6 Tips When Traveling to Belize With Friends 

by Gisselle Hernandez

Traveling together is a rite of passage for many close-knit friend groups. Creating memories together and unearthing sides of each other that are usually kept hidden makes any friendship stronger. They say you don’t really know someone until you travel with them, so why not test that theory by taking a friend-cation in Belize? The modest-sized tropical destination is the ideal location that can whip up any type of itinerary for differing friend groups. If it’s your first time participating in a “buddy-moon” in Belize, here are some tips to keep in mind. 

1. Plan ahead.

jet ski grand caribe resort belize

Photo by Grand Caribe Belize

Before you set off on your anticipated group vacation, try to figure out all the details beforehand. While your friends may share similar views or ideas as you, chances are their personalities are different than yours. Learn who likes to do what, which friend has dietary restrictions, or which one has an aversion to certain foods. Luckily, Belize offers an eclectic mix on the culinary front, so planning around certain diets won’t be much trouble. This is also a good chance to learn each other’s expectations on the trip. Some may prefer tons of activities, while others simply want to chill on the beach. Either way, the Central American country can easily cater to different types of travelers. 

2. Balance your itinerary.

Xunantunich Maya Ruins

Xunantunich Maya Site. Image courtesy Dylan Hetelle

This is where a well-rounded itinerary comes in. With different types of travelers come different interests. Friends looking for a laid-back, low-activity vacation may clash with those wanting to experience as many tours as possible. A great example is staying somewhere that offers both. Hopkins in the southeast coast serves as a great base for those wanting marine and beach activities, as well as jungle ones. Your group can spend a portion of the trip snorkeling at nearby cayes and participating in cultural immersion tours. Bookend your visit with some hiking or waterfall chasing less than a half-hour away in the Belizean jungle. Also be sure to include some downtime, as certain activities do require lots of energy.

3. Be willing to compromise.

You may be eager to venture into dark, mystical caves but your bestie with claustrophobia may not share the excitement. ATM Cave, Barton Creek, and others are must-sees when it comes to adventuring in Belize. But that’s not the only thrilling activity to be had. You can’t always please everyone, but you shouldn’t disregard your friends’ interests or concerns, either. Be considerate and make sure everyone has a say in how they want the trip to go. If you’re looking for some adrenaline-inducing experiences, try to reach a happy medium where everyone will have a good time. For instance, Rio Frio Cave is a stunning cave formation in the Mountain Pine Ridge region. But what makes it different for first-time spelunkers is that it’s an open cave, with plenty of space, light, and air inside. Now your friend with a dislike for tight spaces may be willing to reconsider in such a scenario. 

4. Include non-group activities.

Relaxing solo at Ka’ana Resort.

Much like the trip should take everyone’s wishes into consideration, your friend-cation doesn’t have to be strictly about the group. Everyone deserves some “me” time, and after only a few days together, you’re bound to crave it anyway. Plan a day where everyone gets to do their own thing. Maybe one can go for a massage at the resort, while another spends the day reading by the beach. There are also many activities in Belize you can enjoy alone. Explore San Pedro by foot, or go birdwatching in San Ignacio. By the time the group reconvenes, everyone will feel a bit more relaxed and excited for the rest of the vacation. 

5. Be Flexible.

shark ray alley belize 1 aerial

Would you jump in? Shark Ray Alley by IG
xkflyaway

This doesn’t necessarily only apply to group travel, but it may be one of the most important aspects to keep in mind. When you plan a trip for one or two people, or even a family, it’s a bit easier to control. When you’re organizing a trip for a group, however, things may not always work out as planned. Some may back out of tours, may get sick, or realize budgetary views are starkly different. This is the time to be flexible and remember the trip is about you all as friends, and not about what could go wrong or right. At the end of the day, the most valuable aspect of the vacation is the bonds you create with each other. It wouldn’t be worth sacrificing that because someone just realized they didn’t book a Caye Caulker sunset sailing tour they were supposed to. You can always choose to watch the sunset – just as stunning – straight from the beach at the Split. 

6. Keep communication open.

picnic-dinner-casa-al-mar-belize-georges-caye

Dine in your own private courtyard, thanks to your private chef. Image by Casa Al Mar/Duarte Dellarole

Similarly, communication is key when planning a vacation with other people. Whether that’s before or during the actual trip. If you decide to make changes to the itinerary, or prefer different activities, it’s always better to speak up. Communication is also essential in solving any conflicts or uncertainties that may arise. Such situations are inevitable when traveling with a group of people, so might as well practice the skill. 

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