Belize Budget Breakdown: Belize 7-day road trip and island hop

When it comes to finding affordable getaways from the United States, Belize often never makes the cut. It’s trumped by island destinations or larger Central American countries. Though small in size, I’m here to tell you that Belize should be one of the next countries you visit. Firstly, because it’s packed with adventure and, secondly, because it’s budget-friendly. Here is the nitty-gritty for my Belize budget and the exact amount of money I spent on my 7-day adventurous road trip

Editor’s note: 

Belize’s currency is Belizean dollars. During my trip, the current conversion rate was $2 Belizean Dollars equaled $1 USD. In this budget guide, I will be reporting my expenses in United States Dollars. You can convert this to your local currency to understand what this trip would cost you. 

Old, hand-crank bridge crossing river to Xunantunich Maya ruins in Belize, Central America

Transportation 

While in Belize, I used a few different modes of transportation. After flying into Belize City from Minneapolis, I traveled throughout the country in a rental car. After which, I cruised out via water taxi to Belize’s most famous Cayes and relaxed there. At Ambergris Caye, I rented a golf cart to get around while at Caye Caulker I walked. Overall, I spent a total of $758 on transportation while in Belize. 

Flights: $286

On a Scott’s Cheap Flights deal, I nabbed an American Airlines flight from Minneapolis (MSP) to Belize City (BZE) for $286 in early January. This is actually during Belize’s peak tourist season, so this was a heck of a steal. 

Budget car rental in Belize: $263 

I embarked on a road trip to visit the Mayan ruins scattered throughout the country and experience off-the-beaten-path experiences that the locals endorse. On my road trip, I did rent a car for five days from Crystal Auto Rental in order to see some of Belize’s hidden gems. On average, I spent just over $53 a day on my car rental. 

Editor’s note and disclaimer:

Crystal Auto Rental did provide me with a 15% discount off my rental cost in exchange for mentioning them on my blog. That is reflected in my overall cost for my rental car. Without my discount, the vehicle would have been $303 USD for five days. 

Gas: $101

On my week-long road trip, I covered quite a bit of ground. I drove a little more than 800km. Gas in Belize is very expensive. On average, I was spending $1.33 USD per liter. For those of us not on the metric system, that equates to $5.03 USD per gallon. That’s a pretty hefty price tag. During my trip, I didn’t cover as much ground as I would like due to flight delays, so I anticipated that my total gas allowance would have been higher. 

The sunrise over the Caribbean Sea as we take the water taxi from Caye Caulker to Belize City.

Water Taxi: $64

After exploring Belize’s mainland, I ventured to the Cayes, clusters of islands off Belize’s coast. There are two famous Cayes — Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker — where visitors flock. I budgeted for both of these Cayes. 

I first sailed from Belize City to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This ferry ride cost me $28 for a single one-way ticket from Belize City. After spending a full day at San Pedro, I ventured to Caye Caulker. My ticket from San Pedro to Caye Caulker cost $18. My ticket to return to Belize City cost an additional $18. Overall, I spent $64 on the water taxi. It definitely was the most cost- and time-efficient way to visit the Cayes. 

Golf Cart Rental: $60

I unknowingly stayed in an adult-only resort in Ambergris Caye that was located at the northern end of the island. It’s location served as both a pro and con being so far away from San Pedro’s downtown and water taxi port. In order to easily move about the island, I rented a golf cart at the last minute. I stopped in a random shop in San Pedro’s business district and scored a $60 24 hour rental from Local Rentals

This was definitely a splurge for me, but I was happy that I did rent the golf cart. I spent the majority of my day whizzing around the island like a local. There are a few hidden gems on the Caye which also can only be reached via golf cart, which I unplugged and sought out. 

Parking: $48

When traveling, sometimes parking can be a nightmare to find and also very costly. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to spend much of my Belize budget on parking. I only had to pay for parking at my local airport. Otherwise, all the parking areas I encountered at national parks, attractions and within cities was all free. 

Total transportation costs = $758 USD

 

Admission 

The majority of the sites I explored in Belize were Mayan ruin sites. A number of these sites were only accessible by vehicle. There are a few tour companies that will transport tourists to the larger iconic ruin sites, but it’s a more thrilling experience to travel to these sites with your own vehicle. 

