Where to stay in Belize - Your complete guide

Where to stay in Belize – 9 Best Areas and Hotels [2023]

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Nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is a small Central America famous for its pristine beaches, diving, and the UNESCO-listed Great Blue Hole. Despite its epic scenery, Belize has been flying under the radar for you, and if you are ready for a grand adventure you should visit it.

Although the country is small, you have many options for where to stay in Belize πŸ’› If you are craving a beach getaway, the best places to stay in Belize are coastal areas like Hopkins, Placencia, or one of Belize’s Cayes (or islands). And if you want to explore the Mayan ruins and go caving, choose San Ignacio, where you can find many eco-lodges in the heart of the jungle.

βœ… In this article, I sourced some of the best places to stay by area. All you need to do is figure out what places in Belize you want to visit and book one of the suggested hotels. Book your hotel ahead of time to get the best deal, so that you can enjoy this slice of Caribbean Paradise! 

Belize is home to some of the best diving in the Caribbean.

Where to stay in Belize: a quick overview

  • Caye Caulker
  • Ambergris Caye
  • Belize City
  • Placencia 
  • Hopkins
  • San Ignacio
  • Orange Walk Town
  • Corozal
  • Punta Gorda 
Best restaurants in San Pedro, Belize

1. Ambergris Caye – The best place for diving and water sports

Ambergris Caye is home to San Pedro, a popular destination known for its stunning natural beauty, clear Caribbean waters, and vibrant marine life.

The island is known for its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It boasts beautiful sandy beaches, where you can relax, sunbathe, and enjoy the crystal-clear waters. Water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing are popular activities.

Ambergris Caye is also a gateway to the Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in an offshore atoll called Lighthouse Reef.

➑️ Check my guide to the best resorts on Ambergris Caye

The Great Blue Hole has created thousands of years ago when the rising sea level flooded caves with stalactites and stalagmites. It is over 400 feet deep and is the largest sea hole of its kind in the world.

βœ… BOOK A SNORKELING TOUR OF HOL CHAN MARINE RESERVE

Best things to do in San Pedro, Belize

San Pedro boasts some of the best upscale accommodations in Belize like resorts and five-star hotels. It also has a variety of budget accommodations and hostels, so you don’t have to break your bank to afford a stay here. 

Where to stay on Ambergris Caye

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Drift Inn – is a beautiful hotel that also has a shared dorm room. Drift Inn has a kitchen, free water and towels and can help you to book diving and snorkeling tours.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: The Palapa House – This medium-budget hotel offers gorgeous views of the Caribbean, private parking and a nice terrace.

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: PUR Boutique Cabanas – one of most beautiful hotels on Ambergris Caye with six cabins. It boasts build-your-own taco bar, a big pool and is only 7 minutes away from downtown San Pedro by golf cart.

Best things to do on Ambergris Caye

  • Dive the Great Blue Hole
  • Snorkel at Hol Chan Marina Reserve
  • Feed the sharks at Shark Ray Alley
  • Visit Iguana Center in San Pedro
  • Chill on Secret Beach
  • Shop at San Pedro Artisan Market

Best tours in Ambergris Caye

Caye Caulker is one of the most popular places to visit in Belize among backpackers

2. Caye Caulker – The best place for budget travelers 

Caye Caulker is a smaller cousin of Ambergris Caye’s, popular with backpackers and budget travelers. While they have similarities with the clear seas and sandy beaches, life on Caye Caulker has a real ‘go-slow’ Caribbean attitude. There’s even a big sign saying exactly that when you disembark at the port.

There are two halves to the island separated by a narrow channel called the split. The north part of the split is filled with mangroves and is home to diverse wildlife. The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is the protected part of the island. The lower half is home to Caye Caulker Village – the only settlement on the island.

βœ… BOOK A SNORKELING TOUR FROM CAYE CAULKER.

You can get to Caye Caulker by water taxi from mainland Belize, or San Pedro. The inhabited part of the island is small, with comfortable but mostly basic accommodations. Still, you can find something for every budget with backpacker multi-dorm hostels, some smaller boutiques and luxury accommodations. 

