Stepping into Belize, where the vibe is as lively as the culture, and the people are as friendly as they come. As a traveler, you can’t miss the down-to-earth friendliness that’s just part of the air here. Belizeans are all about being warm and welcoming, making you feel like you’ve known them forever.

Planning a trip to Belize? We’ve crafted a straightforward 12-day guide covering Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, and San Ignacio.

Belize 12-day Travel Summary

Travel month: February

Places we visited: Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, San Ignacio

Itinerary Summary:

  • Day 1 – 5: Caye Caulker
  • Day 6 – 8: Ambergris Caye
  • Day 9 – 12: San Ignacio

Getting Around Belize: Transportation

Belize Airport to Caye Caulker

We encountered a slight delay, causing us to arrive at BZE airport later than anticipated. This hiccup had the potential to disrupt our plans, but fortunately, we managed to navigate through the situation. Allow me to elaborate: the final ferry to Caye Caulker departs from Belize City at 5:30pm. We exited Belize airport by 4:45pm, and despite the approximately 30-minute drive to the Caye Caulker ferry terminal, luck was on our side. Arriving at the terminal by 5:15pm, we secured tickets just in time for the last ferry departing Belize City. The ferry ride from Belize City to Caye Caulker takes about 45 minutes.

While we were aware of the risk, taking the chance paid off. To avoid stress, consider earlier flights or exploring Belize City before heading to Caye Caulker. Additionally, while flights to Caye Caulker are an option, they tend to be pricier, and the latest departures from Belize City are typically at 6:15pm.


Travel Cost: Taxi US$30 total + Ferry US$21 per person

Transport mode: Taxi + Ferry

Caye Caulker to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro)

Getting a water taxi from Caye Caulker to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) is extremely easy. We checked the water taxi schedule online, and arrived at the Caye Caulker terminal approx. 20 minutes before departure to purchase our tickets (there is an option to buy them online if you prefer, but it wasn’t necessary in our case).

Travel Cost: US$21 per person

Transport mode: Ferry

Ambergris Caye to San Ignacio

We departed from San Pedro towards Belize City in the morning via a water taxi. From the water taxi terminal in Belize City, we shared a taxi with 2 other people to reach the bus terminal. At the bus terminal, we purchased our bus tickets to San Ignacio. The buses are commonly referred to as ‘chicken buses’; they are not the most comfortable, but at least we managed to find a seat.

The journey to San Ignacio took approximately 2.5 hours with a few stops along the way – in San Ignacio, the bus stops right in front of the market, and many other people will get off at this stop. If you have the option, consider taking an express route for a shorter ride (Bus schedule can be found online).

Travel Cost: Ferry US$31 + Taxi US$2.50 + Bus ticket US$5.50 Per person

Transport mode: Ferry + Taxi + Bus

San Ignacio to Belize City Airport

We considered taking an early ‘chicken’ bus from San Ignacio to Belize City. However, since we had an early flight to catch, we opted for a private shuttle van/taxi instead.

Travel Cost: US$40 per person

Transport mode: Private shuttle van

Things To Do in Caye Caulker

We absolutely loved Belize, but if we were to choose our favourite place – it would be Caye Caulker. This tiny island has all the laid-back vibes – bicycling around the entire island, chill bars, street food, beaches, and a hub for scuba-diving enthusiasts like us!

Scuba Dive

For any scuba diving enthusiasts, you cannot visit Belize without getting some dives in, and we found Caye Caulker to be an excellent spot to base ourselves. We booked 3 dives in advance with a company called Frenchies Diving. They have different package offers, and we chose to dive 3 sites in one day (the infamous blue hole, half moon caye, lion’s caye) for US$325 per person. Had we not chosen to dive the Blue Hole, it would have been much cheaper – the Blue Hole is quite a distance from shore.

We managed to observe a variety of wildlife, including an up-close encounter with a black tip reef shark, green eels, turtles, lobsters, and numerous fish.

Is diving the Blue Hole worth it?

Scuba diving in the infamous Belize Blue Hole is a bucket list item for many scuba diving enthusiasts, us included. So when we booked our flight tickets to Belize, we figured we can’t give this a miss, even though the dive site is quite a distance from Caye Caulker and quite pricy. It was a 2 hour boat ride on rough seas from Caye Caulker to the Blue Hole – a couple of people did get seasick.

The dive site is an incredible 400 feet deep, and Advanced divers will go down to 130 feet for a dive time of 25 minutes. We didn’t get to see much marine life on this dive, but as it gets deeper and darker you do get to see giant stalactites.

All in all, considering the long boat trip, the price and the actual dive experience – we would probably say it’s not worth it, however if it’s on your bucket list like it was for us, go for it!


