Sabbatical & Experiential Travel to Belize
Holidays & Sabbaticals to Belize – In a Nutshell
A tiny, tropical country that packs a serious punch, thanks to 200 idyllic coral islands speckling its Caribbean coast (the cayes), and swathes of inland jungle, home to elusive jaguars and bright toucans. Probably the most easygoing Central American country to visit – English speaking, with far fewer tourists and friendly locals. Travel still feels like a discovery here.
World-class diving and snorkelling along the world’s second-longest coral reef and in the depths of the world-renowned Blue Hole. Homeplace to the Mayan civilisation, you can visit 600+ extraordinary archaeological sites, including Xunantunich’s tombs and hieroglyphs, Altun Ha and the jungle-clad Caracol. A real melange of cultures and influences, notably laid-back Creole, modern-day Mayan and Mestizo. Belize epitomises tropical charm – colourful beach houses, iridescent birds of paradise, super-fresh seafood, and a lot of rum. Plus an infectious drumming beat wherever you go.
How to Get to Belize
You can travel overland from Guatemala or Mexico, but most fly here and arrive in Belize City. There are no direct flights from the UK or mainland Europe – you need to go via Miami from London Heathrow – approx. 11 hours’ flight time. If you’re coming from the US, you can take flights from most major cities – flight times range from 2-9 hours. From Belize City you can take hopper flights to Caye Caulker, Placencia, Corozal and Ambergris Caye. Get around by local bus or hire a car; driving is easy and relaxed here, and roads are good. Ferries, water taxis, private boats and light aircraft serve the cayes.
When & Weather – Belize
Temperatures and humidity are high all year and there are two distinct seasons: — Dry season (December to April) and Green season (May to November) which is when most of the rains occur. The stronger hurricanes usually take place between late September and late November. Prices are lower in the Green season, and there are fewer tourists. Temperatures range between 16°C (60°F) and 32°C (90°F).
Who will Belize Appeal To?
Its tropical climate and stunning natural landscapes are best suited to:
- Active travellers
- Solo travellers
- Wildlife enthusiasts
- Watersports lovers
- Budding archaeologists
We work with upmarket boutique hotels and small, relaxed beach resorts, eco-cabanas, jungle lodges, quaint guesthouses and homestays in the Maya villages.
Off The Beaten Path
- Partake in a drumming lesson with the Garifuna masters in Dangriga or Punta Gorda, then participate in a local ceremony
- Linger at Lamanai’s Mayan ruins without the tourists, accessible only by boat
- Hike nature trails by night to see the jungle come to life near Cayo; best done with a naturalist guide
- Visit Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM), a vast limestone cave used by Mayans for sacred ceremonies and rituals. You’ll see the skeletons of sacrificial victims!
- Admire San Pedro’s colourful buildings, then take a golf buggy out to Secret Beach, where you can float on a rubber ring to watch the sun set, a freshly cut coconut in-hand
- Snorkel and dive in translucent water around the emptier atolls. We love Silk Caye near Placencia, with its sparkling blue tube coral and shoals of Angel Fish
- Kayak and wild camp along the Macal and Mopan Rivers, where local people live and bathe, and tropical birds flit around the jungle and cliffs
- River tube through the ancient Caves Branch in Cayo district
- Swap busy Caye Caulker for the smaller, isolated cayes. South Water is particularly lovely, all empty white-sand beaches and hammocks strung between palm trees
- Belize’s 185-mile coral reef is a Unesco site, home to masses of marine life, including eagle rays, barracuda, endangered hawksbill turtles and manatees
- Whale sharks appear around Placencia from April-June
- Inland, you’ll see (or at least hear!) howler monkeys in the myriad nature reserves, along with ocelots, tapirs and coatimundis. For big cats head to Cockscomb Basin
- This is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 570 species. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place for binoculars
- Watch hermit crabs scuttle across the beach on Half Moon Caye
Belize Experiences you shouldn’t miss:
- Visiting Xunantunich, the most famous Mayan site, with incredible preserved detail. Climb its steps for panoramic jungle views
- Or exploring Caracol in Cayo District, which has a 140ft-high Caana pyramid
- Snorkelling with manta rays and nurse sharks off Ambergris Caye
- Kayaking along Stann Creek or through the knotted mangroves of South Caye Marine Reserve
- Learning the process of bean to bar chocolate making with a cacao cooperative near Punta Gorda
- Flying over or diving into the Blue Hole, a 400ft-deep turquoise sinkhole, and a World Heritage Site
- Sport fishing – learn to spear invasive lionfish!
- Hiking through Mayflower Bocawina National Park, where you can swim in natural pools, rapel down waterfalls and zipline over banana palms and emerald jungle
- Swimming around Glover’s Reef Atoll – a string of half a dozen white-sand islands
- Visiting St John’s Cathedral in Belize City, the oldest Anglican Church in South America, handbuilt from red bricks that English ships sailed across the ocean in the 1800s
- Taking a scenic drive along the Hummingbird Highway, keeping your eyes peeled for the tiny birds
Donate or Volunteer at the Cornerstone Foundation or Wildtracks Belize:
Based in San Ignacio, The Cornerstone Foundation is a community development organisation, dedicated to improving the lives of people in the local community through education, awareness and support. Volunteer opportunities exist for a week or longer commitment.
Wildtracks Belize is a non-profit conservation organisation focused on the protection of endangered species. Current projects are based around manatee and primate protection as well as education and biodiversity. The minimum committment is one month. See: Wildtracks Belize
Our experienced team will guide you through a number of ideas based on how you would like to experience Belize.
No matter how long you have to travel, we’ll guide you through the planning process to ensure a trip is carefully pieced together to suit your interests, pace of travel and budget.
Consider visiting Belize in combination with Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua or Panama.
Browse our gallery for inspiration and read the signature itinerary below to whet your appetite.