The Ultimate Guide to the 12 Best Beaches in Belize

Choosing the best beaches in a country famous for its idyllic shores and beautiful views is almost impossible. You could just as soon throw a dart on the map and find your picture-perfect paradise that way. But if you like a little direction, we’re here to help. From gorgeous beaches dotting the coast to magnificent cayes dotting the Caribbean, we’ll take you through all of the best beaches in Belize for a quintessential island getaway.

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What Part of Belize Has the Best Beaches?

It’s hard to argue that anywhere does it better than the Placencia Peninsula. From loud and proud Placencia Village to the quiet splendor of its northern and southern beaches, Plancencia’s sandy shores promise fun, culture, and boundless beauty that’ll sweep you off your feet and right into the magic of Belize.

12 of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Belize

Belize is so full of beauty it’s almost impossible to pick out the twelve best anything, let alone beaches. But if you’re looking for beaches you can’t go wrong with visiting, get ready for sun and sand on these stunning shores in Belize. 

1. Placencia Peninsula

It could be argued that the country’s idyllic beaches begin and end along the gorgeous golden sands of the Placencia Peninsula. What was once a quiet Creole village has blossomed into a charming beach hot spot dotted by luxury hotels and lively bars spanning Belize’s longest stretch of public beach. The shimmering sixteen-mile peninsula in southern Belize crosses Maya Beach, Seine Bight, and Placencia Village, each offering its own distinct flavor of Belize beaches. Hide away from the world on the secluded beaches of Seine Bight and Maya Beach, or dive headfirst into the vibrant beaches of Placencia Village, backed by exciting bars and shops.

It should come as no surprise, but the best beaches in Belize also serve as grand gateways to exciting adventures, like snorkeling in the cayes and exploring national parks. But, then again, no one could blame you for finding the perfect spot on one of several pristine beaches to soak in the sun and drink in the views.

2. South Water Caye

Nestled within a protected nature reserve, the beauty of South Water Caye stands out as its crowning feature. Powder-fine sand leads directly into gorgeous blue waters, creating picture-perfect panoramas of paradise. Located directly on the Belize Barrier Reef, South Water Caye has some of the best beaches for snorkeling and diving. 

As if it doesn’t already have enough going for it, the island is also home to the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. As the second largest marine reserve in Belize, it’s made a name for itself as a popular nesting site for turtles. So if seeing the gorgeous Caribbean sea turtles is on your bucket list, you can’t go wrong checking this item off while surrounded by one of the most beautiful beaches in Belize.

While the island’s undeveloped nature is a draw, the presence of two major resorts—Pelican Beach Resort and Blue Marlin Beach Resort—means you can give into the temptation to spend the night, or several, in a tropical oasis. 

3. Half Moon Caye

Few sights could rival the beauty of Half Moon Caye, except perhaps for the thing it’s named after. The crescent-shaped island spirits visitors away from Belize’s well-touristed zones to deposit them amid a quintessential beach paradise. 

Pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters immediately catch the eye, but Half Moon Caye becomes more impressive under the surface. Excellent visibility allows you to glimpse a world of wonder under the sea. With everything from snappers and stingrays to hogfish and sand eels, it’s the perfect playground for snorkelers. In addition, divers get to explore even deeper along Half Moon Caye Wall, one of the best dive sites in all of Belize.

Back on land, the marvels of Half Moon Caye’s varying ecosystems don’t stop. While one half of Half Moon Caye is coconut palms and white sand beach, the other half has fertile soils and rich vegetation. The skies are home to rare red-footed booby birds, while the endemic leaf-toed gecko crawls around underfoot.  

Tranquil and beautiful Half Moon Caye is where countless creatures make their home, and by the end of your stay, you’ll want to, too.

4. Ambergris Caye

The largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye, stretches 25 miles long and dominates the country’s beach scene. Though it’s home to some of the best beaches in Belize and all of Central America, you won’t find them in San Pedro. The town, characterized by its world-class restaurants, luxe hotels, and hip bars, practically sits atop the Belize Barrier Reef. So, while San Pedro has plenty of sand to lay out and bask in the sun, you’ll likely get a face full of seagrass attempting to enter the water. 

