As a destination, the tiny country of Belize doesn’t have near the name recognition and nightlife as popular places to the north like Cancun or Tulum. That’s a good thing. Because if you’re seeking a more private, unspoiled slice of the Caribbean for a honeymoon, Belize is second to none. What you’ll find are tropical islands, unparalleled diving, incredible Mayan ruins, uncrowded beaches, and near-perfect warm weather. What you won’t find are tons of other tourists—making this an excellent place to experience with someone truly special by your side.
A balance of relaxation and adventure is the key to a perfect honeymoon. And hey, some luxurious digs and beautiful surroundings don’t hurt either. Belize is just slightly off the beaten path for most Central American and Caribbean vacation-goers, though that’s quickly changing as the word about this paradisiacal spot spreads. In the meantime, if everything from world-class diving at the Belize Barrier Reef to exploring ancient Mayan sites to hanging out on an ultra-exclusive private island retreat sounds appealing after a wedding, book a ticket to this Central American utopia stat. And by the way: Temperatures in Belize hover around 84 degrees, and even in winter months rarely dip below 60—so no matter when you plan to get away, there’s truly no bad time to go. Here’s what to add to your Belize honeymoon must-do list:
Stay on a Secluded Island
Belize lays claim to over 400 off-shore islands, but two are particularly swoon-worthy for a stay: the ultra-private island retreat of Cayo Espanto and famous Ambergris Caye, a.k.a., La Isla Bonita, made famous by Madonna’s 1986 hit.
If privacy, luxury, and the highest-caliber service are your honeymoon goals, stay on Cayo Espanto. This tropical island offers the ultimate romantic castaway experience—only with chef-served meals, infinity-edge plunge pools, and panoramic views of the sea. The island is so exclusive that only 18 guests stay at a time, so you’ll rarely see anyone but each other. It’s a favorite of A-listers, too—Leonardo Di Caprio, Penelope Cruz, and Brad Pitt have all spent time relaxing in the island’s villas.
Equally worthy of a stay is Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island. The 25-mile-long Caye is the gateway to Belize’s Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a destination not to be missed. Quaint cobblestoned San Pedro, the main town on the island, brims with shops and restaurants (don’t miss the fresh ceviche served just about anywhere). And there’s plenty of luxurious escapes to settle into, all snuggled into Ambergris Caye’s sandy beaches—which will sparkle in all the Instagrams you and your partner won’t be able to resist posting.
Dive, Snorkel, or Fly Over the Famous Great Blue Hole
Belize’s Great Blue Hole is one of those absolute must-dos while visiting the country, as well as a perfect opportunity to create some incredible memories with your significant other. If you’re adventurous, this is a world-class destination for diving—you’ll see scads of tropical fish and spectacular coral arrangements within the crystal-clear waters. Diving day trips typically include one dive in within the 410-foot-deep cobalt chasm itself, and then two others in the nearby reefs. And if diving isn’t your thing, snorkeling is possible too. You can paddle around the loop of the reef ring and peer into the depths.
But to really take in the wonder that is the Great Blue Hole, nab a seat on one of the charter planes or helicopters that regularly fly over the massive sinkhole. Most flights last an hour and do several swoops past this natural wonder for photos galore. Plus, while en route, you’ll see the extensive Belize Barrier Reef, the longest in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Turneffe Atoll, ring-shaped coral reefs within the larger reef. Sometimes dolphins, rays, sharks, and other marine life are visible from the air too.
Explore Ancient Ruins from the Mayan Golden Age
Belize was once an important hub for the Mayan civilization. And while the jungle has reclaimed much of its formerly-glorious cities, there’s plenty to explore. As the whole area of Belize is roughly the size of Massachusetts, its easy to get to and from the best sites as a day trip, no matter where you’re staying. Plan to check out one or more of the below during your getaway:
Altun Ha: Located in northern Belize just 28 miles outside of Belize City, Altun Ha is what remains of an ancient Mayan city and is the most easily accessible archeological site in the country. Within the roughly three-mile area, there are two plazas with pyramids, tombs, temples, and ceremonial mounds. One highlight of the site is the Sun God’s Tomb, also called the Temple of the Masonry Altars, the largest of its temple-pyramids.
Lamanai: Another once-major Mayan city, the ruins of Lamanai include a series of intriguing temples like the Jaguar Temple, named for its jaguar decoration; the Mask Temple, which is adorned by a 13-foot stone mask of an ancient Maya king; and the High Temple, which offers visitors panoramic views from its summit.
Caracol: Caracol is the largest Mayan city ever excavated in Belize, a huge site with majestic temples that offer a spectacular view of the surrounding Chiquibul Forest Reserve from the tops. It’s particularly famous for its 136-foot-high Sky Palace, or “Canaa,” which is not only the largest Maya building in Belize but the tallest man-made structure in the country (yes, even today!).
Xunantunich: The Xunantunich site is reachable by crossing the Mopan River by ferry, then climbing up to a limestone ridge. Once there, you’ll find 25 temples and palaces, as well as an on-site museum. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site—its the second-tallest Mayan structure in Belize. From the top, it’s possible to see the Guatemalan border on clear days.
Find a Secluded Beach—or Even an Entire Deserted Island—to Call Your Own
Truthfully, Belize isn’t known for its beaches. There aren’t that many (Florida has more!), and none are large. But what Belize’s beaches lack in size and number they make up for by being incredibly beautiful, never crowded, and bordering clear turquoise water. The best ones are in the south, including the Placencia Peninsula—a 16-mile peninsula that boasts the only golden-sand beach on mainland Belize.
While you and your significant other may stumble across a strip of sand without another soul in sight, why stop there? There are also about 100 habitable islands of Belize, and dozens more tiny visitable islands scattered throughout the Belizean coast. Hop on a water taxi or charter a small boat or live-aboard, and spend the day discovering your own private tropical island (some are barely an acre wide!). Romantic? You bet.