Traveling to far-flung places can teach life-changing lessons to any individual, no matter their age. But traveling while a kid can instill entire new perspectives from a young age ultimately leads children to become well-rounded citizens of the world. It’s also a creative way to bring the stories and ideas they’ve read about in books to life. Family vacations with kids run the gamut in Belize, from traditional summer trips to not-so-typical exotic ones. The former can build a child’s love for travel, appreciating the time spent together with loved ones. But, planned right, the latter can nurture a newfound joy in discovering new places, new foods, and new people. Before they leave the nest and go their own way, kids should experience different types of travel. Luckily, Belize caters to every type of globetrotter. Below are four different types of trips that kids should experience when in Belize.
It goes without saying every traveler to Belize should experience the vast biodiversity it holds within. As a tropical destination, Belize is home to wildlife many are not familiar with. Sure, your kiddos are not unfamiliar with zoos. But in Belize, the flora and fauna offer a secondary – and educational – glance into the country’s ecosystem. For a wildlife adventure, plan an itinerary that is bound to wow your children.
Apart from the unmissable Belize Zoo, we suggest visiting San Ignacio’s very own Green Iguana Conservation Project located at the historic San Ignacio Resort Hotel. After learning about the rehabilitated dinosaur-looking greenies, plan an early birdwatching tour with the hotel. Teach your children to learn the unmistakable croaking of a keel-billed toucan. Watch them excitedly identify a brown jay’s cackle.
The rest of your wildlife adventure trip can pan out in the old capital of Belize City. Stay somewhere that makes an ideal base, like the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. The community baboon sanctuary is less than an hour away and the manatee sanctuary of Swallow Caye sits just a few miles offshore. Finish off strong with a day trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve where your little ones will become elated at swimming alongside docile nurse sharks and polka-dotted eagle rays.
If you’ve got kids who can’t get enough of excavating “treasures” in the backyard, Belize is replete with plenty of unearthed wonders to explore on trips. Once being the stronghold of the ancient Maya civilization, Belize is said to hold hundreds of Maya ruins. Only some have been excavated, while others remain unseen, hiding somewhere within the jungles. Your archaeologists-in-the-making can see their dreams come true when climbing Caracol, the site of the tallest man-made structure in the region.
This Maya city conveniently lies just an hour away from the jungle resort Gaia Riverlodge. Tucked within the Mountain Pine Ridge region, Gaia caters to nature-lovers that also want a taste of adventure. Children 10 years or older can stay at this jungle lodge, experiencing the nearby wonders of the Cayo District. Apart from the nearby Caracol, Xunantunich is also about a 1.5 hours drive away from Gaia. For a full-blown history-laden Belize trip, visit different landmarks in the region such as Nohoch Che’en Caves, Cahal Pech Maya site, and the ATM Cave, among others.
You can never be too young to start learning about food, especially its source and history. As a predominantly Caribbean and Latin-influenced nation, Belize reflects its traditions in its culinary scene. If you want to teach your kids about new mind-expanding dishes and the great detail and care that goes into them, book a cooking class. Not only are they fun, but also educational. A Maya cooking class with Ka’ana Resort can be transformative, as well as tasty. Learn how to create classic dishes like tamales, corn tortillas, and even caldo using an authentic history-ridden fire hearth. Continue your culinary journey by booking a fun and interactive chocolate-making experience in San Ignacio. Kids – who undeniably have a sweet tooth – will get a kick out of learning where chocolate really comes from. Hint: it’s from a fruit!
If you have kids a little on the older side, now would be a great time for trips to introduce them to the thrill of adrenaline-inducing activities. Belize is a 70-percent forested area means there are plenty of dense jungles to have fun in. Try a ziplining or cave tubing combo in Western Belize, or a crocodile safari in Northern Belize. For an underrated experience, go waterfall chasing in Mountain Pine Ridge. Hidden Valley Inn holds the stunning Butterfly Falls in its backyard, a secluded yet refreshing respite available to those up for a challenging hike. After your children have had their fill of swimming in natural pools, venture to the nearby Rio Frio Cave about an hour away from the inn for a perfect culmination to your Belize jungle vacation.