Solo Female Backpacking Adventure in Central and Southern Belize

categories: central america travel
Tobacco Caye

author on Tobacco Caye

As I set foot on the lush land of Belize, I could feel the vibrant pulse of this Central American gem. My solo backpacking trip through Belize was exciting, with diverse landscapes, rich cultures, and unforgettable encounters. In particular, Belize’s Central and Southern regions left me in awe of this country’s natural beauty and warm hospitality. Let me take you on a passionate and adventurous journey through Belize, sharing my experiences and highlighting the must-visit destinations. By the way, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America making communication very easy even f you do not speak Spanish.

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Belize City

Belize City

Even though I arrived in Belize City several times, it took me a few visits till I eventually started exploring Belize’s former capital. My journey began in Belize City, a bustling metropolis that is the gateway to this incredible country. Despite its reputation for being rough around the edges, the city is a fascinating blend of history and modernity.

Belize City

Things to do in Belize City

One of the first things I did was explore the historic district of Belize City, where I marveled at the colonial architecture and felt like I had stepped back in time. Strolling along Albert Street, I discovered charming shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. The Belize Museum, situated in a historic building, was a fascinating place to learn about the country’s rich history and culture, with exhibits spanning from ancient Mayans to modern times.

During my time in Belize City, I encountered friendly locals who were more than willing to offer advice and assistance, making me feel way safer than expected. Nonetheless, Belize City is definitely not the safest area, and it is important to be careful.

Safety was a priority throughout my journey in Belize City. Like in any destination, I took some precautions to ensure my well-being. I dressed modestly and respectfully, particularly when visiting and walking around town. I kept my belongings secure and avoided displaying expensive items, such as jewelry or electronics, to deter potential theft.

While exploring the city, I relied on reputable transportation options, such as registered taxis and organized tours, rather than accepting rides from strangers.

Where to stay in Belize City


Hotel rating cost    
The BNB on Triggerfish Close to the airport 9.6 $$ 7.1 miles from Belize City Book Now
Stylish apartments near Best Western 9.3 $$ 2.2 miles from center Book Now
Royal View Apartment Plus 9.1 $ 2.9 miles from center, Beach Nearby Book Now
City Garden 2 Apartment 8.9 $ 1 miles from center Book Now
Golden Bay Belize Hotel 8.6 $$ 1.2 miles from center Book Now
See Belize WATERSIDE Sea View Suite with Infinity Pool & Overwater Deck 7.5 $$$ 4.1 miles from center Book Now


Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

From Belize City, I hopped on a boat to the idyllic Caye Caulker, a bustling island paradise that embodies the quintessential Caribbean vibe. The island’s laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals immediately made me feel at home.

While on Caye Caulker, I snorkeled in the crystal-clear waters of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, swam with nurse sharks and stingrays, and marveled at the vibrant marine life. The Split, a natural channel that divides the island in two, is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset cocktail and meet fellow travelers.

As I stepped off the boat onto the sandy shores of Caye Caulker, Belize, I couldn’t help but feel like I had stumbled upon a Caribbean paradise. This tiny island, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, is a haven for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and anyone searching for a laid-back tropical escape. My journey to Caye Caulker was a dream come true, and I’m excited to share my first-hand experiences and the incredible things to do on this captivating island.

Caye Caulker Ferry

Arrival in Caye Caulker

Arriving in Caye Caulker is an adventure in itself. Most tourists arrive by ferry from Belize City, although the island does have an airport and you can fly to Caye Caulker as well.

The island has no cars or paved roads; instead, bicycles and golf carts are the primary modes of transportation. I immediately rented a bike to explore the island’s sandy streets, which added to the island’s charming and relaxed atmosphere.

Things to do in Caye Caulker

Snorkeling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

One of the top activities on my list was snorkeling in the world-renowned Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Just a short boat ride from Caye Caulker, this underwater wonderland is home to vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life. I booked a snorkeling tour and spent the day exploring the crystal-clear waters, swimming alongside colorful fish, and encountering nurse sharks and gentle rays. It was a surreal experience, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the underwater beauty of Belize.

Swimming with Nurse Sharks and Stingrays

Swimming with nurse sharks and stingrays at Shark Ray Alley was a highlight of my time on Caye Caulker. These gentle giants have become accustomed to human interaction and are a thrilling but safe experience. Our guide ensured we felt comfortable before jumping into the water, and once in, we were surrounded by these magnificent creatures. It’s an adventure that’s both exhilarating and awe-inspiring.