Where to stay on Caye Caulker:

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Wish You Were Here – great inexpensive stay for budget travelers in Caye Caulker.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Sea Dreams Hotel – Located a few steps away from the beach, Sea Dreams Hotel has a tour desk, rooms, free bikes, free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a bar. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. Staff on site can arrange airport transportation.

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Caye Reef Condos – One of the best hotels on Caye Caulker that boasts gorgeous views, a big swimming pool, wi-fi and parking.

Best things to do on Caye Caulker

  • Check out the Split
  • Enjoy the lively atmosphere at the Lazy Lizard
  • Ride a bike around the island
  • Snap a photo at the Caye Caulker sign
  • Join a manatee watching tour
  • Go scuba diving

Best Caye Caulker tours

Contributed by Becky from Meet Me In Departures

Orange Walk town is one of the best places to stay in Belize

3. Orange Walk Town – Best place for history lovers 

Looking where to stay in Belize on a budget?

Check out Orange Walk Town, an often missed city in northern Belize. The rum and sugar-producing town is a destination for history lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Orange Walk sits along the New River, the longest river in Belize and a major trading route for the Mayans. Today the New River is a haven for bird watchers and other nature enthusiasts.

It’s also the entry point for the Lamanai Mayan Ruins, which is a must-visit when you are in Orange Walk. It’s the most popular attraction in this region and the reason most travelers trek to Orange Walk Town.

βœ… BOOK A TOUR OF LAMANAI MAYAN RUINS FROM BELIZE CITY

Located in the jungle, the Lamanai Archaeological Area is nestled along the New River Lagoon in Northern Belize. The boat tour allows visitors to see the beauty of the area while the tour guide points out monkeys and various birds.

The food choices in Orange Walk benefit from its proximity to Mexico. In addition to meat pies and fry jacks, you’ll find tacos served with cabbage and onions as well as cochinita pibil, a traditional dish from Yucatan.

Travelers who seek more modern amenities will want to book a stay at Lamanai Hotel & Marina. Located along the river, the rooms at this hotel feature air conditioning and beautiful views.

The best way to get to Orange Walk is by bus from Belize City which takes just a couple of hours. It’s one of the less-visited destinations in Belize.

Where to stay in Orange Walk Town

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Lamanai Hotel and Marina – Set 2.5 mi from Queen Elizabeth Park, this hotel has free Wi-Fi access in public areas, a restaurant and bar

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Day and Night Hotel – Located within 2 miles of Trial Farm and 2.6 miles of Tower Hill Ferry Airstrip, this hotel has rooms with garden views, free Wi-Fi and free private parking

Best things to do in Orange Walk Town

  • Wander around Lamanai Mayan ruins
  • Explore the New River Lagoon
  • Learn history at La Milpa Archaeological Reserve 

Best tours of Lamanai Mayan ruins

Contributed by Julien of Cultures Traveled

If you are looking where to stay in Belize, look no further than Placencia, a small town with some of the best beaches in the country.

4. Placencia – The best place for island hopping 

Located in the southern part of Belize, Placencia sits right on the Caribbean Sea. 

Placencia is like a Caribbean island meets a village in Central America. You can take a bus from Belize City to Placencia, or drive a rental car. There’s a small airport in Placencia, but it’s mostly used by private planes.

➑️ Check my complete guide on how to get from Belize City to Placencia

There are so many things to do in Placencia, you could spend an entire week (or longer) in the area. Explore nearby waterfalls, hit the Placencia Beach and pier, go shopping or take a day trip to Laughing Bird Caye National Park.

βœ… BOOK A TOUR OF LAUGHING BIRD CAYE FROM PLACENCIA

A stay in Placencia is possible with almost any budget and style. Rent basic cabanas on the beach at the Tradewinds Beach Cabanas. Stay in the center of the action in town at Brisa Oceano Resort, or dip your toes into luxury at Itz’ana Resort & Residences.

The best time to visit Placencia is the dry season, which is December through May. Of course, this overlaps with the busy season starting with the holidays.

