a quiet night in with the complimentary DVDs many hotels offer.

After getting very lost, we ended up eating at this amazing Ambergris Caye restaurant: Fresh fish, beans, rice, and plantains. Yum!

After getting lost, we ended up eating a scrumptious fresh fish lunch at this Ambergris Caye restaurant.

Day 4:
Take the boat (45 minutes and just a few dollars) from San Pedro to super chilled-out Caye Caulker. We only stayed on that island one night, but it would be fun to stay two. On Caye Caulker, your brain will become so relaxed, you will probably just happily wander, swim, eat, and swing in hammocks. We did see some people kite-surfing, though, so there are also good adventure opportunities.

The water taxi between Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker had some of the cutest kids we'd ever seen!

The water taxi between Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker had some of the cutest kids we’d ever seen.

Day 5:
Take the water taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City (one hour) and then arrange transport to San Ignacio (2 hours). We were curious about Belize City but were repeatedly recommended not to spend time there as “it’s dangerous” and “there’s not much to do there as a tourist.”

Ways to get to San Ignacio from Belize City include bus (U.S. school buses turned into Belize’s very affordable public transport system), taxi (more expensive), and private shuttle (more expensive but we splurged on it because it was air conditioned, roomy, and enjoyable). You cannot fly into San Ignacio, but you could fly to Belmopan (Belize’s teeny tiny capital city) and take a 40-minute taxi from there. Once you arrive, settle into your San Ignacio hotel and relax!

San Ignacio is the jungle and adventure "Indiana Jones" region of Belize... But there are some unbelievable hotel options like our San Ignacio resort, pictured above. WOW!

Western Belize is the jungle and adventure “Indiana Jones” region… But there are some unbelievable hotel options in San Ignacio, like our resort, pictured above. WOW!

Day 6:
Do a full day swimming-hiking tour of the ATM Mayan Caves. I have traveled all around the world and I can say this ATM tour was one of the best things I’ve done in my life!!! It’s intense, scary, and arduous, and you need to wear closed-toe sneakers (which you will swim with so they get soaked completely) but the tour is SO WORTH IT. We splurged for a private guide instead of a large group, and it was unbelievable: Just us three alone in the depths of the earth with glittering rock formations all around, and ancient bones of Mayan sacrifices. WOW.

Colin and me while hiking the fabulous Xunantunich Mayan ruins in Western Belize.

Colin and me while hiking the fabulous Xunantunich Mayan ruins in Western Belize.

Day 7:
Hike Mayan ruins! From San Ignacio, you have several options, including Xunantunich (10 minutes by car or 1.5 hours on horseback), famous and sprawling Tikal in Guatemala (2 hours), or Caracol (2 hours).  We opted to hike Xunantunich because it was closer and more manageable than Tikal, and we loved it!

Note: Most people would suggest you switch Day 6 and 7 (to do the ruins before the caves) so that your sneakers are dry for the ruins, but I was nervous about the caves and thus wanted to do them first. Xunantunich was small and easy enough to hike with my beloved hiking sandals.

Much of the landscape we drove through in central Belize was lush, green, and delightful like this.

Much of the landscape we drove through in central Belize was lush, green, and delightful like this.

Our plan for the rest of the day was to tour San Igancio’s iguana sanctuary (where you can stick iguanas all over your body) and then take a sunset horse ride, but we were so sun-stroked and exhausted from accidentally walking 2 miles along the highway in the hot sun (read the article to find out why) that we only had energy to eat a nice dinner in San Ignacio, wander the town, then sleep!

The bursting colors of our resort on the long beach peninsula of southern Belize, Placencia.

The bursting colors of our resort on the long beach peninsula of southern Belize, Placencia.

Day 8:
In the morning, depart San Ignacio for Placencia (3-4 hours, driving). You can take a cheap local bus (which are not air conditioned and are cramped for 6-footers like us), take a taxi to Belmopan then fly, take a taxi, or splurge (as we did, again, forgive us softie Honeymooners) on a private shuttle.

Between destinations, we got to see a gibnut, also known as "Royal Rat." What an animal!

Between destinations, we got to see a gibnut, also known as “Royal Rat.” What an animal!

What we adored about the shuttle (besides the affable conversation with the driver about Belize’s hidden stories) was that we could request stops along the way at no extra charge. We LOVED swimming in the inland Blue Hole (different from Belize’s OTHER Blue Hole way out in the ocean, this one is an azure-colored cenote kettle hole in the jungle), eating ice-cream made by the Amish-like Mennonites (!), and watching the car be pulled up the “Magnetic Hill.” We also delighted in the countryside (lush, green, and uncrowded), and in getting our many Belize questions answered by the driver. Once you arrive, settle in, swim, and enjoy your Placencia hotel.

The town of Placencia, Belize, boasts the "narrowest main street in the world." This is it!

The town of Placencia, Belize, boasts the “narrowest main street in the world.” This is it!

