๐Ÿ’ฐ My 2024 Belize Trip Cost: A Budget Breakdown

A big, tourist, colorful that says "San Pedro" with palm trees and oceans in the background.

Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, can be visited with a budget of $50 to $160 a day.

My one-week trip to Belize cost a total of $1,776. In this post, I share:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected travel costs
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Budgeting tips
  • ๐Ÿ’ต How much cash to bring
  • โœˆ๏ธ My trip’s costs by category
  • ๐Ÿ“ My trip’s costs by destination

Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Belize.

Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!

Is Belize Affordable To Travel To?

Belize is the second-most expensive country to visit in Central America. The small country heavily relies on imported goods, the transportation between the mainland and islands adds up, budget accommodations are limited, and popular natural attractions require guided tours.

For those hoping to do a budget trip to Central or South America, other countries that are much more affordable to visit include Panama, Ecuador, and Peru.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip Daily Budget for Latin American Countries

For comparison, I visited these countries in Central and South America within a year of visiting Belize, and here’s how much I spent per day at each one:

CountryDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica$233
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize$186
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru$149
Daily Travel Budget for Destinations in Latin America

See all my daily budget for each destination I’ve visited.

How Much Is a Trip to Belize?

This section covers estimated trip costs depending on your travel style. I share my actual travel expenses further below.

๐ŸŽ’ Budget Traveler โ€“ Belize Trip Cost

A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $50 per day or $420 for one week of travel in Belize, excluding flights.

Here’s what a budget traveler’s cost breakdown can look like:

CategoryCost per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$15
๐Ÿ— Food$13
๐Ÿš™ Transportation$7
๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment$15
Total$50
Belize Daily Budget for a Budget Traveler

Traveling Belize on a Budget

To travel on a budget to Belize, below are some things youโ€™ll need to do.

  • ๐Ÿ  Accommodation โ€“ Belize has limited budget accommodations in tourist places. A couple of hostels are $12 a night in places like Caye Caulker and San Ignacio, but budget hotels shoot up to $40 a night.
  • ๐Ÿš™ Transportation โ€“ Take public transportation when possible (e.g., some public buses cost $4 a ride) and use group shuttles instead of private ones.
  • ๐Ÿ— Food โ€“ For the cheapest food, eat at local restaurants or street food markets (e.g., Central Park in San Pedro, San Ignacio Market), where you can find meals for around $5. This can save you more than $10 per day compared to eating at mid-range restaurants.
  • ๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment โ€“ Forgo certain experiences. Many of Belize’s top attractions (e.g., snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef and visiting the ATM Cave) require a guide and cost around $60 for a half-day tour and over $100 for a full-day tour during the high season.
  • โ˜€๏ธ Travel Season โ€“ For the best deals, travel to Belize during the low season, which runs from June to November. I booked multiple tours with the same operator and was able to negotiate discounts during the low season.

Belize’s low season coincides with Belize’s rainy season.

  • ๐Ÿ“ Destinations โ€“ Instead of the more expensive and popular Ambergris Caye, visit the budget-friendly Caye Caulker, Placencia, or San Ignacio. All of these are popular tourist areas.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-Range Budget Traveler โ€“ Belize Trip Cost

A mid-range budget traveler like myself can expect to spend approximatelyย $160 per dayย or $1,120 for one weekย of travel in Belize, excluding flights. I break down my trip expenses by travel category below.

About My Belize Trip

To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip:

  • ๐Ÿ—“๏ธย One week โ€“ I spent one week in Belize, visiting two places:
    • Ambergris Caye: 3 days
    • San Ignacio: 4 days

San Ignacio and Ambergris Caye are Belize’s #1 mainland and island stops, respectively. San Ignacio is more affordable than Ambergris Caye. Between Belize’s two most popular islands, Caye Caulker is more affordable than Ambergris Caye.

  • ๐ŸŒง๏ธ Rainy season โ€“ I visited Belize in July, which is the low season, so accommodation and tour costs were slightly discounted.

Belize’s high season coincides with the dry season, which runs from December to May.

