If you’re planning a trip to Belize, you will eventually wonder about what to pack.
The good news is: Packing for Belize is easy. If you forget anything, you can usually find a place to buy it in the country. And you don’t need much special equipment unless you want to bring your own snorkelling gear.
Still, there are a few essentials that we are glad we brought on our trip to Belize, and there will be a few items that you should rather leave at home. That’s why we have put together this packing list for Belize. It’ll make packing for your trip much easier, and you can avoid repeating our mistakes.
Belize packing list
We recommend taking two bags for going to Belize. The first one is your main piece of luggage. It’s up to you whether you prefer a suitcase or a backpack. We often travel with large backpacks, which is excellent on uneven roads.
On the other hand, backpacks can hurt your back and can be awkward to carry. We won’t go into much detail here, as this topic would deserve a post on its own, but often, it comes down to personal preference.
What you need, though, independent of what you take as your main piece of luggage, is a decent daypack.
Daniel and I both use an Osprey Talon 22, a backpack that we love for its durability. Plus, its size of 22 litres makes it perfect for day trips. It’s large enough that we can fit everything we need, but at the same time small enough that it’s easy to carry.
And it has a net at the back. I still get a bit sweaty on hot days, but nowhere near as much as I used to with other backpacks.
#2 Packing cubes
I admit that I always thought that packing cubes were pretty useless. I could always find things in my backpack, even if it took me a while.
But then I bought my first two packing cubes, one for dirty laundry and one for keeping my cables together, and I loved them.
I still don’t use packing cubes for all of my stuff, but Daniel does, and they are very useful. It takes him far less time to look for items than it takes me.
You can find various packing cubes out there, so take your time to research the ones that fit your needs. Daniel has the eBags light packing cubes, which are fantastic because they barely add weight to your luggage. Plus, they have a net, so you can always see what’s inside.
The most important rule when packing for a trip to Belize is to bring lightweight, airy clothes. You won’t need anything fancy, and you should leave all denim at home. It’s far too warm for jeans. Even though we had a few days of rain, the weather was usually hot, and we were happy to walk around in shorts and t-shirts.
Bring a few pairs of shorts. We like packing light, so I never pack more than two pairs. If one gets dirty, I wash it and wear the other one.
#4 Long trousers
If you’re planning on going to the jungle, we recommend bringing a pair of long trousers. They’re also helpful for colder and rainy days or for wearing on the plane to Belize. Bring something light so you can easily carry them.
Bring a few t-shirts, the lighter, the better. As we mentioned, it’s going to be hot, so you don’t want to wear any heavy fabrics. We washed ours along the way to avoid having to pack too much.
We also recommend bringing one lightweight long-sleeved shirt. It comes in handy on rainy days, when the temperatures drop, or on trips to the jungle.If you want to know more about what to pack for a jungle trip, make sure to check out our
Most people dress very casually in Belize. However, you can consider packing a nice dress or shirt for going out in the evening, for special occasions. We ended up not needing it, but it will feel nice to dress up if you go to a nice restaurant.
#6 Light jacket or jumper
Take a light jacket or jumper to cover yourself in case it gets a bit fresh in the evening or on a rainy day. You don’t need anything thick, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a bit of protection against the cold.
#7 Rainjacket or poncho
Even if you travel to Belize during the dry season, make sure to pack a rain jacket. Heavy rains can occur at any time and leave you drenched within minutes.
I have a Tierra Backup rain jacket which is super lightweight. It also has extra zippers for more ventilation, so I can wear it on hot days without getting too sweaty. Daniel used to have a Foray Jacket from Outdoor Research which he loved. It, unfortunately, got stolen, but he keeps talking about how great that jacket was.
As an alternative, consider bringing a rain poncho. You don’t need anything fancy, just something lightweight will do. We highly recommend buying a reusable one to protect our environment. They’re still light, fold into tiny pockets, and you can use them over and over again.
This goes without saying, but you need to remember to pack underwear. We didn’t bring enough for every day and washed our along the way, but as most underwear is light, you can pack as much as you need.
