A Guide to Packing for Your Trip to Belize
Ambergris Caye has SO much to do. So many restaurant, beach bars, snorkel sites, dive shops and more. But packing for your trip to Belize should be very simple. I’ve put together some information – a guide to packing for Belize – for a week long trip. This can be scaled up or down but the basics stay the same.
You want to stay cool and comfortable and you also don’t want to be running around town searching for something you forgot. So I started with an overview – the local style and the weather and then started my list.
Two quick things! PLEASE send me an suggestions, additions or MUST TRY products – I LOVE to hear about new stuff. AND, I’ve added in Amazon Affiliate Links for things that I love that are easily purchased on Amazon. Trying out new things to keep myself out of the poor house 🙂
I am writing from MY personal experience. I would sooner be caught dead in convertible pants – the ones that zip from long pants to shorts – but for those spending the day on the water flyfishing, they can be lifesavers! So use this just as a guideline.
Belize Vacation clothing style:
You’ll find that vacation style in Belize is what I would call sporty-casual and that “style” has been embraced country wide.
This sign does not lie. You will always feel comfortable on the cayes in flip flops and a t-shirt. (And during the day, by the beach, no shoes will work)
Locals tend to be a bit more formal – many people where long pants for work and daytime activities and tend to dress up a bit more for night time. If you plan to hit a nightclub – your shorts and t-shirts will work fine (especially on the islands) but you will see many local women wearing dresses and heels.
The temperature in Belize is warm. It’s one thing you can pretty much count on.
Lows rarely reach the high 60sF and it is rarely higher than the very low 90s. January – April tend to be dry, breezy and in the mid 70s to 80s. Hot and sunny during the day with a bit of a breeze at night. May and June, a bit more humid and hot. And as the year progresses the chance of a rain shower or two increases.
Here is my travel packing list for 7 days on Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker
3 t-shirts and 3 tank tops – Bring your patterns and your colors here
3 pairs on light weight shorts or casual skirts – Keep it neutral on the bottom, so everything goes with everything and all can be worn on multiple days with washing and without standing out as “the girl who wore those purple polka dot shorts 3 days in a row”
NOT NEEDED: Jeans
A lightweight dress or two – something you can roll up and put in your bag. Nothing that needs ironing or dry cleaning. Something that can take you out in the evening or work as a cover up for your bathing suit on a sailing trip
2 or 3 bathing suits – make sure to bring one that feels sturdy. You don’t want to don a beaded strapless number for snorkeling or diving…
A lightweight jacket: This one is dual purpose. During the rainier season (late Summer to November), it’s great to have if you get caught in a passing shower. In the winter months (January to April), it’s great to have in the evening when the ocean breeze brings a slight chill (I’m talking temps in the low 70s)
Here is an additional post with additional tips: A GUIDE TO PACKING IN THE BELIZE RAINY SEASON
2 pairs of shoes – flip-flops that are decent for walking on the beach or around town (I’m LOVING these minimal Fit Flops in “match with everything and have support for my middle aged feet bronze” right now)
– if you are planning to ride a bike or head to the mainland for cavetubing or a Maya site trek, some wet-dry shoes or sandals
There are some great new looking sneakers these days for water (the flyfishing crowd is loving Astral right now) — or you can go strappy sporty sandal like the more minimalist Tevas or these ones I bought for my Guatemala trip 2 years ago.
My tevas in BEAUTIFUL Flores Guatemala.
NOT NEEDED: Heels of any kind…seriously. It’s really hard to walk on a beach or a cobble stone road in them. Belize just isn’t dressy.
Beach Coverup/Towel – I like something relatively thin/quick to dry AND something that is beautiful AND something that doubles as a wrap. Turkish towels are PERFECT for all of that. They are now a “hot thing” and range in prices from $8.99 to $100.
This is the pic I pulled from Amazon of the $8.99 ones.
Spend just a tiny bit more and here’s a great one.
