belize beaches

12 Best Beaches in Belize: Belize Beaches Guide [2024]

Looking for some of the best beaches in the Caribbean? Look beyond Antigua and the Dominican Republic to the Caribbean-facing Central American nation of Belize, just south of the border from Mexico’s famous Yucatán Peninsula – you’ll be impressed with what you find.

In this ultimate guide to the best beaches in Belize, we share the most impressive beaches located across the country, and they’re calling your name. From tiny islands and barren atolls to long stretches of white sand along the mainland, you’ll find plenty of Belize beaches to pack into your itinerary.

beaches in belize
duartedellarole / Depositphotos

This post contains affiliate links that may reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases – at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please read our disclosure policy.

Best Beaches in Belize

1. Tobacco Caye

Little more than a patch of white sand beach barely sticking out from the crystal clear waters surrounding it, Tobacco Caye is about as dreamy as it gets. Located just a 35-minute boat ride from Dangriga on mainland Belize, laid-back Tobacco Caye feels a world away, making it a pleasure of a hidden gem to visit.

While many of the other tiny islands off of Belize’s coast are private islands home to pricey resorts, Tobacco Caye is a more affordable option, with a handful of hotels and even affordable “overwater bungalow” cabins at Tobacco Caye Paradise. Call it a backpacker’s paradise, if you will, but you’ll find travelers of all budgets flocking here in increasing numbers to enjoy this true slice of paradise.

Where To Stay on Tobacco Caye

Silk Caye Belize
Courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

2. Silk Caye

Silk Caye is one of the many paradise Belize beaches you truly need to see to believe. This tiny island, almost a sand bar, rises ever so slightly out of pristine waters to reveal a beautiful stretch of pure white sand. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine between snorkeling expeditions on your Belize vacation.

Silk Caye is accessible as part of a day trip from Placencia, which is about an hour and a half away by boat. You’ll find excellent full-day guided excursions to visit Silk Caye and snorkel in the surrounding waters. With Silk Caye’s perfect spot along the Belize Barrier Reef, you’re sure to find colorful corals, tropical fish, and even sea turtles and rays.

caye caulker
master2 / Depositphotos

3. Caye Caulker

Located just south of the larger and more lively Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is truly starting to come into its own as a laidback beach paradise worth traveling for. It’s hard to overstate just how cool this white sand island is: think colorful guesthouses and cabins, hammocks strung between palm trees, and sandy “streets” perfect for bike rides under the shade of palm trees.

The most popular area for enjoying the beach on Caye Caulker is called The Split, named for the small section of sea that splits the north and south half of the island. You’ll find plenty of beach bars here and all the best things to do in Caye Caulker, as well as places to grab some gear for snorkeling. It’s a lovely, sandy spot and usually the life of the party on Caye Caulker.

Getting to Caye Caulker is quite easy. Choose from direct flights from Belize City for about $80 per ticket or by hourly ferry from Belize City for about $25 per ticket.

Where To Stay in Caye Caulker

Cayo Espanto Belize
Courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

4. Cayo Espanto

The private island resort of Cayo Espanto is what dreams are made of, with some of the best beaches in Belize to match. With just seven secluded villas, each on its own white sandy beach with a plunge pool and dock, it’s hard to imagine a more romantic destination for a getaway.

Cayo Espanto sees to guests every dream and desire; each villa comes with a personal butler, while the island’s world-renowned chef is on call to prepare customized meals. When you’re not enjoying the fine white sand at your private villa, get ready for snorkeling and diving adventures, spa treatments, movies under the stars at the island’s open-air cinema, or cruises on the island’s private yacht.

Guests can access Cayo Espanto via helicopter from the international airport in Belize City or by a quick 10-minute private boat ride from nearby San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Whether you arrive by land or by sea, you’re in for some incredibly beautiful scenery along the way.

Read More: 10 Best Resorts in Belize for a Dream Getaway

ambergris caye
Wirestock / Depositphotos

5. Ambergris Caye

Belize’s largest cay, Ambergris Caye is by far the most popular island destination in Belize, also home to some of the best beaches in Belize. While it’s busier than smaller cays like Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye is the perfect choice if you just have a day or two to enjoy the white sand Belize beaches you’ve been dreaming of.

As a relatively large island, there are several great beaches on Ambergris Caye to choose from, though you’ll find plenty of docks that make for great spots for swimming and relaxing as well, including the not-so-secret Secret Beach. There are also many white sandbars along the western leeward side of the island that are perfect for a more private, laid-back beach day.

The well-served airport in San Pedro makes accessing Ambergris Caye a breeze, or take a speedboat or water taxi from the mainland – you’ll find plenty of options from Belize City and other nearby towns.

Where To Stay in Ambergris Caye

turneffe atoll
ead72 / Depositphotos

6. Turneffe Atoll

Located about twenty miles offshore from Belize City, Turneffe Atoll is the largest coral atoll of three located in the Belize Barrier Reef. The perfect spot for travelers looking for snorkeling, diving, and fishing excursions from popular destinations like Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, Turneffe Atoll is more often than not just a spot to visit for the day.

The best beach in Turneffe Atoll is found at Turneffe Island Resort, one of the most impressive resorts in Belize. Perched on a private island among the atolls ringed with white sand and complete with 22 guest rooms and villas, it’s the perfect getaway for adventurous travelers drawn to the snorkeling and diving the atoll is known for.