Sunset at The Split

Hurricane Hattie in 1961 cut Caye Caulker in two. That cut is called The Split and it is the heart of the island’s social scene. It’s also the perfect spot to catch a breathtaking sunset. I made it a point to visit The Split every evening, where I enjoyed a cool drink, met fellow travelers, and watched as the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky in shades of orange and pink. The atmosphere here is incredibly laid-back, making it easy to strike up conversations with both locals and visitors.

Caye Caulker

Biking Around the Island

Caye Caulker is a small island, making it perfect for two-wheel exploration. I rented a bicycle and spent my days pedaling around the island, discovering hidden beaches, quaint cafes, and charming boutiques. The slow pace of life on Caye Caulker is contagious, and I found myself relishing each moment of my leisurely bike rides.

Fresh Seafood and Local Cuisine

Caye Caulker is a seafood lover’s paradise, and I indulged in delicious fresh catches of the day throughout my stay. The island’s restaurants and street vendors offer a delectable array of seafood dishes, from lobster and conch ceviche to coconut shrimp. I tried the local specialty, “fry jacks,” a deep-fried bread served with beans, cheese, and eggs—a perfect start to the day.

Water Sports and Kayaking

Caye Caulker offers a range of water sports activities for those looking to add a dash of adventure to their island experience. I tried my hand at kayaking through the mangroves, which provided a unique perspective of the island’s natural beauty. Paddleboarding, windsurfing, and even kiteboarding are popular options for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

Island Vibes and Live Music

Caye Caulker comes alive in the evenings with live music, reggae beats, and local bands playing at beachfront bars. I joined in the island vibes, dancing to the rhythms of Caribbean music and sipping on tropical cocktails. The friendly locals and fellow travelers created an inclusive and lively atmosphere that made every night on the island like a celebration.

Caye Caulker

Relaxation and Hammock Time

Amidst all the adventure and excitement, I took moments to relax. Many accommodations on Caye Caulker provide hammocks on private balconies, and I spent hours swaying in the gentle breeze, reading a book, or simply taking in the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. It was a perfect way to recharge and appreciate the serenity of the island.

Safety on Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is generally a safe destination for travelers, including solo female travelers like myself. However, exercising the same precautions as you would anywhere else is still important.

Where to stay in Caye Caulker

Hotel rating cost    
Seremei Villas 10 $$$   Book Now
Colinda Cabanas 9.3 $$$   Book Now
Sea Dreams Hotel 9.3 $$$$   Book Now
VeLento Partial Ocean View #6 9.3 $$$$   Book Now
DreamCabanas 9.1 $   Book Now
La Isla Resort 8.8 $$   Book Now
The Bounty 8.8 $   Book Now
Coral View Hotel & Resort 8.8 $$   Book Now

The Central Cayes

Belize’s Central Cayes are much easier and cheaper to reach than the Souther Cayes, making them a popular choice among travelers. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker can easily be reached by ferry or plane from Belize City.

Ambergris Caye

Just a short boat ride from Caye Caulker lies Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. Here, I explored the charming town of San Pedro, which offers a vibrant nightlife scene, delicious seafood, and a lively cultural scene. A highlight of my visit was taking a day trip to the Blue Hole, one of the world’s most famous dive sites. Even as a solo traveler, I had no trouble finding dive buddies eager to explore the deep blue abyss.
My adventure on Ambergris Caye was filled with unforgettable experiences, and I’m excited to share the incredible things to do on this captivating island from my first-person perspective.

Arrival on Ambergris Caye

I arrived on Ambergris Caye after a short boat ride from the neighboring Caye Caulker. San Pedro, the island’s main town, welcomed me with its vibrant colors and bustling energy. The streets were alive with golf carts—the primary mode of transportation here—adding to the island’s unique charm.

Things to do on Ambergris Caye

Snorkeling and Diving in the Blue Hole

One of the most iconic activities on Ambergris Caye is a day trip to the Blue Hole, a natural wonder that has captured the imagination of divers from around the world. I couldn’t resist exploring this underwater sinkhole, which reveals a mesmerizing underwater world with incredible stalactites and diverse marine life. It was a dive like no other, and even as a solo traveler, I found camaraderie with fellow divers who shared my excitement.
Many tourists opt for the sightseeing flight out to the Blue Hole instead.