A few banadas/cotton scarves – I call these my “sweat rags” – definitely NOT sexy but OH SO USEFUL in the tropics. From dabbing at sweat to cleaning off a wet golf cart seat to an impromptu napkin or neckerchief.
I suggest bringing these from home and washing first. You can buy bandanas here but they are SO stiff with finishing starch that they need quite a few washes before they can even absorb a drop. (I bought a bunch from J Crew Factory at the end of the season last year – with avocados and elephants – and I wish I bought 100 more)
Re-Usable Shopping Bag/Tote – Baggu. These things are AWESOME. The best. Great for packing, for shopping, for a beach bag and a back-pack if you are biking. Since Belize is planning to go plastic bag free in April 2019 – these are IDEAL in every single way.
They come in CRAZY cute large quilt pattern and a bit smaller (below) – so many prints. Bring one of each I say!
So you pared down your wardrobe…just easy essentials. But do you want to load it up with 1000 giant toiletries? Nope…never. Actually…maybe.
Toiletry shopping in Belize can be frustrating and/or expensive. The local shop probably won’t have your favorite face wash or body lotion and if they do, it is EXPENSIVE. So here is a quick list of what to bring and what you can buy here.
Note: I too love the idea of carry-on only but I suggest checking a bag. You want access to LOTS of sunblocks for your Belize vacation. No matter how breezy it feels “I don’t feel hot, I can’t POSSIBLY be getting burnt” – the sun is HOT and we are WAY farther south than the Jersey shore. Pack accordingly and err on the side of caution. Starting off your vacation with a blistering burn is…no bueno.
I’ve recently found this AWESOME little silicone pots if you want to bring your own sunblock or creams. Easy to clean and use again. AND they go in your carry-on.
Bring from Home: We have bugs in Belize. In fact, I have a Guide to Bugs that Bite in Belize. Less to none in the dry months, more in the wet months so bring Bug Spray.
I like Cutter Insect Repellent. It’s not as sticky or stinky as some of the other brands.
Medications. There are lots of pharmacies in San Pedro town that carry everything from Benadryl to Viagra. But I suggest bringing the meds you NEED and a few of the ones you might need – in case you are outside of town or need something quickly like an Advil.
Contact lense care
Sun block – Something serious for your face and chest/shoulders, 30+SPF. You are going to need more than the tiny travel sizes. Don’t skimp. While you can buy it here, it’s EXPENSIVE and may be that gloppy white kind…that stays white all day.
One of the most important sun protectors for me – without a doubt – is lip protection. So easy to forget to pack, but it’s hard to underestimate the damage the sun can do to your lips. OUCH. And your face sunblock really doesn’t work that great. I like HIGH SPF…
My favorite without tint is Sun Bum Coconut Flavor. You can get a three pack here. SPF30!
It’s not too greasy and it smells good.
And I wear tinted sunblock for my lips every single day in Belize. I LOVE the Fresh brand – and it’s a little pricier but it’s divine. And you’ll wear it in and out of the sun.
All phone/computer cords
Sunglasses and case (super fine sand wreaks havoc on them)
All hair products – the selection here, even on shampoo and conditioner, is VERY limited for shampoo and conditioner and almost no-existent for styling products
Camera Equipment for Belize
Absolutely bring your everyday camera and/or camera-phone. I LOVE TAKING PICTURES around San Pedro and all over Belize.
How can you not?
Do you want to make a big investment – the GoPro you’ve been dreaming of or that underwater camera?
If you have been dreaming about it and will use it when you get home, sure. But if you are thinking of buying it just for your Belize vacation? I dunno. Let’s be honest…no one is DYING to see your underwater snap shots of coral or fish. I think it is WAY better to just enjoy the snorkeling…
Forget the pictures – and enjoy your experience.
So I hope that’s helpful. Again, I’d LOVE to hear your suggestions. I’m off on a vacation of sorts myself today – but to the other side of Ambergris Caye…and Secret Beach!
I’ll be reporting back.
Oh…and feel free to send it to the Pinterest-iverse for future use and sharing.