Day 9:
Explore the super-long, beautiful peninsula that Placencia is on. Walk along the beach to Placencia, proper, where you can trot along “the narrowest main street in the world” and browse the shops. Go out on an ocean kayak as the sun is setting. Consider renting a fishing pole and spending the evening trying to catch dinner!

Post-snorkeling at Laughing Bird Caye, we ate a delicious picnic and gazed at this view.

Post-snorkeling at Laughing Bird Caye, we ate a delicious picnic and gazed at this view.

Day 10:
Do a snorkeling day-tour out to an island (we went to Laughing Bird Caye with Splash Belize, which was PARADISE). After the sun sets, check out Placencia’s nightlife, or spend the evening relaxing and watching the sea.

A howler monkey (SO LOUD!) high in the trees during our Monkey River tour and jungle trek. We saw a ton of other animals, including giant iguanas and alligators!

A howler monkey (SO LOUD!) high in the trees during our Monkey River tour and jungle trek. We saw many other animals on the tour, including giant iguanas and alligators!

Day 11:
Take a day tour of Monkey River, gliding down the water and gaping at the wildlife on the shores, then trekking into the jungle to see howler monkeys (insane!) and countless other flora and fauna. Make sure to pack long pants and closed-toed shoes for this, along with insect repellant and a swimsuit for swimming in the river after the tour and before the local Belizean lunch. Have a romantic dinner that night by the ocean.

The view as we approached the tiny paradise island of Laughing Bird Caye to snorkel.

The view as we boated away from the tiny paradise island of Laughing Bird Caye, Belize.

Day 12:
Fly directly from Placencia to Belize City on one of the local tiny planes. Flights are safe and frequent, and you can purchase tickets online very close to the departure date. (The drive takes hours and is far less comfortable and fun.) Connect to your international flight without leaving the airport and head home, full of relaxation, good feelings, and happy memories of your Belize vacation!

Our beautiful resort in Placencia, Belize.

Gazing at the ocean from Placencia. What a lovely Honeymoon in Belize we had!

There you have our recommended Belize travel itinerary. Got questions or comments? Folks who are Belize experts, what part of this travel plan would you alter or add to?

For all 8 articles from our Honeymoon in Belize, click here!

Tempted to click another article? Do it...

  34 Responses to “Belize Travel Itinerary for Couples: Our Honeymoon Plan”

  1. Hello! My finace and are considering Belize for our Honeymoon, and I stumbled upon this itinerary – really appreciate you taking the time to put this together!! Especially as we’d like to go “off the beaten path”, but it’s often hard to know what’s safe or worth it until you get there (we tried going “off the beaten path” in Mexico last year, and I wouldn’t recommend it….). Anyway, if you’re willing to divulge, I was wondering if you would be able to provide some sort of estimate for how much it all cost at the end of the day. My fiance and I will likely be doing a honeymoon registry as we’ve been living together and don’t really need (or have room for) any more stuff! But I’m not really sure how much we should budget for for hotels and transportation, especially as we’d probably opt for the private shuttle as well. I’d love to get your input if you’re willing to share! Thanks!

    • So glad it’s helpful! Alas, with the passage of time I’ve forgotten budget details, but I will tell you that instead of having a regular registry, we also did a honeymoon registry (funds towards the honeymoon). It was so much more enjoyable than a bunch of new spoons!

  2. Hey Lillie –

    Thanks so much for putting this all together – extremely helpful for planning a trip in February.

    Quick Question – Do you happen to remember what water taxi you used? Your boat looks a lot nicer than some of the pictures ive seen for other providers where it is an open boat. How as it trying to carry luggage?

    Best,

    Phil

    • Glad it’s helpful! We loved our time in Belize. Regarding which water taxi we used, I am forgetting the name, but it was the main one that popped up in Google searches and local recommendations. In general, tourist infrastructure in Belize was good, and the boats were fine, as was carrying luggage. Best of luck, and keep us posted on your travels!

  3. Hi!

    I was wondering what type of camera you had during your trip? I have a Canon T3i (a DSLR) and a smaller point and shoot camera… and I don’t know which one to bring with me! I am afraid that my Canon might get stollen… do you think it is safe to bring it with me in Belize?

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us your great experience in Belize!!!

    • I have a small point-and-shoot camera that is still high quality, and felt perfectly safe with it. (I don’t own a DSLR.) In general, Belize is a very safe country, especially compared to a lot of the other Latin American countries I have traveled through. Plenty of people had giant DSLRs and had zero problems. Either should be fine. Have a great time!!

  4. Hi Lillie!! So my fiance and I are planning on spending our honeymoon in Belize in December! We are trying to decide which area of Belize would be best to stay in. We’re looking seriously at Ka’ana Resort but I’m worried it’s too far away from town. The idea of being able to walk to town and eat at local restaurants is HIGH on my list. We don’t really want an all-inclusive resort because we still want to feel like we have freedom to go do whatever (mainly eat wherever we want haha). So I was wondering if you could suggest resort/hotels that are in actual towns so we could go explore (but I still wanna feel safe).

