Belize

Visited in March 2020

Back in March 2020, I spent a short week in Belize, mainly so I could complete my PADI certification course on Caye Caulker. The islands of Belize are known worldwide for being great for diving – the coral is still relatively healthy (at least compared to what I saw on the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago) and the conditions are perfect for beginners wanting to learn. 

While I did enjoy my time in Belize a lot, I can’t say it’d my first choice if I had to go back in the area. The country is very small compared to its neighbors Guatemala and Mexico, so there aren’t many options when it comes to places to visit. I also felt generally less safe there, especially in San Ignacio, where it was virtually impossible to go anywhere without having to deal with drunk locals. Caye Caulker was gorgeous, but it was also pretty busy and verrrry expensive. 

It’s quite easy to get around Belize because everyone speaks English, and the people working in touristy spots are very helpful and friendly. The highlights of my visit were the ATM caves in San Ignacio and diving on Caye Caulker, both of which I couldn’t take pictures of, so if you want additional info on that, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

March 1st : Chetumal > Caye Caulker
March 2nd-4th : Caye Caulker
March 5th : Caye Caulker > San Ignacio
March 6th-7th : San Ignacio
March 8th : San Ignacio > Flores

Visited in March 2020

Back in March, I spent a short week in Belize, mainly so I could complete my PADI certification course on Caye Caulker. The islands of Belize are known worldwide for being great for diving – the coral is still relatively healthy (at least compared to what I saw on the Great Barrier Reef a few years ago) and the conditions are perfect for beginners wanting to learn. 

While I did enjoy my time in Belize a lot, I can’t say it’d my first choice if I had to go back in the area. The country is very small compared to its neighbors Guatemala and Mexico, so there aren’t many options when it comes to places to visit. I also felt generally less safe there, especially in San Ignacio, where it was virtually impossible to go anywhere without having to deal with drunk locals. Caye Caulker was gorgeous, but it was also pretty busy and verrrry expensive. 

It’s quite easy to get around Belize because everyone speaks English, and the people working in touristy spots are very helpful and friendly. The highlights of my visit were the ATM caves in San Ignacio and diving on Caye Caulker, both of which I couldn’t take pictures of, so if you want additional info on that, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

March 1st : Chetumal > Caye Caulker
March 2nd-4th : Caye Caulker
March 5th : Caye Caulker > San Ignacio
March 6th-7th : San Ignacio
March 8th : San Ignacio > Flores

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is one of the main (and only) tourist destinations in Belize – it’s a gorgeous, tiny island located roughly an hour from Belize City by ferry. It’s the perfect spot to chill, lay under the sun, drink, eat and go for a swim / dive, so if that’s what you’re into when you go on vacation, then go for it. Keep in mind that the island is very small, and there isn’t much exploring to do. There also isn’t really any free public beach, so you’ll probably end up drinking with friends at “The Split”, the most popular spot on the island. 

I did my PADI diving certification on Caye Caulker at Frenchie’s Diving and had a great experience – my instructor was very kind and knowledgeable. Expect to pay a lot of money for diving and snorkeling (along with everything else in Belize really), but it will be worth it if you have decent weather conditions. It was super windy both days I dived so the water was quite rough and cloudy, and while we couldn’t go outside of the reef, it still was a cool experience. 

Caye Caulker is one of the main (and only) tourist destinations in Belize – it’s a gorgeous, tiny island located roughly an hour from Belize City by ferry. It’s the perfect spot to chill, lay under the sun, drink, eat and go for a swim / dive, so if that’s what you’re into when you go on vacation, then go for it. Keep in mind that the island is very small, and there isn’t much exploring to do. There also isn’t really any free public beach, so you’ll probably end up drinking with friends at “The Split”, the most popular spot on the island. 

I did my PADI diving certification on Caye Caulker at Frenchie’s Diving and had a great experience – my instructor was very kind and knowledgeable. Expect to pay a lot of money for diving and snorkeling (along with everything else in Belize really), but it will be worth it if you have decent weather conditions. It was super windy both days I dived so the water was quite rough and cloudy, and while we couldn’t go outside of the reef, it still was a cool experience. 

San Ignacio

I spent 3 days in San Ignacio with 2 friends on my way to Guatemala from Caye Caulker. While I don’t think you should plan a whole trip to San Ignacio, it’s worth stopping for a couple of days while on your way between Guatemala and the islands of Belize. 

There are a few cool things to do around San Ignacio – the most famous one being the ATM caves, a gigantic cave system in which the Mayas used to do all sorts of rituals and sacrifices. It was pricey (90 USD for a few hours), but worth it if you can afford it. I had never experienced anything similar – swimming, walking and crawling my way through a massive cave and exploring chambers filled with old vases and human remains in disturbingly good conditions was intense. There are other tours you can take but I haven’t tried any of them so you’ll have to browse the Internets for that. 

The town of San Ignacio itself wasn’t a highlight for me. My friends and I were repeatedly harassed by locals, drunk and sober, and while their intentions weren’t necessarily bad, it was nonetheless annoying and made it hard to just go to a bar and have a good time. My friends and I spent a couple of hours exploring the city’s Mayan ruins – they aren’t the largest or most impressive, but the park was empty and at a walk able distance from downtown. Aside from that, there isn’t much to do that doesn’t cost over a hundred bucks, so it isn’t necessarily a great spot for budget travelers. If you can spurge, though, do yourself a favor and eat at the Guava Limb Restaurant – it is some of the best food I’ve ever had on any of my trips. 

I spent 3 days in San Ignacio with 2 friends on my way to Guatemala from Caye Caulker. While I don’t think you should plan a whole trip to San Ignacio, it’s worth stopping for a couple of days while on your way between Guatemala and the islands of Belize. 

There are a few cool things to do around San Ignacio – the most famous one being the ATM caves, a gigantic cave system in which the Mayas used to do all sorts of rituals and sacrifices. It was pricey (90 USD for a few hours), but worth it if you can afford it. I had never experienced anything similar – swimming, walking and crawling my way through a massive cave and exploring chambers filled with old vases and human remains in disturbingly good conditions was intense. There are other tours you can take but I haven’t tried any of them so you’ll have to browse the Internets for that. 

The town of San Ignacio itself wasn’t a highlight for me. My friends and I were repeatedly harassed by locals, drunk and sober, and while their intentions weren’t necessarily bad, it was nonetheless annoying and made it hard to just go to a bar and have a good time. My friends and I spent a couple of hours exploring the city’s Mayan ruins – they aren’t the largest or most impressive, but the park was empty and at a walk able distance from downtown. Aside from that, there isn’t much to do that doesn’t cost over a hundred bucks, so it isn’t necessarily a great spot for budget travelers. If you can spurge, though, do yourself a favor and eat at the Guava Limb Restaurant – it is some of the best food I’ve ever had on any of my trips.