Where to stay in Placencia:

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Belizean Nirvana – one of the best budget hotels in Placencia, Belizean Nirvana boasts a private beach, central location and friendly staff.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Miramar Suites – this apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Placencia is a perfect mid-budget stay near the beach and some of the best Placencia restaurants

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: NaΓ―a Resort and Spa – One of the most popular hotels in Placencia, Naia features beachfront cabins, hammocks and use of bicycles, paddle boards and kayaks.

Best things to do in Placencia

  • Relax on the many beaches in Placencia
  • Rent a kayak
  • Look for jaguars in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chill at Laughing Bird Caye
  • Go snorkeling
  • Enjoy diving

Best tours from Placencia

Recommended by Nikki of She Saves She Travels

Hopkins is one of the bets places to visit in Belize for culture lovers

5. Hopkins – The best place for culture lovers 

The small seaside town of Hopkins is a perfect option if you want a relaxing getaway. Although Hopkins is relatively small, it offers superb opportunities for adventure and outdoor recreation. 

But the main reason to visit Hopkins is its culture!

Hopkins is the center of the Garifuna culture in Belize, one of the most vibrant and fascinating cultures of the entire Caribbean. The best way to learn about it is by taking one of Garifuna’s drumming classes, shopping Garifuna art from local vendors, and trying traditional Garifuna dishes in the area’s restaurants. 

The town is also a perfect destination for snorkeling thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. Here you can snorkel, hike, sail and enjoy wildlife watching. The town is surrounded by the Mayan mountains, and Cockscomb Range is a short distance away. 

Where to stay in Hopkins, Belize:

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Coconut Row – Situated a few steps from Hopkins Beach, Coconut Row has accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a private beach area. The guesthouse has family rooms.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Buttonwood Belize –  Buttonwood Belize offers beachfront accommodations a few steps from Hopkins Beach and provides facilities like free bikes, a shared lounge and a garden. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace.

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Almond Beach Resort at Jaguar Reef – Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, this gorgeous resort boasts thatched cottages, and is 2 km from Hopkins

Best things to do in Hopkins

  • Learn about the Garifuna culture
  • Snorkel or dive at the Southern Barrier Reef
  • Spend a lazy day at the beach
  • Take a cooking lesson
  • Tour Mayflower Bocawina National Park
San Ignacio is the best place to stay in Belize if you want to be close to the Mayan ruins and adventure cavities like kayaking and zip-lining.

6. San Ignacio – The best place for adventure junkies

San Ignacio is a perfect stay for adventure lovers and history buffs. Located in the western Cayo District, San Ignacio is home to some of the best Mayan ruins in Belize: Caracol and Xunantunich. It’s also a gateway to zip lining, hiking, and cave tubing.

➑️ Read my guide to the best hotels in San Ignacio 

Spelunking is one of the best things to do in Belize and no place is more famous for it than Actun Tunichil Muknal caves (more commonly known as ATM caves) profiled by the National Geographic.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Belize on a budget, you will love this place. San Ignacio has a good range of budget accommodations and more affordable restaurants.

βœ… BOOK A HASSLE-FREE TRANSFER FROM BELIZE CITY TO SAN IGNACIO

Whether you want to swim in the Rio on Pools inside the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, or explore the Mayan ruins, you will not be bored during your time in San Ignacio. The town also benefits from its proximity to Guatemala with many travelers heading to Tikal Arechaeolgial Area for a day trip. 

βœ… Find out how to get from Belize City to San Ignacio

The easiest way to get to San Ignacio is by hiring private transportation, but you can also catch a chicken bus if you are traveling on a budget. 

Where to stay in San Ignacio:

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Hotel Venus is located smack in the middle of downtown San Ignacio and offers the best value for your money.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Mariposa Jungle Lodge is one of the best hotels in San Ignacio for mid-budget travelers. Located in the Belize jungle, Mariposa Jungle Lodge has six comfortable cabanas, a nature trail and an outdoor pool with a slate waterfall. 

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Ka’ana Resort & Spa has a spa, an infinity pool and spacious rooms with terraces. Located outside San Ignacio, it helps to arrange tours to nearby national parks, caves and the rainforest. And the staff here is super friendly!

