Family-Friendly Activities in San Pedro & Ambergris Caye

belize family friendly activities

You’re shopping around for your next family vacation in paradise. You’re willing to go far and wide because you want your kids to experience the world. But if you’ve ever taken your kids on vacation before, you know that choosing the right location is critical.

Have you considered Belize? If not, you’re missing out on the perfect wow-factor: a location that keeps the kids entertained while also providing the adults an opportunity for a good time.

If you’re debating booking a stay with us, here are a few of the best things to do on your Belize family vacation.

Outdoor Activities​ for Kids

If you’re an outdoor adventure family, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. In fact, outdoor activities are some of the best things to do in Belize for families.

Jungle Exploration

Looking to explore Belize’s beautiful jungles? You’ve got plenty of options to take in the views.

You could take a relaxing ride on a horse, experiencing the sounds of the jungle all around you. You can also take a hike to feel Belize under your feet. The kids will love the views and fun waiting at the end of the hike.

Horseback riding
Hiking Boots

Hiking

For example, younger kids will love hiking to Blue Hole Inland. It’s about 12 miles south of Belmopan off the Hummingbird Highway. There are plenty of trails to hike, and when everyone’s tired, you can take a dip in the pristine blue waters to cool off.

For older kids with more hiking experience, a one-hour hike takes you to 1,000 feet above Angel’s Valley, where guides can set you up to rappel down a waterfall.

Mountain Biking

If horses and hiking aren’t your speed, you can also get a guide for a mountain biking expedition through the beautiful forest and ancient ruins that make up the island.

Mountain Biking in Belize
Cave Exploration in Belize

Cave Exploration

For a subterranean adventure, check out Crystal Cave, considered one of the top 10 crystal caves in the world. After a 45-minute trek through part of Broad Leaf Forest, you’ll journey into Xibalba with a guide, surrounded by spectacular crystal formations. Keep in mind that this is a moderate to difficult day-long excursion and is best for older kids.

Jungle Ziplines

Looking for a thrill during your trip to Belize? How about zipping through the jungle trees while getting a unique perspective of the beautiful rainforest? You won’t find views like this anywhere else. This is a kid-favorite and will surely be the highlight of their vacation in Belize.

Zipline in Belize
Image Source: Hamanasi.com

Water Activities​ For Whole Family

If you’ve got kids that want to grow up to be fish, they’ll be in paradise in Belize. In fact, there are all sorts of water activities in Belize for families–everyone can find something they’ll enjoy.

Nurse Shark at Hol Chan
Image Source: Wikimedia.org

Dive Sites to Explore Via Boat

Take the Hol Chan canyons, part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve four miles south of San Pedro. The reserve is famous for its abundance of sea life and dramatic canyons. You’ll see everything from schools of fish to stingrays. The canyons are also lined with large coral, hiding dozens of other sea creatures.

There’s also Shark Ray Alley, a renowned dive site in Ambergris Caye. Traditionally, Belize fishermen used the spot to clean their fish. These days, it’s protected as part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and snorkeling is the only permitted activity.

As the name implies, the spot is famous for giant stingrays and mooching nurse sharks, which you’ll see as soon as your boat heads into the water. Don’t be surprised if they come right up to the boat!

UNDERWATER ACTIVITIES

If you want to maximize your underwater adventures, check out our Reef Adventure Package, which includes: 

  • A full-day trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley
  • A full-day beach BBQ featuring freshly-caught fish and local specialties
  • A half-day reef fishing trip
Nurse Shark in Belize
Family Fishing in Ambergris Caye Belize

FISHING TRIPS

If you prefer to do some parent-child bonding over a full day of fishing, you can organize your own fishing trip as well. The water is calm and clean, so you’ll be amazed by how good the fishing is (and how delicious the fresh catches are!)

Cave Tubing

On the other hand, if you’re not much of a fishing crowd, you can also experience Belize’s wonders through cave tubing.

Our favorite cave tubing happens at the Cave Branch outpost of the Nohoch Che’en reserve. You’ll take a light 40-minute hike to your drop site and settle into a tube for a breathtaking subterranean adventure through the foothills of the Maya Mountains.

