Belize is a destination at the top of many travelers’ wish lists. With rainforests, jungles, coral reefs, and a wide variety of animal and marine life, it’s no wonder. And there is no better place to escape it all in Belize than Ambergris Caye, one of the top tourism destinations in the country.
With plenty of water-related adventures and ample space to relax on the beach and do nothing, it’s where many visitors choose to base themselves. Here you can dive at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, snorkel with nurse sharks, float in tubes on the Caribbean Sea, listen to live music every night, and enjoy some of the best eats in the country.
And, with some smart budgeting, you can do it all for around $1,500 for one person for a week. Here’s how the budget breaks down.
Getting there on a Going deal: $200-$300
Belize is located on the Caribbean side of Central America, just south of Mexico, west of Guatemala and north of Honduras. The main airport is Belize City (BZE). Typical prices from the US are around $550-$600+ but Going often sends our members cheap flights with prices under $300, and even below $200 roundtrip.
Some previous Going deals to Belize include:
- $179 roundtrip from Louisville
- $138 roundtrip from Las Vegas
- $292 roundtrip from Austin
Seven nights of accommodation: $500 - $800
Visit Belize during the summer months to see significant savings on lodging prices. Many properties offer discounted nightly rates or promotions such as book three nights and get one free. You may even find deals that include a snorkel trip or a one-day golf cart rental.
Currently, you can book a non-beachfront apartment-style room for under $70 US a night at Tropical Dream Villas in San Pedro. A slightly more expensive option is an oceanfront room at a boutique resort like Mata Rocks. While rates currently start at $130 US a night in the offseason, it’s only $780 for a week if you can catch a seasonal special of book six nights, and get the seventh night free.
Even some of Ambergris Caye’s luxury beachfront resorts offer special deals during the off-season. Splurge for a week at one of Belize’s award-winning luxury resorts, such as Victoria House Resort and Spa. You can get an adorable ocean view Casita for $355 US a night in the summer but they sometimes have deals like, getting a sixth night free, plus continental breakfast, and more.
Activities: $315 - $507
Many travelers visit Ambergris Caye for its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef, which sits just off its coast. The Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the second-longest barrier reef system in the world. Within minutes, you can be at countless world-renowned dive sites. Don’t worry if you aren’t scuba certified. Ambergris Caye offers some of the best snorkeling in Belize as well. Snorkel tours typically run $50-60 US, while a two-tank dive can average between $85 and $100. Dive trips to the world-famous Blue Hole will run significantly more as it’s an all-day trip. Expect to pay around $300 to $400 US for this incredible adventure.
Combine two of the best San Pedro activities into one with a full-day snorkeling cruise aboard the YOLO. Snorkel Hol Chan Marine Reserve and see the nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley. Afterward, head to the neighboring island of Caye Caulker, where you can swim in the famous “Split.” You’ll save money with Island Dream Tours as they feed you lunch, and it’s an open bar, all for $135 US.
Perhaps your perfect day on the water involves catching fish rather than swimming with them. In San Pedro, you can book everything from a half-day reef fishing and lunch BBQ to a full-day deep-sea catch-and-release charter. One of the more popular trips is fly fishing. Belize is one of the few places in the world where you can go for a “Grand Slam,” which is when you catch a bonefish, tarpon, and permit on the same day. All fly fishing in Belize is catch-and-release to help ensure a continued population of the “Big 3.” Fly fishing for one or two anglers can run around $500 US a day, plus you need a sport fishing license which is $10 US for a day or $25 US for the week.
If your lodging has no pool, several resorts will let you make use of their pool when you buy food or drinks, including Caribbean Villas with the chic swim-up bar at PUR Cabanas. Don’t miss lounging in the tubes at Palapa Bar either. You can even have a bucket of beers delivered to you in the water! Secret Beach is also very popular, especially on windy days. You’ll want a golf cart for the long ride up north though. Be advised that drinks here can be pricey compared to other parts of Ambergris Caye. However, Secret Beach is worth checking out as the water is unbelievably calm most days, and always sports beautiful shades of turquoise.
To get acquainted with the food in Belize, book a food tour through Belize Food Tours. They are the only Belizean-owned-and-operated food tour company on the island. You’ll taste some of the best eats in San Pedro while hearing incredible stories of growing up in San Pedro. Do this at the beginning of your trip so you know what dishes to try and which restaurants you want to visit again. A lunch tour is $45 US, which includes six stops and eight tastings, while a dinner tour is $72 US, which includes seven stops and 11 tastings. Both lunch and dinner include alcohol tastings, which can be substituted for non-alcoholic options as well.
