Belize with kids was somewhere that was on our bucket list for quite a while before we were able to actually go visit. The marine life, jungle, history, and adventure called to us. Plus, when we traveled to Guatemala previously, we really wanted to visit the ancient Maya site of Tikal, but it was a bit far from our base in the southern part of the country. We realized it would be a much shorter and easier trip to visit from Belize, and had been anxiously awaiting that opportunity, as well.
Here’s how we spent our time on our family vacation to Belize and all my tips to traveling to Belize with kids. I hope this one week Belize itinerary is helpful as you plan, too!
Cheap Flights to Belize
Our first step was figuring out reasonably priced flights to Belize. Fortunately for us living in California, traveling to Belize with kids is pretty quick. There are several nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Belize City that only involve about 5 hours of flight time. With an additional short hop from San Francisco, it felt pretty manageable, especially for an international trip for a large family.
We ended up flying on Alaska Air. We monitored flights on Scott’s Cheap Flights (my favorite place to find cheap flights for families) for a while and found some that were pretty reasonable. On the way there, we flew from SFO-LAX-BZE. On the way back, we flew from BZE-LAX and rented a car so that we could spend a few days in Southern California, then drove home.
Getting Around Belize with Kids
We used several different forms of transportation to get around the country while in Belize with our family, all of which were straightforward and easy.
Renting A Car in Belize
In case you’re wondering, “should I rent a car in Belize,” I wanted to share our experience. For the mainland, the easiest way to get around for a Belize family trip was to rent a car. The main roads were very well maintained and marked, and it was easy to drive. Plus, coming from the US, we even drive on the same side of the street so it felt very much like driving at home. Having a car meant we had flexibility on timing and were able to do some activities and food on our own easily, which also saved us money.
How to Get to Ambergris Caye
After spending a few days on the mainland, we went out to one of the islands (Ambergris Caye – more below). To get there, we took this ferry, which was cheaper than flying, especially when doing a whole family trip to Belize. It ran on time and was comfortable. The trip took about 90 minutes one-way.
Once on the caye, we rented a golf cart one of the days and walked the rest of the time. More on this below!
One Week Belize Itinerary with Kids
Here’s how we scheduled our one week Belize itinerary with a list of our favorite things to do in Belize for families. We loved our Belize vacation with kids and I hope this is helpful as you plan out what to do in Belize with kids!
Itinerary for San Ignacio Belize with Kids (Family Trip to Belize Cayo District)
There’s so much to do in San Ignacio Belize for families! We absolutely loved our time there. I’ll share how we structured our time below, and here’s a full post on all the can’t miss activities in San Ignacio. We spent about 3 days in San Ignacio Belize with our 5 kids, although we split the third day with one afternoon on the front end and one morning on the back end.
San Ignacio Belize Day 1: Outdoor play + chocolate making
The day we flew into Belize City, we rented a car at the airport and drove straight to our hotel, Nature Resort Belize. When traveling with kids, we try to remain flecible and since it was already dark by the time we got there, we just ate some dinner there and went to bed.
The next morning, was our first full day of our Belize vacation with kids. Our kids loved running around and exploring the property of our hotel. They found tons of lizards and iguanas and had tons of fun. As our time in Belize City was short, I don’t have a ton of things to do in Belize City to recommend.
Belize Chocolate Making Class
From there, we drove to San Ignacio to attend a family friendly Belize chocolate making class. It was an amazing Belize excursion for kids and they were so great with the kids. They showed us the entire process, and then we were able to drink some Maya-style hot chocolate at the end. So fun!
After that, we headed to dinner at Hode’s Place, which we enjoyed for the food, outdoor seating, and fun playground for the kids. When we finished dinner, we drove to our hotel, the Mariposa Jungle Lodge. If you are looking for the best family resort in Belize, this was a great pick. We absolutely loved our room there, which was beautiful and had plenty of space for our whole family. It’s also very reasonably priced, especially for this area, but in an absolutely gorgeous setting. It fit all our needs when searching for the best family resort in Belize.
San Ignacio Belize With Kids Day 2: Barton Creek Cave Tour + Big Rock Falls
Barton Creek Cave Tour with Kids
The next morning, we headed out on a tour of Barton Creek Cave. Our guides picked us up from our hotel, the Mariposa Lodge, and drove us there. While you can technically drive yourself and hire a canoe guide upon arrival, the road is extremely rough in parts. We had a couple of stream crossings and it was very bumpy. We were very grateful to be in a 4×4 vehicle with an experienced driver instead of doing it in our rental car.
