Kayaking in Belize

Bright reefs, Green Mangroves and Dark Waters

Some dream of drifting through a quiet mangrove estuary, binoculars in hand as they watch the birds. Others imagine themselves island hopping through clear waters, with stops to snorkel coral reefs and camp beneath the stars on a deserted beach. Even more exotic are images of dark-water drifts into hidden river caves deep in the jungle. Whatever forms a tropical padding vacation might take, Belize provides the environments that will turn dreams into reality. Adventures can begin at riverside eco lodges, beach resorts or rustic outposts set on remote islands surrounded by coral reefs. It's a destination sought by experienced paddlers, but also one that is kind to newcomers to the sport.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone, from relaxing and beach travelers, to soft and rugged adventurers
  • Best season to visit: Year round, drier from January to June
  • Weather: Belize enjoys a sub-tropical climate moderated by Caribbean sea breezes. Winter temperatures occasionally dip below 70 during northerlies, while summers may reach into the 90s, with increased humidity and rain showers after June

Things to Do

Belize Information

Paddle Sports in Belize Overview

The Caribbean coast of Belize is lined with coral reefs and small islands known as cayes that provide hundreds of square miles of shallow, protected waterways for exploration by kayak. Additional paddling opportunities await in the coral-fringed lagoons of offshore atolls, and in the rivers and flooded caves of the country's jungle-clad interior.

Paddle Sports in Belize Tips

If you are new to kayaking, a good way to gain familiarity and build skills is to start with shorter half-day trips and work up to longer paddles. Resorts that offer stay-and-paddle packages are ideally suited for this strategy. Winter months are coolest, but coastal winds are lighter in summer.

Best Places for Paddle Sports in Belize

Turneffe Atoll rewards paddlers of all abilities with sheltered routes through shallow lagoons and mangrove islands, with easy access to open water and the Caribbean's longest barrier reef. Trips on the Caves Branch River can range from two-hour drifts to all-day or multi-day paddles that pass through subterranean channels.

What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Belize

A brimmed hat for sun protection and a shirt that provides both sun protection and freedom of movement. Include a waterproof case for valuables—preferably one that floats. Secure sunglasses with a floating tether. Closed-heel sandals are a good choice for ocean trips, while textured-sole water shoes work well in rivers and caves.

Specials

Paddle Sports

Belize

Turneffe Island Resort

TURNEFFE ISLAND - CARADONNA RECOMMENDS includes 7 night accommodations, daily snorkel trips including day trip to Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye and Long Caye and 1 night dive, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily including tea, water, coffee and lemonade, snorkeling, use of non-motorized watersports, roundtrip airport transfers on Wednesdays and Saturdays, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 12/21/18. Book by 12/15/18.
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From $2,355 per person double diver

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Paddle Sports

Belize

Ramons Village Resort

AMBERGRIS CAYE - CARADONNA RECOMMENDS includes 7 nights Jungle Standard accommodations, breakfast daily, Cave Tubing, ATV and Zip Line guided tour includes breakfast, lunch, refreshment, roundtrip air transportation from San Pedro to Mainland Belize, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charge. Valid 5/1/18-12/19/18.
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From $1,116 per person double occupancy

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Packages

Paddle Sports

Belize

Ramons Village Resort

AMBERGRIS CAYE - BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 7 nights Jungle Standard accommodations, breakfast daily, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charge. Options to add-on Island Tours, Mayan Ruin Tours, Snorkel Tours, Offroading Tours, Paddle Adventures and Zipling Excursions.
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From $736 per person double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Belize

SunBreeze Suites

AMBERGRIS CAYE BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 7 nights Poolside Suite accommodations, hotel taxes, and service charges. Options to add-on Island Tours, Mayan Ruin Tours, Snorkel Tours, Offroading Tours, Paddle Adventures and Zipling Excursions.
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From $639 per person double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Belize

SunBreeze Hotel

AMBERGRIS CAYE - BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE includes 7 nights standard accommodations, hotel taxes, and service charges. Options to add-on Island Tours, Mayan Ruin Tours, Snorkel Tours, Offroading Tours, Paddle Adventures and Zipling Excursions.
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From $639 per person double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Belize

