During the colder months it seems that nearly everyone starts to focus their holiday attention down south. If you live in the eastern half of North America you will be looking at the Caribbean, and if you live in the western half you are likely focusing on Mexico’s Pacific resorts. Belize is an interesting compromise that is one of the cheapest Caribbean destinations for those from the west coast, and something a bit unusual and still quite cheap from the east.
Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is the smallest country in Central America, and the only one where English is an official language. Locals there often speak Spanish, a local language, or English that is heavily accented similar to in Jamaica, but since almost all of them understand English it’s an easy place to visit while being exotic at the same time.
Right now you can get flights from New York City to Belize City for $430 round-trip and from Los Angeles starting at $500 round-trip, which is quite a good deal considering this is for the high season, which runs from Christmas through April.
You’ll first land at the Belize City International Airport, which is well outside the city itself, and most people would be wise to either board another flight to one of the resort areas, or at least take a taxi directly to the harbor to board a Water Taxi to go directly to one of the nearby islands.
Ambergris Caye with its main town of San Pedro is the most popular resort area in Belize, and it can be reached by either method. Even closer is Caye Caulker, which is similar, even less developed, and at least a bit cheaper than Ambergris. You can easily find a hotel room for under US$50 per night on Caye Caulker, even during the high season, but those who want something special can find great deals spending even more to get truly deluxe accommodations.
Neither of those islands are known for great beaches, which is mostly because the coasts are primarily covered by mangrove forests, though a few sandy public beaches are present. Those looking for the best natural beaches will want to fly down to the Placencia Peninsula, which is gaining popularity for being as remote as it is beautiful. All the hotels along the coast there are small so even during high season you can get a mostly-private beach by just walking a few hundred meters in either direction.
Belize is a very friendly place and very easy to visit as well. It’s a great alternative to the more popular Caribbean islands where shopping and loud tourist bars dominate the scenes. The cruise ships that come into Belize dock at an artificial shopping village just outside of Belize City, so those visitors get a very superficial look at things while visitors who fly in actually get the benefit of a mostly unspoiled country with no cruise passengers in site.