Our recap of the best food, tastes, and adventures from 11 days spend on the coast of Belize!
So…we went to Belize! After four years of not truly vacationing together, the tulip-man and I decided that enough was enough and booked tickets to Belize. In picking the vacation spot, our stipulations were that:
- It was a short flight from Atlanta, near where we spent Christmas
- It had beaches, because after four years of no vacation the tulip-man needed some white sand therapy
- It had scuba diving, because I’ve always wanted to learn
- It didn’t cost a fortune to get to, never mind the fact that we planned the vacation in high season (between Christmas and New Years)
So after playing around on Google Flights and Booking.com, Belize became an obvious choice.
With just 11 days in the country, we spent our time on the coast rather than trekking inland. We first headed down to the sleepy strip of Placencia, where we lounged on the best beaches in the country. Then we headed north to the bustling city of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye where we spent the week scuba diving.
Here’s a recap of our favorite foods, tastes, and adventures while in Belize!
The southern village of Placencia was our first stop. We booked a shuttle to get us there, which carted us the 3 hours along the Hummingbird Highway from Belize City down to Placencia. We spent 5 days here, which largely involved lounging around on the beach (with the exception of one day, where we kayaked 45 minutes out to False Caye to spot manatees and rays).
Bayshore Bijou Suites: We stayed here while in Placencia and loved it! A family-run lodge nestled north of town, we spent our mornings playing with their herd of chickens and watching all the iguanas and gibnuts run around. Bonus: they’re located right across the street from one of the best beaches in the country, Maya Beach.
Green Parrot: This turned out to be one of our favorite spots to hang out all day. With lounge chairs, hammocks, and a bar/restaurant nearby, there’s really no need to leave! We ate my favorite breakfast of the whole vacation here, a Belizean breakfast with fried eggs, refried beans, tortillas, and potatoes.
Maya Beach Hotel and Bistro: While the prices are higher here than most places, we found ourselves coming back a few days in a row. The food is just so good! (Be sure to stop by in the afternoon for happy hour.)
Tips for Placencia: Because the infrastructure is so lacking in Placencia, many grocery stores are expensive! We lightened the bill by buying alcohol at the duty-free store in the Belize airport (before you go through customs). We spent $17 for a bottle that would have cost $50 in Placencia.
While the water in the rest of the country is not safe to drink, Placencia has some of the cleanest tap water in the country. While I still would not drink a glassful from the tap, brushing your teeth, eating water-washed veggies (like lettuce and tomatoes), and ice should all be safe in Placencia.
Next stop, San Pedro! Not up for the long drive then ferry (which would have taken 8 hours) we opted to take an island hopper flight (2 hours). But even more-so than saving time, the flight was amazing in itself. We saw sharks, rays, and sea turtles from the air, and…I sat copilot in the plane! I now go by Captain Sarah.
Mesa Cafe: A small cafe that packs a big punch. We split the banana pancakes, babaganoush, and sweet potato tacos!
Celis Deli: This was our go-to breakfast spot for busy mornings when we needed a quick bite before diving. It’s usually packed with locals (and of course, local food).
Estel’s: A pretty touristy cafe on the beach with some darn tasty food. Be sure to try the Belizean fry jacks, a deep fried dough that’s commonly served for breakfast in Belize.
Pier 366 Seafood House: After a wild goose chase for a breakfast restaurant that the tulip-man was convinced would “just be a little further down the beach”, we ended up here instead. Needless to say, with a Belizean breakfast of scrambled eggs, tortillas, refried beans, and pico de gallo, I was not disappointed.
Scuba Diving: But we didn’t actually go to San Pedro for the food…we went for the diving! I learned to scuba dive and have fallen deeply in love with it. Always a lover of snorkeling, I had a feeling I would like diving. But with a history of anxiety and panic attacks, I wasn’t sure how I would react to being deep underwater. Fortunately it turns out, even in the presence of reef sharks, rays, and barracudas, I love diving.
Tips for San Pedro: Unlike in Placencia, the water is not safe to drink here. This also means you need to be wary of water when brushing your teeth, water used to make ice (ask the waiter if it’s filtered), and especially water that may have been used to wash lettuce or vegetables (even in restaurants). (Here’s how I avoid food poisoning when traveling).
What we weren’t expecting before visiting San Pedro were…the golf carts. This city is overrun with them. Everyone and their brother will try to rent you one, and they are a convenient way of getting around town. We stayed a 15 minute walk north of town and didn’t find that we needed one.
Finally, don’t come to San Pedro if it’s the beaches you’re after. This island is great for taking boats out to the reef for snorkeling and diving, but most beaches are overrun with seaweed, businesses on piers, and people.
And that was our experience in Belize! Delicious, unexpected, and full of adventures!