  • โœŒ๏ธ Group travel โ€“ I traveled with one other person, so we were able to split some costs, such as housing.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget โ€“ I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler, and these expenses reflect that. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend.
  • ๐Ÿ€ Self-funded โ€“ My trips are self-funded, so I paid for everything listed below. None of my excursions or experiences are sponsored.
  • ๐Ÿ’ต US dollars โ€“ All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars, converted from Belize’s local currency, the Belize Dollar. The exchange rate is $1 USD = $2 BZD.

Belize is one of the few countries in the world that has pegged its currency to the US dollar at a constant exchange rate. The Belize dollar has had a 2:1 exchange ratio with the USD since 1978, so you don’t have to worry about getting a bad exchange rate when paying with USD.

A woman standing on a ruin's cliff overlooking lush trees.
At a Maya ruin in Belize.

Total Cost for a Belize Trip: $1,776

My one-week trip to Belize cost a total of $1,776, including flights.

See the highlights of my trip in this Belize itinerary.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Belize

Here’s a quick overview of my expenses by travel category:

CategoryCost% of TotalDaily Budget
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$47527%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$36220%$52
๐Ÿ— Food$21612%$31
๐Ÿš™ Transportation$40923%$58
๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment$31418%$45
Total$1,776100%$186
Belize Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ Daily Budget in Belize: $186

My Belize trip cost $186 per day, excluding my round-trip flights from and to the United States.

Daily Budget
Excluding flights$186
Including flights$254
Belize Trip’s Cost Per Day

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $160 per day in Belize. This generally means not staying in a hostel or luxury hotel, eating at some $$ restaurants, but also many $ local restaurants, and going on several popular tours.

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Belize: $475

My round-trip flight from the East Coast of the United States to Belize’s international airport was $475.

A round-trip flight between the US and Belize that costs under $300 is considered cheap; international flights typically cost over $500.

Belize has a $55.50 airport departure or exit fee for tourists. This amount is usually already included in your airline tickets under “taxes and fees,” so check your ticket.

A receipt showing various Belize fees that add up to $55.
My Belize flight cost breakdown.

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Costs in Belize: $362

My average cost of accommodation in Belize was $52 per day. I was able to split accommodations with one other person at all times.

Here are the accommodations I stayed at and how much I paid for each:

AccommodationTotal CostCost per Night
Ambergris Caye hotel$225$56
San Ignacio hotel$137$46
Belize Trip’s Accommodation Costs
An archway with "Blue Tang" sign and a mermaid painting, and the ocean view in the background.
Entrance of my Ambergris Caye hotel.

Budgeting Tips for Accommodations in Belize

Here are my budgeting tips and things to note regarding accommodations in Belize:

  • Stay in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye โ€“ San Pedro, the downtown area of Ambergris Caye, is generally more affordable than staying north and south of it, where many of the resorts are located. Also, if you stay in San Pedro, you can minimize your golf cart rental costs as you won’t need to drive around as much. This can save you over $100 in rental costs.
  • Consider staying near San Ignacio’s downtown area โ€“ Most resorts in San Ignacio are a 20- to 30-minute walk from downtown, so you’ll likely have to pay for taxis to get around if you don’t stay nearby.

The walk from the resorts to downtown is doable but not always pleasant for women because Belize has a cat-calling problem. I traveled with another woman and experienced it almost every other walk.

A Belize main road with houses on both sides, some trees and pole electrical lines.
Road to San Ignacio’s downtown area.

๐Ÿ— Food Cost in Belize: $216

My average cost of food in Belize was $31 per day.

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend about $35 per day on food in Belize.

Cheapest Meals in Belize

Here are the most affordable meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Chicken and rice dishSan Ignacio local concert stall$4
Beef and rice dishClosed restaurant (San Ignacio)$4
Pupusas and chickenSan Ignacio Market$4
Cheapest Meals in Belize
A plate of chicken and rice and pupusa with watermelon juices in bottled plastic.
San Ignacio Market meal.

If you’re willing to venture into the local markets and restaurants (e.g., Central Park in San Pedro and San Ignacio Market), you can easily find meals for less than $5, especially during lunch.

