5 Reasons To Stay in Belize City Before Setting Off for the Islands

by Gisselle Hernandez

Belize’s former capital of Belize City used to only be seen as a segue to more popular destinations in the Caribbean country. More recently, however, travelers are catching up to Belize City, an urban center, and its unique way of attracting travelers before jetting off to the islands. Its variety of activities, quality stays, and historic attractions make it a destination worthy of being more than just a stopover city. If you’re looking for reasons to explore Belize City before jetting off to beach destinations like Ambergris Caye, here are some suggestions.

Belize City makes a great base before the islands.

As the closest city to the international airport, Belize City automatically becomes a great base to explore the country. There’s even a domestic airport right in the city should you want a quick day-trip getaway to San Pedro or Caye Caulker. Many attractions are just a short drive away, such as The Belize Zoo, the Maya site of Altun Ha, and the Community Baboon Sanctuary. You can even hop on a boat and make your way to the offshore manatee sanctuary at Swallow Caye.

Budget-friendly stays.

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Biltmore is one of the lodging options for a stay right in Belize City.

Sure, Belize is teeming with beachfront resorts that constantly top the charts in global publications, but the city isn’t lacking, either. Take Radisson Fort George Hotel, which sits right in front of the lulling Caribbean Sea. Or for something a little closer to the airport, stay at Belize Best Western Biltmore Plaza. These offer a great bang for your buck with many convenient amenities on-site.

History everywhere you turn.

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The unmistakeable Baron Bliss Lighthouse in Belize City. Image courtesy Azain Medina/Vista Real Estate

Hundreds of years of history make up this city. You only need to take a stroll – or a walkable city tour– around Belize City to notice. The Baron Bliss Lighthouse stands guard at the edge of the seawall on the north side. The swing bridge sitting over the Haulover Creek tributary, which connects the north and south sides of the city, is said to be the oldest one in Central America. The Museum of Belize was also a former prison and within its walls, it preserves decades of stories and artifacts from when Belize was only known as British Honduras.

A plethora of photo ops.

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Belize City is also known to have some of the most Instagrammable spots in the country. Scrolling through the Belize tag on Instagram, you’ll find the ubiquitous colorful “Belize” sign. It’s the background of many-a-selfies. Located on the north side just a short walk from the Fort Street Tourism Village, the sign is a great stop to grab some photos and enjoy the sea breeze. The city also hosts a wide variety of cafes with equally snap-worthy interiors. The historical monuments peppered throughout the city, such as the St. John’s Cathedral or the Government House, are also great for photos.

Food to-die-for.

The Baymen’s Tavern at The Radisson serves up traditional Belizean cuisine. Plus, international eats with a sea-view seat in the city.

Belize is one of the most diverse countries in the region. Inside, it boasts a smattering of cultures that make up a warm and friendly population. This means the food is just as diverse, so there’s no shortage of variety when it comes to cuisine. Belize City arguably holds some of the best restaurants in the country. Belizeans and travelers travel long distances to stave off a craving for hudut, conch fritters, or just plain ol’ rice and beans.

Header image via Maya Island Air.

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