The Lodge at Chaa Creek

PLACENCIA AND SAN IGNACIO - JUNGLE AND SEA PACKAGE 7 night package including 3-nights at Chaa Creek and 4-nights at Robert's Grove Beach Resort, 1 day Monkey River Tour, excursion to the Maya temples in the ancient metropolis of Tikal, breakfast, The sacred Maya Caves at Barton Creek, Guided tours of Chaa Creek’s Natural History Centre Hilltop Butterfly Exhibit, Belize Zoo and the beautiful Maya pyramid of Xunantunich, lunch, Belize Zoo and the beautiful Maya pyramid of Xunantunich, dinner daily, kayaks, pedal boats, windsurfers, activities including canoeing, nature walks, swimming, Hobie Cats, gym, bicycles, taxes and service charges. Room upgrades are available.
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From $2,663 per person double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Belize

Turneffe Island Resort

TURNEFFE ISLAND - SNORKEL PACKAGE includes 7 nights accommodations in your choice of Lodge Room, Superior Room or a Private Villa including taxes, guided snorkel trips daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, complimentary activities kayaks, shore snorkeling, pool, hobie kat, paddle boards, horseshoes, and volleyball. Complimentary airport transfers on Wednesday and Saturdays.
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From $3,139 per person double diver

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Paddle Sports

Belize

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

DANGRIGA - ADVENTURE PACKAGE includes 7 night sdventure and dive package includes 7 nights accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, air and ground transportation from Belize International airport to resort, welcome cocktail, 5 adventure days including choice of diving, snorkeling, waterfall hike, Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve Cave and Jungle Experience, Tropical Birding, Jungle River Kayaking or Canoeing or Mayan History Tours, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,996 per person double occupancy

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Resorts

Paddle Sports

Belize

Windy Hill Resort

MAINLAND BELIZE - Cassia Hill Resort is located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains, the most diverse area of Belize. This beautiful resort provides all the modern conveniences in a lush tropical setting and just minutes from the archaeological sites, rivers, caves and other attractions that visitors come to see and experience in Belize. After a busy day of trekking around the Maya temples, canoeing or tubing through the caves, hiking through the rainforest, or horseback riding along jungle trails, you will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the amenities of Cassia Hill Resort.
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Paddle Sports

Belize

SunBreeze Suites

AMBERGRIS CAYE Comprised of twenty comfortable one bedroom vacation suites overlooking the beautiful blue sea. Each comes with a private balconies from where you can enjoy breathtaking sunrises, refreshing cool sea-breezes and romantic moonlight nights. It is within walking distance to grocery stores, entertainment centers, local and gourmet restaurants, banks, fruit shops, cafes, and Belizean art galleries.
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Paddle Sports

Belize

SunBreeze Hotel

AMBERGRIS CAYE - SunBreeze Hotel puts you right in the heart of Ambergris Caye and all that the island has to offer. On the southern edge of the friendly town of San Pedro, SunBreeze’s Latin-Caribbean architectural design forms a wide crescent that embraces the waterfront as well as its own private white sand beach and palm and tropical garden complete with a fresh water pool.
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Paddle Sports

Belize

Ramons Village Resort

AMBERGRIS CAYE - Ramon’s Village is a sanctuary nestled in a tropical garden of Royal Palms, bougainvillea, lilies, hibiscus and dozens of other types of tropical flora. Surrounded by the plant life are Mayan sculptures that provide a glimpse of the civilization that preceded us in this Caribbean paradise. Once inside our enchanted village, you’ll be in a world of your own choosing. Styled after the Tahitian cottages on the Polynesian island of Bora Bora, the cabanas are built from native materials by craftsmen utilizing the same skill and techniques the islanders used in the days of the great sailing ships. Combine the lush vegetation, Mayan influence, Tahitian elements, delicious food, wonderful people, excellent service, great amenities, comfortable accommodations, superb location and the wide variety of entertainment options, and it’s no wonder Ramon’s Village Resort in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye has been the first choice of travelers to Belize since 1987.
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Paddle Sports