There aren’t any amazing snorkel areas on Caye Caulker from the shore (unless you count The Split – which we don’t!). However, numerous boat tours are available that will take you snorkeling offshore. While we consistently chose scuba diving, there were a couple of people on our scuba tours who opted for snorkeling instead.

Rent a bicycle

Caye Caulker is a small, flat island with no cars! Getting around is super easy and safe with a bicycle. In both of our accommodations, we were able to borrow a bicycle for the day free of charge. However, if you prefer, you can easily opt to rent one instead. Some people on the island choose to rent a golf cart for convenience!

Sting Ray Beach

During times when we wanted to take it easy, we spent some time relaxing on Sting Ray Beach. Access to the beach is free to the public, but we did buy a couple of drinks to use their sunbeds.

Stingrays are fed daily at around 4pm, and you’re bound to see many up close from the beach. However, we weren’t comfortable with the practice of feeding the stingrays, especially considering that some people were adamant about touching them.

Things To Do in Ambergris Caye

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

We had heard that Hol Chan Marine Reserve is impressive, but we debated whether we should go, considering we had already seen a lot of marine life in Caye Caulker. Nevertheless, our FOMO kicked in, and we asked around in San Pedro, where we found a last-minute boat trip for US$90 each, including a scuba dive in Hol Chan, a snorkel in Shark Ray Alley, and a US$10 park fee.

Hol Chan is not only a haven for marine life but is also a dedicated conservation area committed to preserving the diverse marine ecosystem.

While most people choose snorkeling in Hol Chan given the channel’s shallow depth and opportunities to see a lot of marine life, we found that scuba diving offers a much better look at the abundant marine life. Besides the many fish, we also encountered a turtle, multiple stingrays, and nurse sharks.

Shark Ray Alley

Shark Ray Alley is another stop on your Hol Chan Marine Reserve boat tour. However, scuba diving is not an option at Shark Ray Alley, so you’ll be snorkeling.

This spot does feel incredibly touristy and unnatural. All tours involve feeding to attract nurse sharks and stingrays to your boat while you’re snorkeling. While it’s exciting to have nurse sharks and stingrays up close, it feels very unethical – not what we were expecting.

Explore island with a golf cart

Ambergris Caye is a larger island than Caye Caulker, and on our last full day in San Pedro we decided to rent a golf cart for US$60 and explore the island. We spent most of our afternoon relaxing in a cabana at Sunset Palace Beach Club (the cabana rental is free, as long as you make a food/drink purchase). In the evening, on our way back to San Pedro, we stopped at The Truck Stop – which is a popular hang out place with multiple food stalls, bar and games.

Things To Do in San Ignacio

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

We’ve visited a few impressive Mayan Ruins in Mexico, but we both prefer the one in Xunantunich – mostly because they did not feel at all crowded (which was our experience in Mexico, especially Chichen Itza). We visited in the morning, at about 9am to avoid the scorching heat and the ruins were quiet and felt intimate. However, we did hear the ruins are busier when cruiseliners are in Belize, so try to avoid visiting Xunantunich on that day if possible.

At the ruins site, you are allowed to climb on top of the ruins and from the highest point you have a clear view of bordering Guatemala.

Travel from San Ignacio to Xunantunich: From San Ignacio town we shared a taxi (US$2.50 each) with another couple to take us to Xunantunich. We then took a small hand-cranked ferry (at no charge) to cross the river and walked approx. 30 minutes to arrive at the Xununtunich entrance where we paid US$5 each entrance fee.

Travel from Xunantunich to San Ignacio: We spent approximately 2 hours exploring the ruins before retracing our steps to the ferry on foot. Upon reaching the other side of the river, we secured a taxi for the journey back to San Ignacio at the cost of US$2 each. We had originally planned to take the bus, but since the taxi was so cheap, it wasn’t worth waiting.

ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave Tour

The ATM tour is one of the most popular and adventurous things you could do in San Ignacio – you will spend about 3 hours hiking through a rainforest, swimming through cold rivers, fitting through tiny spaces, and climbing rocks in a pitch black cave (you will have a head torch!) to see Mayan skeletal remains.

We paid US$110 each for this experience with Maya Walk Tours – it is quite pricey, but it is a unique experience and if this sounds like something you would enjoy, we recommend it (it exceeded our expectations).


  • This is quite an intense tour, and if you have health concerns or feel claustrophobic, you might want to reconsider.
  • No cameras whatsoever are allowed inside the cave (Ever since a tourist dropped their camera and damaged skeleton remains!)

Explore San Ignacio Town

We easily explored the small town of San Ignacio by foot. It has an authentic and local feel, with a lot of options for street food. We also recommend heading down to the Macal river before sunset to appreciate the nature.

San Ignacio Market

We were lucky to be in San Ignacio on a Saturday, which is when the local San Ignacio Market is open. It feels very authentic with local specialties and fresh produce – definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

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