Best things to do in San Ignacio

  • Visit Actun Tunichil Muknal Caves (ATM caves)
  • Hire a private guide at Xunantunich Mayan ruins
  • Visit remote Mayan ruins Caracol
  • Soar above the jungle on a zip-line
  • Take a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala
  • Jump in the water at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve

Best tours from San Ignacio Belize

7. Corozal – The best place to get off the beaten track 

Corozal is a hidden gem of Belize 90 miles (130km) north of Belize City. Most tourists miss Corozal on their Belize itinerary even though this town has so much to offer. The city boasts several historical landmarks like the Santa Rita Archaeological Site, the Corozal House of Culture, and Mayan Ruins

Corozal Bay is a great place for swimming and enjoying the gorgeous beaches. Unlike Ambergris Caye, Corozal doesn’t have luxury resorts and 5-star hotels, as the atmosphere here is uniquely local – and that’s what’s cool about this place! 

Where to stay in Corozal

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Almond Tree Hotel Resort – Offering an outdoor pool and sun terrace, Almond Tree Hotel Resort offers free Wi-Fi throughout most of the property and free private parking.

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Sunshine View Hotel and Restaurant – This popular spot has accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking, free bikes and an outdoor swimming pool. Each room has garden views.

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Royale Manor – A gorgeous vacation home about 16 minutes away from San Andres, Royale Manor offers an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and air-conditioned accommodations with a patio and free Wi-Fi.

Best things to do in Corozal

  • Visit Mayan ruins Santa Rita and Cerros
  • Hike or watch wildlife at the Shipstern Nature Reserve
  • Relax on beaches in the Corozal Bay
  • Check out the Corozal House of Culture
Belize City is one of the best places to stay in Belize for first-time visitors

8. Belize City – The best place for first-time visitors 

Belize City is the largest city in the country and is home to the Philip Goldson International Airport. Although most travelers use Belize City as a transportation hub, the city has several points of interest which warrant a stay here. 

One of the best stops in Belize City is the Belize Museum, where you can learn the history of the country. Located on Queen Street in downtown Belize City, it has exhibits documenting the country’s past from the Mayan rule to its pirate days and colonial time that preceded its independence from Britain in 1981.

For the best experience stay in the central area of Belize City, where you can find many hotels, restaurants, and points of interest. Take a walk along the waterfront to enjoy the views of the Caribbean or even better, watch the spectacular sunset. 

Belize City has a good variety of hotels for all budgets, from bigger, all-inclusive resorts to smaller accommodations where you can save some money before heading to other places in Belize.

Where to stay in Belize City:

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: The Great House Inn – This colonial hotel is just 350 feet from the sea and 2 minutes away from the historic Fort Point Lighthouse. Rooms at the Great House Inn open onto the large veranda. Each room offers a seating area, cable TV and a mini fridge. 

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Harbour View Boutique Hotel and Yoga Retreat – One of the best mid-range places to stay in Belize City, Harbour View offers

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Radisson Fort George – One of the most popular upscale accommodations in Belize City less than 10 miles away from Belize City Airport.

Best things to do in Belize City:

  • Visit Belize Zoo
  • Learn the country’s history at Belize Museum
  • Tour Altun Ha ruins
  • Marvel at St. John’s Cathedral
  • Walk around Old Belize

Best Belize City tours

Punta Gorda is one of the best places to visit in Belize if you are looking to visit a less-explored area

9. Punta Gorda – The best place for adventure lovers

If you are looking for something less traditional, head to Punta Gorda is a perfect stop on your Belize itinerary if you are looking to get off the beaten track. 

A gateway to Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Punta Gorda will be the longest trip that you will take in the country. If you don’t want to take a chicken bus, take a flight from Belize City on Tropic Air.

Punta Gorda is a perfect destination where you can taste the real Belize, enjoy unspoiled landscapes, and enjoy a slow-paced life after exploring all those awesome things to do in Belize. You can explore the reefs along the coast with a bout tour or check out one of the Mayan ruins in the area. 

