Now that I’ve left Belize and have been in Mexico for a few weeks, I think that it’s time to look back at what I spent while I was bumming it on the beach (not to mention the jungle, the city and a little coastal town!). If anyone is looking to pass some time in Belize, this is for you. Keep in mind that this is my vacation budget, as well, so it’s certainly do-able to see Belize more cheaply, but in general you’ll want at least $40USD a day (or more if you’re in Belize City, which I wouldn’t recommend, for the record). Belizean dollars are directly tied to US dollars at a 2:1 ratio, so my math is very accurate here.
Overall Budget: Where Did I Go?
I spent 11 days in Belize, in 4 distinct towns all across the country: Belize City, the capital and largest city; San Ignacio, a central jungle town on the border with Guatemala; Punta Gorda, a southern coastal town just a stone’s throw from Honduras; San Pedro, the town of Ambergris Caye and the largest island off the country’s coast. From San Pedro I headed east to the border with Mexico, and this year’s journey in Belize ended, but the people and memories are unforgettable.
There was more or less $15 a night budgeted in here, and the only place I spent more than that was at my $30 a night place in Belize City, where I reiterate, I will go straight through when I return to Belize. I was at the Red Hut Inn in Belize City, the Old House Hostel in San Ignacio, Nature’s Way in Punta Gorda, and Sandbar Hostel in San Pedro. I would recommend all of them, though some would definitely get my vote before others, for various reasons.
I’ll start by saying that I ate very well in Belize; each place I visited has their own stand-out cuisines representing their eclectic populations. This vast category would not have been nearly so expensive had I not bought a lot of cheap rum, bottles of water, lattes, Chinese food, and coffee beans. I ate mostly street food, which is very cheap and abundant outside of Belize City, and it would have been easy to eat well on even less than my budgeted $10 a day.
For example, you can get a lot of fresh fruit for a few bucks, 2 huge pupusas for $2.50USD, a large plate of curry chicken for $3.50USD, or a filling fry jack (huge bubbly piece of bread smothered in stewed meat of the day) for $2.50USD. Any of those would stave off the hunger for several hours and not set you back much, either.
I went hugely over budget on this one, and this is because I highly underestimated both the cost of crossing the border to Mexico, and the price of covering the country by bus. Twice. I caught a couple of necessary taxis, including the obligatory $25 one (ouch, though I talked him down to $20) from the airport, but otherwise this is about half buses and half water taxis.
Ah, the catch-all of travelers. This could cover anything from bug repellent for a new lock for your backpack. In my case, this meant tickets to an amazing 2-day chocolate festival in Punta Gorda, doing laundry, paying the $20USD exit fee to leave the country, going out reggae dancing, and an expensive excursion to the ATM Caves near San Ignacio (totally worth going over my budget for). Had I not done the least one, I’d have come in decidedly under budget, but hey, it included a homemade lunch.