A Unique Family Travel Itinerary
Are you looking for a family-friendly vacation? Have you considered Belize? It’s located just south of Mexico and the north of Guatemala. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and ancient ruins, Belize has something for everyone. Plus, with a direct flight from Houston, Texas, it’s just two hours away on United or Southwest Airlines.
Best part, unlike Mexico, everyone speaks English and the money exchange is two-to-one right now! Here are some great family-friendly activities to enjoy during your trip.
Where to Stay
Nestled along the shores of Hopkins Village, the Jaguar Reef Lodge offers a stunning beachfront retreat. From cozy cabanas to luxurious villas, this eco-friendly lodge provides a comfortable and eco-conscious stay. Enjoy the resort’s private beach, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and take advantage of activities like snorkeling, kayaking, or simply lounging by the pool.
The resort also offers a variety of tours, including snorkeling trips to Shark Ray Alley and Blue Hole, as well as visits to Mayan ruins. Enjoy the beautiful Caribbean beaches at Hopkins Village or head over to the local village for some shopping and dining options.
A few musts when visiting the Jaguar Reef Lodge:
1 – Hit up the Ceviche Bar at the hotel for the best, freshest ceviche you’ve ever had. Take it over to the Big Dock Bar and enjoy as you literally sit above the waves.
2 – Rent a golf cart and head into the village for shopping and a cold drink! So many beautiful goodies are available at the shops and the sales really make a difference to the locals! Numerous bars are sprinkled throughout, my fave was the Swinging Armadillo located right on the beach. Crack open a cold Belikin and listen to the waves.
3 – For all my Houston foodies, dine at Chef Rob’s Gourmet Cafe.
You will not be disappointed with the local take on gourmet dishes while you enjoy the view of the beach.
Located on a 17 acre private estate just 72 miles west of Belize City, you will find the gorgeous San Ignacio Resort in the town of San Ignacio. This family owned resort has been servicing their community since 1976 and only gets better with age. Its terribly accommodating and friendly staff is ever present and full of suggestions and support, as needed. The rooms are generous and filled with local Belizean craftsmanship. Not to mention, private balconies to enjoy the lush jungle that surrounds the hotel.
Numerous packages are available to offer guests immersion into the local culture without much effort in planning. Whether you are interested in hiking, birding, tubing, zip-lining or relaxing by the pool, they have you covered. Whether you want to stay in or venture out, you are sure to find accommodations at the San Ignacio to your needs.
Experience the cultural heart of Belize in the bustling town of San Ignacio. Stroll through vibrant local markets, filled with handmade crafts, fresh produce, and traditional foods. Explore the town’s rich history through visits to historical sites like Cahal Pech or the San Ignacio Mission. Sample delicious Belizean cuisine at local restaurants, blending indigenous flavors with international influences, creating a unique culinary experience.
Not to miss:
Benny’s Kitchen @BennysKitchenBelize (my fave)
Crave Bistro @cravebistrosanignacio
Tollaca Smoke House @tollaca.belize
For a unique experience for the kids, visit the Belize Zoo, located just outside of San Ignacio, to get up close and personal with native wildlife. Established in 1983 and filled with 175 animals, all who have been rescued! It’s unlike any Zoo I have experienced in the states as the animals are truly in their natural habitats. Their mission is to protect and educate and they live up to their moniker, the Best Little Zoo in the World!
Fun Fact – If you are so moved, you can even adopt and animal for about $35 USD to help the Zoo maintain and keep their animals well cared for.
Another way to learn about the local animals is through the Green Iguana Conservation Project. Discover the incredible work being done at the conservancy located at the San Ignacio Resort. This conservation center is dedicated to protecting Belize’s endangered green iguanas. Explore the facility and learn about their conservation efforts. Get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures through interactive experiences and even participate in educational programs designed to raise awareness about the importance of preserving these reptiles.
Fun fact – all the Iguanas are rescues or have been born at the Conservancy!
Embark on a journey back in time at the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich via horseback. Start out with a leisurely ride through the jungle, along the river and cross by ferry to Xunantunich. Marvel at the colossal structures that once served as administrative and ceremonial centers for the Mayan civilization. Climb El Castillo, the towering pyramidal structure, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle. Explore the impressive architectural features and learn about the historical significance of this archaeological site.
This tour can take up to 5-6 hours, depending on the size of your group. Be prepared to carve out most of your day for this thrilling adventure. Be sure to ask for Rudolfo – he is the best guide in the world!
Immerse yourself in the local community’s skilled artistry through pottery making at the San Antonio Women’s Coop. Discover the traditional techniques used in Belizean pottery and gain insight into this time-honored craft. Engage with local artisans as they demonstrate their skills, and even try your hand at creating your own unique piece. This hands-on experience allows you to connect with Belizean culture in a meaningful and artistic way. @San-Antonio-Womens-Cooperative
Fun fact: You can pick up beautiful hand made dresses or blouses in the gift shop along with delicious coffee or hand made pottery.
Indulge your senses in the richness of Belize’s chocolate-making heritage. Delve into the history and production process of this delicious treat. Join a guided tour or workshop at Maya Center Village and witness the cacao bean’s transformation into chocolate.
Taste different variations, learn about the cultural significance of chocolate in Belize, and even create your own delectable creations. Plenty of yummy options to take home as souvenirs along with locally grafted baskets, pots, bags, purses, jewelry and more just next door! @Mayacentervillage
Fun fact -Recent visitors include the Prince & Princess of Wales!
Explore the natural wonders of Bocawina National Park, a pristine wilderness teeming with exotic flora and fauna. Adrenaline seekers can soar through the jungle canopy on a thrilling zip-line tour or embark on an exhilarating waterfall rappelling adventure. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Belize’s lush rainforest while witnessing breathtaking views and encountering diverse wildlife.
We tackled the zippiness, which included 9 different zippiness, one of which was 1/2m long and called “the Fast & the Furious’ for a reason! The whole run took about 2 hours and encompassed just over 2 miles. I won’t lie, there are a couple of climbs that can take your breath away, literally and figuratively. So, be well rested and well hydrated for your adventure!
Fun fact: You need to be over 75 lbs and be able to reach the cable while sitting in your harness attached to the lines. Special arrangements can be made for children to zip in tandem along with one of our guides (price for tandem is a full regular price).
Maximum – Our harness system allows for a maximum 42” waste. Weight is not a restriction.
BONUS – There is an All-Inclusive Resort at the park if you are interested in staying and playing there.