Belize is the very first port that I went to on my very first cruise ever. And so it was really neat for a lot of reasons. But now that I’ve visited a lot of ports, it’s probably become my least favorite due to the poverty seen in the country. That being said, you can still have a really nice time in Belize and I would not be opposed to going back and trying out a different excursion.
I know that Belize is starting to grow as a popular destination for non-cruisers, but we haven’t done that yet so this blog post focuses only on the cruise port.
Unique to Belize:
- Cave Tubing
- Barrier reef, for people who scuba
- Mayan Ruins (Xunantunich, Altun Ha)
Shore Excursions for the Belize Cruise Port:
Cave Tubing/ Zipline
For my very first cruise we were on a bit of a budget (recent graduate, ah student loans!), so we decided to find one on our own shore excursions instead of booking directly through the cruise company. There are pros/cons to doing that, but in this particular case it worked out well. Before you book with someone other than the cruise company, I recommend reading their reviews on the internet to ensure that they have a good reputation for getting their customers back to the cruise ship on time. That being said, you can generally save money by booking your own excursions and you can sometimes get tours with different schedules or stops that you prefer.
For our excursion, we booked a combination package for cave tubing and ziplining through this website: Cave-Tubing Excursion Belize
After getting picked up right outside the cruise terminal, our bus immediately headed out of town.
Zip lining – It only takes about an hour or so to reach the destination where you will zip line and cave tube both. While zip lining is becoming popular in many destinations, Belize is where I’ve had the best experience (out of Jamaica & the Shenandoah in Virginia). The tension in the lines is just right so that I never got “stuck” between platforms. At the same time, I never felt unsafe, because even though I was moving pretty fast, there were workers on every single platform to ensure that you stopped. And the helmet, gloves, and harness, all seemed high quality. Bottom line, I felt very secure and I had fun! If you’ve never been, zip lining is a rush!
Cave Tubing – After zip lining, we headed for the river where we were outfitted with some snazzy head lamps (it gets dark in those caves!) and our inner tubes. After that, cave tubing is a pretty relaxing experience as your guides string all of the tubes together and pull you in a line down the river.
After cave tubing, our bus loaded back up, the guide handed out the punch, and we headed back towards the port. Along the way we made a quick stop at a rest area where people could grab a snack or lunch. We made it back to the port and immediately joined the long line of people waiting back to tender to the ship. We probably had time to do a little bit of shopping, but it was our first cruise and we wanted to make sure we were back onboard on time!
One nice thing about our tour guide, is that he always pointed out the tour group that booked with the cruise ship. He constantly assured us that we were running ahead of their schedule, and promised that we would be returned to the ship on time. So, it was nice to know that we were getting the exact same excursion that the cruise line offered but at a fraction of the cost!
After the tour we were dropped off at the Belize Cruise port and joined the long line to tender back to the ship. You probably would have a little time to wander the shops just because the line was so long. But I would keep an eye on the line so that you make it back to the ship.
Next time I visit Belize:
- Find a way to see the Reef without learning how to scuba! (Seriously, submarine drivers should look into relocating!) 🙂
- Visit the Mayan Ruins, after Chichen Itza, I’m hooked to the history!
Transportation in Belize:
Personally, I would book an excursion tour that picks up at the port and not worry about it. I don’t think it’s the type of country that you want to wander around by yourself.
Lodging in Belize:
None seen. Without more information, I recommend visiting by cruise ship.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks in Belize:
Didn’t get to visit any restaurants, just a snack shop area. Maybe pack a granola bar if you think you’ll get hungry.
Tips/ Things to Know about Belize’s Cruise Port:
- Cruise ship passengers have to tender in Belize. It takes FOREVER!
- Many of the people in Belize live in poverty. This is very apparent as your tour drives through the city and countryside. It’s a very sobering part of your trip.
My Time Spent in Belize:
- 1 day cruise port in February 2013, on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
Hope you find our travel guide helpful!