At night you can bar hop and listen to live music from resident musicians or participate in weekly events like movie night, trivia, and crab races at bars such as Truck Stop or the new Nauti Crab. Don’t miss the famous chicken drop, held Thursday evenings at Wahoo Lounge on the beach. These activities are free if you want to watch, or you can participate for only a few dollars (not including your drinks at the bar).
Mainland tours are an option from the island, but you can expect to pay upwards of $200 US per person for a trip that requires an early morning boat ride back to the mainland first. However, it’s worth the pre-sunrise wake up as you’ll get to visit Maya sites like Lamanai or Xuntanunich or go cave tubing and ziplining.
Transportation: $85 - $185
The least expensive option to get from BZE to Ambergris Caye is the water taxi. The cost of a round-trip ticket on San Pedro Belize Express is $50 US. To reach the water taxi terminal in Belize City, you’ll need to take a taxi from the airport, which is around 30 minutes away. The standard fare is $25 US per couple and $5 US for an additional passenger.
Once you reach San Pedro, you may need to get a taxi to your hotel. Some hotels include a transfer to and from the water taxi terminal or San Pedro Air Terminal. Taxis are usually around $5 US each way. Depending on where you choose to stay, you may be within walking distance to almost everything in town, including restaurants, shops, and bars. If you want to explore more of the island, consider renting a golf cart for one or two days.
Some resorts also have free bikes that guests can use. These are a great alternative to taxis every time you want to go into town. Many visitors enjoy exploring the island by bicycle. Always remember to lock the bike everywhere you go, as bike thefts are common around the island.
Dining and food: $350 - $700
Food can be pricey in Belize, particularly on the cayes. Cooking at home isn’t necessarily much cheaper either, as groceries can add up quickly, especially if you buy imported products. Grocery shopping in San Pedro requires a bit of patience since it often involves seeking out products in multiple stores. Shop at smaller spots like Caye Mart for a few items or head to SuperBuy, one of the largest stores on the island, for larger purchases. Budget around 100 – 150 BZ (about $50-$75 US) for a few meals consisting of products like chicken, sausage made on the island, warm tortillas, vegetables, fruit, and rice.
Eat like locals do. It’s the best way to save money, plus you get to try some delicious Belizean dishes. Try rolled breakfast tacos, usually 3 for 1 BZ (about 50 cents). These tacos are filled with chicken or pork and a habanero onion salsa. For other meals, try Briana’s Deli. Here you can get the daily special or stewed chicken with rice and beans for around 10 BZ, or $5 USD. You’ll see small “delis” around town. These are locally-owned places where you can get an excellent meal for less. Weekends are all about BBQ on the island. A hearty BBQ plate can run between 10 - 15 BZ.
If you splurge, you’ll often pay around 20 to 30 BZ ($10-15 US) for a sit-down breakfast somewhere like Estel’s Dine by the Sea. Prices for sit-down dinners will vary dramatically. You can easily spend 75 to 100 BZ per person at some sit-down places for dinner with drinks, while it could be as much as 200 BZ (about $100) for a fine dining experience at a luxury resort.
When it comes to drinking in Belize, stick to local drinks, like a Belikin Beer or Belizean rum and coke. These might be around 5-8 BZ, depending on where you are. Once you move into famous liquor brands, expect to pay significantly more.
Here are a few tips to help you save on food and drinks in Belize.
- Look for resorts that offer complimentary continental breakfast.
- Buy your produce from small stands along the street.
- Get a case of Belikin for your room.
- Look for bars and restaurants with happy hours specials, usually reserved for local rum drinks and sometimes beer.
- Visit the Traveller’s Rum (Want Rum? Got It!) store in town to get rum or any of their other locally produced liquors. The bonus here is you get to sample some too! Miguel and Wendy are extremely knowledgeable and can help you choose the rum that is perfect for your palate.
Your daily spend will vary significantly based on the bars you frequent and how much you plan to drink. On average, consider a low end of $50 US a day, which may include a couple of drinks, to $100 US a day if you plan to eat out all your meals and spend time at the beach bars every day.
Total cost for one week in Belize for one person:
- Flights: $200 - $300
- Accommodation: $500 - $800
- Transportation: $85 - $185
- Activities: $315 - $507
- Food and drink: $350 - $700
While Belize may seem pricey when compared with neighboring countries, you can save money if you travel with more people. If you have one or two travel companions, that hotel price drops significantly since resorts charge by the room, not by the number of people you are traveling with in most cases.
Saving money on your lodging will allow you to partake in more activities on the island or even book a mainland excursion. For two travelers, it could be $1,100 per person. A family of four could be as low as $800 per person in some cases, like if you are traveling with young children who won’t be going on excursions or travelers under 18 who won’t be drinking.
Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your travel style and what you prioritize but this should give you a good idea of what you can expect to spend for one amazing week in Belize.