Picturesque and budget-friendly beach, boat and pier in Belize
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How to Visit Belize on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips and Tricks

Ahh, Belize. The country is known for excellent snorkeling and diving, lush jungles and ancient Mayan ruins. Beautiful palm-tree lined beaches await you in Belize. But is it possible to go to Belize on a budget?

Yup – sure is!

It’s 100% possible to visit this tropical destination without spending a fortune.

I’ll show you how to take an INCREDIBLE 6-day trip to Belize on a tiiiiight budget.

And no, I’m not talking about an all-inclusive. If you’re going on a trip, go big! This one’s packed full of adventure. After all, there’s so many things to do in Belize!

I’ll go over exactly what I spent when I traveled to Belize on a budget, and tips for spending less.

Quick tip: before you go, be sure to prioritize as you’re setting up your budget. You might opt for luxurious accommodations, nice dinners or extravagant tours. It might be challenging to do a low budget trip if you’re trying to do it all. (And that’s totally okay too!)

walking path on private island with palm tree background Laughing Bird Caye
The perfect little island to spend a day in Belize

Best time to go to Belize on a budget

Short answer: May and November (before Thanksgiving). Your best prices on flights, accommodations and tours will be during the low tourist season.

Plus you’ll have the best weather. Belize rainy season is June through October. So going just before it starts or after it’s finished up will allow you to maximize the weather and low prices in Belize. Although if you’re staying inland, you’re more likely to experience rain.

Belize on a budget: actual cost

Here’s a breakdown of the cost of my trip to Belize. Read on for details and savings tips for the categories below.

Belize budget breakdown by category - infographic

All totals are calculated using USD. Belize dollars are twice the value of the US dollar, so keep that in mind. Meaning if I went to a restaurant and paid $20 for dinner, it was $40 in Belize dollars.

Also, this was a mother-daughter trip with my mom. So I was able to split some of the costs with her – like accommodations, rental car, etc.

Travel Belize cheap with a good deal on flights

I mean, you could technically drive there from the states but it’s quite the drive. 😉 I go into detail on this post about how to book cheap flights. So check out those resources and book yourself a discount ticket price!

For this trip, I used an alert from Fare Drop. They emailed me about the cheap flights. I already had savings put aside from my vacation savings account, and I jumped at the flights!

I booked flights straight into Belize City. You can hop on a little plane to make it to San Ignacio, San Pedro or Placencia. If you’re staying in just one location while in Belize, it might be worth it to skip the rental car or public transportation and opt for a quick flight.

Flight: $405

I’d even seen them in the $200 range from several cities! So be patient and creative. 🙂

Save money on your trip to Belize by booking cheap accommodations

Cheap accommodations cabanas on the beach
Walkway leading to our beach cabana in Placencia. Our porch was steps away from the water and worth every tiny penny!

If you want to travel to Belize on a budget, you likely won’t be staying at a fancy resort. I mean, hotels in Belize are certainly more affordable than many cities in the US and other pricey destinations, but hotels in Belize are not the way to go to save money.

Vrbo

However, there’s plenty of accommodations to choose from. The most commercialized areas with the most luxurious hotels are in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.

There are a lot of smaller hotels, hostels, or vacation rentals with just a few rooms all over the country. Of course, you can find a wide range of locations and sizes on Airbnb or VRBO. I personally booked a villa through VRBO in San Ignacio and a beach-front cabana through Airbnb in Placencia.

By the way, if you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb, you can sign up using this link and get $40 off your first stay! I’ve stayed at vacation properties throughout the US and several countries and have had excellent experiences.

Accommodations cost in Belize: $216 per person for 5 nights! Talk about traveling to Belize on a budget!

Note – this is at the low end of the price range, during low season. Prices will go up during peak travel season in Belize. Also, our cabana in Placencia was very basic, which made it affordable!

Next biggest expense could be activities

Visiting the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich on a budget trip
Exploring the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich near San Ignacio

Depending on what you’re coming to Belize to do, you can expect to pay a decent amount for activities and excursions.

Most day-long tours will run you $100+ per person, so keep that in mind when creating your vacation spending plan. Some times you can get into the activity, like my tour of Xunantunich, which was only a $5 park entrance fee. However, we hired a tour guide so we could understand the history of it for $20 more – totally optional!

Here are some common activities in Belize:

  • Archeological sites (Mayan ruins)
  • Waterfalls and swimming holes
  • Chocolate tour to see how the ancient Mayans made chocolate drinks
  • Snorkeling or scuba diving
  • Deep sea fishing

To give you an idea of price, my day trip to Tikal from San Ignacio was $145, including lunch. (Although Belize charges a $20 country departure fee which was paid for individually and categorized as misc. above.)