Kid Friendly Cave Tubing in Belize
Scuba Diving in Belize

Diving

If you want to go a little deeper than snorkeling and fishing (literally) there are plenty of diving opportunities as well. Our Ambergris Caye Dream Diving package lets you experience the best diving Belize has to offer, with three dives included: 

  • An easy (but beautiful) shallow dive at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
  • A full-day, two-tank Reef Drift Dive to explore Belize’s gorgeous barrier reef
  • A full day of snorkeling and diving at the world famous Blue Hole dive

That said, Belize has so many opportunities to dive that you’d be remiss to skip them. Esmerelda, for example, is a 50 to 70-foot dive featuring spectacular deep canyons wreathed in soft corals. Between the array of tropical fish, dolphins, eels, and eagle rays, you may not want to see dry land again.

Cave Kayaking

You can also explore Belize’s many caves by water with cave kayaking. Our favorite spot is 5 Blue Lakes National Park, where you can paddle into the Maya Mountains with towering crystal formations. You don’t need paddling experience, but there are some tight spots in the caves, so this isn’t the best choice for claustrophobic kids.

Cave Kayaking Belize
Image Source: http://mayaguide.bz

Kid-Friendly Beach Activities

Are the adults in your group dreaming of a classic tropical vacation? Sun, sand, waves, and clear water for cooling off? Looking for things to do in Ambergris Caye?

Go to the Beach

Head out of San Pedro Town to Ambergris Caye, where there’s boatloads of serene beach. It has some of the best dive sites in Belize (if not Central America) and top-of-the-line snorkeling, though you can definitely take a more relaxed approach.

Belize Beach
Belize Sandcastle

Sandcastle building

If your kids love to build sandcastles, they’ll have plenty of materials to work with. There’s actually quite a lot of seagrass on the shores, thanks to the coral reef nearby.

Should they get bored of land-bound activities, bring a boogie board and let the kids splash in the waves. They can still experience the sea life, even if they don’t go out very far.

Just don’t forget to slather on plenty of sunblock before they hit the waves. Belize is beautifully tropical, but no one’s going to enjoy it if you’re all sunburned and irritable.

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Kid-Friendly Tours

Want your kids to learn about Belize during your visit? Good news: there are plenty of kid-friendly tours that will keep the whole family entertained.

Mayan Ruins Belize

Mayan Ruins

You might not know it, but Belize was once the heart of the ancient Mayan Empire. In fact, the Mayans flourished for almost 3,000 years in Belize. Although the empire shared a common language and religion, it was made up of various kingdoms and principalities whose alliances were always shifting.

Today, that history survives in Mayan ruins. The Mayans built huge, flowering temples in tribute to their god-like rulers, and while the Mayans aren’t in Belize anymore, their ruins are still ripe for savvy young explorers to traverse. No Belize family itinerary would be complete without them!

Depending on what you’re looking for from your experience, there are plenty of options to experience the Mayan ruins firsthand: 

  • Xunantunich, easily accessible with well-developed archaeology to explore
  • Altun Ha, easily accessible off the highway
  • Lamanai, perfect for a river trip
  • Caracol, the largest Mayan ruin in Belize

If you want to venture even further, you can even explore the Tikal ruins in Guatemala.

Private Tours

You can also take private tours to make the whole adventure your own.

For example, you can take a private Cacao Trail tour, where a cacao farmer will take you through their farm to show you how the ancient Mayans made chocolate.

Maya Housing - Private Tours Belize
Image Source: TCAtours.com
Exotic Fruit Tours - Belize
Image Source: TCAtours.com

Fruit Tours & Jungle Adventures

Or, if you’ve got adventurous eaters, you can take an Exotic Fruit Tour through a farm with more than 1,000 trees, featuring more than 100 unique species of tropical fruits collected from all over Belize.

Alternately, if you’re looking to live on the wild side, you can take an adventure tour through Belize’s flourishing jungle. You could explore old Mayan trails, spend the night in the jungle, or visit waterfalls. It all depends on what kind of adventure you and your kids want to have.

Nature & Wildlife Activities for Kids

Belize has something for the nature-lover in all of us.