Or, for those looking for a more relaxing stay, the island’s pristine beaches and plush villas with private plunge pools are the perfect place to unwind.

Where To Stay in Turneffe Atoll

Hopkins Beach
Courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

7. Hopkins Beach

One of the best Belize beaches you’ll find on the mainland, Hopkins Beach is a much-loved, laid-back beach town with long, stunning stretches of sand you don’t often find in other destinations in Belize.

Hopkins Beach is also known for having a large native Belizean Garifuna population. You can learn about this fascinating indigenous culture via drumming lessons, trying local foods, and more, adding so much to a typical beach getaway. It’s also a gateway to Belize’s lush southern jungles, home to plenty of ecolodges and eco resorts to show you an entirely different side of the country.

Where To Stay on Hopkins Beach

Half Moon Caye Belize
Courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

8. Half Moon Caye

Part of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Central America’s first protected marine area, glorious Half Moon Caye boasts white sand beaches and truly spectacular diving. With both impressive spots for snorkeling and a dramatic underwater drop-off wall for some of the most spectacular diving you’ll find in Belize, it’s no wonder that Half Moon Caye is starting to become one of the most popular destinations in Belize.

Half Moon Caye also boasts beautiful old forest growth on its shores that sets it apart from many of the other cays in Belize. It’s a birdwatching paradise, home to the unique red-footed boobies and an endemic species of geckos.

Access the island via boat from the mainland, or choose a multi-day excursion with a guide company, including camping on the island. Many multi-day excursions include a visit to the nearby Great Blue Hole, truly one of Belize’s most famous spots and an out-of-this-world destination you’ll never forget.

Travel Essential

Don’t think about traveling without a good VPN (Virtual Private Network). Using a VPN while connecting to the internet is an easy way to keep your personal information safe from hackers and trackers. We’ve used NordVPN for years and couldn’t recommend it more – it’s a must for safety online, at home or abroad. 

sapodilla caye
Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

9. Sapodilla Cayes

Located in the southernmost area of the Belize Barrier Reef, the Sapodilla Cayes are remote, requiring an almost 2.5-hour boat ride from Punta Gorda. However, for travelers looking for a truly off-the-beaten-path hidden gem, some of the best snorkeling, diving, and beaches in all of Belize await.

Sapodilla Cayes’ best beaches are located on Hunting Caye and Ranguana Caye. Ranguana Caye is a private island resort home to Ranguana Caye Cabanas, a Muy’Ono Resort. A favorite spot for exploring the Sapodilla Cayes, this is also one of the nicest resorts in Belize; of course, white sand beaches and incredible amenities await.

Home to the Sapodilla Caye Marine Reserve, these protected waters are home to several unique species of colorful corals, three different species of marine turtles, plus an unending amount of tropical fish. You can even spot manta rays, sharks, and more in these pristine waters.

Manta Island Resort - Glover's Reef Atoll
Courtesy of Manta Island Resort

10. Glover’s Reef Atoll

The remote Glover’s Reef Atoll is the perfect spot for travelers looking to explore the wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef. This coral atoll comprises five islands lifted above nearly 800 patch reefs, forming the pristine Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, one of seven protected corners of the barrier reef along Belize’s shores.

While most travelers visit Glover’s Reef Atoll with snorkeling and diving in mind, don’t underestimate the beauty of its beaches, which are among the most pristine Belize beaches you’ll find.

Hidden among the atoll’s coral crags is Manta Island Resort, one of the best resorts in Belize, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in Belize. In addition to offering an array of activities like fishing, watersports, and dreamy sunset cruises, this private island resort also has a dive shop on-site, ready to help make your dreams of exploring corals and swimming with sea turtles come to life!

Where To Stay in Glover’s Reef Atoll

laughing bird caye
RHIMAGE / Shutterstock

11. Laughing Bird Caye

Just 12 miles southwest of the famous beach town of Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye is a popular day trip spot from the mainland, and it’s easy to see why. As part of Laughing Bird Caye National Park, this isolated, laid-back cay feels like a natural gem.

Home to a bird sanctuary and coral nurseries, plus bountiful populations of fish swarming through the island’s clear waves, you’ll feel close to nature the second you step foot on the beach. White sand beaches and great beginner’s snorkeling spots await. Though Laughing Bird Caye is small, it has so much to offer.

Travel Essential

Don’t head out on your adventure without comprehensive travel insurance! Good travel insurance may cover lost or stolen gear, medical emergencies, delayed or canceled flights, and more. Check out the policies available from SafetyWing or compare plans using Visitors Coverage.

Placencia Belize
Courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board

12. Placencia

We’ve saved arguably the most popular beach in Belize for last! Placencia is a favorite mainland beach destination in Belize known for white sand beaches you’d expect to find on any of Belize’s endless cays, but with all the amenities of a proper mainland town. Placencia is certainly bustling, but it’s still charming, making it a true favorite among travelers.

You’ll find private resort and hotel beaches in Placencia along with a good amount of public beachfront. Areas with beachfront restaurants and bars make for lively afternoons and evenings, but you’ll find a good mix of more family-friendly spots as well.

If you’re looking to explore some of Belize’s more remote cays for world-class snorkeling and diving, Placencia is a great place to base yourself, especially if you have a short itinerary. Take a day trip to Laughing Bird Caye or Sapodilla Cayes directly from Placencia, and you’ll visit three stunning Belize beaches in just one trip!

Where To Stay in Placencia

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.