When I took a snorkeling trip to Laughing Bird Caye off the coast of Placencia, it was $105 per person, including lunch. So do your research in advance and plan to spend some money here…if you’re up for an adventure!

Cost of activities in Belize: $287. This includes:

  • Day trip to Tikal from San Ignacio – $145
  • Tour of Xunantunich near San Ignacio – $25
  • Chocolate-making class in San Ignacio – $12
  • Day trip to Laughing Bird Caye from Placencia- $105

Read next: Visiting Tikal – Guide to the Mayan Ruins (day trip from Belize)

I could have saved more money on my trip to Belize by not going on as many tours. For my budget and based on what I wanted out of my trip, this was the right amount of activity and adventure for me.

Cost of food in Belize

Belize food - fry jacks and omlette in Placencia
Fry jacks – a traditional Belize food – served with omelet and OJ. All for about $10 USD.

While planning my trip to Belize on a budget, I estimated $40 per day to eat. Note that I brought quick breakfasts into Belize with me, so the plan to spend $40 didn’t include breakfast.

Away from the touristy areas, it’s pretty easy to find a meal in Belize for $6-$10 USD. If you’re at a restaurant right on the water filled with lots of tourists, you can expect to spend $10-$15, per person, excluding a drink.

I drink a lot of water so I mostly drank water with meals. If you’re traveling from the US, the CDC advises to drink bottled water, so I usually paid about $1 for that at restaurants.

Appetizers and desserts ran $5-10 USD on average. If you’re drinking alcohol, add $4-8 USD per drink to your price for a meal.

For a tight budget trip, keep alcohol purchases to a minimum!

Mixed drinks in Hopkins - a budget buster
Delicious, but can break your budget! Lava flow and mudslide in Hopkins, Belize

You could go to an ice cream shop for around $5 USD.

Pro tip: to search for places to eat, use Trip Advisor and search for reviews and use the $$ signs to see the price of places before you go.

Cost of food in Belize for a 5-day trip: $193

Note that the most expensive food days were at US airport restaurants. Average cost of food per day: $33 – under budget! {happy dance}

You might also be interested in:
Best Budget Travel Tips (So good you’ll want to try them now)
Exactly What to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Rental car in Belize

Now if you’re staying at a single destination, then you may opt for public transportation. You can affordably catch a bus from Belize City to several cities throughout the country for relatively cheap.

If you’re staying in Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, a popular way to get around is by renting a bicycle.

Renting a car was the right choice for my mother-daughter trip because we were traveling to multiple cities. And we wanted the flexibility to stop and explore each region as we wanted to.

City of San Ignacio sign - it's possible to travel Belize for cheap
San Ignacio was easy to get around with our rental car

Belize cost to rent a car for 5 nights: $137 + $53 for insurance = $190 per person

When setting up your budget – don’t forget rental car insurance! Most US car insurance policies won’t cover driving outside the US and Mexico. So check your policy and add some money for rental car insurance.

Belize on a budget: tips, shopping and miscellaneous costs

Tips

Depending on how many activities and tours you book will depend on your budget for tips. Since both my mom and I were taking the tours, I was able to depend on her for tipping too. I spent $22 on tips.

In retrospect, I probably could have spent more here.

Shopping and souvenirs

If you enjoy shopping when you travel, there’s plenty of opportunity in Belize! Most areas that there are hotels or villas, you’ll find some little shops nearby. I didn’t see any large fashion retailers, though. It’s all little markets and artisans selling goods on sidewalks.

I’m not a big shopper, so I didn’t put much in my budget for this category. But I saw others spending a decent amount. Little trinkets could cost you $5-$10. Totes, purses and dresses run more like $20–$30. Hand-carved wood items are more like $25-$50.

Exterior wall of shop with artwork
Shop in Placencia

I bought 2 things, which is pretty rare for me! Authentic Mayan cacao powder from my chocolate making tour had to come home with me for hot chocolate in the winter. I spent $8. I also purchased wood-carved serving utensils, which I had been looking for in the US. Those cost me $15.

Total spent on shopping: $21

Miscellaneous travel costs in Belize

I had just $23 in this category. I spent $3 on a map of Tikal and $20 on the Belize border fee for exiting the country for my Tikal tour.

Belize on a budget – yes, I got travel insurance

Even when traveling to Belize for cheap, I bought travel insurance. I always recommend to buy travel insurance when leaving the US, and sometimes traveling within the states, too! I know it will financially protect me before and during my trip. Here’s a guide to decide when travel insurance is right for you.