That’s okay, though, because the scuba diving scene is immaculate. A 15-minute boat ride takes eager snorkelers and divers out to some of the best dive sites in Belize. Excursions to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley are particularly popular.

But if you want to discover the best beaches on Ambergris Caye, grab a golf cart and head north or south. On either end of the island, you’ll find long stretches of beautiful, secluded beach to sink your toes into. Despite not being in the hub of all the action in San Pedro, you’ll find beautiful streets to drive down and charming restaurants with mouthwatering foods to tempt you away from the ocean and into some spectacular views.

5. Hopkins Village Beach

Impressive mountain ranges and endless sea views surround the five miles of uninterrupted coastline known as Hopkins Village Beach. Those worn out from the sights and sounds of Ambergris Caye will find the antidote along this sandy stretch of shore. 

Backed by the colorful town of Hopkins Village, the 1,500 residents are known for their friendly nature and medley of languages. But binding them all together is the vibrant Garifuna culture woven throughout the village’s streets, homes, and shops. Visitors step to a different beat in Hopkins Village, where learning the drums at the Lebeha Drumming Center is a must.

But, as typical with Belize, you’ll always return to the beach. While the waters aren’t the characteristic Caribbean turquoise, they’re still warm and inviting. And with restaurants dotting the shore, you can grab a drink and a chair to sit back and appreciate the quiet island living.

6. Southwest Caye

Don’t go looking for this island in southern Belize. Contrary to what its name suggests, Southwest Caye can actually be found just east of the Belize Barrier Reef. As a result, Southwest Caye is a beloved diving spot, with sheer drops and vertical descents that aren’t for the novice beginner. However, a whole new world awaits the well-initiated, from giant sponges to sea turtles and schools of darting fish. And if you haven’t gotten your PADI certification yet, no worries—the Isla Marisol Resort on the island offers certification courses.

But if diving the deep isn’t in your wheelhouse, Southwest Caye still delivers, with countless activities backlit by gorgeous scenery. The calm waters are perfect for snorkeling, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and even saltwater fishing. 

Whether you’re on a solo trip around the world or the honeymoon destination of your dreams, the unspoiled beauty of Southwest Caye will draw you in.

7. Ranguana Caye

Is there any truer Caribbean paradise than a private island that’s all sandy beach? We’re not sure there is, and after visiting Ranguana Caye, we’re pretty confident you’ll feel the same.

The tiny island of Ranguana Caye is the stuff dreams are made of. Fronted by a large, white-sand beach and framed by a forest of palm trees, it’s precisely the kind of idyllic retreat you’d expect when you combine the words island, luxury, and Belize. Located just off the coast of Placencia Village, Ranguana is easy to reach, but with only three cabanas on the island, it retains its private and intimate vibe. 

You’ll likely feel as if you’ve been plunked down in the middle of a tropical island that’s all your own. Play volleyball in the sand or swing yourself to sleep in a gentle hammock on the beach. Or abandon the shore altogether and head for the sea. With a bit of gear, you’re on your way to swimming with turtles and stingrays. And when you’re ready for the day to end—but not really—you can hit up Bully’s Beach Bar at the “edge of paradise” for good drinks and good times. 

8. Caye Caulker

Prepare to set your clocks to island time. Caye Caulker’s motto of “go slow” is one visitors will have no trouble getting behind. Located just northeast of Belize City, your arrival at Caye Caulker will quickly reveal why it’s considered one of the best beaches in Belize. But first, you have to get there. The easiest ways to get to Caye Caulker are by flying from the domestic airport in Belize City or getting a water taxi. While the former is undoubtedly quicker, the latter will save visitors on a tight budget and deliver spectacular views.

Once you arrive, the island mentality quickly sinks in. With no cars on Caye Caulker, visitors are left to stroll everywhere. Consequently, most quickly find themselves treading barefoot on the sand, lazily making their way around the five-mile-long island. Though the bars and restaurants can get lively, the island’s only town on the south end remains laidback and chill, a vibe that carries over to all parts of the island, including the Split. Separating the northern forest reserve from the southern town, the sandy beach and bar along the Split are among the most popular spots for locals and travelers to swim, drink, and appreciate the stunning vistas. 

