Independent country formerly known as British Honduras, Belize is a parliamentary constitutional democracy with the British monarch as its symbolic head of state. 31-member House of Representatives elected every five years.

290 kms long and 110 wide, Belize is bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean to the east. Its population of just under 400,000 means it has the lowest population density in Central America.

The Belize Barrier Reef is 300 kms long, and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system, one of the largest coral reef systems in the world, running from the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico down to Honduras. The Belize Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.

The climate is tropical, with wet and dry seasons, and the occasional devastating hurricane in the hurricane season - typically October.

Currency: The Belize dollar.

1 BZD = £0.37.  =   €0.42   = US$ 0.50

Flight time UK to Belize - 11 hours

Time in Belize: UTC - 6.00

Entry requirements: passport valid for another three months, return ticket. 

Visas? Not for US or EU, or for most other countries. The website is a little difficult to understand, but they provide a clear pdf you can download.

(written December 2017)

photo: bayezid1989 / pixabay
photo: bayezid1989 / pixabay
photo: amon 1500 / pixabay
photo: amon 1500 / pixabay

Climate charts for Belize

Belize has a tropical climate, with a wet summer season from May to November. It's drier and sunnier from February to April. Watch out for the hurricane season - August to October.

See for more information about climate.

Lonely Planet  describes three tourist seasons: Low season, June to October; Shoulder Season, November and May: and High Season, January to April. This site also describes the best times to visit particular parts of Belize.

Sea temperature is warm enough for comfortable snorkelling all year round.

The UK Foreign Office says the hurricane season runs from June to November, and that there is a risk of  Zika virus.They also warn against street crime in parts of Belize City. 13,300 British people visited Belize in 2016. See the Foreign Office website:

Belize  April / May 2009

We went to Belize in April 2009, to visit our friend Gwyn Lawrence, who set up and ran Belize's best budget hotel - the Sea Breeze, in Corozal.


We knew Gwyn because we went to school with him in Cardiff, so we took him a Welsh flag. He set it  up on the end of the jetty outside his hotel.

Gwyn Lawrence and Brenda © G Collins 2018
Gwyn Lawrence and Brenda © G Collins 2018

Sadly, Gwyn died in early 2016. He was a good friend and an excellent guide to Belize.

Corozal. © G Collins 2018
Corozal. © G Collins 2018

Arrival, Corozal

We arrived by plane in Cancun, spent a few days there, then took a coach to Chetumal, on the Mexico / Belize border. From there a pick-up truck took us to Corozal, in the north.

Corozal is not a typical tourist town - it was a starting-point for the ferries to the Cayes (pronounced "Keys"). The Cayes are islands located between the mainland and the 185-mile barrier reef, and they are stunning. You can find some great snorkelling here. Check this site - for more information.

The snorkelling isn't great in Corozal - it's often muddy - but there are interesting things to do, The Mayan site at Lamanai is especially worthwhile (see below).

Snorkel on the Cayes

We visited a couple of Cayes, and the snorkelling was great. If you want information about snorkelling on more of the Belize reef, visit this site: .  It's run by a couple called Galen and Nicole, who hired a catamaran and snorkelled all the cayes they could find. Recommended.

For our trip, we got an eight-seater plane from Corozal to San Pedro in Caye Ambergris (about 40 minutes) , then a small boat to the next island - Caye Caulker, which is much more laid back. We stayed in a half-built hotel and snorkelled off the jetty. The water was warm and clear and there were a lot of fish around - but this was 2009, before we worked out how to record the fish we saw. There were a lot of pelicans, and a very relaxed feel about the whole island. This would be a great place for a slow snorkel holiday.

turtle off belize. Photo: taylorlekamp pixabay
turtle off belize. Photo: taylorlekamp pixabay
photo © G Collins 2018
photo © G Collins 2018
barracuda. Photo macg pixabay
barracuda. Photo macg pixabay

Shark Ray Alley

Gwyn had to go back to his hotel, so we hopped a boat back to Caye Ambergris and stayed at Ramon's Village Resort, Dive Centre and Restaurant in San Pedro.The snorkelling here was exquisite. We swam off the pier round an artificial reef which was attracting large balls of fish, in good clear water with lots of variety. This is a good base for snorkelling: it's also an excellent jumping-off spot for boat trips.

If you're considering whether to visit Belize, you should have a look at Eric J. Simon's website, where they list 60 species of marine life that you might encounter. You'll get an idea of the wide variety of fish, coral and other life that can be seen on the reef. It's a fascinating list:

We went with a guide called Crazy Andy by boat to Hol Chan Nature reserve, where we saw nurse sharks, snappers, a huge grouper, tarpons, moray eels, two green turtles, fire, brain, and antler coral - there was some great coral. We also followed  a large green spotted ray,  and some strangely shaped cornet fish with long noses.

And a barracuda. We didn't know what it was at the time, but we knew it was a Fish With Attitude. It hovered in the water, looking like a sentry on guard, moving not a muscle but ready to launch itself at the slightest opportunity. Barracuda don't attack humans, but they are all teeth, muscle, and killer instinct. They lurk in the water, looking thuggish. We were suitably impressed.

After that, we went to the appropriately named and very famous  Shark Ray Alley, where there were a lot of strangely tame nurse sharks and powder rays. The guide got us to touch them, which is unusual for us. The rays were smooth and slimy, and quite warm. A bit like stroking a slug. And the sharks had sandpaper-rough skin. It was a snorkel we will always remember. Belize is great.

belize sharks2


If you're in Central or South America, you should check out the ancient civilisations there.  The Mayan site at Lamenai is nearly 4,000 years old, and was largely unexcavated until the 1970s.

'Lamenai' means 'submerged crocodile' in Yucatec Maya, which gives an idea of the kind of wildlife to expect. It's an ancient Mayan town, complete with temples, palaces, and a ball court, about 100 kms from Corozal and also from Belize City. We got there by road to Orange Walk Town, then by a 40-km trip through the New River Lagoon. On the way, we saw spider monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, Jesus Christ birds (called this because they walk across the water), herons, egrets, bats. The place is teeming with wildlife.

Lamenai itself was a stunning place - built by the Mayans almost four thousand years ago, it was a ceremonial and trade centre, at one time accommodating 35,000 people. There are three large temples - the High Temple, the Mask Temple, and the Jaguar Temple. We walked up the 110 steps of the High Temple (which is a pyramid), and looked out over the top of the jungle canopy.

Only the kings and high priests were allowed up here, and, according to our guide, would come down and forecast the weather. From the top of the pyramid, we could see rain clouds on the horizon that were invisible from the ground below. Religion suddenly become a little more comprehensible.

Top right: the High Temple.

Below: The High Temple in the jungle. This is from

High Temple © G Collins 2018

Would we go there again? Most definitely. We had only just started...

Where to snorkel logo

Usual warning: we have made very effort to make sure this information is correct and up-to-date, but you need to check it all yourself.

© Garreg Lwyd Ltd 2018

Want to go back? Click here:


     Home Page


Do you have any comments, or recommendations? Send us a message! We'd love to hear from you...