Explore San Pedro Town

San Pedro Town is the beating heart of Ambergris Caye, and I spent hours wandering its charming streets. The town is a delightful mix of Caribbean culture. I enjoyed exploring local shops, savoring fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants, and discovering art galleries showcasing the work of talented Belizean artists. The town’s vibrant nightlife also offered plenty of opportunities to dance to reggae beats and connect with fellow travelers.

Island Biking and Golf Cart Adventures

Renting a bike or a golf cart is the ideal way to explore the island at your own pace. I opted for a golf cart and set off to explore Ambergris Caye’s beautiful coastline and hidden gems. From secret beaches to scenic viewpoints, there was always something new to discover around every bend in the road.


Mangrove Kayaking and Wildlife Encounters

For a change of pace, I embarked on a kayaking adventure through the island’s mangrove forests. This serene experience allowed me to get up close and personal with the diverse wildlife of Ambergris Caye. I spotted manatees, colorful birds, and even crocodiles while paddling through the tranquil waters. It was a peaceful escape into the heart of nature.

Island Hopping and Day Trips

Ambergris Caye is the perfect launchpad for exciting day trips to neighboring islands and attractions like the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Each excursion offered a different facet of Belizean beauty and adventure.

Savoring Local Cuisine

The culinary scene on Ambergris Caye is a delightful mix of Belizean flavors and international influences. I savored fresh seafood dishes like lobster, conch ceviche, and coconut shrimp at local restaurants and beachfront eateries. The island’s signature dish, “rice and beans,” served with stewed chicken, was a delicious and hearty meal I couldn’t get enough of.

Beachfront Bliss and Relaxation

Ambergris Caye boasts miles of pristine beaches, and I soaked up the sun and enjoyed the soft, sandy shores. Many beachfront accommodations provide loungers and hammocks, making it the perfect place to unwind with a book or gaze out at the turquoise waters.

Safety on Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is generally a safe destination for travelers, including solo female travelers like me. However, exercising the same precautions as you would anywhere else is important. I kept my belongings secure, stayed aware of my surroundings, and avoided walking alone in dimly lit areas at night. Trusting your instincts is key, and the friendly locals always offer advice and guidance.

Where to stay in Ambergris Caye

Hotel rating cost    
Caye Casa 9.4 $$$   Book Now
Grand Caribe Belize 9.3 $$$$   Book Now
Alaia Belize, Autograph Collection 9.2 $$$$   Book Now
Belize Budget Suites 9.0 $$   Book Now
La Casa de Paz Hotel 9.0 $   Book Now
Hotel Del Rio 8.9 $$   Book Now
The WaterMark Resort 8.9 $$$   Book Now
Voyager Sun & Reef Hotel 8.4 $   Book Now

Southern Cayes of Belize

My journey through Belize took me to the enchanting Southern Cayes, a string of pristine coral islands that seem to have been plucked from a postcard-perfect dream. These secluded gems—Tobacco Caye, Southwater Caye, and Glovers Reef—offered a unique blend of natural beauty, tranquility, and underwater wonders. Each Caye had its distinct character and charm, making the journey from one to the next an unforgettable adventure.

Getting to the Southern Cayes

Two picturesque options lead to Belize’s South: a small plane or a car ride through the lush green Hummingbird Highway.

Tobacco Caye

Tobacco Caye

My first stop was Tobacco Caye, a remote and rustic coral island paradise. As the boat approached, I was greeted by swaying palm trees and colorful wooden cabanas perched on stilts above the crystal-clear waters. This tiny island is an ideal destination for those seeking a true escape from the modern world.

Things to do on Tobacco Caye

I spent my days snorkeling in the vibrant coral gardens just steps from the shoreline. The underwater world here is teeming with marine life, from neon-colored fish to graceful sea turtles. The island’s rustic accommodations offered an authentic and intimate experience, and I connected with fellow travelers over bonfires and starry nights.

Tobacco Caye

Tobacco Caye

Southwater Caye

The next leg of my journey took me to Southwater Caye, a slightly larger but equally enchanting island. Southwater Caye is known for its laid-back ambiance and stunning beaches. The golden sands were perfect for lounging, reading, or simply soaking in the breathtaking views. South Water Caye Marine Reserve is the second largest marine protected area in Belize, covering 117,875 acres (approximately 47,700 hectares) making it a haven for underwater lovers. Southwater Caye also has a sweet water quell which is very unique for its far-off island location. In the past, it was used as a source of drinking water for the local fishermen.