When choosing which underwear to take, remember that it gets hot in Belize. Pack something that you will feel comfortable in even when you get sweaty.
Pack a short pyjama for the night. Make sure it’s as light as possible, so you don’t get too hot while you sleep.
#10 Flip flops
Take a pair of flip flops or sandals to wear at the beach. They don’t have to be nice or fancy, just make sure you’re comfortable walking in them.
#11 Walking shoes & socks
In addition to flip flops or sandals, you should take at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes. Make sure they’re stable enough that you can climb jungle ruins with them, and bring a few pairs of socks to wear as well.San Ignacio is the perfect town if you want to see Mayan jungle ruins. Find out more in our
I usually travel with a pair of trainers. They’re comfortable, I can go hiking in them if I want to, but I can also wear them in the city and still blend in.
When I visited Belize, I owned a pair of Nike trainers. They lasted for more than a year of travel, but I have since then replaced them with a pair of Skechers sneakers. Both are perfect for a country like Belize.
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit! Belize is all about beaches, swimming and snorkelling, so make sure to pack at least one swimsuit.
#13 Daily essentials
The first thing you need to pack in your toiletry bag are your daily essentials. This includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, razor and shaving gel. Pack any moisturisers that you need and, if you have very sensitive skin, consider bringing an after sun lotion.
Shampoo, shower gel and moisturisers often come in large bottles, which are heavy to carry. I like refilling my liquids into travel-sized bottles. It’s much more convenient, and it allows you to take a bottle of moisturizer on the plane so you can prevent your skin from drying out.Are you wondering what else to pack into your hand luggage for your next flight? Then check out our
#14 Sunscreen and sunglasses
While you can buy sunscreen in Belize, it’s often cheaper and more convenient to bring it from home.
Belize is famous for its coral reefs, so it’s important to bring reef-safe sunscreen. Regular lotions contain chemicals that hurt corals, whereas the ones labelled as reef-safe will not harm the environment, even when you go swimming.
Examples of sunscreen you could take are this one with SPF 30 and this one with SPF 50. Both formulas are water-resistant, which is something you need to look out for. There’s no use in applying sunscreen if it washes off the moment you sweat or come in contact with water.
On that note, don’t forget to take your sunglasses! Make sure to buy some that offer UV protection for your eyes, so you don’t damage them. Sand and water reflect a lot of light, and your eyes will thank you later for any protection you give them.
#15 Insect repellent
In Belize, you can find two types of insects that will be bothering you the most.
First, there are mosquitos. You’ll see those mostly in jungle areas, whereas you likely won’t be bothered as much if you’re staying on a caye.
Second, there are sandflies. Those live on beaches and they can seriously bother you. Over time, you’ll develop a resistance to their toxin (or at least we did) and you won’t feel their bites anymore. But if you’ve just arrived in the Caribbean? Then you should protect yourself as much as possible!
You can get different types of insect repellent. The classic is one that contains DEET. You can buy sprays containing different percentages of DEET. The more DEET, the more toxic the stuff gets, but the more insects it will repel.
I’ve had sprays very high in DEET for areas like the Amazon, but for Belize, I would only take a spray with about 20-30%.
As an alternative, you can take a spray with picaridin. Those are very popular here in Germany and I’ve always found them to be at least as effective as DEET. Unfortunately, I’m allergic, so they’re not a good option for me, but most of my friends swear by them.
Last, you can also take a spray based on citrus or eucalyptus oils. They’re nowhere near as strong as the options above, but they should work well enough to protect you from sandflies. The more oily, the better, as sandflies are so small that they can’t bite you through a layer of oil.
#16 Laundry detergent
I mentioned handwashing clothes multiple times before. I’d rather take a small bottle of laundry detergent and wash a few shirts in the sink than carry heavy luggage. This comes true especially when travelling for a long time. But even if I’m just gone for a week, I like to have some detergent in case I want to quickly wash a stain out of my favourite t-shirt.
