Travel Tips

Why you should NOT book before you arrive in Belize - Tips for easy-traveling in Belize

By Angela Wu 6/5/2019 5 minutes

So you’re planning on visiting one of the most beautiful countries in the world and you’re scouring the web trying to find information about Belize and trying to find where to book your tours and transfers once you arrive in Belize. Is it a good idea to book in advance or should you wait until you arrive? The answers will surprise you!

Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

Why are you working yourself so hard? Belize is a laid-back country that will enable you to enjoy your vacation without any hassle…after all, who needs to learn about a country that they’ve never been in before?

Here are 5 reasons why you should NOT book before you arrive in Belize:

  1. Planning is a hassle!

    There’s just too many details to account for when you’re traveling to mother nature’s best-kept secret: Belize. From how to get to Belize, how to get from the airport to your hotel, where to eat, and what to do in Belize...this would require you to do so much research that it’ll exhaust your brain!

    So what if you don’t know how to get around the Philip Goldson International Airport when you land? There are signs posted all over the airport that will surely guide you. Belize is also an English-speaking country so you can definitely stop a local and ask them for directions (don’t forget to tip them for the information they’ve given you).

    Also, who would want to spend hours upon hours reading travel blogs about some of the top things to do in Belize like zip lining across some pristine tropical forests in Belize or diving one of the world’s largest sinkholes? Your brain will hurt after all that reading! It’s best to just wing it and go with the flow.

    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

    Everything from what to pack to Belize and what to do or where to go in Belize requires too much research! But, if you’d like to know, you can check out these helpful blogs that will give you an idea of how to get to Belize and how to get around the Philip Goldson International Airport as well as traveling tips in Belize’s official travel guide.
  2. Tour and shuttle rates are cheaper…maybe?

    Aside from all the planning and preparation, booking your tours and transportation in Belize ahead of time is totally unnecessary. After all, the rates that you’ll be paying online for tours and shuttles are the same prices if you book at a dive shop or at a tour operator’s office. You’ll have a ton of cash on you, so don’t worry about the extra foreign transaction fee and some higher prices when paying at the office with credit cards.

    Many online forums will tell you that booking your tours on-the-spot will be cheaper; but, that’s not always the case. Your results will vary, and there’s a lot of luck involved. Typically, the prices stay the same, so might as well you book ahead online and save yourself the walk to a tour operator’s office....or not. You decide!

    Booking a shuttle last minute? This is one of our favorites, especially at the airport. Since shuttle companies technically can't take passengers on demand, you'll have no choice but to use an airport taxi. It's fine if you're just going into Belize City. The rate is $25 per ride, but you don't get to split the fare with other passengers in the taxi if you don't know them. Traveling beyond Belize City to an inland destination? Then be prepared for the "tourist tax", and don't expect air conditioning. But it's ok because you don't want to get stranded, so you can haggle a bit although you have no leverage. This is the most exciting part! Whatever you do, don't book and pay for a shuttle online and have a driver waiting for you as soon as you arrive. It's just too convenient, and quite a boring start to your trip.

    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

    Did you know that Belizing.com is the largest marketplace for tours, transportation, and other services in Belize? That means you can compare prices from different providers, contact them directly, ask for discounts, and book securely...all from the comfort of your home. You will surely find the right tour operator that offers the perfect services for you and your group.
  3. The scenery is beautiful in Belize, enjoy it while you wait for your tour to be confirmed!

    While you’re here in Belize and don’t have any activities penciled down in your itinerary as yet, you can easily enjoy and admire the beautiful landscapes or seascape. Whether it’s a balcony on the island or a deck nestled in the jungle, you’ll be sure to appreciate the beauty of nature in Belize.

    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

    Until you can get a tour date confirmed last minute, you can always enjoy what’s free in Belize -  mother nature’s wonders! It’s the little things in life that matter. On your beachside balcony, you can sit with a refreshing cocktail and listen to the waves crashing onto the shore; or, you can borrow a pair of binoculars to go bird watching at your lodge’s trails! You’ll surely be occupied while you wait for a tour confirmation.

    If you would like to know about some of Belize’s best nature tours and destinations, then check out this blog about The 7 Best Belize Beach Destinations to Visit in 2019 or Unforgettable National Parks and Protected Areas in Belize.
  4. Tour operator offices are fun to be in - the local faces you’ll meet will be a highlight of your trip!

