With its captivating blend of lush rainforests, ancient Mayan ruins and pristine Caribbean coastline, Belize offers an enchanting solo travel experience. Despite its modest size – the largest city and former capital, Belize City, has a population of just over 60,000 – it still sees an influx of visitors drawn to its history, cayes and mangroves. Whether it’s a tropical Caribbean island getaway or an adventure-fuelled dive into the country’s jungles or a first-hand look at a bygone era, a solo trip to Belize is a guaranteed all-encompassing exploration.
While international flights touch down in energetic Belize City, a vast swathe of visitors make the two-hour transfer straight to San Ignacio, the gateway to the Belizean Maya world and some of the country’s most intriguing ruins, including Xunantunich and Caracol. Beyond the historical sites, Belize’s islands, beaches and mangroves open up a completely different side to the country, with some of the most incredible snorkelling experiences among the world’s second largest barrier reef.
With strong Caribbean and Latin influences, Belizean street food offers a colorful array of dishes, including garnaches (tortillas topped with refried beans), panades (breaded meatballs) and salbutes (tortilla with pulled chicken), washed down, of course, with a refreshing rum cocktail. If you rather raise a toast with others, a solo group adventure with Flash Pack joins you up with like-minded solo travellers. Here’s everything you need to know about a group solo trip to Belize.
Belize travel facts
Sandwiched between Guatemala and Mexico, Belize is its own little enclave, lapped by the gentle waters of the Caribbean Sea. And, unlike the country’s Spanish-speaking neighbours, the nation’s first language is English, making navigating as a solo traveller a little easier. There are wonderful historic landmarks, from Xunantunich and Caracol to the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM). And, along the shores, you’ll find a plethora of biodiversity, from complex corals to fascinating sea life, including manatees, turtles and dolphins.
The country’s star attraction is the Belize Barrier Reef system, part of the Northern Hemisphere’s largest, and the second largest in the world after Australia. A Unesco World Heritage Site, it stretches for 300km along the coastline, with seven protected areas and over 450 sand and mangrove cayes. Community-based conservation and regeneration programmes have seen coral regrowth from 6% to 60% since a hurricane hit two decades ago.
Is Belize good for solo travel?
Belize is the perfect spot for solo travel; small in size, English speaking and awash with explorative opportunities for history, nature and beach enthusiasts. But with so much variation, it can still be a challenge to know where to head first, so it’s worth considering a group solo trip to Belize with Flash Pack.
You’ll get the best of all worlds, starting in spirited Belize City where you’ll meet your fellow solo travellers and dine on moreish Belizean street food. You’ll get to see the sights but approach them in unique ways, such as on horseback through the jungle to the Xunantunich ruins, swimming in a waterfall on the Privassion River, and experiencing a guided tour with a mangrove preservationist on Caye Caulker.
Best places to visit in Belize
With a wealth of historic Mayan ruins, lush jungle, wondrous coastline and spectacular beaches, it’s difficult to know where and how to spread your time. So, what should you do on a solo trip to Belize? On Flash Pack’s 7-day Belize: Jungles, Mayans & Manatees adventure, you’ll cover all the best bits, as well as some more unique experiences, all overseen by your local guide.
You’ll explore the imaginative and varied street food stalls of Belize City, delving into the country’s culinary brilliance. From here, you’ll begin three days of touring the impressive Maya ruins, waterfalls and caves, all cloaked in a varied and ancient history. You’ll then board a water taxi to the island of Caye Caulker where you’ll get to snorkel through brilliant-blue waters and bask on egg-white shores. The final journey will take you by boat to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where you’ll have the unique opportunity to swim with the local manatees at two breathtaking reef locations.
Where to stay as a solo traveller in Belize
Belize’s scenery varies wildly, from dense jungle to mountainous areas to private islands. So, what are the hotels like in Belize? With few major hotel chains, there’s plenty of opportunity to find exquisite accommodation for much less than in neighbouring countries such as Mexico. Properties range from beautiful eco lodges nestled in nature to small resorts that comprise of rustic treehouses to luxurious overwater bungalows and island cabanas, and private island retreats.
If you’re tentative about travelling alone, a group solo holiday to Belize with Flash Pack includes all your luxury accommodation arranged for you. Typically, you’ll share a room with a fellow Flashpacker, thereby swerving the single supplement. But if you want your own private space, that’s fine, too.
How to get to Belize
All international flights to Belize land at the main hub, Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, a few miles northwest of Belize City. There are no direct flights to Belize from Europe so you’ll need to transit through the US. For those in the US, there are a handful of airlines that fly direct from multiple locations, including American Airlines and Delta, and take just a few hours.