I love the Sea to Summit Laundry wash, as it comes in a tiny bottle that lasts forever. It’s a concentrate, so you only need a small drop to wash your clothes. Plus, it’s biodegradable which is always a plus when travelling.
Belize is beautiful and chances are high that you’ll want to capture your experiences in photographs. Therefore, remember to pack a camera.
This can either be your phone camera, a compact camera or a more advanced camera. Daniel and I use Sony mirrorless cameras which we love because they shoot high-quality photos. Plus, we can exchange the lens so we can vary between wide-angle lenses for landscapes and zoom lenses if we want to take pictures of animals.
If you want to see wildlife, you will need a good zoom to take pictures of animals. That means you won’t really get any nice photos with your phone or even with most compact cameras. If you don’t want to buy a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a good compromise are compact cameras with a large zoom. My friend owns a Panasonic Lumix and is very happy with it.
Before you leave, double-check your SD card or the available space on your phone to make sure you can take as many pictures as you want to!
#18 Underwater camera (optional)
If you only plan on going snorkelling once or twice, you don’t need an underwater camera. But if you’re thinking about scuba-diving or you want to spend more time underwater, then you could consider getting an underwater camera.
I own a GoPro, which I’m very happy with. It’s a few years old already but it still takes great photos. The latest GoPro models have even better features, like being able to take HDR pictures and much better resolution for video, so I might upgrade mine at some point.
If you’re not willing to spend that much money and you just want to take a few pictures or videos, you should consider a budget underwater camera. While we haven’t tried it ourselves, the Akaso Brave 4 receives great reviews and is so cheap, you can’t really go wrong with it.
I love my Kindle because it allows me to take as many books on holiday as I want to. I couldn’t imagine a beach holiday without a good book to read and am always excited to browse through my library of e-books.
If you’re not much of a reader, consider bringing something else to pass time. A simple deck of playing cards, for example, can turn into great entertainment and also offers the chance to meet and play with other travellers.
#20 Chargers and adapters
The plugs in Belize are the two-pronged type, just like the ones you can find in the US. That means that if you’re American, you only need to take an adapter if you have any three-pronged plugs as you’ll rarely find an outlet with three holes.
If you come from elsewhere in the world, you should take an adapter. Something universal works best, like this one, which also allows you to plug in two USB cables.
Besides packing an adapter, you also have to remember to pack chargers for any electronic device you have. There’s nothing worse than taking a fantastic camera but running out of battery and being unable to charge it.
#21 Power bank and spare batteries
When we go on holidays, we always take a power bank with us. That way, we can quickly charge our phones if we run out of battery. We love this tiny power bank, because it fits into our pockets easily and barely weighs anything.
If you’re looking for something more powerful, consider taking this portable charger. It’s larger and heavier, but on the flip side, you can charge your phones many times with it.
If you’re taking a camera, look into what kind of batteries it uses and consider getting spare ones. That way, you don’t have to charge your camera every night. Instead, you can use the batteries until they run out of power and quickly swap them, then recharge them at home.
Essentials & Documents
Remember to take your passport! Out of all of the items on this list, this is the most important one. Without a passport, you won’t even be able to board the plane, so make sure you put it into an accessible spot in your hand luggage.
#23 Travel insurance
Don’t leave your home without buying travel insurance! The absolute minimum you need is insurance that covers medical expenses, so you don’t end up with hospital bills you will never be able to pay.
While we obviously hope that you never need your insurance, it’s always best to have it. We’ve used our insurances before, like when Daniel got appendicitis in Japan, and we were glad we could just call a phone number instead of having to pay 20,000$ in cash to the hospital.
We both have insurance cover here in Germany, but most international travellers use either WorldNomads or Allianz Travel.When buying travel insurance, make sure to compare offers and check what’s included. Some packages only cover medical expenses, while others will also insure your luggage in case it gets lost or stolen. Also, check whether transport back to your home country is included in case of a medical emergency! If you or a family member get seriously ill or injured, you’ll feel much better if your insurance covers the expensive transport to a hospital back home.