Mayan ruin sites 

The first Mayan ruin site I surveyed was Xunantunich. This is the tallest Mayan ruin site in Belize and also the one situated closest to Guatemala. At the top of the site’s largest temple, visitors can see Guatemala. The view from the top is one that visitors should not miss. It’s also the only Mayan ruin site that utilizes a hand-crank bridge to transport visitors across a river that secludes the Mayan ruin site. It’s a unique experience that also should not be passed up. Admission was only $5 for this Mayan ruin site. 

I also visited Cahal Pech located near Xunantunich. Cahal Pech was a more rustic Mayan ruin site. There were trees and other jungle vegetation that covered the ruins. These ruins were impressive and protected by the jungle foliage. This was the definition of an Indiana Jones excavation. During my visit, there were archaeologists working on uncovering more of the site. Admission for this Mayan ruin site also costs $5. 

Finally, I took the long trek to Caracol, Belize’s largest Mayan ruin site. Out of all the Mayan ruins I visited, this site was the most expansive and impressive. There are numerous temples and palaces that were erected in this civilization. Caracol was large enough to defeat neighboring enemy Tikal in a battle. 

Unlike the other Mayan ruin sites, Caracol is very remote and is dangerous to trek to. The Belizean Defence Force escorts visitors every day via a convoy to ensure their safety. I drove with the convoy solo — that was an unforgettable experience. There are numerous tour companies that take travelers directly to the ruin site without any hassle. It takes more than 3 hours to drive to Caracol. This is an all-day event and costs $7.50 USD. 

There are numerous other Mayan ruin sites that can be explored in Belize. I only had time to visit these three, but definitely would have liked to tour more. 

Jungle brush view from hike to St Herman's cave in Blue Hole National Park in Belize off the Hummingbird Highway

Parks and Preserves 

I always aim to visit at least one national park or nature preserve during my international travels. I love seeing the diversity of landscapes around the world. My first natural oasis was the St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. This is where I explore St. Herman’s Cave and swam in the Blue Hole, not to be confused with the Great Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is a sinkhole in a lake caused by the collapse of an underwater cave. There is now a dark, indigo spot in the water indicating where the sinkhole. It’s a surreal and almost science fiction-esque experience. Entrance to the park for both the cave and Blue Hole is $4. 

Also visited the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve. This wildlife preserve is rumored to be heavily populated with jaguars. Visitors can go on nighttime treks to see jaguars at night when they are most active. In order to enter the park, it’s advised to hire a local guide.

I hired a local guide at Maya Center’s Women’s Craft Shop. One of the artist’s husbands was available to guide me in the park in the evening. To hire a local guide it costs $30 USD. This is also where you can buy your entrance ticket to the park, which costs an additional $5. 

Due to an Airbnb scam, I was unable to meet with the local who was going to guide me through the preserve. I’m still bummed about missing this! 

Total admissions costs = $26.50 USD

Accommodations 

Whenever I travel, I try my best to stay at local accommodations during my trip. Often times I organize home stays with locals via Airbnb or through friends of friends. For the majority of my Belize road trip, I was able to stay at Airbnbs scattered throughout the country. If you are new to Airbnb, feel free to use my referral link to get up to $55 off your first stay. 

In some areas, such as the Cayes and slow to Placencia, I struggled to find Airbnbs that were available. I did stay at two hotels owned by Belizean locals. Each of these stays was an average of $40 per night.

At each Airbnb I stayed at, there was a wide range of what an average evening costs. For instance, I stayed at two resorts, one at San Pedro and the other nestled in the jungle nearby Belmopan. Each of these accommodations were the most expensive nights, respectively costing $199 and $99 USD per night. The cheapest accommodation I stayed at was $35 dollars a night and was a cabin in the jungle near San Ignacio. On average, I spent $81 USD per night on accommodations.

Leslie’s Private Paradise | Pilgrim’s Paradise Cabin | Jaguar Creek | Daydreamin’ Bed and Breakfast 

Total Accommodation costs = $487

Authentic Belize food 

For most of my Belizean vacation, I stayed in remote villages that didn’t have many restaurants. Often times, my fabulous hosts cooked authentic Belizean food for me. This drastically cut down on my overall food costs. 

In addition, I usually eat granola bars for breakfast, so that also eliminates another meal that I need to pay for. I spent $40 USD on miscellaneous lunches, dinners, and snacks. 