Caye Caulker is often compared to loud and lively Ambergris Caye. However, its quieter atmosphere and relaxed energy will jam with the exact sort of people looking for a more tranquil island escape.

9. Tobacco Caye

Go off the grid on Tobacco Caye, a destination that brings new meaning to the word small. Barely over two football fields long, the whole island can be traversed in just minutes, leaving little room for much of a party scene or luxury resorts. But, what the island lacks in nightlife or five-star accommodations, it makes up for with its breathtaking scenery and easygoing air. 

Lying directly on the Belize Barrier Reef, the crystal-clear waters of Tobacco Caye beg exploration. Life bursts below the waves, and thanks to the exceptional visibility of the island waters, you don’t even have to travel under the surface to grab some unbelievably clear shots of Tobacco Caye’s marine life. Still, it’s worth it to don your snorkel gear or scuba diving equipment to get a closer look. 

With roughly thirty permanent residents and a few dozen travelers at any given time, Tobacco Caye promises a remote escape for those not too keen on other people playing a prominent feature in their island getaway.

10. Silk Caye

Blink, and you’ll miss it, Silk Caye may be small, but even so, its sandy beaches are still some of the best in Belize. But we’re not kidding when we say it’s small. If not for the smattering of palm trees swaying with the breeze, you might almost overlook this little slip of sand off the coast of Placencia. But this tiny island is much more than meets the distant eye. 

Docking on the shore, you’re immediately greeted by powdery white sand, perfect for sinking your toes in. Clear and shallow waters sparkle cerulean along the island’s edge and turn deeper blue the farther out you look. And you can look pretty far out. The island offers stunning 360-degree views out over the surface of the Caribbean, but what lies under the surface draws even more people in.

As part of a protected marine reserve, Silk Caye offers the snorkeling adventure of a lifetime. Endangered species populate the waters, from star coral to hawksbill turtles, with some lucky folks spotting intimidating hammerheads and gentle whale sharks.

Small on the surface but a giant underwater, Silk Caye is a slice of heaven, whether relaxing on the sand or swimming in the sea.

11. Sapodilla Cayes

Travel to the southernmost tip of the Belize Barrier Reef, and what awaits is one of the most secluded destinations in Belize, the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. Located 46 miles east of Punta Gorda, the only way to get here is on a two-hour boat ride from the city. 

With fourteen uninhabited islands to explore, Belize beaches in the Sapodilla Cayes are in ample supply. Broken up only by sections of thick mangrove forests and sparklingly clear lagoons, the golden and white sands of Sapodilla Cayes are some of the best beaches in Belize. But as with most destinations in Central America, the beaches are just the beginning. Bordered by a shallow reef, the sea brims with marine life, making the cayes an ideal arena for snorkeling and scuba diving with amazing sea creatures. 

Whether swimming with sea turtles, diving with whale sharks, or catching glimpses of dolphins in the distance, the hours will fly by in this remote island paradise.

12. Laughing Bird Caye

Named after the laughing gulls that used to populate the islands, you might find yourself giving an awestruck giggle or two as you explore the sandy island of Laughing Bird Caye. Declared a national park in 1991 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after that, visitors can set their expectations high and still be blown away. Turquoise waters and leaning palm trees form the scene of an idyllic getaway perfect for recreating scenes from Cast Away.

Like Silk Caye, which sits just a stone’s skip away, Laughing Bird Caye is also incredibly small and incredibly beautiful. Undoubtedly, its pristine beaches are some of the best in Belize, and if someone tries to tell you otherwise, we’re pretty confident they’ve never been. The sand resembles fine white sugar, almost blinding under the sun, and shimmering blue-green waves constantly lap at the shore. The gentle waters promise a calm swim, even for the little ones, and the picturesque views make this a Belize day trip you’ll be raving about long after your vacation ends.

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You can likely picture it now—the Belizean breeze in your hair and a tropical drink in hand as you soak in the sun and sink your toes in the sand. But better than picturing it is experiencing it for real. Next Vacay can help you make the dream a reality. 

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