Belize

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

HOPKINS - Hamanasi is a boutique hotel on the southern coast of the Belize mainland offering spacious treehouse, beachfront room and honeymoon suite accommodations with handcrafted hardwood furnishings, air conditioning and private porches. From scuba diving Belize’s Great Barrier Reef and Belize's three atolls to climbing Mayan pyramids, hiking through rainforests in search of hidden caves, to birdwatching, Hamanasi resort offers it all at one comfortable, convenient location.
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From $1,996 per person double occupancy

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Paddle Sports

Belize

Roberts Grove Beach Resort

PLACENCIA - Robert’s Grove is a beautifully appointed Hacienda-style Belize beach resort nestled on 22 acres of the finest white sand beach in Placencia Belize. Its ideal location allows guests to be surrounded by Belize’s best attractions- the Barrier Reef, Tropical Rainforest & Mayan Ruins. This unique position makes it easy for guests and especially families to choose from a vast array of Belize’s most sought after activities, including diving tours, fly fishing trips, and many more exciting adventures.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

A current passport, valid through your departure date, is required for entry into Belize. Your passport needs to have at least 1 blank page for the entry stamp. Proof of onward or return flights may be required at entry as well. No visa is required for stays less than 30 days. Upon departure from Belize, there is a departure tax of approximately $40.00 U.S. which should be included on your international ticket.

Check the entry/exit requirements here.

Immunizations

There are no required immunizations for entry into Belize, although you should check with your doctor and reference the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations.

Culture and Customs

Belize is a true melting pot of cultures, stretching back to the stone cities of the ancient Maya, and the Arawak roots of the Garfunkel dialect that are still heard through the country. British settlers arrived in the 1600s, and English remains the nation's official language. But Spanish influences are equally prevalent, and Mennonite, Creole, Lebanese, Chinese, and East Indian immigrants have all left their mark on the collective consciousness. Today, they are all just Belizeans, and everyone gets along in a society that places a high value on civility and inclusion. This is a country that doesn't need an excuse to dance and throw a party. Weekends are reason enough for celebration, and dozens of festivals, carnivals and concerts are staged throughout the year. Head up to the country into the rainforest and wooded mountains of the interior and you are in the land of Indiana Jones where thatch-roofed eco lodges serve as base camps for jungle hikes and inner tube drifts through river caves. Head offshore and island times takes over when you land on the offshore cayes. On Ambergris Caye a flipflop and tank top vibe permeates the beach town of San Pedro, where beach bikes are the preferred mode of transportation, and packed-sand streets are fronted by colorfully painted wooden shops and taverns.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Belize electricity is 110 Volt/60 cycles and uses the same plug types as the U.S., so no converters are required.

Belize has a standardized seven-digit phone numbering system and a country code of 501.

Many hotels offer WiFi. Be sure to check with your mobile provider to see if International plans are available for phone and data usage while in Belize.

Water Quality

Bottled water is recommended in Belize and readily available for purchase and also supplied by some resorts.

Language & Currency

English is the official language, but Spanish is widely spoken. Other languages spoken are Maya, Garifuna, and Creole.

The BelizeDdollar (BZD) is pegged to the US dollar at 2:1 - always verify whether you are paying U.S. or Belize Dollars. It's easy to change U.S. dollars just about anywhere.

ATMs are available in many cities and accept major cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, although cash will be dispensed in Belize Dollars.

Most businesses will accept U.S. cash without question. They usually give change in Belizean Dollars, though they may return U.S. change if you ask.

Time

Belize is on Central Standard Time, 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Belize does not observe daylight saving time.

Location, Size and Population

Belize is located on the Eastern coast of Central America, along the Caribbean Coast. Its capital city is Belmopan.

Belize is bounded on the North by Mexico, South, and West by Guatemala, and the beautiful Caribbean Sea washes its 174-mile coastline to the East.

Belize has an area of 8,866 sq. miles including 266 sq. miles of islands.

The population of Belize is 367,177 (2016), while the island of Ambergris caye has an estimated 22,000, the area of Placencia approximately 1,500 and the area of Dangriga close to 10,000.