48 Hours in Belize: The Ultimate Itinerary

an over-the-ocean dock sits on blue water in Belize

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Situated along the Caribbean Coast, Belize is a tropical paradise with plenty to offer travelers. The Central American country features plenty of beaches, rainforests, and ancient Mayan ruins to explore—it's a truly diverse and wonderful destination that could take several weeks to explore completely. That said, it is also a place that makes for a great weekend getaway, providing a good mix of adventure and relaxation (with plenty of sun thrown in for good measure). If you only have two days in Belize, here's what you should do with your 48 hours.

01 of 06

Day 1: Morning

A snorkler approaches a school of fish

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Note: This itinerary assumes travelers have arrived the day before. Flight arrival times vary depending on airlines, with most landing in the early to mid-afternoon. By the time bags are collected, immigration is cleared, and transportation to the hotel is arranged, most of the day will already be over.

8 a.m.: Belize has many great hotels to choose from, including beachfront properties, eco-lodges, and mountain escapes. With such a short amount of time in-country, it's best to pick one that gives you access to a variety of amenities and activities as quickly and easily as possible. That means staying in Belize City, where The Great House will meet those needs nicely. Serving up a healthy dose of charm and service, the hotel is a short distance from the beach as well as a number of historical landmarks. Alternatively, you could also stay at The Harbour View Cottages for a quaint, more intimate and private experience, with similar access to the area.

9 a.m.: With so little time and so much to see, get your day started early and head out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve for some excellent snorkeling. Yes, the Blue Hole is among the most famous dive sites in the world—but if you're not dive certified, you'll find Hol Chan to be more accessible and affordable, particularly when you're on a crunch for time. Typically a snorkeling trip will include a hotel pickup (with transportation to and from the reserve), and all of the necessary snorkeling gear. Once there, you'll discover an underwater wonderland filled with colorful fish, corals, and an abundance of other sea life to take in.

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02 of 06

Day 1: Afternoon

A howler monkey shouts from a tree.

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2 p.m.: After spending the morning and early afternoon out on the water, you'll definitely have worked up an appetite. On your return to town, head over to the Riverside Tavern to grab some lunch. Here, you'll find the best hamburgers in Belize, along with tacos and a variety of other options to choose from. Be sure to fill up because the day isn't over just yet.

3:30 p.m.: Dubbed the "Best Little Zoo in the World," the Belize Zoo gives visitors a chance to spot the country's most sought-after wildlife in a controlled environment. Of course, seeing those animals in the wild is preferred, but there are no guarantees that travelers will be able to encounter jaguars, cayman, and a wide variety of colorful birds while on a jungle tour. Here, visitors will see that and much more, making it an efficient way to spend your time.

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03 of 06

Day 1: Evening

a beach-side table at a Caribbean resort

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7 p.m.: After returning to your hotel to clean up and grab a change of clothes, it's time to head out for some dinner. There are plenty of great places to eat across the entire country, but you definitely won't want to miss the Maya Beach Hotel's Bistro. You'll find the menu is made up of French and local Belize cuisine, with fresh ingredients and mouthwatering combinations of flavors. You'll even get to dine right on the beach, just a short distance from the Caribbean itself.

9 p.m.: If you still have the energy to continue on into the night, head over to the Princess Hotel & Casino. There, you'll find a mini Las Vegas just waiting to welcome you. The casino has live music on most weekend nights and offers a variety of other entertainment as well. For those who enjoy games of chance, there are also plenty of slot machines and table games.

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04 of 06

Day 2: Morning

An ancient Mayan temple with a stone carved face

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8 a.m.: Set you alarm early, as you'll want to get up and make the most of the morning. Grab breakfast at your hotel or head over to Nerie's II to get things started with some local flavor, both in terms of food and atmosphere. You can fuel your morning on an order of fry jacks, a local delicacy made up of deep-fried dough that shouldn't be missed.

9 a.m.: No visit to Belize is complete without a visit to the local Mayan ruins. Because the country was once the seat of power for the Mayan empire, there are plenty of interesting and unique sites to visit. In fact, there are far too many to take in on a single visit. Many guides will recommend visiting Xunantunich as it is a large site with some excellent views. It can get very crowded at times, so Lamanai makes a great alternative, particularly if you're coming out of Belize City. A bit more remote and adventurous, a visit to this location requires a boat ride that gives visitors a chance to spot wildlife while en route. It also happens to have some of the best preserved Mayan ruins in all of Central America.

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05 of 06

Day 2: Afternoon

A man rides an inner-tube through a cave

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12 p.m.: Return to town to grab a quick lunch at the Celebrity Restaurant, which will once again delight you with the local cuisine, especially Caribbean seafood. If you're ready to relax, grab a drink or two before proceeding on with your Belize adventure.

1 p.m.: After a busy morning channelling your inner-Indiana Jones, it's time to relax a bit. If you're feeling in need of some beach time, catch a water taxi over to Caye Caulker, which is practically the definition of a Caribbean paradise. However, if you're looking for more of an adventure, why not give cave tubing a try? This excursion takes travelers into Belize's famous cave systems, where they can explore those subterranean passages and chambers while gently drifting along on an inner tube. It is decidedly a low-key affair, but a great way to experience the famous caves in a very laidback fashion.

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06 of 06

Day 2: Evening

a seafood appetizer at dinner

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8 p.m.: Top off your stay in Belize with an amazing meal on your last night in the country. Head over to Chef Rob's Gourmet Cafe where you'll find the cuisine is definitely elevated. Expect a delicious four-course meal served on the beach, with fresh, locally-sourced meats, fruits, and vegetables. Chef Rob likes to experiment and try new things, so expect a blend of foods from the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and beyond. Make a reservation early and come hungry—this will be one of the best places you're likely to eat anywhere you go.

10 p.m.: Drop by the Tropicana Lounge or Cate's Lilly Pad back in Belize City for an evening cocktail. Both have a unique vibe and are perfect for unwinding when you aren't quite ready to drop the curtain on your Central American/Caribbean escape.

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