Is Belize really expensive?

Is Belize going to break the bank, or give you incredible experiences and great value?

While travelling around Central America, many fellow travellers have complained that Belize is too expensive. Due to hearing how costly it is, others have told us they avoided the country completely. We’ve travelled around Belize and felt it would help others if we discussed these rumours.

Caye Caulker beautiful beach photo
The views on Caye Caulker are priceless!

So, is Belize expensive? Simply put; No. That’s the short answer.

Yes, it costs more than neighbouring Guatemala. But Belize is still a cheap destination. You can travel across the length of the entire country on local buses for around $10 USD. Accommodation can cost as little as $9 a night for a decent place to lay your head. A good meal can be had for $3 and a beer in a bar will set you back $2. If you go to happy hour, the drink price can be halved.

The locals are super friendly too. You won’t experience a ‘gringo price’ as you try and navigate your way.

So where are these rumours of Belize being expensive coming from? There seems to be a few issues fellow travellers have raised:

  • They incorrectly heard Belize is expensive and didn’t visit. This ‘knowledge’ was then passed on to other travellers and the rumour spreads.
  • Whilst in Belize they got drunk and high at a backpacker bar full of westerners. These bars inevitably charge more than others.
  • Western privilege has an influence on expectations versus reality. Because Belize is in a less economically developed continent, it doesn’t mean everything will be $1 USD.
  • There’s a $20 USD exit fee to leave and many people assume it’s a scam. It’s actually a legal requirement of the country’s border crossing.
  • A full day snorkelling with sharks on Caye Caulker, with lunch, transport, park fees and a guide costs $65. They were hoping to do it for for next to nothing.
Caye Caulker Sunset Chairs

As we have visited Belize and really got stuck in to exploring the country, we want to give you a breakdown of actual costs. Hopefully it will go some way to helping you decide if Belize really is expensive. We feel Belize is a beautiful country and an essential visit when travelling through Central America. It’s also a destination that won’t break the bank!

Our travel style:

To add some background, our travel style is best described as ‘simple’. Travel is usually by local transport. I eat locally (i.e. street food) most of the time, but Rose eats meals that are more like ‘back home’. Accommodation is a place to lay our head, rather than to experience the hotel’s infinity pool. We keep our vices in check; not drinking lots of beers every night, nor indulging in a luxury lattes each morning. (We do of course still have a beer, just not every day!). For us, travel is more about an experience than an indulgence. But of course, this travel style isn’t for everyone.

Cockscomb Wildlife Green Tree Snake
A hungry Green Tree Snake at Cockscomb

So what does an average day in Belize cost?

Per day, per person in Belize we averaged $36 USD. That leaves nothing out. Every meal, beer, bed, soda, tour, bus ride, border fee and medication when we got sick is taken into account.

The real cost of things in Belize:

To give you a real idea of what things cost in Belize, here are some example prices:

  • Accommodation: $10 USD per night. A mix of dorms and private rooms.
  • Transport: $4 USD per day. A long public bus journey of three hours costs $7 USD. A shorter ride of around an hour costs $4 USD. The longer the ride, the better value the fare.
  • Ferry to Caye Caulker: $14 USD return.
  • Activities: ATM Caves – $95 USD per person. Snorkelling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – $65 USD per person. Cockscombe Wildlife Reserve Entry Fee – $5 USD per person.
  • Food: $4 USD per day. A meal can easily be had for less than $4 USD.
  • Sodas: $1 USD. The price of a soda in a bar was only a fraction more than in a general store.
  • Beer: $2 – $2.50 USD in a bar, or $1.75 in a general store. Drink at happy hour and you’ll get two strong Cuba Libres for $3 USD.
  • Exit fee: $20 USD payable at the border (unless this is already included on your airfare). See our post about how to safely and easily cross the overland border in to Guatemala.

Can you travel in Belize for less? Of course! If you have more money to spend on your adventure, then you can also splash the cash. Belize also offers options for the tourist who wants a more luxury experience. Whatever your budget, we hope this post helps you decide if Belize is a place you can afford to visit.

If you want to read more about our experiences in Belize, check out our Belize blog.

We’d love to know your experiences of Belize:

  • Do you think that it is an expensive place to visit?
  • What’s your travel style?
  • Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.


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