Things to do on Southwater Caye

I ventured out on snorkeling excursions, exploring the nearby coral reefs and underwater drop-offs. The diversity of marine life was astonishing, and I even had the privilege of swimming alongside graceful eagle rays. Southwater Caye offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, with plenty of opportunities for both.

Where to stay on Southwater Caye

Hotel rating cost    
Seiri del Mar 9.8 $$$$   Book Now
Harada Inn and Suites 9.5 $   Book Now
The Lodge at Jaguar Reef 9.0 $$$$   Book Now
Pelican Beach Resort South Water Caye 8.9 $   Book Now
Villa Margarita at Jaguar Reef 8.4 $$$   Book Now
Bonefish Hotel 8.2 $$   Book Now
Caribbean Shores Belize 7.9 $$   Book Now



Glovers Reef Atoll

The grand finale of my Southern Cayes adventure was a visit to Glovers Reef Atoll, a remote and untouched marine reserve that felt like a world away from civilization. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a true haven for divers and snorkelers, and it was the perfect destination for my underwater explorations.

Things to do on Glovers Reef

Living on a sailboat for several days, I embarked on daily dives and snorkeling adventures. Swimming alongside manta rays, sharks, and schools of colorful fish was a surreal experience that will forever be etched in my memory. The atoll’s pristine and remote location made me feel like I was living out a castaway fantasy, with stunning sunsets and endless horizons as my backdrop.


Tobacco Caye

Tobacco Caye

Differences Between the Cayes

While all three Southern Cayes shared a common thread of natural beauty and tranquility, each had unique personalities and offerings. Tobacco Caye offered the most rustic and intimate experience, with a laid-back atmosphere and a focus on disconnecting from the outside world.
Southwater Caye was a bit larger and boasted stunning beaches, making it a fantastic choice for those who wanted to balance relaxation and water-based activities. Snorkeling is exceptional, and the island’s friendly atmosphere made it easy to strike up conversations with fellow travelers.
With its remote location and diverse marine life, Glovers Reef Atoll was a true adventure destination. The multi-day sailing trip allowed me to immerse myself in the underwater wonders of the reef, and the feeling of isolation on the open sea was a unique and thrilling experience.



Continuing my journey south, I arrived in the charming coastal village of Hopkins. Hopkins is known for its Garifuna community, a vibrant culture with deep African and Indigenous Caribbean roots. The locals here welcomed me with open arms, inviting me to experience their traditional drumming and dancing, which are integral to their way of life. The laid-back, friendly vibe immediately appeared as I strolled along the sandy streets, passing colorful houses and charming shops.

Arrival in Hopkins

The most comfortable way to reach Hokins is by taxi from Danfriga. The ride is only about 45 minutes and costs $45 US. Buses pass Hopkins regularly. However, most do not go directly into Hopkins but stop at the junction 10 minutes out of town. You can catch a ride from there, but be ready to wait.

Hopkins, Belize

Hopkins, Belize

Things to do in Hopkins

Garifuna Cultural Immersion

One of the most enriching experiences in Hopkins was immersing myself in the Garifuna culture. I had the opportunity to participate in drumming and dance workshops, where I learned about the history and traditions of this unique community. The beats of the drums and the rhythms of the traditional dance were infectious, and I found myself dancing to the Garifuna tunes.

Beach Relaxation

Hopkins boasts beautiful beaches with golden sands that stretch for miles. I spent lazy afternoons lounging under swaying palm trees, savoring the sound of the gentle waves, and reading a book. The tranquil ambiance was perfect for unwinding and embracing the slow pace of life.

Try the Local Cuisine

The local cuisine in Hopkins is a highlight of any visit. I indulged in traditional Garifuna dishes like hudut (a fish and coconut stew) and fry jacks (deep-fried dough). The rich and authentic flavors offered a true taste of Belizean culture. Seafood lovers will also delight in fresh catches prepared with a local twist.

Glovers Reef Atoll

Glovers Reef Atoll

Water Adventures

Hopkins is a gateway to the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the underwater world through snorkeling and diving. The nearby South Water Caye Marine Reserve and Glover’s Reef Atoll are teeming with marine life and colorful coral formations. Snorkeling excursions allowed me to swim alongside sea turtles, vibrant fish, and even nurse sharks.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Biking and Nature

Renting a bicycle to explore the village and its surroundings is popular in Hopkins. I cycled through the serene mangrove forests, where I spotted various bird species and marveled at the area’s natural beauty. Guided tours are also available to explore the nearby Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, home to jaguars and other wildlife.

