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Southern or central Belize diving/snorkeling

I am planning a trip to southern or central Belize at the beginning of August with my 16 yr old son. We want to snorkel/scuba out on the barrier reef - about 8 days or so. We're looking to avoid the more crowded areas in the north and find more pristine diving. I do realize that this is the green season, as they call it, and that it will be rainy some of the time. Fine with me!
I'm looking to spend from $125-200/night for lodging and we are not "luxury" travel people necessarily - although I wouldn't be opposed to a more resort-like atmosphere. Seems that all the places I'm finding are either uber-luxury, honeymoon sort of places or somewhat sketchy...looking for something somewhere in between. Would love any recommendations for lodging either beachside on the mainland or out on one of the islands. I don't mind being isolated as long as there is food and a little rum nearby!
I'm especially looking for good dive shops that will take you out to the various spots on the reef.
We would like to see some of the Mayan ruins inland - if you know of any that are within reach of the area and the best ways to get there. I normally can't stand tours but not sure how easily accessible these areas are in Belize.
One more thing...transportation from Belize City to the south...fly or take the bus?
Any experiences you have with any of this would be much appreciated! We've never been to Belize so I hope that some who are familiar with it can chime in. Thanks so much!

Posted by
72 posts

As this is a Europe page, you may not get a lot of responses. But I have been to Belize as I'm sure many on here have.

That pretty accurately describes the lodging--high end resort, sketchy, or couples delight. I stayed inland so can't really offer any places beachside.

The ruins are accessible by a rental, but I would suggest scheduling to go on a tour, either group or with a private guide. The roads are not in good condition, and in the rainy season can wash out. I would hate to chance losing a car instead of investing in a tour.

Be forewarned--Belize is as hot and humid as you can get (and I live in the South). People are friendly, speak English, and the beach is beautiful. Ambergris Cay is very popular. And take some bug spray.

Posted by
595 posts

A couple years ago we stayed in Hopkins, Belize and really enjoyed ourselves. The town itself is kind of different - very modest and most of the residents live on fishing income, but there are restaurants and the people are friendly. On the outskirts of town there are several resorts and you saw tourists riding around town in golf carts mixed in with local kids and animals playing in the road - it was very unique, but we always felt safe. In the resort areas there were nice resorts and upscale restaurants on the beach. The beaches were beautiful and not crowded. We were there with a large group so we rented part of a large house called Villa Verano, but the resorts nearby looked nice and have good reviews on trip advisor. There was easy access to the reef from there and the resorts offer boat trips there. Belize is pretty small and English speaking, and we found it very easy to drive in. We rented a car and had no problems, so you could consider that if you wanted to be by the beach and also go inland for the ruins. If you decide to go to Tikal, however, I would recommend hiring a guide or taking a tour, because crossing the Guatemalan boarder can be tricky and also I think Tikal requires a Guatemalan guide to escort you in to the park, or at least they did at the time. It was totally worth it though - Tikal was one of the best parts of the trip. If you want to go to the reef, I recommend doing it early in your trip. We had plans to go towards the end of the trip and the weather turned bad and we weren't able to go at all, which was such a disappointment. If it is too rough, the guides can't take you out. Hope that helps - it was a beautiful country!

Posted by
595 posts

Oh, and I just read the review above and totally agree about the bug spray - we went in July and even with the heavy duty bug spray I got more mosquito bites than I could count. We didn't have any trouble with the roads, but it may depend where you drive.