About Belize City
Sitting on a small peninsula on Belize’s coast, the former capital, Belize City, offers both ocean adventures and a vibrant cultural scene. It’s steeped in history thanks to its Maya, Creole and European ancestors, and its streets fuse romantic colonial houses with colourful neighbourhoods. The Belize River winds its way through the city to meet the Caribbean Sea and its tropical islands. Discover some impressive snorkelling spots along the beaches, a collapsed sea cave and the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
You can stay in Belize City hostels in the quieter regions, close to its seafront. You’ll find both private rooms and shared dorms, some with air con, TVs and even a drop-off laundry service. Hostels in Belize City have outdoor terraces and hammock areas, offering a relaxing retreat after days spent exploring, while communal kitchens can get you chatting to other travellers. Expect to find hostels with free airport transfers, or look out for a Belize City hostel with on-site parking if you’re hiring a car.
The Fort George area by the marina is the city’s main district where you’ll find most of its shops and street vendors. As you head west over Swing Bridge, you’ll enter some of the oldest parts of the city with colonial-style architecture. Along the seafront is Barracks Road, which has restaurants as well as public parks to explore. Belize Marine Terminal is where island-bound water taxis depart from.
As the gateway to the Caribbean coast’s tropical islands, Belize City is the ideal base for underwater adventures. Head to Ambergris Caye, the largest of the islands with Belize’s Barrier Reef at its shores, or to Caye Caulker for a slice of relaxed island life where cars are non-existent. Serious diver? Head to The Blue Hole – a 125-metre-deep sinkhole containing stalactite formations. Back on the mainland, you can glide over the jungle on a zip-line, or go tubing through caves at Jaguar Paw (a 20-minute drive from the city centre). You could also take a day trip to Altun Ha (a 50-minute drive), an archaeological site full of Mayan ruins.
Philip Goldson International Airport is a 20-minute drive from Belize City. There are bus services and taxis at the airport to take you into the city centre. From Guatemala City, take the bus into town – the journey takes about 10-12 hours. There are also buses from Punta Gorda, Belmopan and Mexican cities such as Cancún. Expect to find car rentals in the city to help you get around, as well as taxis.