I’ve always had great experiences with Travelex Insurance, and recommend them because they have amazing coverage. Click to buy travel insurance for your Belize trip.

Total spent on travel insurance: $66

450x75 (6) Need Travel Protection?

Don’t forget to budget for gas in Belize

Because I totally did! This was one of the areas that I didn’t include in my original budget for Belize. Gas is pricey in Belize – $5 or more per gallon! Luckily the country isn’t very big and you can get across the whole thing in a tank of gas.

Cost of gas in Belize: $43

pink house in San Ignacio
Love all the colorful houses throughout Belize. Caught this one while driving through San Ignacio

Trip to Belize cost – hidden expenses

Here are some hidden ‘extra’s’ to keep in mind when visiting Belize on a budget.

Avoid foreign transaction fees from your bank or credit card company. Take cash with you or make sure that you’re using a credit card with no international transaction fees.

More Caribbean destinations:
17 Reasons to Go to Puerto Morelos
How to do Turks and Caicos on a Budget

Vaccinations for Belize

I’m not a doctor so I can’t recommend what’s best for you but the CDC does recommend some vaccinations for travel to Belize. Considering I’d been to many other countries, I had all of the vaccinations needed for travel to Belize.

I did end up getting antimalarial medication because there’s a ton of mosquitos in Central America, and Malaria is carried by mosquitos. My medication cost me $26 after insurance.

By the way, be sure to pack lots of bug spray for Belize!

International cell phone data

Another sneaky expense for a budget trip to Belize is cell phone data. Depending on your cell phone plan, you may or may not have a charge for data. Be sure to check with your phone company before you go.

Pro tip: Keep your phone in airplane mode and use WiFi to keep your data charges down. You can even download google maps when on WiFi and use them offline while driving.

boats at the shore on an island off the coast of Belize
Boats for snorkeling tours line the shore of islands off the coast of Belize

How much does a trip to Belize cost?

Well mine was $1466. I was thinking my trip would be about $1250, so I did go over that amount. Here’s why:

We arrived in Belize and I found out my mom had never been snorkeling. (whaaat!?) That night we booked our snorkeling trip to Laughing Bird Caye because I knew Belize was the place to do it! I value spending money on experiences over things, so I was okay with this.

Next, I didn’t consider buying international car insurance or gas. Two mistakes I won’t make again! Combined those were $96.

I brought a big buffer with me on my trip so at the end of the day it really wasn’t a big deal. Overall, I’m happy with my $1466 budget trip to Belize. I had a great mother-daughter trip with tons of memories and got to see a new part of the world. My heart is happy!

Alright, so I want to know what you think! How would you prioritize your spending for Belize? What would you do differently?

Read next: 20 Things to Do in Belize for an Epic Vacation

If this article was helpful, save it for later!

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20 Responses

  1. I heard Belize is the best place ever to scuba dive and it has been on my bucket list since. Your tips are great to save money while traveling to this beautiful destination. I may just go for it since I am now inspired.

    1. Jenny I heard the same! The snorkeling was pretty great. Good luck on your upcoming trip to Belize! 😉

  2. Omg, I would love to visit Belize! And I was under the impression that Belize was pretty pricey to explore, so this guide dispelled some of my false assumptions! I didn’t know drinking chocolate was an ancient thing there? I’m definitely going to read more about that!

    1. It’s really an affordable place. It’s more expensive than some other Central American countries, but it’s definitely doable on a budget. And the chocolate was delicious! 🙂

  3. These are great tips! Not ordering alcohol or soda can save so much money and it’s healthier anyways.

  4. I love this! I was in Belize this summer for work and it was $$$$ so it’s great to know the country can be explored on a budget too. The Blue Hole flight is def worth the splurge though!

    1. Oh I heard so much about it Lola! I’ll have to catch it on my next trip. 😉

  5. This looks amazing! I would expect to love the ruins and the beaches, but it so nice to see how bright and colourful it is with the buildings, signs and interiors. It looks like you had a truly fantastic time.

    1. Belize is such a beautiful country. Full of adventure. I loved all the color too! 🙂

  6. Nice, Coming from an island I never had Belize high on the list because I am used to the weather and the beaches. But this makes me get it higher on the list. Should look out for tickets coming from Europe now though.

    1. Hope you can find some decent flights, Sujenne. It’s a great destination with a lot to offer.

  7. My partner and I have been thinking of going to Belize – it’s easy to fly there from our home base Toronto. Thanks for this in depth guide, your detailed break down of spending and budget is super useful.

  8. Awesome post and blog! I learned so much from your experiences so thank you for this much needed content.

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