One experience that I splurged on was a Belizean Food Tour in San Pedro. This was a fabulous tour with seven stops that showcased the savory cuisine that Belize locals crave and love. There were more than 12 dishes that sampled and the history and importance of each dish was shared by our fabulous tour guide. The Belize Food Tour was a great way to meet other islanders during my vacation. This tour cost $72 but was completely worth it. 

Total food costs = $112 USD 

Editor’s note: 

Belize Food Tours provided me with a complimentary tour in order to showcase their tour on my blog. The price of the tour is included in the total food costs, though it was complimentary, to create an accurate and realistic representation of my Belize budget.  

BELIZE BUDGET GRAND TOTAL = $1,383.50  

For my week-long Belize vacation, I clocked in just under $1,400. Now as a budget traveler, I do gawk at this number. This means I spent on average $157 USD per day, this does not include my flights in this daily average. For me, this is a pretty astronomical number. A large part of my budget was spent on transportation and accommodations. In reality, that should be the largest part of your budget, that puts my mind at ease.

What could I have done differently?

Due to the number of flight delays, I really had to spread myself thin during this vacation. Ideally, this budget would have extended over nine days rather than one week. But overall, I’m pleased with my Belize budget. I expected the admission and food portions of my budget to be much larger. With all the beer and Mayan ruins I visited, I expected to spend hundreds of dollars on these things. Yet, with Belize’s current economy, these items were relatively cheap compared to my everyday Western standards.

Furthermore, I wouldn’t change the amount I spent on accommodations and transportation. I think they were both worth the splurge. Road tripping through Belize was a life-changing experience that many travelers do not take the time to do. The accommodations that I stayed at also allowed me to truly experience the authentic side of Belize. If I did not road trip and stay with locals, I truly think I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Belize.

Final thoughts

Belize is a very underrepresented country. It’s bustling with culture and life. Due to the country’s hindered economy and infrastructure, there are challenges to visiting the country. I would highly recommend to travelers to rent a car in order to explore the country at their own leisure. I loved being able to explore remote villages and stay with locals instead of relying on tourist-saturated areas to bring me joy. Dare to head off the beaten path for a very authentic experience in Belize.

This post is in part sponsored by the several Airbnb hosts and Crystal Auto Rental. This post also contains affiliate links.

 

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Quirky Globetrotter

Hi! I'm Martha! The mastermind behind Quirky Globetrotter a feminist travel blog. Quirky Globetrotter is devoted to telling narratives devoted to female solo travel and hidden gems worldwide with an emphasis on intersectional feminism and how that impacts travel on a global and local level.

42 thoughts on “Belize Budget Breakdown: Belize 7-day road trip and island hop

  1. I have never thought about visiting Belize until now. I think for one week, the total of $1400 isn’t bad at all. You got to do a ton of fun stuff and the accommodations looked lovely. I’m still shocked at how expensive 1 gallon of gas is there!

    1. I was shocked at the gas prices too! The prices are pretty comparable to Iceland actually! Luckily, everything is fairly close within Belize so you won’t be using that much gas. I do highly recommend a road trip though, so you can see the authentic side of Belize. Happy travels!

  2. I’m dying to explore central and South America! Peru is at the top of my list but Belize also looks amazing! This is a great guide – love how you’ve broken down the budget

  3. Thanks for the budget breakdown, it made it so much easier to see where the majority of travel monney would be spent on a trip to Belize, and even though the final number looks like a lot (I tend to be a budget traveller as well) the breakdown does put it all into perspective, and to be honest, you did pretty well for a week with transport costs.

    1. Hi Katherine, luckily I was able to work out some sponsorship deals, etc. for this vacation, but I think the biggest takeaway from this post is that travel is affordable. If you want to splurge some days, you can, but the base cost of this trip was very, very affordable! I like to surprise others how budget travelers can also get a taste of luxury for a fraction of the cost! 😉 Happy travels to you!

  4. Thank you for the post. You are right that Belize is often skipped by tourists, but it is such a shame, because the country has so much to offer, plus when reading your budget breakdown, I can see it is absolutely affordable.

    1. Hi Lucie! Belize is so diverse. I love that there are jungles and ruins to explore but also beautiful beaches and barrier reefs to snorkel. I’m definitely itching to go back already!

  5. A week-long vacation, you say? That’s right up my alley! You’re breakdown is informative for budget-conscious people like myself, so great post. I agree that Belize is very underrepresented when it comes to general bucket list destinations, but judging from all the information above about affordable budgets and Mayan ruins, hopefully the profile of Belize can level-up.

