Planning a family summer vacation? Here are 10 top reasons to start planning one to Belize
Affordable family vacations can be a tricky business these days. The usual busy family has so many different interests and expectations, how do you keep everyone engaged, entertained and enthused while spending quality time together?
Our answer has been family vacation packages to – Belize, that little tropical jewel nestled in the heart of the Caribbean basin. Since our family first discovered Belize we have returned three times, and friends we have recommended the place to came back with glowing reports and thanked us profusely.
What is so magical about this tiny, English-speaking Caribbean paradise, and what makes it the ultimate affordable family vacation spot? After being asked many times why I love Belize so much, I put together my top 10 reasons:
1. It is mindbogglingly beautiful.
You won’t find a prettier, more varied landscape anywhere.
Start with the second largest barrier reef in the world with some 200 tiny islands called cayes locally, running between it and the mainland dotted with a variety of coastal attractions. Then move inland to pristine rainforests, the numerous Maya ruins, unpolluted rivers, the misty Maya Mountains and verdant farmlands and you have a picture-perfect family holiday location.
2. It is affordable
Compared to other Caribbean vacation destinations, Belize is relatively affordable and represents good value for money. There are many resorts and lodges that offer free on-site activities for their guests, so check with your reservations agents before confirming your booking. This can be a big deciding factor for families since getting complimentary activities also means you will save a lot, which you can use to have even more compelling Belize based tours.
3. There is plenty to do for the entire family
The beautiful seacoast, reef, and cayes offer unparalleled snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, fly fishing, deep sea fishing and general angling, kayaking, boating, chartering, sunbathing, birding and any almost any water sports you can think of.
Inland there is hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, river kayaking, cave exploration, birding and more.
And of course, there are bars, restaurants, clubs, resorts and lodges throughout the country that each cater to specific niches.
4. It is an educational experience
Belize is the perfect place to learn Spanish, natural history, Maya culture and archaeology, scuba diving, regional cooking, medicinal plants and herbal remedies. The Lodge at Chaa Creek, for example, offers a natural history museum, medicinal plant trail, butterfly farm, a working Maya organic farm, guided nature trail and river tours, birding tours, horseback riding and a host of educational activities the whole family can participate in.
5. English and Spanish are spoken
Belize is the only country in Central America that has English as its official language while Spanish is widely spoken. You should have no trouble communicating during your vacation here – even without a phrasebook, and what a relief that is.
6. The climate is near perfect
Sitting on latitude 17° N, bordering the Caribbean Sea and covered in living, breathing forest, Belize is blessed with one of the best climates in the world. It is warm all year round. Temperatures usually average around 81°F (27°C) along the coast and about 69°F (21°C) in the hills of the interior. We’ve found that sea breezes keep the coast and cayes quite comfortable even in the hottest months, while the vast tracts of pristine jungle seem to fulfill the same desired effect inland.
7. It is easy to work out the money
Another refreshing bonus to Belize is the ease of converting currency. US dollars are accepted everywhere, and the Belize dollar is pegged to the US at two to one, so whenever you see a price in Belize dollars, cut it in half and that’s your equivalent to USD. Anyone who has traveled to Belize with a family will realize what a benefit that is.
8. Belize is full of Belizeans – said to be the warmest and friendliest people around
The people of Belize are by and far warm, friendly and peace loving. It is a hugely multicultural mix with Creole, Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, Asians, Middle-Eastern, Indian and Pakistani all happily getting along in this tiny country. Since most locals speak English it is easy to meet and become friends with people.
9. Surf and Turf
Where else can you wake up in dense tropical rainforest and be swimming out in the Caribbean Sea that same afternoon? Belize is only some 70 miles from eastern seacoast to western border, with quite a bit of variety in between. Going from a Caribbean Island feel to exploring Maya temples can make it feel like you’re enjoying two holidays at once, and that’s always a bonus in our eyes!
10. The most accessible Maya archaeological sites in the world
If you weren’t interested in Maya history and culture before coming to Belize, you probably will be by the time you leave (and know quite a bit about it as well). Most visitors are amazed by how many accessible, intimate Maya ruins and sites there are. From fascinating, easy walks through park-like Xunanthunich, or the expanse of Caracol , and onto more ambitious trips such as Actun Tunichil Muknal, the cave of the Crystal Maiden, where visitors swim in and then spend the day walking and climbing through an incredible array of artefacts, altars and skeletons, Belize is a Maya buff’s dream and a fascinating eye opener to the novice.
Bonus: Easy to get to and from
With direct flights to and from the US and Canada, easy connections and swift ground transfers, getting to and from paradise is hassle free, leaving more time to enjoy and less stuck in transit.
We also found family vacation packages that make it all even easier and provide good value. For example, The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s new Affordable Family Vacation Packages and Surf and Turf deals are perfectly designed to accommodate a range of ages and interests and suited our clan perfectly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but, surely you get the idea. For a truly affordable family Caribbean vacation, it’s really hard to beat Belize. Even our picky kids agree – and that’s something that doesn’t happen every day.