|San Pedro Town||$610|
Nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, the exotic country of Belize offers something for everyone. With the Caribbean Sea at its doorstep, the tiny nation of Belize was once regarded as a destination for the more adventurous traveler, but this is no longer the case. Today travelers booking flights to Belize range from honeymooners and families to eco-tourists and scuba divers. And although it is one of the smallest countries in the region it has the most abundant natural beauty and a fascinating history to rival any of its neighbors.
Thanks to its strategic location, Belize boasts some of the best diving in the Americas which is a good reason for avid divers booking flights to Belize to pack their dive logs. The Belize Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is the second longest in the world with the most diverse and protected marine ecosystem.
Visitors arriving on cheap flights to Belize will also have their pick of caves to tour. These are scattered throughout the country, but the biggest draw is Actun Tunichil Muknal which features amazing limestone formations and remnants of the ancient Mayan culture. Ruins dating as far back as 1500BC can be seen at a number of sites including Caracol, in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, and Altun Ha in the north of the country.
Belize is a very laid-back country. It would be hard not to relax in this eco-friendly paradise. When you book a flight to Belize, you’ll see that almost half the country has been preserved as nature parks and reserves and if that doesn’t provide a certain level of Zen, the 174 miles of coastline and pristine beaches certainly will.
Belize has a temperate climate with two seasons. The rainy season lasts from June to November with rainfall averaging 60 inches in the north and 160 inches in the south. The coastal regions average temperatures of 81 degrees, but it cools down much more in the hills with an average temperature of 69.
Most visitors arrive during the dry season, from November to May. Book Belize flights and accommodations ahead of time and make sure to secure your space on popular tours around the country.
Rainy season is from May to November. However, you will also find discounts on hotel prices and find many cheap flights to Belize, so this can be an excellent time to visit.
Tourists flock to Belize during the country’s dry season from late November to mid-April, with most arriving on last-minute flights. You can sometimes get even cheaper, last-minute flights during the rainy season from May to November, but be sure to take your umbrella. Flying to Belize during the Christmas vacation season and Spring break can be very expensive, however, with prices doubling or even tripling.
The flight time from New York to Belize takes around 5.5 hours but a layover in a connecting US or Central American city typically adds an hour or more to the total trip time. A non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Belize takes around 5 hours, while a flight with a connection in a Central American city can take an hour or more longer. You can fly direct from Houston to Belize in around 2.5 hours.
United Airlines and American Airlines fly from a number of U.S. destinations to the Phillip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City (code BZE) — the country’s only international airport. Other airlines that fly to the country include Avian, Southwest Airlines, COPA and Spirit Airlines.
Belize has a tropical climate, so take light cotton or linen clothing in loose-fitting styles and comfortable shoes or sandals. Locals dress casually so you can feel relaxed about dressing for comfort. Take a hat to protect yourself from the strong sun and, if you plan to spend time swimming in the sea, take waterproof reef-friendly sunscreen. During the rainy season, a light rain jacket or poncho can help you keep dry and provide a layer of warmth if the temperature drops. If you’re planning on hiking in the jungle, take plenty of insect repellent and some sturdy hiking boots. Be sure to take snorkeling and scuba equipment as the Belize Barrier Reef is a top destination for underwater explorers.
The easiest way to travel the country is by plane. There are four charter services in the country offering domestic Belize flights and many airports.
There are no trains at all, so the only other option is traveling by road. Buses are used by most Belizeans and available on all the main roads. Buses will stop to pick up passengers along the journey.
Renting a car is possible. The minimum age for rental is 25. To travel anywhere off the beaten track, a private car is essential.
With more than 170 miles of coastline, the second largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and gorgeous unspoiled sandy beaches, Belize is a playground for beach lovers, and water sports enthusiasts. Enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking or simply relaxing.
Take a boat out to dive the Blue Hole of Belize, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a favorite with scuba divers from around the world with its giant columns and stalactites and beautiful marine life. Swim with giant whale sharks. Hop across to Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile island located off the north coast of Belize, with fabulous snorkeling and diving in its barrier reef.
For a less active vacation, head out to one of the many sandy beaches bordering the turquoise Caribbean sea and fringed with palm trees, and enjoy relaxing in the sun with a cool drink.
Nature lovers also find plenty to keep them interested with more than half of the country made up of preserved parks and sanctuaries. Take a nature tour through the creeks, lagoons, swamps and forests of the Crooked Trees wildlife sanctuary, just 33 miles from Belize City. There’s a good chance of spotting the Jabiru stork, one of the world’s largest flying birds, and both seeing and hearing black howler monkeys.
At Cockscomb Basin wildlife sanctuary with its cascading waterfalls and spectacular mountain views you might catch a glimpse of a jaguar. However, to gain the best chance of seeing this magnificent creature, call in at Belize Zoo and follow the rustic path through the jungle surrounded by colorful and noisy toucans and macaws, looking out for the country’s native wildcats.
Combine the pleasures of the natural world with the cultural splendors of Ancient Mayan ruins. Visit Xunantunich, where the 130-foot high El Castillo Pyramid, is one of Belize’s tallest buildings. Drop by the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, sacred to the Maya people. As well as being full of stalagmites and stalactites, this cave also contains the skeleton of a young woman who was sacrificed to the gods hundreds of years ago.
Belize doesn’t have its own airline, but if you are planning to use the country as a stepping stone to explore nearby Caribbean Islands or destinations in Central and Southern America, you can get flights from the international airport with a number of carriers, including LIAT and Caribbean Airlines.
The Phillip S.W. Godson International Airport is located around 30 minutes’ drive from Belize city center and is best reached by taxi as the airport bus service is infrequent and unreliable. To save money on the taxi fare, try to pair up with one or more fellow travelers and act like a group to avoid the taxi driver charging each of you individually.
(prices quoted are from London)