Once we arrived to the base of our Barton Creek Cave tour, our guide figured out the canoes and we took two of them into the cave. Our guide rowed one and Dan rowing the other. We knew we wanted to experience some sort of cave tour that had ancient Maya artifacts but several of the caves didn’t work when visiting Belize with toddlers as they have a height minimum. Finding a Belize excursion for kids that worked for toddlers as well was a bit tricky. We considered splitting up but since we were on a relatively short timeline, decided to find a family friendly Belize cave tour we could all do together. This Belize cave tour for families was perfect, and the canoe ride was relaxing, if a bit eerie. The kids also loved jumping in the water once we exited the cave.
Big Rock Falls Belize with Kids
After our cave tour, we went back to our hotel for lunch and to relax for a bit. From there, we jumped in our car to drive to Big Rock Falls in the nearby Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. The road to get there is a bit bumpy but not too rough. There’s a small parking lot that fortunately had several spots available when we arrived.
Once we parked, we took the short hiking trail (about 10 minutes and down about 100 fairly uneven steps) down to the falls and spent a couple hours playing, splashing, and jumping off rocks into the water (just be careful where you jump). Big Rock Falls was SO fun and absolutely beautiful – definitely a highlight of our time in Belize with kids.
San Ignacio Belize Day 3: Tikal
The next morning, we got an early start to do a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala with kids. We were so excited for this adventure in Guatemala! Most rental car agreements will not allow you to cross the border. Instead, we drove to the border and parked in the parking lot there before going through border control and connecting with our Guatemalan tour guide. We could’ve also hired a tour guide to pick us up from our hotel, but driving to the Guatemala border ourselves saved us a bit of money and gave us flexibility to stop on the way back for food. It took us about 45 minutes to drive to the border from our hotel (only about 20 minutes from San Ignacio), and then about 2 hours from the border to Tikal.
Once crossing the Belize-Guatemala border, our driver took us straight to the site, where our guide took us around Tikal for several hours. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the history, architecture, and flora & fauna, and we really appreciated all he shared with us. It was a perfect way for us to have an enriching visit (we learned SO much more than we would’ve had we visited on our own) and also support locals in the Guatemalan tourism industry.
We had a late meal at the on-site restaurant before driving the several hours back. On the way, we stopped in the town of San Ignacio Belize to pick up some snacks. We weren’t super hungry at this point so we got some bread and yogurt and such.
San Ignacio Belize Day 4: Zipline + Green Iguanas + Market
While we technically only spent 3 days in San Ignacio Belize, we split the third day with just the afternoon on the first day (when we did the chocolate making class) and the morning of our last day.
We started our morning with breakfast at our hotel by the pool, where the kids loved swimming (it was plenty warm even in the early morning). We had breakfast at the San Ignacio hotel each of the days and they were all varied and delicious, and made our mornings easier. Having breakfast at the hotel is always a wonderful way to make traveling with kids much easier.
Family Friendly Belize Zip Line: Zipline in Belize with Toddlers
Once we’d packed up and loaded the car, we headed to the nearby Calico Jack’s to go ziplining. They are super reputable Belize family excursion and certified so we felt safe taking even our youngest kiddos. I loved that they involved and made zip lining safe for the whole family (they allowed even our 2 year old to go tandem with a guide, and always had her tethered while standing on a platform).
They have a number of different Belize zip lining tour options available. While the one with a rope crossing and rappel sounded super fun, we were a bit short on time so we chose the option with 4 zip lines. It was the perfect Belize zip line tour with little ones and still really beautiful and exciting for the rest of us.
San Ignacio Green Iguanas + Market
Once we’d finished up ziplining, we drove into San Ignacio and headed straight to the Green Iguana Conservation Project at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel (another great Belize resort option for families if you’d prefer to stay in a more traditional hotel setting). There, we got to meet a variety of iguanas, and were able to hold and feed the adorable baby iguanas. My kids thought meeting and feeding the green iguanas the San Ignacio resort hotel was the greatest thing!!
From there, we stopped by the San Ignacio farmers market. While the market is biggest on Saturdays, it was still worthwhile to stop by and see the produce vendors and also pick up some pupusas for lunch.
After that, we drove back to Belize City, where Dan dropped us off at the ferry terminal while he returned the rental car and took a cab back to us. From there, we all took the ferry from Belize City to Ambergris Caye out to our hotel, Alaia Belize Autograph Collection, there.
Ambergris Caye Itinerary: San Pedro Belize with Kids
Like many kids, ours absolutely love the water so we were really excited to spend time on the Belizean islands. Here’s what we did in Ambergris Caye with kids!
