Belize is the land of beauty and adventure boasting white sand beaches to lush jungles and everything in between. When looking for things to do in Belize, I perfect activities that are a bit of an adventure even though I don’t consider myself an adrenalin junky. This list is for others like me who are looking for things to do in Belize that require more effort than just sitting on a beach or sightseeing ruins (not that there’s anything wrong with those things either!). The items on this list all require at least a low level of physical fitness, willpower, and sometimes a steel reserve.
The Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave is an absolute must for any adventurer, or anyone visiting Belize really. Exploring this cave is an amazing experience. Not only do you learn about the history and culture of the country, but this tour also involved swimming and spelunking through a remote cave in the middle of the jungle. It was so so so fun! Visiting the ATM cave is only available by tour to make sure it’s not over-crowded and that the artifacts in the cave remain protected. It requires a moderate level of physical ability (swimming, climbing, walking) and should be do-able by most people who are comfortable with hiking. More about visiting the ATM cave here!
I honestly think this was one of the more dangerous activities that we’ve ever done. I’m pretty adventurous and like to push the boundaries of my comfort zone, which this definitely did! There are three options for waterfall rappelling in Belize: Bocawina (100ft rappel), Antelope Falls (250ft rappel), or Angel Falls (two rappels: 200, 225ft). Each option is a guided tour where you hike to the top of the waterfall. Then your guides outfit you with a harness and helmet plus knee and elbow pads, goes over the basics of rappelling with you, hooks you up, and down the waterfall you go!
We did Angel Falls and the hike through the jungle was steep, but not overly difficult, though we did hear a jaguar attacking some monkeys. We had 3 guides with us who were all extremely knowledgeable, professional, and safe. You’re quite literally putting your lives in their hands as they are setting up all of the equipment and belaying you down from above. Rappelling takes quite a lot of physical effort, more than I was expecting, especially when trying to keep yourself from crashing into the rocks or getting a face full of waterfall. It was a unique and exhilarating experience that I’ll never forget and am glad we did, but also don’t know that I need to do it again.
Ziplining in Belize involves flying through the jungle canopy from tree to tree in a harness attached to a wire. It gives you a unique and very different view of the jungle than you get from below. There are many options for ziplining all over the country. Most zipline locations have several options for the length and distance of the zipline and will also be able to combine it with other activities like waterfall rappelling or cave tubing. Most ziplines require light physical ability.
Snorkeling or SCUBA diving
Pretty much anywhere you go in Belize is going to have good snorkeling or SCUBA diving. But one of the best areas is Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. This is a protected marine reserve which encourages an abundance of sealife. It’s know for its nurse sharks, sting rays, sea turtles, and clear warm waters. Sign up for a tour here.
The Blue Hole is a world-famous diving and snorkeling spot in Belize. There are only 2 “blue holes” in the world, which are large underwater sinkholes. This one is just off the coast of Belize and offers some of the most unique underwater environments. The Hole is 130ft deep and offers a different diving experience than the other reefs in the area.
If either of this area is too far out of the way for you on this trip, don’t worry! Belize has wonderful diving and snorkeling. The Cayes are another great spot to enjoy these activities, but really, whichever outfitter is closest to you is likely to know the best spots in your area and it’s all going to be beautiful and relaxing!
The Monkey River in Belize is home to several troupes of howler moneys. This is a great way to be able to experience monkeys in their natural habitat (no cadges, no human handling, etc). The Monkey River Tour takes you on a slow boat ride down the river where you can spot a variety of iguanas and tropical birds in the trees. Once the boat reaches its destination, you’ll set off on a walk through the jungle to find the monkeys! The distance and time may vary depending on how easy the monkeys are to find on any given day. Even if you don’t find the monkeys, the walk through the jungle is still very enjoyable. This tour requires a low level of physical activity – sit on a boat, then walk through a jungle, but a unique way to see jungle animals (and the jungle itself)! More about the Monkey River Tours here.
There are many areas for cave tubing in Belize. Cave tubing usually involves hiking to a cave and the sitting in a tube as you float through the “river” in the cave. I use “river” liberally since the water in the cave is usually moving slowly. It’s more like floating in the cave. But you do get to experience some cool cave formations, maybe see some bats, and total darkness if everyone turns off their headlamps. It’s not the most adventurous and requires low physical ability. The walk to the cave is usually the most difficult part. I personally would only do cave tubing if you’re tacking it onto another activity in the area, but wouldn’t have cave tubing as the main activity.
Canoeing a Jungle River
There are also several opportunities for canoeing in Belize down a jungle river. This is another great way to see more of the local wildlife in its natural environment. Most of the jungle rivers are pretty calm and make for a relaxing canoe ride.
Jaguar Preserve Night Hike
While it sounds like it would be pretty cool to walk through a jaguar reserve at night in hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive cat, most of the time, you’re not going to see a jaguar. These cats are good at staying hidden and don’t want to interact with people. BUT there are lots of other cool things to see in the reserve during this hike which include other nocturnal animals such as foxes, opossums, kinkajous, agoutis, coatimundis, scorpions, spiders and snakes. Plus the jungle itself is magical at night, alive with so many sounds that you don’t get to experience anywhere else. More about the Jaguar Reserve night hike here.