For example, have you ever taken your kids to see a rainforest? About half of Belize is covered in dense jungle, with 80% of the rainforest under government protection.

Because of this, Belize’s rainforest is host to hundreds of animals and plants, from jaguars to armadillos to tapirs. There are about 4,000 species of tropical plants on the island, including 250 different types of orchids. Learning about the wildlife is one of the best things in Belize for kids to discover.

Bird Watching Belize

Bird Watching

If you have a budding bird watcher, the island is home to more than 500 different species of tropical birds, including the jabiru stork, the largest flying bird in the Americas. But there are also plenty of colorful birds too, from macaws to neon parrots to tiny hummingbirds.

Zoo Life

If the family prefers animal interactions a bit more up-close and personal, you can pay a visit to the Belize Zoo, the best little zoo in the world and a great place to teach your tiny nature lover about tropical animals. It’s home to more than 150 animals representing 45 different species, all native to Belize.

Belize Zoo
Butterfly Farms Belize
Image Source: Greenhillsbelize.com

Butterfly Farms

You can also show your kids Belize’s many beautiful butterflies by visiting a butterfly farm. The best on the island is Green Hills Butterfly Ranch on Mountain Pine Ridge. It has Belize’s largest live butterfly exhibit with more than 20 different butterfly species. The main attraction is the Blue Morpho, a native Belize butterfly and one of the largest butterflies in the world.

Green Iguana Conservation Project

If your kids are into lizards, make time to visit the Green Iguana Conservation Project. This landmark conservation project has no equal in the Carribean, which makes it the perfect place to teach your kids about wildlife conservation.

It gives you the opportunity to mingle with these amazing reptiles to learn all about how they live, from hatching to what they eat. Kids will love the Iguana Kids Club, which helps raise funds to sustain the project.

Green Iguana
Image Source: travelbelize.org

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Kids have to eat. The trick is finding somewhere the kids like that won’t bore the adults. Fortunately, Belize has plenty of options to help you meet in the middle

Wild Mangos Restaurant Belize
Image Source: Mangosbelize.com

Wild Mango's

If you can’t get anywhere else in Ambergris Caye, make sure to hit Wild Mango’s before you go. Make sure to plan ahead–it’s always packed, and for a good reason. It’s a lovely open air restaurant showcasing some of the most creative food on the island, with a dash of the Carribean and a hint of Mexico.

Whatever you order, you’ll see Wild Mango’s showstoppers on display: fresh seafood, local fruits and vegetables, and Cajun spices, combined into something that’s knockout delicious every time.

DJ's Burgers

If you’re a burger-loving crowd, DJ’s offers the best burgers on the island, hands down. Try the Cheesy Cheese (fried mozzarella block on the burger, how can you argue with that?) or the stuffed jalapenos.

DJs Burger Bar Belize
Robin's Kitchen Belize

Robin's Kitchen

Wrangling a simple crowd with unfussy tastes? Check out Robin’s Kitchen, a small roadside restaurant featuring the best Jamaican BBQ this side of Kingston. Seriously, the jerk chicken is to die for. Dishes are subtle but spicy and you’ll seriously contemplate the merits of trying to get a bottle of Robin’s sauce through customs.

Plus, if you catch fish that day, Robin will prepare it for you any way you want and only charge you for the sides. It’s the perfect way to finish off a day of fishing with the kids–and teach them something about where their food comes from. Also, if you’ve got vegetarians, Robin’s does vegetarian dishes too (which, let’s be honest, are also to die for).

DandE's FROZEN CUSTARD

For a sweet treat after dinner, to DandE’s Frozen Custard, a mom and pop shop that your kids will be completely obsessed with. Don’t let the term “frozen custard” spook the young crowd–it’s basically high-quality ice cream, extra rich and extra creamy. DandE’s flavors change often but usually feature local flavors like coconut or mango.

That said, if you’ve got a picky ice cream eater, you can’t go wrong with vanilla. Just don’t forgo the frozen custard. Yes, the sorbet is good, but the frozen custard is better. Trust us.

DandE's Frozen Custard Belize

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