Where to stay in Hopkins

Hotel rating cost    
Seiri del Mar 9.8 $$$$   Book Now
Harada Inn and Suites 9.5 $   Book Now
The Lodge at Jaguar Reef 9.0 $$$$   Book Now
Inn at White Horse Guest House 8.8 $   Book Now
Villa Margarita at Jaguar Reef 8.4 $$$   Book Now
Bonefish Hotel 8.2 $$   Book Now
Caribbean Shores Belize 7.9 $$   Book Now


Daytrip from Placncia


My backpacking adventure in Belize’s central and southern regions concluded in Placencia, a long and slender peninsula known for its stunning beaches and vibrant local culture. I strolled along the famous Placencia Sidewalk, a narrow pathway with colorful shops and restaurants.

Placencia is a more developed and bustling tourist destination. It offers a broader range of amenities, including upscale resorts, restaurants, and nightlife options. Placencia has a more extended, narrower peninsula with a more extensive stretch of sandy beaches, making it a popular choice for beach lovers.

Arrival in Placencia

You can get to Placencia by a tiny plane via Belize City or take a bus or taxi from anywhere in Belize. The bus route from Belize City leads through the picturesque Hummingbird Highway and takes about 4,5 hrs.

Things to Do in Placencia

Sun, Sand, and Sea

Placencia boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Belize. With soft, powdery sands and clear, turquoise waters, it’s the perfect place for beach lovers. I spent my days basking in the sun, taking leisurely walks along the shore, and swimming in the gentle waves.

Snorkeling and Diving

The nearby Belize Barrier Reef is a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. I embarked on snorkeling tours to pristine coral gardens teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and rays. The underwater world was a mesmerizing wonderland, and I even had the chance to explore the famous “Silk Cayes,” small sandy islands surrounded by vibrant coral formations.

Placencia fishing

Fishing Adventures

Placencia is renowned for its world-class fishing opportunities. Whether you’re into fly fishing, deep-sea fishing, or catch-and-release, plenty of charters and guides can help you reel your catch.

Cultural Experiences

Placencia has a rich Garifuna culture, and I had the chance to immerse myself in it through drumming and dancing workshops. Learning about the traditions and history of the Garifuna people added a deeper layer to my Belizean experience.

Mangrove Kayaking

Exploring the nearby mangrove forests on a kayaking adventure was one of my favorite activities. As I paddled through the calm, meandering waterways, I encountered diverse bird species and spotted crocodiles basking in the sun. It was a serene and intimate connection with nature.

Local Cuisine

Placencia offers a delectable range of dining experiences. I indulged in fresh seafood, including lobster, conch, and shrimp, at beachfront restaurants and local eateries.

Biking and Exploring

Renting a bicycle is a fantastic way to explore the village and its surroundings. I cycled through the charming streets, discovering hidden art galleries, boutique shops, and waterfront bars. The village’s relaxed pace allowed me to embrace the spirit of exploration fully.


Island Hopping

Placencia is an ideal base for island-hopping adventures. Each destination offers a unique slice of Caribbean paradise, from the nearby islands of Laughing Bird Caye and Ranguana Caye to the serene beauty of the Sapodilla Cayes.

Belize’s central and southern regions offer an adventure-packed journey for solo female backpackers like me. The warm and welcoming people of Belize, along with its stunning natural beauty, made my solo backpacking adventure an unforgettable and enriching experience. So, if you’re seeking adventure, culture, and a dose of Caribbean charm, I wholeheartedly recommend exploring the heart and soul of Belize’s central and southern regions.

Where to stay in Placentia

Hotel rating cost    
Silver Sand 9.8 $ Hostel Book Now
Chabil Mar Villas – Guest Exclusive Boutique Resort 9.6 $$$$   Book Now
Driftwood Gardens Guesthouse 9.6 $   Book Now
Coral Cove Inn 9.5 $$ Beachfront Book Now
The Ellysian Boutique Hotel 9.2 $$$$ Beachfront Book Now
Maya Beach Hotel 9.0 $$$ Beachfront Book Now
Alterhome Swan villas with swimming pool and ocean views 8.9 $$ 300 feet from beach Book Now
Umaya Resort & Adventures 8.6 $$$ Beachfront Book Now
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by Daniela

Daniela is a travel enthusiast with a passion for exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. She believes in travel as a way to connect with different cultures and positively impact local communities.

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