Family vacations in Belize

What does responsible travel recommend?

On so many levels, Belize is simply the best for family travel. Especially if you really go for the Indiana Jones type of adventure, canoeing, caving, climbing, with plenty of Creol-ing and Caribbean-ing thrown in. A small country, it is easy to get around with families, enabling you to take in Mayan architecture in the morning, but go snorkeling on its Barrier Reef in the afternoon. The food is superb, so hollow legs are always filled on Belize family vacations. And the beer and rum ensure that empty glasses of exhausted, but exhilarated adult family members are always filled too.

Activities for families in Belize

What to do with little ones

One of the best ways to share Belize’s beauty and history is by canoeing down the Belize River, and wild camping along the way. Passing small villages en route, you will share local life well away from tourist hubs, spot a bevy of birdlife basking on jungle covered cliffs, and generally enjoy Belizean life as it is meant to be. Going with the flow.
Keeping up with the Indiana Joneses. Don’t tell your kids that when you visit caves at Actun Tunichil Muknal, they will not only get to climb, tube and swim through ancient underwater worlds, they will also see crystallised remains of sacrificed Mayans. Less spooky, but equally scream inducing, go ziplining through the jungle canopy or rafting on the Mopan River. All very ‘Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory.’
Bring on the chocolate. Belize is not a country for those families intent on sugar bans. Home to many traditional Mayan cocoa growers and chocolatiers, especially around Toledo, where the not-for-profit Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) has more than 1,000 members. Go on cocoa farm tours or visit a chocolate festival. All in all, there is a lot of general blissing out on beans to be done.

Tips for families

responsible travel asks the experts

Polly Alford, from our supplier Reef CI, marine conservation vacation specialist, shares her tips for family vacations in Belize: “I love the jungle. Toledo in Southern Belize is known as the ‘forgotten south’ and has the most amazing caves, waterfalls, Maya ruins and zip lining.”
Dan Hancock, from Audley Travel our leading supplier in tailor made trips to Belize, perfect for families:

“ Visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave. Taking a tour through this cave in the forest setting of Belize’s Cayo District is a must for anyone seeking adventure and Mayan history. A sacred Mayan site is located deep within the cave, where the Mayans used to leave offerings and conduct rituals. To get to the site you have to cross a river, swim through the entrance of the cave and scramble around rocks, Indiana Jones style. Swimming and wading through parts of the cave, you come across ancient Mayan pottery – preserved intact as it was originally discovered. The site has been left untouched, with just tape to stop you treading on things that you shouldn’t.”

“I would also really recommend staying at Stay at Lamanai Outpost Lodge I love the journey to this isolated jungle lodge in Belize’s Orange Walk District. It stands by a narrow lagoon, and a small boat whizzes you to the door through a maze of rivers and canals. Once here, the lodge arranges a series of nature tours as well as a visit to a local Mayan site - a favoured hang-out for howler monkeys - and to a local community. Definitely try the night-time spotlight safari in search of caiman.”
Responsible Travel would like to thank Belize for their sponsorship of this guide
Photo credits: [top box: Aaron Fulkerson] [canoeing: Aaron Fulkerson] [Mayan skeleton: Antti T. Nissinen] [chocolate: Renée Johnson] [Dan's tip: Antti T. Nissinen] [helpdesk box: SNORKELINGDIVES.COM]
Written by Catherine Mack
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