Volunteering holidays to Belize could get you spearing destructive, invasive lionfish, IDing sea turtles on the second biggest barrier reef on the planet, or building boardwalks over fragile rainforest floors. Read our travel guide to find out more about volunteering in Belize.
Things to do in Belize
Although neighbouring Guatemala is more famous for its Mayan ruins, Belize is also on the Mayan Trail, with over 2 million Mayans living here for over 2,000 years. And indeed, 10 percent of Belize's population today is Mayan, maintaining their own language and culture. The sites of Xunantunich, Altun Ha and Caracol all still in the process of being excavated, slowly but very surely, from the jungle. Xunantunich is the most developed, its central palace masterpiece rising up to 40m. Caracol is less touristy but just as dramatic, enveloped by the Chiquibul Forest Reserve which still conceals remains that may reveal a city as large as modern Belize City. For waterfront Mayan sites, Lamanai can be reached by boat along the New River Lagoon. Or, the highlight for most tourists, Actun Tunichil Muknal limestone cave system was, for Mayans, a spiritual underworld. Humans were sacrificed here and tours of the caves reveal some visible remains, calcified and crystallised in the limestone. Glittering examples of Mayan traditions indeed.
Our Belize Holidays
June may be out of peak season for tourists, but it is peak season for lobster, with Lobster Fests kicking off on the Cayes. Peak season for rum too, it would seem.
Eat, drink & be very merry
"Yu kyaahn travl pahn emti stomak" is a popular Creole expression, meaning, literally ‘you can’t travel on an empty stomach’. Nor will you, with street food to tempt you, rice and beans to fill you, fruit cakes and Johnny Cakes to fatten you, and rum or beer to flatten you.
Diving & snorkelling
You’ve got to Belize it, but many don’t. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia’s great one. Also great, and definitely gorgeous, scuba diving and snorkelling are sublime. The north offers more commercial snorkelling trips around Cayes Ambergris, Caulker and Half Moon, as well as the Turneffe Reef Atoll and stunning Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef. Or head to the quieter south for marine conservation volunteering holidays, where you can get your PADI while contributing to management of the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park, on the migratory path for whale sharks between March and June. Learning to spear lionfish is not only good fun, but also of great importance for marine conservation as they are a highly destructive, invasive species. Diving is good all year round in Belize, although June to October is rainy and potentially hurricane season, so waters risk being choppier. Underwater photography holidays are also a feature out on the reefs, for plenty of #nofilter nirvanas.
Our top Belize Holiday
7 day sea kayaking discovering tropical islands and reefs
From £2150 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
If you'd like to chat about Belize or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
The wonderful thing about sea kayaking in Belize is that, even as a beginner, you can paddle for days here. Different islands every night. Same starry skies.
If ever you wanted a holiday that offers total digital detox, sea kayaking from one Belize caye to caye, or cove to cove, is it. This is Belize at its most blissful. You get to discover the coral reef, but spots that are favoured by fishermen rather than boats full of divers. Fish from your kayak, put sails on it, or moor up and dive in.
Responsible Travel would like to thank Belize for their sponsorship of this guide
More about Belize
Blistering all year round and so if it is sun, sand and sultry breezes you are looking for, there is no best time to visit Belize.
There are so many things that people don’t realise about Belize, and the biggie is its barrier reef.
Belize’s highlights are scattered across the map like little emerald jewels.
Marine conservation holidays in Belize all revolve around its magnificent Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS).
Belize’s Garifuna people have an extraordinary cultural heritage, defined as mixed race descendants of Island Carib, West African, Arawak and Central African people.
As well as the much celebrated marine wildlife in Belize, with its plethora of fish that thrive along its Barrier Reef System, inland Belize also has some serious beauties.
Belize is bursting with Mayan culture, contemporary and ancient.
It’s not usually the done thing, killing fish around a highly protected reef system.
With so many photos of Belize capturing its underwater beauties, don’t overlook what is flying all around there too.
Family holidays in Belize are so exhilarating, and indeed easy, that many are hooked for life.
Tips from our leading travel companies and travellers who have had wonderful times in Belize’s blue waters, luscious tropical forests and ancient Mayan cities are below, but if you could sum all of them up in two words, they would be – just go!
One of the advantages about being such a small country, where many of its highlights are highly protected by UNESCO, be it the magnificent reef or the Mayan ruins, is that there are few issues when it comes to responsible tourism in Belize.