Best family resort in Belize, Ambergris Caye: San Pedro Hotels for Families
While in San Pedro, we chose to stay at the Alaia hotel. We chose it because they had units (Reef houses) that could accommodate our larger family and they had lots of family-friendly amenities, like multiple great pools.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Alaia, and it was great for the reasons we chose it (space and kid-friendly amenities). That said, we had a number of issues with our stay, as well. Missing towels, broken toilet/air conditioning, empty bath products, inaccessibility, and more. None was a huge issue on its own, but we had probably 15-20 of these little things over the course of our stay. Wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for a more reasonably priced hotel, but definitely shouldn’t have happened for a place charging as much as they do. We likely wouldn’t return there and wouldn’t put this on our best family resort in Belize list either.
If you’re looking for other Belize kid friendly hotels, we’ve heard that great things about these other San Pedro hotels with kids that provide a convenient and comfortable place to stay on Ambergris Caye. The Grand Caribe Belize has large units that can accommodate full families, and has 6 different pools. It also has complimentary kayaks/paddleboards and a sandy beach on property. The Caribbean Villas Hotel is a great option that’s much easier on the budget but can still accommodate families. The Xanadu Island Resort is another option. Finally, Ramon’s Village Resort is a bit closer to the main town if you prefer. Any of these may be better for your family, if you are looking for the best family resorts in Belize.
San Pedro Belize Itinerary Day 1: Swimming + Secret Beach
On our first day, we started the morning by spend some time in the multiple pools. The kids loved swimming and playing and we loved having a less hectic morning after a few busy ones.
After lunch, we rented a golf cart, which is the easiest way to get a large family around Ambergris Caye. You’ll see tons and tons of golf carts everywhere. We used MK Golf Cart Rental and had a great experience. He brought the cart to our hotel and picked it up from there so it was very easy, and explained how to use all the functions.
Once we had our golf cart, we drove over to the Belize Chocolate Company. Since we’d already done a chocolate making class, we didn’t stop for that, but we did pick up some frozen hot chocolates, which were delicious. Perfect to drink while we were riding around Ambergris Caye Belize with kids!
Secret Beach Belize with Kids
From there, we drove over to Secret Beach, where we swam and played for a while. This isn’t a super sandy, long beach. Instead, it’s a bit rocky but the water was warm and clear and was shallow for a long while. This was perfect when visiting Belize with toddlers! We did have our youngest in a life jacket while there (and also at the pool – she’s very convinced she can swim but cannot).
While there, we swam for a while, then Dan took the 4 older kids over to the Secret Beach Water Park, a fun inflatable obstacle course. Meanwhile, baby M and I hung out playing in the shallow water and having some snacks. Then we hopped back in the golf cart to head to The Truck Stop for dinner, an outdoor dining area with several different food trucks and outdoor games like ping pong, cornhole, etc. It’s such a fun place to hang out with various different food options.
San Pedro Belize Itinerary Day 2: Swimming + Snorkel Tour
Our second full day in San Pedro Belize with kids, we started out again with swimming in the morning. It was a great way to enjoy the beautiful weather and amenities and we loved starting our days this way!
Then in the afternoon, we scheduled a snorkel tour with Argyle & David. We knew we wanted to visit some of the incredible marine areas of Belize’s reef system, so this was a great way to do it.
Our guides took us to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where the older 3 kids and Dan all tried out scuba with Dan, and while I snorkeled since I’m pregnant. The two youngest also got in to see some marine life. During our time at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, we saw tons of fish, sea turtles, a Moray eel, and more here. So beautiful. Then we went over to Shark Ray Alley (technically still part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve), where we snorkeled with nurse sharks and saw several rays. It was an amazing day in Belize with kids!
After that, we had some light left in the day so since we had our own boat, they asked if we wanted to so see some more, which we did. So we went over to Caye Caulker and saw some pelicans and seahorses, as well as lots more rays by the shore. After walking through town, we stopped by the platform to jump off into the water, and then went on the boat back to our hotel. Such a wonderful day in San Pedro Belize with our family!
San Pedro Belize Itinerary Day 3: Swimming + Ferry to Belize City
We spent our final morning swimming again – we loved having time for that before checkout. Then we showered and went to get some Garifuna food for lunch, which was really fun to try. Finally, we took the ferry back to Belize City on the mainland. When we got off, we took a taxi to our Airbnb in Belize City and got takeout dinner from the delicious Sahara Grill Lebanese restaurant before flying back to the US early the next morning.
That’s about it! We definitely didn’t see it all, but it felt like we got a great overview of the various treasures of Belize. When we return, we’d like to visit the ATM Cave, which is more adventurous and had a minimum height requirement. We’d also like to explore some other Belize excursions. The top of our list of things to do in Belize next time are more Maya sites, do some rappelling, and visit the southern coast of the country, especially to learn more about the indigenous Garifuna peoples.
I hope our one week Belize itinerary with kids was helpful to you as you plan your own trip!
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