Belize is the small country with Caribbean beaches just south of Mexico's Yucatan. Divers and snorkelers love being near the second-largest Barrier Reef in the world; nature-lovers go for eco-tours and "jungle lodges" or "eco-lodges" in the rainforest, that offer nature tours, bird-watching, river outings, etc.
Though only two hours from Miami or Houston, the country is still not really on the tourist map. This can offer some advantages, such as friendly and personal treatment at mid-sized lodges and resorts, and good price point.
Bottom line: Belize can offer unique nature-oriented vacations for families willing to venture a little further than the usual spots.
Below are a number of basically all-inclusive getaways at lodges and resorts that welcome families. These aren't all-inclusives in the Caribbean-beach-resort sense of unlimited self-serve ice-cream plus non-stop activities; but price does include lodging, most food and drink, and a number of activities.
Note: residents of the US, Canada, Europe, and several other countries need no visa to enter Belize; however, they do need passports (unless they're cruise passengers). Check for updates about entrance requirements.
Belize vacation package ideas
- Jaguar Reef Lodge
The Jaguar Reef Lodge combines "reef plus rainforest", with 300 acres of wilderness and 1,000 feet of white sand beach. The Lodge is 2.5 hours from the airport; guests stay in cabanas or suites in Jaguar Reef Lodge. Guests can use bikes and kayaks, lounge in hammocks or by the pool, or enjoy good snorkeling just down the beach - (a 10-mile stretch of sand), or take off-site tours to Mayan ruins, rainforests, or the Barrier Reef. Check for packages that include all meals, airport transfers, and several adventure tour choices including the Barrier Reef; also, kids under 18 eat and sleep free.
- Mopan River Resort
Note that recommended age is 16 and up! All-inclusive rates cover lodging, airport transfers (with certain time restrictions), kayaking, meals, tropical drinks, expeditions including Tikal Mayan ruins, taxes, service. Twelve luxury cabañas are built along a river bank; the resort has a swimming pool and bird-watching tower, and a village nearby. Mopan River Resort is a 2-hour drive inland from the Belize City airport.
- The Lodge at Chaa Creek
This beautiful lodge has 340 acres by the Macal River in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Watch birds swoop across the river, hike a nature trail, take an Expedition. Chaa Creek Lodge has palm-thatched cottage rooms, a villa, several garden and treetop suites, a spa and a Natural History Centre; the Camp at Chaa Creek, 1/2 mile from the lodge, has 10 "casitas". Activities include canoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking, tours to Mayan ruins. Semi-inclusive packages include: lodging, dinner and breakfast, and activities such as canoe trips, jungle walks, horseback riding.
Chan Chich Lodge
Chan Chich ("little bird") Lodge is located in a 250,000 acre private reserve, bordered by another 262,000 acres of protected land. Guests arrive by car (4-hour drive), river-boat ride with stop at Mayan ruins, or air charter. Activities include bird-watching, night walks, horseback riding, canoeing and exploring unexcavated Mayan sites. Chan Chich Lodge has room-only pricing or all-inclusive packages (with kids' rates) that include most daytime activities. Check also for "Combo Packages" that combine a stay at a Belize beach resort with a stay at Chan Chich, and air transport to both.
- Maya Mountain Lodge
"Rustic yet comfortable", Maya Mountain Lodge is in the interior Cayo region. Several Family Activities teach about natural history and culture: Story Time, arts and crafts, Science Investigations, cooking local foods, Belizean Home visit, Around Town tour. Maya Mountain Lodge also offers outings such as a Mayan ruins tour, or "soft" adventures i.e. horseriding, hiking, rafting, canoeing, or 4x4 vehicles. Check out "Tour Packages" that include outings with your stay, with guide, transportation, entries, food, lodging, tax, service charges; a week's stay can could offer ruins, caves, canoeing, crafts, and more.