Why pick Belize as a single traveler – and tips on how to do it!
2.) It is a destination for people to come when they are seeking out a place with more authentic, non-corporate experiences. While you can probably picture the whole vacation start to finish if you are headed down for a week to rent a beach house in Florida or Myrtle Beach (nothing against those places, it is just that you really know exactly what you are getting, no surprises, lots of chains, and sometimes this is just right!) The average traveler to Belize — ALL over the map. Although there are plenty of families, this is not the most wonderful place on earth for a lot of kids (it is a do-it-yourself place, there isn’t putt putt, wifi everywhere, water parks etc), and you will see a lot of free spirits on the plane to Belize. While the crowd headed to Cancun generally has its share of manicured nails and designer bags in line at the airport, you are more likely to see Tevas, backpacks, and generally more earthy-types (totally generalizing – however – check this out for yourself at the airport!)
3.) You are NOT going to stick out in the Belize crowd as a single traveler – on almost any excursion, there are singles, you will see them at hotels and bars, and it does not look weird here at all. In fact, I have never been to a place in my life where people seem to become best friends over the course of a vacation – and I have been to many places where I didn’t talk to another traveler for a week. Belize is small, intimate, warm, and friendly – and the vibe here is one of openness and inclusion – perfect for a single traveler.
4.) Materialism is NOT a thing here, and it looks almost funny/definitely out of place if you happen to see really nice cars, shoes, bags, jewelry, etc. In fact, you will stick out if you are wearing more than a tank top and t-shirt – barefeet are even ok. In general, when traveling alone, you can feel free to be as casual as you want.
5.) Many/most hotels are small/boutique in nature, and the excursion groups can be as small as 3-5. It is so easy to make fast friends here – you aren’t a small fish in a large pond here, quite the opposite. People WILL talk to you if you are a single traveler sitting alone and look reasonably friendly!
6.) You don’t have to navigate public transportation or long drives by yourself – you can stay right in the village in Placencia, or right in the heart of town in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, or San Ignacio, for example, where everything you would want to do is steps away. You can be picked up right at your door for excursions. There will always be people around and you won’t have any scary walking-by-yourself-at-night-in-the-dark moments. (This isn’t recommended anywhere of course, even at home, but because Belize is so small, you can do everything on foot.)
7.) Getting around the entire country by yourself can be easy, painless, and not scary at all – you can hop on the regional puddle jumpers safely and easily and get around the country in no time – minus your fear of flying in something the size of a car, most any traveler will feel comfortable and safe. There are many options of course, like driving, shuttles, or the bus, but even for a beginner traveler you can travel the country with ease in the puddle jumpers.
8.) Pick your hotel wisely. I do not recommend staying at a larger condo-type place – because these generally get more families, children, and groups who tend to be a bit less socially-motivated. The bigger the condo, the easier it is to get lost in the couch/TV comforts of home! You will notice when you go to these many condo type places – you may not see people socializing and interacting at the pool. Many may also have longer-term residents who have different energy than a traveler. You want to find a smaller hotel with common social areas, a pool, or close to the action, or a hostel-type hotel if that is your speed – because those truly are social havens, and Belize has many great ones in every town. You probably also want to stay away from romantic hotels that cater to honeymooners as a single traveler – for obvious reasons 🙂
9.) Do a bit of research before you come to see where to go each night, near your hotel, so nighttime alone travel is minimized. You will probably get invited to group outings before the end of your trip, but at least the first few nights – some great resources are the Placencia Breeze online, the Placencia What’s Happening page, or take a walk around town and read the boards out front at the bars. There are activities aimed at socializing every night in the tourist towns. A great link in San Pedro is THIS for nightly happenings. San Ignacio is a town that is less beach bar/tourism driven so I would travel there for the excursions and adventure, but less for nighttime fun.
10.)Here are some recommended hotels and activities in Placencia and San Pedro for some single traveler fun!
Bars- Thirsty Parrot (don’t miss, most social warm place you’ll find), Barefoot Bar, Tipsy Tuna, karaoke at J Dee’s on Sundays
Activities – hang out at the pier beach and The Shak, swim around Barefoot, Cozy Corner or Sailfish during the day, set up a snorkel the first day you are there – you can easily find these by the chalkboards all through town. This is a sure way to meet people! Also go to Caye Caulker and hang out at the Split for an afternoon.
Hotels – Julia’s Cabanas, Miramar, Sea Spray, Cozy Corner, Anda Di Hows, Lydia’s Guest House are all casual, laid back social hotels.
San Pedro – a Single Traveler Meeting Place
Bars- Palapa Bar, Sandy Toes, Wayo’s, Melt, Sandbar, CocoLoco’s, Crazy Canuck’s
Activities – karaoke (check the link above!), the chicken drop, crab races at Crazy Canuck’s, swim at Palapa Bar, Secret Beach, YOLO boat outings, hang out at SandBar during the day
Hotels – Sandbar for sure, this is modest but is truly your best chance of meeting others, Pedro’s Inn for younger backbackers, Sun Breeze Inn, slightly more upscale but great social pool and bar attached -these are all right in the heart of town with social stuff going on all day long.