    1. Hi Natasha! I definitely think I covered a lot of ground during my Belize vacation. Since the country is so small, it’s relatively easy to drive from one side to another. The road conditions are an entirely different story though! I definitely want to go back and explore more Mayan ruins ASAP. Happy travels to you!

  6. This is a wonderful guide to Belize! It’s lovely that your hosts cooked a few meals for you, this is the best way to reduce food costs. Another way to reduce it is to stay in airbnbs like you do, or hire an apartment with a kitchenette so you can cook your own meals.

    1. Hi Sarah! I definitely agree that cooking your own food is definitely a great way to save money, especially on longer trips. I usually eat breakfast at my hotel/Airbnb and try to get something light for lunch. I try to eat dinner out because I think it’s important to experience a country’s locavore (food) as well. I loved eating the delicious food with my hosts and learning about the country’s history from their unique perspective. Way better than a museum if you ask me!

  7. Great post. I really enjoy seeing exactly how other travelers budget for travel, and it helps me to have a good idea of what I could expect to pay for such a trip. I’ve been thinking about going to Belize for a long time and you make it sound like a great destination. i’d really love to see some of those Mayan ruins for myself.

    1. Hi Darcy! Definitely, head to Belize and feast your eyes on the ruins. That was definitely my favorite part of my trip. People often only visit the Cayes, which I think is a major mistake. Happy travels to you!

  8. Such an informative travel guide. Your recommendations and the detailed costs listed will really come in handy as we plan our trip to Belize. We have been looking forward to visiting Belize to experience the local culture and the natural beauty of this amazing destination – thanks for all the details listed in the post.

    1. Hi Aditi! I really hope you enjoy Belize. I cannot recommend it enough! Not only is it fascinating from a cultural perspective, but it also has an undeniable beauty as well! Best of luck to you!

  9. 1. WOW you got one heck of a deal on the airfare there! You almost paid the same price for the car you rented! lol. The mayan ruins look absolutely gorgeous. I have never visited any but this makes me want to go even more. It’s crazy to think that the Mayans were able to build such things without the tools or technology we have today! It’s very cool you did a food tour while there. I have heard of these types of things but havent dont one yet. I think its a really excellant way to try a new country’s food.

    1. Hi Courtney! I did nab a fantastic deal on airfare, luckily I’ve seen this deal numerous of times so I know it’s doable to go again. It’s very tempting 😉 I thought the Mayan ruins were the coolest thing when I saw them. I was struck by how massive they were, I pictured them to be less impressive and much smaller. I was blown away! I actually recently started embarking on food tours in each country I visit in order to get an overlooking glimpse of what cuisine they have to offer. So yummy!

  10. I was actually lookin at possibly trekking down to Belize for a solo getaway, but figured it would break my bank! It’s now back at the top of my list of possible destinations, for sure. I agree – splurging to rent a vehicle to road trip around the country is something that most people might not value. I’ve done this in Romania, Maui, and St. Thomas and can’t express how amazing it was. And since I have no real concept of what Belize cuisine is like, I think that food tour would be most illuminating (and delish) for me!

    1. Hi Rachelle! Definitely go to Belize ASAP! It’s such a beautiful country, and especially since you love road trips, Belize will deliver. Maybe I’ll tag along, ha! I definitely love embarking on food tours now. I used to believe skimping on food was a really smart move as a budget traveler, but I now realize that it’s essential to the travel experience. Happy travels to you!

  11. I’ve been wanting to visit Belize for several years now, but haven’t seemed to find the opportunity. I loved reading the details of your trip here though, you’ve reinspired my desire to visit Belize. I really want to visit the ruins and spend some days on the islands. It looks like such a beautiful country.

    1. Hi Eden! Belize is definitely a beautiful country. I would highly recommend you to spend most of your time on the mainland. In my opinion, the Cayes were the least impressive thing that I saw in Belize. I think taking a snorkeling trip to the reef is a good activity from there, but you certainly don’t need more than a few days in the Cayes. Spend an ample amount of time exploring the Mayan ruins and the rest of the mainland, you won’t be disappointed!

  12. What a beautiful country! Belize is so close to California, yet it seems so far. I always wanted to visit the Mayan ruins of Belize and your post rekindled my interest. Thanks!