    • Kylie,
      Oooh, exciting! You will have such a great time. There are a number of great places to stay, but I can’t recommend any in particular. I’d suggest using a user rating website such as Tripadvisor to see what the popular opinion is on different places. That usually steers me in the right direction. And make sure to consider doing a tour of the ATM caves for recreation… Very intense and physical, but such an experience!!!

  5. I notice you traveled by private shuttle. Do you recall the costs and who did you book your transportation with?

    • Hi Judy,
      We decided to splurge on the private shuttle (we found a few companies by Google searches and assessing the reviews), and it was somewhat pricey, but made the journey a lot easier. Unfortunately, transport around Belize is more expensive than much of the rest of Latin America, but it balances out by how lovely it is. Good luck!

  6. Where did you stay in San Ignacio? That looks amazing!

  7. Oh, you do look like happy honeymooners. These gorgeous pics of Belize show what a romantic place it really is. Great itinerary – would love to follow it sometime.

  8. Hi Lillie!

    I’m so happy I found your blog! I’m also a teacher traveler, and as a result am having quite the debacle deciding on my honeymoon location! I think we have decided on Belize (for the same reasons as you – close, tropical, but not just a beach, etc), but I cannot figure out which beach to choose. We’re thinking 10 days, and we don’t want to do a ton of hopping around, probably only two places. We’re definitely going to San Ignacio – but I can’t decide between San Pedro, Placencia, & Caye Caulker for the beach. We are off the beaten path travelers (Koh Phi Phi was way too many drunk college kids and speed boats for us. But being that it’s our honeymoon, and we’ll probably be at the same beach for several days, we want restaurants and beach bars outside of our hotel too. I would love to hear any thoughts or recs you have. Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Emily

    • Glad you found me! Sounds like we have a lot of commonalities.

      I would recommend picking at least two or three different places to stay for a 10 day Honeymoon. As you can see from our itinerary, we moved around a lot but it didn’t feel rushed because the country is VERY small (the size of Massachusetts). Definitely stay in San Ignacio, and for your beach time, you can’t really go wrong, but I think I would choose either San Pedro or Caye Caulker because they’re easier to get around on foot than Placencia. Read my “which is better” post about Caulker vs. Ambergris here: http://www.aroundtheworldl.com/2012/07/28/caye-caulker-vs-ambergris-caye-belize-which-wins/ . Sort of depends if you want a bit more bustle and amenities versus a suuuuuuper relaxed, tiny island with no cars. Whatever you pick will be amazing, though. Ultimately your Honeymoon is about each other, right? :)

      Have a wonderful time, and keep us posted!

  9. Ahh…beautiful photos and you are so lucky. When I was in Belize, i got evacuated because of the the hurricane warning! All my travel plan got blown away, excepte diving in the blue holes!…Would love to go back after seeing this post:)

  10. What a lovely honeymoon! Sounds like Belize rolled out the green carpet.

  11. Now I want a Gibnut.

    What a wonderful honeymoon you two had, it was a pleasure to read about it. :)

  12. These are some amazing shots… love the itinerary too. I guess the gibnut would be what they are referring to when they say there are rats as big as small dogs!

  13. Looks like a honeymoon for the story books – beautiful!

  14. Awesome recap and itinerary! Just to clarify on flying from your flying from Placencia to Belize City portion….there are two airports “in” Belize City. If you fly to Belize Municipal Airstrip (which is cheaper) you will have to take a taxi to the international airport. If you want to connect straight to your international plane, you fly into Belize International Airport. I have seen people accidentally book Muni and then find themselves surprised when they need to catch a taxi.

  15. Amazing pictures and a great trip overview, Lillie. What a wonderful honeymoon the both of you had! I can see why Belize is such a destination. I have a friend who’s looking into some post-wedding options and I’ll send a link his way. Enjoy the rest of summer…

  16. This is awesome! And the pics are gorgeous. I have a couple questions.
    1) I hate waves and am afraid of them. How were the boat rides? Not too bumpy? I’m sure it varies according to the time of year and the weather patterns, but thought I’d ask.
    2) How did Colin like scuba diving? Safe/reliable and beautiful?

    • Thanks! Answers:

      1) Boat rides were so-so. They were all safe and organized but some were a little bumpy when there was wind. Luckily Belize is so small that none of the boat journeys was longer than an hour! We were glad, however, that our first Belize transportation experience was the small plane to Ambergris Caye rather than the boat there. It was more glamorous and smoother. Taking the boat back to the mainland then was a fun change to sample different types of transport.

      2) Colin LOVED Scuba diving and insists that I come with him next time because it was so great. There are lots and lots of highly recommended Scuba courses in Belize and you can easily find ratings online on sites like TripAdvisor.

      Keep us posted on your travels!

    • Great to know! Eric and I got open water scuba certified last December. I’m still a little scared doing it, but it’s really cool. Glad Colin had a good experience. Always like to hear from people first-hand.

  17. GORGEOUS pictures and looks like a great trip. I really need to get to Placencia…

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