Travelogue: 4 Days in Belize

March 12, 2024

This was one of those trips that you’re happy to say, “made it out the group chat.”

We spent four days swimming, snorkeling, golf cart riding, shark feeding, eating, coloring, reading, dancing, hide-and-seeking, exploring, and lots of laughing on Ambergris Caye, Belize. And it was all made sweeter by getting to experience it with one of our favorite families – my college friend, Michelle, her husband Terry, their two daughters, and their nephew.

I’m happy to share a little recap of how we spent four days in beautiful Belize. But before I jump into that, I so often get questions about why we chose a particular destination to visit. So… why Belize?

For the past couple of years, Michelle and I have talked about our families traveling together. We all get along well (married people know this isn’t always a given), our kids are the same ages, and we all love to travel. In fact, Michelle has set a personal goal to visit 50 countries by the time she turns 50. (Don’t we love that?!) So as plans came together for this trip, we knew the first criteria was that we’d travel to a place Michelle hadn’t been before.

Our second criteria was figuring out a place that was relatively easy to get to by air travel. We considered some cities in South America, but we quickly realized taking young kids on a long flight for just 4-5 days was not the move. Our narrowed down list included places like Belize, Panama, and Grenada, which are all less than 5 hrs by plane from the NYC area.

We ultimately chose Belize, feeling like the laid back vibe of Ambergris Caye would provide the right balance of ease with the kids and opportunities to explore. And while I had been to Belize 20+ years ago with my mom, I’d spent most of that time exploring the mainland.

And our hunches were correct. Four days in Belize made for a fantastic trip…

Day 1
We flew into Belize City (BZE), which was a 4 hr, 30 min flight from JFK. If you’re staying on one of the nearby cayes, like we were, you have two options for getting there: 1) You can take a 90 min ferry (the port is a 20 min taxi ride from the airport), or 2) You can take a 15 min puddle jumper flight on Tropic Air or Maya Island Air.

Michelle’s family took the ferry, and we had planned to do the same. But our flight was delayed by six hours, and by the time we arrived at BZE, it was dark, and the ferries don’t run at night. So we booked the puddle jumper flight and hopped right on. Not gonna lie — flying on a 15-seater plane, with the moon above and only darkness of the ocean visible below, had me praying like a Catholic, Charismatic, and everything in between! But in 13 minutes, we were back on the ground and heading to the Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club. (Also, the kids were completely unfazed, ha.)

We had just enough energy to greet our friends, order room service (which was delicious!), and go to bed.

Day 2
Our first full day was spent having breakfast at the hotel and then letting the kids enjoy the pool. The weather was raining off and on, so we rented our golf carts and drove into “downtown San Pedro,” where the airplanes and ferries arrive. The kids climbed on the giant San Pedro sign and played in a nearby playground.

We hopped in our carts and drove north to eat lunch at Truck Stop, an outdoor food court and beer garden, that has an area with games, seats by the water, and live music in the evenings. Since the stage was not in use, the kids gladly put on a show of their own. We stopped at a grocery store on the way home to grab things for dinner and the next morning’s breakfast. And then we spent the evening hanging in our friends’ hotel room, which was a beautiful 3 bedroom villa. (A photo from outside our room is below.)

Day 3
The sun and warmth returned in full effect, so we headed to the hotel’s private beach, accessible only by boat. The hotel shuttles guests there every hour (it’s a 10 min ride), and they have chairs, food service, and over water cabanas and hammocks. We spotted a few dolphins on the ride over, and the water at the beach was shallow and calm — perfect for kids and heavy relaxation.

We caught one of the last boats back to the hotel, showered up, and headed to dinner in San Pedro at El Patio, where we ate delicious typical food — a blend of Caribbean and latin flavors — and swayed to live music.

Day 4
We started the day with breakfast at The Baker, known for their cinnamon rolls and other pastries. The kids enjoyed more pool time and lunch from Taco Shack, which is highly rated and on-site at the hotel. In fact, the food options at the Mahogany Bay Resort were generally fantastic.

And then we headed out for a half-day boat tour excursion, which took us speeding over the beautiful waters to Hol Chan Marine Reserve for snorkeling and feeding sharks. The two five-year-olds were hesitant to get in the water, but once they saw everyone else jumping in, they couldn’t risk being left out. All of us parents were so proud of them, as we swam with sting rays and thousandssss of fish.

Then it was on to Secret Beach, the favorite beach on the island. We ate our food in the water and enjoyed the chillest of vibes.

The sun started to dip as the boat took us back to our hotel. And I snapped some of my favorite pics from the trip…

Day 5
The boys got in one last pool swim before starting the journey home. And this time, I got to take in and appreciate the daytime aerial views of the beautiful Belizean waters.

Additional Notes about Belize:
If you have more time for your trip to Belize, I’d suggest flying into BZE and staying on the mainland for a few days, so you can visit Mayan Ruins and go tubing/exploring in the caves and jungles. I spoke to a few people who said some of the tours make you feel like you’re in Tomb Raider — not exactly right for a trip with small kids, but potentially amazing for adults or teens.

After your days spent on the mainland, you can head to one of the cayes — either Ambergris (where we went) or Caulker Caye, which is a little closer to mainland – only a 45 min ferry ride, as opposed to 90 min. You can also stay on one caye and make a day trip by boat to visit the other. My research led me to believe that Ambergris Caye had a little more going on for families than Caulker Caye, but if you want an even more chill/remote feel and vibe, Caulker Caye could be perfect.

You could also make time to visit Placencia, which is further south, but also on the water.

Some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling is found in Belize, due to its massive barrier reef (second largest behind Australia’s Great Barrier Reef) and the Great Blue Hole. You can swim with rare fish, sting rays, sharks, turtles, and manatees.

Belize is the only Central American country where English is the official language, although most of the population also speaks a Belizean patois.

Have you been to Belize?! Drop any other questions you might have about Belize/our trip, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Gail Rice
    March 21, 2024 at 12:04 am

    I didn’t realize that you were blogging again! Yay!
    I loved this travelogue on Belize and can’t wait to catch up on the other recent posts! 👏🏽

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