    1. Hi Chirasree! Belize is very beautiful. I love the lush jungles. It was so surreal at night to hear the Howler Monkeys chatting with each other. The Howler Monkeys also hang around the Mayan ruins so that’s very cool to see and experience.

  13. That is such a good budget for an entire week! I’ve only been to Belize for a day as a stop on a cruise, and I’d love to go back and explore the country properly. It looks like you really hit the jackpot with your accommodations and food – and the Mayan ruins looked and sounded really interesting too!

    1. Hi Diana! Unfortunately, most people only get to Belize and visit the Cayes because of cruises. They’re really missing out! I do hope you go back and visit. There is so much culture there that’s very unique and unlike their neighboring Latin American countries. Definitely check out Caracol in Belize because it’s fabulous and not many people do! Happy travels!

  14. I really love history growing up and I have a read a lot about Mayan ruin sites. It’s such a joy to know that they can be visited still. It’s a nice guide for first time travelers on this area since costings were added. It will give us an idea on how much we will be needing for the whole trip.

    1. Hi Emman! I’ve always been an archaeology junkie, so I also found the Mayan ruins thrilling. I definitely like to give my readers a heads up while they’re in the planning stages of their vacations. I think travel is very affordable as long as you budget correctly.

  15. I think you did rather well with your budget for a week. The car rental was a huge chunk but how else could you get from one place to another? We skipped the golf cart last time in San Pedro, opting for $10 cab rides instead. Isn’t the food cost ridiculously low when it’s so fresh and delicious? I love these types of posts which give so much detail about budgets since they’re so helpful in planning.

    1. Hi Annick! There are actually buses that locals use for public transit. I could have used those instead of renting a car. I wish I had tried out a quick bus trip while I was there because that definitely would’ve been an interesting experience! I’m definitely happy that I rented a golf cart in San Pedro, I loved cruising around the beach and just meandering through a few neighborhoods, so fun! You’re right, the food was undeniably delicious and cheap! I loved everything that I ate and I’ve been trying my best to recreate some of the dishes as home. Happy travels to you!

  16. Belize is definitely the most expensive country in Central America. We still managed to backpack it on our $15 each per day budget. Grant it we did not go to the Cayes, but we took local buses and stayed in the cheapest local hotels we could find – they are out there, you just have to walk about to find them. The Belizean Chicken stew is amazing and we even tried cow foot soup, not as bad as it sounds! We loved San Ignacio and had some amazing food in Dangriga. Belikin beer was pricey, but oh well it was all part of the budget!

    You’ve put together a great post and thanks for including the prices of everything. Unfortunately people often leave the prices out of their posts, but it really helps folk get a proper sense of planning a trip. Belize is definitely worth visiting.

    1. Hi Fiona! I love hearing other perspectives from travelers especially since conversion rates are different for each country and what we consider expensive and cheap is all relative to our own thoughts and ideas. I definitely splurge a little on this vacation, but it’s great to know that you were able to find affordable accommodations throughout the country. Did you end up visiting Caracol by chance? I loved Belizean Chicken stew and Pig Foot Stew! My host made both for me and it was so delicious. Happy travels to you!

  17. I appreciate how much detail you put into this post. It is so incredibly useful! I’m planning to go to Belize soon so I’m sending one, big giant virtual Internet thank you.

  18. A very informative and detailed post on Belize as you have explained everything with their prices or cost involved. It becomes easier for me to plan the budget and thinking a great cost-effective option. I have read so much about Mayan ruin sites that it would be first thing to visit here. Parks and reserves are another beautiful thing to do here as all are looking lush green with exotic plantations. I would be planning soon to this beautiful place and so pinning your post.

    1. Hi Yukti, I definitely loved all the untouched beautiful scenery that Belize has. Often we’re swept up in the next hottest travel getaway that a simplistic destination such as Belize is overlooked. It’s a small country that is bursting with cultural so I would highly recommend it. Happy travels to you!

  19. I had never heard about Belize before this post. I blame my ignorance but I am glad that I read this post. Thank you for this very insightful and informative post. The budget breakdown is really-really very helpful. The Mayan ruin sites look super inviting. The parks and reserves would be my favorite too. Staying in remote villages and having authentic Belizean food sounds like the highlight of the trip for me.

    1. Hi Manjulika! I’m so glad that you find Belize so intriguing now. I love educating people about all the hidden gems the world has to offer. Belize is definitely one of those! Happy travels to you!

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