    If you haven’t pre-arranged your tours online, then you’ll be required to do so at a tour operator’s office. Visiting these offices is always a good time! The agent will surely greet you with a warm smile and help you iron out all the details with the tours that you’re interested in.

    While you’re sure to meet some friendly faces, it is not guaranteed that you’ll be attended to right away as there may be other travelers waiting to be signed in for a tour or fitted into their appropriate gears. Don’t worry though, you’ll also be able to enjoy Belize’s finest heat - and I’m not talking about Marie Sharp’s hot sauce (which you should definitely try while you’re in Belize).

    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

    A good read during your wait is our People of Belize blog. You’ll get to learn about the many cultures and ethnic groups in this melting pot!

    There’s absolutely no fun in comparing prices from the comfort of your bedroom on Belizing.com when you can do it in person after you arrive. You’ll get so many extra steps on your Fitbit while visiting multiple offices, and you’ll get your tan in the process. It’s a win-win!

    And if your tour gets canceled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, you’ll have twice the fun revisiting the offices, having friendly conversations, and getting your refunds immediately. It’s just not as much fun when you get refunds online from Belizing.com because we make it a really boring and hassle-free process.
  5. You’ll have an excuse to wear a fanny pack!

    Fanny packs are coming back in style, and since you’ll have to carry around all that cash with you, it’s a perfect opportunity to wear a fanny pack. It will be fun to show off all your cash while you pay for your food at a restaurant, or while you pick up souvenirs at the market. You should bring all large bills because although it’s hard to get change for larger bills, the smaller bills may not all fit in the fanny pack.

    While you’re here, you don’t want to leave your cash-filled fanny pack in your hotel room either, so you’ll look quite fashionable walking down the beach with your fanny pack.  You’ll have ample opportunity to be noticed with your fanny pack since you’ll have so much fun visiting different tour agencies to find the best value and availability for your tours.

    If you visit sites such as the ATM cave where you can’t take your belongings, your fanny pack will be perfectly secure in the tour van.

    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
    Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead

    Don’t worry about having exact change, the tour agency or shuttle driver will be happy to keep the change as a tip. And if you fall into some rare misfortune and lose the fanny pack, at least you’ll get to spend more time in Belize waiting for family and friends to wire you more cash. Or maybe you’ll have a backup credit card in your wallet which will come in quite handy at the vast minority of places that are able to accept credit cards. It will be yet another round of adventure that will be so worth the extra foreign transaction fees and higher prices. It will be especially adventurous to find a place that can accept American Express or Discover cards.

    The convenience and security of booking online with no foreign transaction fee on Belizing.com is for fashion-less overcautious travelers. You’re adventurous and fashionable!

Are you convinced to not book before you have landed in Belize yet?

While booking your tours and transfers until after you have arrived in Belize is not a bad idea, it is best if you do your research and book ahead of time to avoid any wasted time. Last minute deals are possible, but they are not always guaranteed and you could miss out on your favorite tour or activity altogether because you waited for the last minute. We know it’s kind of boring and hassle-free to plan and book in advance, but we think it makes sense.

If you are only in Belize for a week and would like to experience as much of it as possible, then we highly recommend that you arrange your itinerary and book your activities ahead of time. That way, you will be able to pack according to your booked activities and your vacation will flow smoothly. And if there are any unforeseen circumstances or disputes, we are here to help resolve it for you and make it hassle-free to get any refunds you deserve.

Where to book your Belize tours?

If you’d like to know where is the best place to book your Belize tours, then you should definitely check out Belizing.com!

Belizing.com is the largest marketplace for tours and transportation options in Belize. You can securely book your activities and transfers online for the best vacation experiences you’ll have in Belize.

You can also check out all the travel guides and adventure blogs on Belizing.com to get a little more information about what to do and where to go in Belize.

What do you think about planning and booking ahead versus planning and booking as you go? Let us know in the comments how you would travel in Belize!

Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
Belize Travel Tips: Why Plan and Book Ahead
Learn More
Tours/Activities
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
 (4)
Provider:
Tuff E Nuff offers the best snorkeling experience at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Come and explore the beauty of Belize's healthy barrier reef ecosystem (no touching), which is also ... morethe world's second largest living barrier reef! At Hol Chan Marine Reserve, there is excellent coral formation with a variety of friendly sea creature including, of course, nurse sharks and stingrays.
$
115
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
 (1)
Provider:
This catamaran cruis is great for families and groups who are looking for a fun time and relaxation! We offer awesome activities like snorkeling, fishing, and beach bbq. This is a ... morefull day tour that includes snorkeling at Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos and lunch that may be prepared off-site, serve onboard. Take some cash because, with a prior request, the trip can include at a stop at the always fun Palapa Bar on the way back, and bring your iPod if you’d like to cruise to any special music.
$
599
/ Person
Package Details Day 1: AIRPORT/CRYSTAL PARADISE You will be met at the airport by your Belizean bird guide and transferred to your jungle lodge accommodations. Optional stop at the ... moreZoo (entrance fee not included, US$15/pp). We check into our accommodations at Crystal Paradise after a short orientation. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. L/D

Day 2: MACAL RIVER CANOEING OR HORSEBACK RIDING
Morning Canoeing on the Macal River. While canoeing we have the chance to see Neotropic Cormorants, Mangrove Swallows, Kingfishers, Gray-necked Wood-rails and other wildlife that frequent the riverbanks such as iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and trees.

OR

Enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of the Belizean country side, while on your way to one or more of the attractions. If the water level of the river is low enough, you will ride over some hilly but scenic terrains and through jungle trails leading to great swimming holes.

Macal River Canoeing

Afternoon: BARTON CREEK CAVE / BUTTERFLY FARM

Morning: Most people find the canoe tour by torchlight through this cave unforgettable. Its large river passage and pristine formations are just two of the reasons why this appeals to both local and foreign visitors. Besides its natural beauty the site is made even more interesting by the presence of a wide range of archaeological remains that were left there by the ancient Maya visitors. Archaeologists believe that this cave was used for ritual purposes. This tour will be combined with a visit to the Green Hills Butterfly Farm. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 3: XUNANTUNICH
The partially-excavated and largest pyramid, El Castillo, stands at 130 plus feet above the main plaza floor, offering an impressive view of Belize’s Cayo District and nearby Guatemala. El Castillo is known for its frieze, a banded stucco decoration which at one time extended around the entire structure. An impressive museum displays a three-dimensional model of the entire site and depicts the evolution of the Maya civilization. O/N Crystal Paradise Resort. B/L/D

Day 4: DEPARTURE
After breakfast you will be transfer to Belize City/Belize Airport. B/
$
90
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Xunantunich was a classic period Maya ceremonial and residential center. This site is located along the western border of Belize with Guatemala on the Mopan River in the village of ... moreSuccotz. The core occupies a hilltop with six plazas that include temples and palaces. The most prominent rises 130 ft above the plaza called “El Castillo”. Vehicles use a hand crank ferry to access the site.
$
65
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
CAHAL PECH BIRDWATCHING Cahal Pech was the ancient palatial compound of an elite aristocratic Mayan family. The site name is Maya for “House of Ticks” (given in the 1950s when the ... morearea was used for grazing cattle) and it is situated on the highest hill overlooking modern-day San Ignacio town. This is a serene jungle setting close to the town, and the 2-acre compound is not only rich in ancient artifacts and structures, but also in wildlife. Cahal Pech is an excellent place for birding in Belize. This is a fascinating site for birdwatching as the morning mist rises over the various temples and courtyards, which were built over several centuries spanning from 1000 BC to 800AD. Belize birding tours at Cahal Pech will offer birders a chance to see a vast variety of tropical bird species, including hummingbirds, parrots, birds of prey, and many colorful migratory birds. Your bird watching vacation in Belize is not complete without a morning spent in this otherworldly environment, where the jungle allows glimpses of the cultural past of this ancient landscape.
$
110
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
Your adventure starts with an 8am pick up from your San Ignacio hotel. You will then have a short drive to the stables where your personal guide will enthrall you with the site's history ... moreand fauna of the archeologically rich San Lorenzo area for approximately two hours. Once you leave the farm you then take an approximately 1-hour drive to the amazing Big Rock Falls. Once at the falls you will enjoy your home cooked lunch. Although the path to the falls will require some physical agility, the opportunity to witness and swim close to this spectacular 150-foot cascade is a must see. After a few hours frolicking in the water, you will be ready for your drive back to your San Ignacio hotel. Alternatively, you may opt to curtail your time at Big Rock Falls and enjoy the sedate Rio On Pools as well before driving to your hotel. WEIGHT limit: 250 lbs per rider

Angela Wu

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