To reach other parts of Belize, there is a limited domestic network that operates flights to smaller towns and some of the islands. Fly to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the largest and most northerly, for immense diving opportunities and sighting of the Great Blue Hole, a giant sinkhole off the coast. Fly to Placencia, a small beach town in the south, for stunning beaches, and to the the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker for laid-back vibes.
How to get around Belize
Flying isn’t really necessary within Belize as the main sights are accessible by road and ferry, but it can speed things up if you’re short on time. Domestic flights are usually on small propeller aircraft and operated by the two internal carriers, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air who operate roughly the same schedules. Prices can be reasonable but do tend to rise heavily in peak season, especially when comparing value to the length of journey. For example, a one-way ticket from Belize City to San Pedro can cost around £70 for a 20-minute flight. It’s worth noting that it is slightly cheaper to fly from the small Municipal airport (code TZA) rather than the main international hub.
Driving is an option with some scenic routes well worth the journey. The spectacular Hummingbird Highway, which runs from the capital, Belmopan, to cultural Dangriga in southern Belize, is one of a handful of major highways in the country that, between them, cover the majority of sights. While hire can be expensive, you’ll have the option to save money on tours and explore some of the more hidden gems minus the crowds.
To reach the islands and cayes, there are plenty of water taxis that make scheduled trips, most notably from Belize City, Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and San Pedro. They are inexpensive and value for money, offering panoramic views of the striking scenery.
Best time to visit Belize
Belize enjoys a subtropical climate, meaning the weather is generally pleasant all year-round. But for those seeking sunshine, the best time to visit is during the country’s dry season from January to May, when the Cayo District and islands are particularly balmy. Further south around the Toledo District, the tropical climate sees some rain but temperatures are still humid. From June to December, the rainy season brings a mix of weather with varying degrees of rainfall as the months move on. To begin, rains tend to fall in the afternoon and evening but come September, the showers can turn to storms. That’s not to say there aren’t lovely dry spells still, with less humid and more pleasing temperatures.
Belize solo travel itineraries
Belize’s variety of wildlife, ruins, jungle and beach means there’s a lot to pack in, even for a small country. On Flash Pack’s 7-day Belize: Jungles, Mayans & Manatees adventure, you’ll cover the wealth of what Belize has to offer.First, you’ll get a taste for Belizean street food in Belize City, before heading west to San Ignacio. Here you’ll uncover spectacular Maya ruins, arriving via horseback and boat, before visiting a traditional Mennonite community, where you’ll meet a local family and sample their homemade cheeses.
At the foot of the lush Maya Mountains, you’ll enter the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, home to prehistoric pyramids, royal tombs and temples. There’s also a chance to explore the intriguing underworld at Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave, a short hike from San Ignacio. From here, you’ll catch a boat to Caye Caulker for a guided local tour of the mangroves, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve where you’ll have the opportunity to swim with manatees.
What to pack for solo travel in Belize
Belize’s subtropical temperatures mean that light and airy clothes are essential, along with some form of waterproof, like a poncho. Bring some sturdy and comfortable shoes for gentle hikes, cycling or horseriding. While the majority of tap water is safe to drink, in some areas it’s advisable not to, so a water bottle with a filter to rid of impurities is recommended. The usual sunhat, sunglasses and swimsuit are critical if you want to enjoy the beach areas or shelter from the basking sun. If you plan to snorkel or enter the water around the coral reefs, use a sunscreen that doesn’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two main ingredients that cause bleaching and damage to the reefs. Bring a deet-based mosquito spray to avoid the likes of tick-borne diseases and dengue fever. And, bring a travel adapter for plug sockets type A, B and G.
Solo travel advice for Belize
While the majority of the country is perfectly safe for solo travellers, parts of Belize City are best avoided due to local crime waves. Instead, head west to San Ignacio where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in Belize’s Mayan history and enjoy plenty of organised tours. Or, make a beeline for the many cayes popular with other travellers. With Flash Pack, solo travellers have the additional security of a Pack Leader and the social aspect of the group to travel and explore with, making it even more of an adventure.
Is it safe to travel solo in Belize
Thousands of visitors experience solo travel to Argentina every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before travelling. Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
In Belize City, gang crime is prevalent with certain areas out of bounds, so it’s best avoided, especially if you’re nervous about travelling alone. Other than this, the usual safety measures you’d employ at home apply, only getting in licensed taxis and protecting your belongings where you can. A group solo adventure will add an additional layer of safety to any trip, meaning you can travel through Belize’s varied landscapes without having to worry about anything other than enjoying the adventure.
Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel in Belize with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety and security of a group.
A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.
Images: Ali Kaukas and Unsplash