I thought it’d be fun to track our spending in each location and give ourselves a score based on the evaluation. Hopefully, it’ll hold us accountable to our spending and it should be fun to see how I score it versus how my wife scores it!
How much did we spend in Belize?*
Overall score (Dan) = D+
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B+
*The grade is what we gave our spending in Belize – not an indicator of how much we liked Belize 🙂
Total time = 6 nights, 7 days
Total cost = $2,245
Cost per day = $320/day*
Flight costs = $300 + 70,000 American Airlines miles
*I’ll remove the costs of the flight into/out of the country from the “Cost per day”, but I will include any “internal” flights within the country
We pretty much did a regular vacation for Belize… Meaning we spent money like our total trip was only seven days! Originally, this wasn’t part of our RTW trip, but we added it in after our planned Belize trip from last year was postponed by my tendon rupture.
The reason we still spent like a “normal” vacation was that we went with my mother-in-law for her birthday and we didn’t want to make her slum it too much – but it also meant we got to split a lot of the costs! Also, we did quite a few excursions which add up quickly.
For such a small country, Belize offers and incredibly diversified experience – from visiting ancient Mayan Ruins, to adventure caving and cave exploring, to great diving and snorkeling. It’s a great place to visit if you want to sit on the beach, but it’s also a great place to visit if you want to stay busy the whole time!
How far does your money go in Belize?
Belize’s exchange rate is pegged at 2 Belizean Pesos for $1 US dollar. On the surface, it sounds like your money is worth twice as much here, but in reality the prices in Belize – at least in the main tourist areas – are adjusted upward. In fact, the prices for groceries on the island of San Pedro were about twice as much as we’re used to paying in the US!
Belize is very easy for US travelers because they speak English and they also take the dollar! Most stores will accept your US money at the 1 to 2 exchange rate, but they generally give change back in Belizian Pesos so be prepared for that
Belize is a beautiful country with natural and man-made wonders. Spanning multiple climactic zones between the beaches and the mountains, a short 2-3 trip can take you into a whole new world. Not only does it offer natural wonders, it also offers top notch man made wonders with the ruins of the ancient Mayans that compete with some of the magnificent ruins we’ve seen elsewhere in the world.
However, it does come at a cost and Belize isn’t the cheapest country we’ve visited by any stretch of the imagination. To keep food costs down, we went to the local grocery store early in the week and covered 4-6 lunches and breakfasts each which easily saved a few hundred dollars. In addition, our flights to Belize were on previous earned airline miles so that saved almost one thousand dollars.
Depending on where you stay in Belize, lodging can get very expensive. This was probably especially true for us because we stayed on the most popular tourist island – San Pedro – where most people stay for at least a few days to soak in the beach life and culture. We ended up spending $250/day for our two bedroom condo at “The Landings of Tres Cocos” which was really nice, but we were disappointed we couldn’t find anything cheaper.
Belize also embraces the island life which means we had to drink lots of Belkin (Belize’s beer) and rum drinks. We could’ve saved more by buying fewer alcoholic drinks while dining, but as I previously mentioned, we treated this like a regular vacation and went for it :). Come on, are you going to tell me you’d go all of the way to Belize and not have any of their local rum drinks???
San Pedro is a fun little island where you can fully experience the island culture, visit some decent beaches or fishing from the shore, but if you truly want to experience Belize, you have to get out on excursions! We fully embraced this as we took a day trip ($75 per person) to another beautiful island called Key Caulker which included snorkeling in the beautiful coral reefs and with sharks and sting rays! We also took a full day trip inland ($250 per person) where we went cave tubing, zip lining, and got to explore some of the ancient temples in Belize.
We could’ve saved some money by doing fewer excursions and planning ahead. We didn’t really price out additional options as we always called the day before to book the trip! We trusted our contacts from our condo who set the trips up, but we probably couldn’t done better.
In conclusion, to hit our goal of spending $100/day averaged throughout the whole trip, we have to get our costs down! The bad part is we have some expensive destinations coming up, but we’ve factored that into the plan.
Next up: French Polynesia
Check out these videos of our Belize adventures!!