Most Expensive Meals in Belize

Here are the most expensive meals I ate during my trip:

MealLocationCost
Octopus and seafood dishesElvi’s Kitchen (San Pedro)$60
Fish dishesHungry Grouper (San Pedro)$25
Traditional chicken and rice dishesEl Fogon (San Ignacio)$24
Most Expensive Meals in Belize
A plate with cooked octopus displayed on a sauce with flowers and lime as decoration.
Elvi’s Kitchen in San Pedro.

San Pedro in Ambergris Caye has many restaurants catering to tourists, so you will get some of the most expensive meals there.

๐Ÿš™ Transportation Cost in Belize: $409

My average cost of transportation in Belize was $58 per day. My costs are on the higher end because I took two local flights, which are significantly more expensive than relying on water taxis and shuttles.

A typical mid-range traveler in Belize will likely spend closer to $30 a day on transportation.

Here are the transportation methods I took and how much I paid for each:

TransportationTotal Cost
Local flight (Ambergris Caye โ†’ San Ignacio)$206
Local flight (Belize airport โ†’ Ambergris Caye)$94
Shared shuttle (San Ignacio โ†’ Belize airport)$56
Golf cart rental (Ambergris Caye)$34
Taxi rides (San Ignacio)$19
Belize Trip’s Transportation Costs
A small building with the sign that says "San Ignacio", surrounded by green grass.
San Ignacio’s tiny airport.

Budgeting Tips for Transportation in Belize

Here are my budgeting tips and things to note regarding transportation in Belize:

  • Getting to Belize’s islands ranges from $30 to $100 one-way โ€“ A one-way flight to Belize’s islands (e.g., Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker) costs at least $100. This is much more expensive than taking a water taxi, which costs only $30. However, the water taxi takes 90 minutes, while the flight takes less than 20 minutes.
  • Golf rental prices are negotiable on Belize’s islands โ€“ The primary way to get around on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker is by golf cart. Some golf carts do not have gas prices included, so ask about it in advance. During the low season, golf cart rental prices are negotiable.
An empty yellow golf cart, slightly wet from the rain.
The golf cart I rented in Ambergris Caye.
  • Getting to San Ignacio from a Belize island ranges from $100 to $200 one-way โ€“ San Ignacio has a small airport you can fly into. Otherwise, you’ll need to take a water taxi and shuttle. Taking a flight is significantly shorter (3 hours vs. 45 minutes) but much more costly (around $200 vs. less than $150).
  • In San Ignacio, taxis have a flat rate per person โ€“ Once you’re in the San Ignacio town area, know that taxis have a flat rate of $2.50 per person, and there won’t be much room to negotiate.

The quality of the San Ignacio taxis varies (e.g., I rode a taxi that didn’t have any seat belts), so if you find a driver and car that you like, you can ask for their number and arrange rides through WhatsApp in the future.

๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment Cost in Belize: $314

My average cost of entertainment in Belize was $45 per day. This total includes a 5% to 15% tip at certain places.

Here are all the activities and attractions I paid for and how much each cost:

ActivityCost
ATM Cave tour (San Ignacio)$120
Xunantunich Mayan ruins tour (San Ignacio)$98
Belize Barrier Reef snorkeling (Ambergris Caye)$64
Drop-in yoga (Ambergris Caye)$20
Green Iguana Conservation tour (San Ignacio)$12
Belize Trip’s Entertainment Cost

Many popular guided tours cost roughly the same in Belize (e.g., $40 to $60 for half-day tours and $90 to $120 for full-day tours), and prices are fairly consistent across tour operators.

A woman jumping in front of a big Maya ruin made of stone with stairs.
Xunantunich.

Belize’s primary industry is tourism, so expect many experiences to be packaged in tours. During the low season, if you book multiple tours with the same company, you can potentially negotiate a discounted rate in person. This is how I got a lower rate for Xunantunich.

Cost Breakdown by Destination in Belize

Below are my trip expense breakdowns for Ambergris Caye and San Ignacio. These two major destinations are often featured in first-timers’ travel itineraries.

๐Ÿคฟ Ambergris Caye Trip’s Total Cost: $595

During my four-day trip to Ambergris Caye, I averaged $149 in daily travel expenses.