Punta Gord has a mix of Mayan, East Indian, and Garifuna communities. Besides many activities that you can enjoy in the area, you can also find great budget-friendly hotels.

Where to stay in Punta Gorda

πŸ“Best Budget Spot: Beya Suites – one of the best budget stays in Punta Gorda

πŸ“Best Mid-Range Spot: Sun Creek Lodge – a gorgeous stay with a nice garden and super friendly hosts

πŸ“Best Luxury Spot: Mahogany Villas is one of the most popular places to stay in Punta Gorda

Best things to do in Punta Gorda

  • Swim in Rio Blanco National Park
  • Take a trip to Mayan ruins
  • Kayak in the Joe Taylor Creek
  • Venture to Sapodilla Cayes
  • Enjoy Blue Creek Cave

Where to stay in Belize: FAQ’s

Best places to visit in Belize

What is the best part of Belize to stay in?

Ambergris Caye, San Ignacio, and Caye Caulker are the most popular places in the country. Hopkins and Placencia are some of the most popular destinations on the country’s mainland thanks to their diverse culture and beautiful natural attractions. 

Where to stay in Belize for diving?

The best places to stay in Belize for diving are Ambergris Caye, Placencia and Caye Caulker. Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the in the world, which can be accessed from the coastal areas of the country.

What part of Belize has the best beaches?

The Tobacco Caye boasts some of the best beaches in Belize. The Laughing Bird Caye Park is also home to some of the best beaches framed by pristine waters of the Caribbean. If you are looking for a shorter commute, consider visiting Placencia on mainland Belize.

Which are the best places to stay in Belize for families?

San Ignacio, Ambergris Caye and Placencia are perfect for families. These destinations have a good variety of hotels, restaurants and activities which can be visited with a guided tour.

What is the best month to visit Belize?

The best time to visit Belize is between December and May – the dry season in Belize. The temperatures are generally warm across the country, but the type of weather depends on what part of Belize you are visiting, as the weather in the rainforest is different from the weather on the islands.

Is Belize dangerous for tourists?

Overall, Belize is a safe for tourists. However, the country does have violent crime most of which is concentrated in Belize City where gangs operate. Petty crime like pickpocketing and mugging can happen, and as a tourist, you could become a target. Stay away from deserted areas and dark streets and leave your expensive clothing and jewelry at home.

Final thoughts

Belize is one of the best places to visit in Central America if you are looking for a combination of adventure, vibrant cultures, delicious food, and great accommodations. 

Although finding a good place is not always easy, all you need to do is to follow the suggestions listed in this guide, and you will have a great experience during your stay in Belize. From luxurious 5-stay hotels in San Pedro to eco-lodges in San Ignacio and budget hotels in Orange Walk Town, there are plenty of options.

MORE SUGGESTIONS

  • Ka’ana Resort & Spa is an eco-friendly friendly hotel in San Ignacio. It features tropical gardens and is located about 6 km from Xunantunich Mayan ruins.
  • PUR Boutique Cabanas is one of most beautiful hotels on Ambergris Caye with six cabins. IT btasts build-your-own taco bar, a big pool and is only 7 minutes away from downtown San Pedro by golf cart.

More resources for planning your trip to Belize

  • Agoda.com β€“ a great website for budget hotels in Belize.
  • WorldNomads β€“ Great service for insurance coverage that will keep you safe on the road.
  • Safety Wing β€“ Excellent insurance plan for long-term travelers that offers competitive rates is you are planning to stay on the road several weeks in a row. 
  • iVisa β€“ the best website for getting help with your belize visa.
  • DiscoverCars β€“ There’s nothing like exploring Belize at your own pace. Consider renting a car at Discover Cars if you want more freedom exploring this Central American country. 
  • GetYourGuide β€“ This is one of the best platforms for finding best tours in Belize. Get Your Guide is my favorite platform that offers awesome tours and top-notch guides in many popular places to visit in Belize.
  • CheapoAir β€“ One of the best platforms for saving money on flights to Belize. 
  • Booking β€“ a popular website with tons and tons of options for accommodations of all sorts.