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3 Wonderful Belize Cruise Port Beaches You’ll Really Enjoy!

If you are taking a family cruise in the Caribbean, you’re likely anticipating putting in some quality time at the beach when your ship stops at various ports. But if your ship stops in the Belize City cruise port, you might be disappointed to discover that the country doesn’t offer miles of white sand beaches at your fingertips. Instead, most of the coastline is mangrove swamps, and it’s going to take a wee bit of work to have an enjoyable beach experience. There are some lovely beaches offshore on the small islands known as “cayes,” but all require a little effort to get there.

We have identified three great Belize cruise port beaches that you can focus on. Get the details below so that you can quickly plan some relaxing and fun time at the beach.

Caye Caulker, Belize

1. Best Belize Cruise Port Beaches – Caye Caulker

A small island south of the larger island of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is a stopover between this island and the mainland and takes 30 to 50 minutes to reach. Its beaches are somewhat thin and hard, but they are uncrowded and the water is calm, which is what makes it one of our top three best Belize cruise port beaches.

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Activities In Caye Caulker

You’ll need to walk over an unpleasantly spongy 100 yards or so of seagrass to reach open water. Just keep your eye on the prize – the beguiling jade and aquamarine hues of the ocean, and you’ll find peaceful, calm water for swimming. Other activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, fishing, and sailing. Inland, you can also visit nature reserves.

The Belize Barrier Reef (the second biggest in the world) is partially located about a mile off the coast, making Caye Caulker famous for world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. Snorkel with sharks and stingrays in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, or do a manatee tour.

There are plenty of long public piers to jump off if you want to avoid the sea grass, and they are your best option for swimming on the back of the island.

On the island’s north end, the beach at the Split (where Hurricane Hattie tore the island in two in 1961) provides an excellent spot for lounging. Be cautious when swimming, stay on the western side, and avoid boat channels to prevent accidents.

Belize Cruise Port Beaches

How Much Will It Cost You?

To travel to Caye Caulker, charter a water taxi (San Pedro Express or Ocean Ferry) at around $15 to $20 for a round trip.

Beaches are public and free to use, although this does not include beach furniture or toys.

One factor that greatly contributes to the serenity you’ll find on Caye Caulker: No cars are allowed. At all. To get around on the island, you can choose between walking, renting bicycles at $8 per day, or renting a golf cart at $13 per hour or $62 per day. Golf carts can be a great option for families, and they’re available for advanced rental.

Half-day snorkeling tours of the Belize Barrier Reef are readily available.

What About Food?

Lazy Lizard beach bar at the Split offers food and drinks. The Pelican Sunset Bar is known for sunsets and also offers food and cocktails. Plus you may be able to catch the fishermen returning to shore and see them feed fish guts to the waiting pelicans. Ice and Beans Cafe offers Belizean organic coffee and baked goods.

Meals cost around $8 to $10 per entree.

2. Best Belize Cruise Port Beaches –Goff’s Caye

Goff’s Caye is a 1.5-acre island 30 minutes from the Belize City cruise port by boat. It is uninhabited, and the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority manages this tiny, dynamically-shifting island, limiting visitors to 150 to 200 at a time. It is a popular destination for Belizeans and cruise visitors alike.

Best Belize Cruise Port Beaches | photo of Goff's Caye
Goff’s Caye, Belize

Activities In Goff’s Caye

This beautiful scrap of an island has a white sandy beach perfect for sunbathing, walking, or playing tug-of-war or beach volleyball (the rangers have installed a net). Wear shoes when walking, as there are lots of rocks. If you are looking for opportunities to lounge on white sand in the sun while cruising in Belize, Goff’s Caye does not disappoint.

Offshore, you will find a well-developed and healthy coral reef that affords excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, or you can take a relaxing swim in the calm, blue waters. Remember to be vigilant for boats, as the island is also popular for sailing.

How Much Will It Cost You?

Generally, you can book excursions to Goff’s Caye for around $100 or less through independent travel operators or your cruise line. These packages generally include meals, snorkeling equipment, and park fees, among other costs. Please note, however, that Goff’s Caye will be temporarily closed through October 2022 for an infrastructure upgrade project.

As this island is managed as a park, there are small fees for using it. Limited seating, toilets, changing facilities, a palapa (a simple thatched roof open air building), and a visitor center exist. You can rent umbrellas and beach chairs from tour operators. Take some Belizean dollars to purchase a souvenir or gift at the gift shop.

What About Food?

There are no shopping facilities on this tiny island, so you must bring your food and drinks. Generally, tour operators will include lunch and beverages such as rum punch in the tour price.

3. Best Belize Cruise Port Beaches –Starfish Island (Bannister Caye)

Starfish Island, sometimes known as Bannister Caye, is another tiny island near the mainland. Unlike most other cayes, it is an artificial island. One of the unique features of this beach is that it is made up of shells rather than sand! Be sure to bring shoes because the shells can be uncomfortable to walk on at times. Take a close look at the shells, though – these are not crushed bits of shell. Instead, they are tiny, whole shells.

Starfish Island, Belize

Activities On Starfish Island

Lay a towel on the shells to soak up the sun, or play on the inflatable playground. Otherwise, you can swim, kayak, or enjoy excellent snorkeling in the crystal-clear water with plenty of fish to see, and innumerable starfish – the source of the island’s name.

The island has a party atmosphere with loud mariachi music playing, so if you want a quiet retreat, this should not be your first choice.

How Much Will It Cost You?

Some cruise line operators offer a 4-hour excursion to this island for around $65, including lunch. Inquire with the company you are booking with whether they offer trips to Starfish Island. Bring some money for the gift shop and the bar (drinks cost about $10 each).

What About Food?

There is a bar on this island that offers cocktails and Belizean food. There is also a snack stand, and the food is excellent, although prices are relatively high.

Closing Thoughts

While Belize City may not have the beaches you imagined on its doorstep, we think you’ll enjoy exploring one of these 3 best Belize cruise port beaches, just a short excursion away.

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