I stayed at a mid-range hotel, Blue Tang Inn, and mostly ate at local restaurants. One of my favorite activities was snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since it’s a protected area, you’re required to book a snorkeling tour.

CategoryTotal CostDaily Budget
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$225$56
๐Ÿ— Food$159$40
๐Ÿš— Transportation (Car)$34$9
โœˆ๏ธ Transportation (Plane)$94
๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment$84$21
Ambergris Caye Trip’s Costs by Category
The blog author looking out at Belize's blue ocean while on a swimming dock.
Ambergris Caye swimming dock.

Check out great things to do in Ambergris Caye.

๐ŸฆŽ San Ignacio Trip’s Total Cost: $705

During my three-day trip to San Ignacio, I averagedย $235 in daily travel expenses.

I stayed at a mid-range hotel, Cahal Pech Village Resort, mostly ate at local restaurants, and booked several tours. My favorite tour was the ATM cave. I also did a horseback riding tour to Xunantunich, one of the well-known ancient Mayan ruins.

CategoryTotal CostDaily Budget
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$137$46
๐Ÿ— Food$57$19
๐Ÿš— Transportation (Car)$74$25
โœˆ๏ธ Transportation (Plane)$205
๐Ÿคฟ Entertainment$230$77
San Ignacio Trip’s Costs by Category
A cave exit with clear water at the bottom and mossy rocks and green, tropical trees.
The exit of the ATM Cave. (Photo credit: MayaWalks.)

Check out great things to do in San Ignacio.

Do You Need Cash in Belize?

Although Belize has a great credit card infrastructure, some areas are still based on cash transactions. This is especially true once you wander outside the touristy areas, so make sure to bring some cash.

Below are tips on bringing and using cash in Belize.

๐Ÿ’ต 1. There’s no need to exchange US dollars for Belize dollars.

Belize accepts both US and Belize dollars. Belize is one of the few countries in the world that has pegged its currency to the US dollar at a constant exchange rate.

The Belize dollar has had a 2:1 exchange ratio with the USD since 1978, so you don’t have to worry about getting a bad exchange rate when paying with USD. My hotel was willing to exchange and break bigger bills at any time.

๐Ÿ’ฐ 2. Carry about $20 to $30 worth of cash per day in Belize.

On a typical day, a mid-range budget traveler in Belize will need at least $20 in cash to cover food, transportation, and attractions. A daily cash expense breakdown can look like this:

  • $10 at restaurants and local markets
  • $5 for tipping
  • $5 for transportations

On my Belize trip, I spent a total of roughly $125 (about $18 per day) in cash. I otherwise used my credit card whenever possible.

I keep my cash in my crossbody bag, but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing, carry it in a hidden money belt instead.

๐Ÿง 3. Several places in Belize are cash-only.

Based on my experience, the following places in Belize tend to be cash-only:

  • Local markets and restaurants โ€“ Most of these didn’t accept credit cards.
  • Drivers โ€“ Most taxi and shuttle drivers took only cash.
  • Tours โ€“ All tour guides had to be tipped with cash.

๐Ÿ’ต 4. Tipping is welcome, but not mandatory, in Belize.

Tipping is often appreciated in Belize, but itโ€™s optional. Tipping is most often expected from tourists and businesses that serve visitors.

  • Tours โ€“ It’s common (and even a bit expected) for tourists to tip 5% to 15% if they enjoyed the tour.
  • Restaurants โ€“ Visitors can add a 10% tip, or even higher for nicer restaurants.
  • Drivers โ€“ you don’t need to tip a taxi driver for short, flat-rate trips, but consider tipping your driver 5% to 10% for long-distance rides that take over 30 minutes.

See other essential travel tips for Belize before visiting.

Belize Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of Belize trip planner.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below.

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4 Comments

  1. Igor

    This is a really great summary, thank you, will become regular reader

    1. Lukiih

      Thanks, Igor! I hope to write more in the future.

  2. Tonya Wright

    Thank you for all the helpful tips and resources! This site has helped me tremendously in my decision to visit this year for one week! I was undecided prior to reading your article, I can check Belize off my bucket list!!!

    1. Lukiih

      Happy to hear you found my articles helpful, Tonya! Have a great trip.

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