Belize | Anniversary Trip
If you know anything about Matt and I, it's that we love to travel. We actually had some really big plans for 2020 that obviously got canceled (but those are starting to come back into the picture in some different ways and I'll share more about that later!) But for now, this blog post is focusing all on our anniversary trip to Belize. I only mention those other big plans because we had a lot of people ask us - "Why Belize?" And it wasn't in our original plans either. We knew we wanted to start traveling again and we knew we wanted to make something happen for anniversary. We originally looked at a lot of other places, mostly ones we had already planned to visit in 2020 where we had the research done, etc. But at the time (May 2021), most of those weren't open in a way where an anniversary trip would have been the best idea. So instead, we pulled up the CDC's website and went to their country rankings and pretty randomly picked Belize from their low-threat list. It couldn't have been a better decision! I also wasn't planning on blogging this trip so most of these photos are just edited iPhone pictures that I took for our memories, but after getting lots of questions about our trip, I decided to share these pics and our plans here for any other travelers planning a trip to Belize!
Getting To Belize:
We took a super easy direct Delta flight from ATL straight to BZE. I've experienced some long lines at the Atlanta airport before but this time was the worst it's ever been. Just wanting to give a heads up to anyone traveling soon - you may want to arrive earlier than you normally would. We are super glad we arrived earlier than planned because we wanted to spend time in The Club ATL while at the airport. (Shout-out to Kara and Nate for making us want to live the lounge life.) Once we arrived in BZE, we showed our vaccination cards, got our passports stamped, and headed towards baggage claim.
Leaving the airport, we decided to take the more budget approach to arriving in San Ignacio. We took a taxi to the local bus stop and then about a 2 and half hour bus ride to San Ignacio. The main bus stop was a little chaotic especially with our luggage so depending on your travel comfort level, you can always take a taxi directly to San Ignacio. The taxi/bus combo cost us about $20USD whereas the direct taxi would have been about $150USD.
About San Ignacio:
Although some travelers only visit the island parts of Belize, we are so glad we decided to split our week and spend a few days in San Ignacio. We stayed at the Venus Hotel which was perfect for us. It was right in the middle of town on a road with tons of restaurants and shops. The San Ignacio Hotel is another great option that's a little more high-end.
We spent three full days in San Ignacio which was the perfect amount of time for us. Especially since one of those days was a Sunday when a lot of the town is pretty quiet.
DAY 1: We did a full day tour with St. Leonards that combined horseback riding, touring Xunantitich Mayan Ruins, lunch, and then a chocolate making class. You can walk and see the ruins yourself, but I would definitely recommend a tour guide walking you through. Our tour guide, Elio, made the whole day so much fun!
DAY 2: The second full day of our trip fell on a Sunday. This Sunday also happened to be Mother's Day so San Ignacio was very quiet. We basically took this as a day to relax and walk around town.
We visited the Iguana Sanctuary earlier in the day. It's located in the San Ignacio Hotel and cost about $12USD per person.
Then later that afternoon got a couples massage arranged by our hotel staff. (Will discuss all of our food and meals at the end!)
DAY 3: MUST DO – ATM Cave Tour. The ATM cave tour is incredible. We went with Katun Aho tours. They tours don't allow pictures after the parking lot but you can find videos from the tour guides websites that show a little more what you'd be getting into. Essentially it's a day tour that combines hiking, swimming, and exploring caves while getting to see some pretty incredible ancient artifacts.
All About Food:
Belize had some of the most delicious food I've ever had. Our absolute favorite restaurant was The Guava Limb. We ended up there our first night and went back again on Sunday forgetting it was Mother's Day. The place was packed and they still managed to fit us in.
Guava Limb pt. 2 -
First - Hole in the wall restaurant but honestly I was craving Belizean Panades the entire trip so they deserve their own spot on the blog.
Second - Ko-Ox-Han-Nah, another delicious restaurant we'd recommend
Third: A smoothie stand next to our hotel
Fourth: Pop's Restaurant which has the most delicious breakfast
We left San Ignacio early Tuesday morning to head to San Pedro island. This morning we did decide to take a taxi back to Belize City instead of the bus because the bus is a lot harder to get back on heading the other direction. With our suitcases, it just wasn't worth the hassle for us but you definitely can do the bus system back as well. From Belize City we took a water taxi out to San Pedro island. It’s about an hour and a half water taxi ride so it’s a slightly longer travel morning. We got to our Airbnb around lunch and then walked around before our food tour that night!
Airbnb: We stayed at the cutest Airbnb in San Pedro. It was right on the water and we couldn't have loved it more.
The most popular form of transportation on this island is golf carts. EVERYONE rents them for about $25 a day. Our Airbnb was so centrally located we walked everywhere but that was very rare. If you decide to stay in one of the area's resorts or if you are staying more days, I would recommend getting a golf cart rental.
Tuesday was our actual anniversary and we LOVE food tours, so we couldn't have wanted to spend our anniversary any other way.
I wish I had done a better job writing down the names of the places we went but again at the time I wasn't planning on blogging this trip. So I hate I can't give all these places credit but a food tour is always something I'll recommend! The place pictured above is Elvi's Kitchen and below is Lily's Treasure Chest.
The Blue Hole:
One of our main day activities was flying over the Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole.
Then we walked to a restaurant near the airport.
The other main excursion we did in San Pedro was snorkeling. The half day option has 2 stops – Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. At Hol Chan, we swam out to a reef and back while getting to see fish, turtles, barracudas, rays, and more. After that, we drove the boat over to Shark Ray Alley where they fed the sharks by our boat so we can snorkel with them. Even though we knew these sharks wouldn't do anything to hurt us, it's still a pretty crazy feeling snorkeling with sharks.
On the day we had to get our COVID tests to come back to the US, we walked past this fun storage container hang out area.
And then kept walking around so I could take some pictures of the water and surrounding areas.
Another place that fully deserves a shout-out is this food stand - "Izzy's Smoothies, Snacks & Juice Bar." I try not to repeat too many places when traveling because there's always something new to try, but I came here every single day. And the staff was so much fun to talk to while we were there.
Another place worth a visit is the Belize Chocolate Company.
We finished our last night with one more delicious meal overlooking the water and then headed home.
That was our trip but if you have any other questions about Belize, you can always email me! Hope you enjoyed seeing it!