Its rich variety of sights and experiences means Belize has something for everyone, not least families looking for a dream vacation.
Belize is the ultimate family vacation destination, a place of wonder that inspires curiosity across all generations. White sandy beaches dotted with palms line Belize’s stretching coastline. Inland, these transform into dense green jungles bursting with a cacophony of sounds from the abundant wildlife that lives within. Slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts, its size bears no indication of its variety, but the Caribbean nation promises new experiences around every corner.
The exceptional climate and laid-back lifestyle ensure those who just want to tune out from the rest of the world will not go unsatisfied. However, the evocative colors, sounds, and smells that one expects from the Caribbean are also in full force. As the only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize is a nation that welcomes tourists with open arms, and conversations with friendly locals further enrich this paradise.
This jungle haven has a wealth of history to offer. Belize was once a central hub for the Great Maya civilization with iconic sites such as Caracol, Lamanai, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich still standing. Explore the tall temples jutting out from the canopy emblazoned with carved faces that inspire wonder in all.
With multiple ages to please, a family holiday can be a challenge. Yet, Belize will ensure everyone leaves rested and invigorated. Belize is an unbeatable family vacation destination, offering ample opportunities for time spent together and memories that will last a lifetime.
A cultural melting pot
Due to its location as part of Central America, yet dominated by a Caribbean coastline, the culture of Belize is incredibly diverse. Visitors quickly integrate into the laid-back lifestyle of the locals and get to truly experience what Belize is all about.
Most will arrive in Belize via the airport in Belize City, the nation’s largest settlement. That being said, it’s far from a metropolis. Part of the charm of Belize is its ease of travel that extends to its towns and cities. With a population of around 60,000, Belize City acts as a hub for surrounding activities and cultural attractions, yet it does not dominate the beautiful natural landscape.
Found just outside the city, Belize Zoo is the perfect stop for a family looking to learn more about Belize’s diverse wildlife, before exploring further and seeing some of these amazing creatures in their natural habitats.
Additionally, visitors in February will delight at the annual Placencia Sidewalk Festival which in 2023 is taking place February 11-12. Hosted by the Belize Tourism Industry Association, this event highlights the cultural prowess displayed by some of Belize’s multi-talented artists. The Sidewalk Festival highlights the wide variety of art, fashion, and cuisine that is enjoyed by the locals.
Perfect for families of all ages, this festival is a great way to instantly immerse into Belize’s vibrant culture. The festival can be found on the sidewalk in Placencia which is one of the narrowest streets in the world.
An ancient past
While Belize City is a bustling hub of culture, sights, smells and sounds, many visitors will be craving a glimpse into the ancient history of Belize. With numerous stone temples, monuments and cities to be found hidden in Belize’s dense jungle, families will love exploring and discovering what new mystery lies around each corner.
A stay in Belize would be incomplete without a visit to Caracol, the country’s largest Maya site and once one of the largest ancient Maya cities in the world. Once containing an estimated population of around 150,000, Caracol was home to almost three times more people than Belize City is today.
It is believed that the majority of Caracol was constructed between 484 AD and 889 AD. During this period over 40 monuments were constructed including the site’s largest pyramid, Caana — translated as Sky Place. This structure is 143 feet tall and to this day remains the tallest man-made structure that can be found in Belize.
While the sprawling Caracol is located in South-West Belize, the site of Lamanai was also once a major Maya city and can be found in Northern Belize. Lamanai is significant due to the length of the period it was used.
It is believed the site was first settled permanently in around 400 BC and unlike many Maya cities it remained occupied at the end of the 10th century AD. Much of Lamanai is still thought to lie undiscovered beneath the earth, with many of its structures significantly taller than they currently appear.
It is impossible for these ancient locations not to inspire a true sense of wonder for adults and children alike, as they explore the creations of a civilization that once dominated Central America.
Relaxation in Belize
Families will love exploring everything that Belize has to offer, however, a cornerstone of all great family holidays is enjoying some downtime and getting to spend some quality time together. Throughout Belize, there are countless white sandy beaches, secluded coves, and isolated cayes where you can turn off from the rest of the world and enjoy each other’s company.
Placencia is a popular spot in the south for all visitors to Belize. The peninsular includes the villages of Maya Beach, Seine Bight, and Placencia Village. The area is covered in beautiful beaches dotted with palms allowing you to soak up the incredible scenery. A spot known as “The Sidewalk” in Placencia is a long strip where bars, shops and restaurants serve visitors with all of the delights Belize has to offer.
Off the mainland, Ambergris Caye is the perfect spot to completely unwind. As Belize’s largest island, visitors arrive via a short flight or ferry ride, while on the island golf carts are the main mode of transportation. Exceptional beaches, exquisite accommodations and delicious food make this island the ultimate escape.
Ticking every box, Belize is the ultimate family vacation getaway with culture, history, adventure and unlimited opportunities for relaxation, there really is something for the entire family.
Photos courtesy of Travel Belize