#24 All necessary travel documents
The first document that falls into this category is your insurance details. Make sure to take everything you need. This includes an emergency phone number as well as any personal insurance numbers which might be needed for making a claim.
We usually have these details both on the phone as well as printed out. That way, if we run out of batteries, we can still find the emergency phone number somewhere.
Next, take all hotel and flight reservation documents. You don’t need to print them (although we often do, just in case), but make sure you have them readily available on your phone. Download all documents, so you can access them even if you don’t have internet.
#25 Prescription medication
If you need any prescription medication, make sure to take enough with you. You can never be sure if the drugs you’re taking are approved in other countries around the world and if they’re available for purchase there.
Speak to your doctor before you leave your home country so they can issue you a confirmation of which drugs you take. This might be needed for customs, depending on which medications you need to take with you.
We also recommend packing a first-aid kit with some bandages and any over-the-counter medications you might need. This could include painkillers, something to take for an upset stomach etc. If you’ve never put together a travel first-aid kit, speak to your doctor first to see what they recommend.
#26 Credit / debit card and emergency money
Before you leave your home country, double-check that your credit or debit card is still valid. You might have to call your bank to let them know that you’re abroad, so they don’t block your card when you try to withdraw money at an ATM.
Besides taking a credit or debit card (or ideally two, in case one doesn’t work), you should also take some emergency cash. Pack US dollars that are in a very good or mint condition, as it’s always easier to pay with those.
For storing emergency cash, I usually use my Eagle Creek Money Belt. It’s smooth and comfortable for wearing, and you can barely see it underneath my clothing.
As an extra precaution, I also often take a bra stash. It’s a tiny pocket that I can attach to my bra and that is just big enough to fit an emergency credit card. I’ve never needed it so far, but I feel much safer knowing that I can still get money even if all of my other stuff gets stolen.
That said, we never felt unsafe in Belize. The above items are just regular precautions that help reassure us and that we never actually needed before.
#27 Water bottle
When we travel, we always carry a reusable water bottle to avoid plastic waste. That way, we can buy large canisters of water and refill them into our own water bottles.
I love my collapsible Platypus bottle as it shrinks while I drink. It comes in both 1 litre and 2 litres, so you can decide for yourself how much you need.
#28 Steripen (optional)
We recommend buying bottled water while in Belize and not drinking any tap water.
However, if you’re ever unsure about the quality of the water, you could treat it with a Steripen. It works with UV light and treats your water so it’s safe to drink afterwards.
#29 Waterproof bag
As we already mentioned above, rain showers can happen at any time in the year. That’s why we recommend taking a waterproof bag for your electronics. You don’t need to pack anything fancy and if you just have your phone, then a zip-lock bag is enough.
If you have a larger camera, then consider getting a dry bag. You can also look into rain covers for your day pack. These will never be as waterproof as a dry bag, but they work pretty well to protect your gear if it suddenly starts raining.
Depending on the accommodation you book, they might or might not provide you with a beach towel. To be on the safe side, we recommend packing a travel towel.
These towels come in different shapes and sizes. I love my Lifeventure microfibre towel because, even though it doesn’t quite feel like a real towel, it still dries well and is one of the best microfibre ones I’ve ever had. It’s not always available for sale, but judging by the reviews, the Rainleaf towels are a great alternative.
I also own an N-Rit towel, which is the lightest travel towel I’ve ever seen. It’s large enough to use at the beach, but it packs into such a small bag that I often just dump it into my backpack and forget about it. The only disadvantage is that it gets very wet quickly. Fortunately, though, it dries within a short amount of time so I was never too bothered by that.
#31 Snorkelling gear (optional)
As we love travelling light, we wouldn’t carry our own snorkelling gear. Instead, we’re happy to rent it wherever we go.
If the thought of renting snorkelling gear makes you uncomfortable, though, you can also bring your own. You can buy a snorkel and a mask on Amazon and take them with you. If you want to go all the way, you can also bring your own fins, although keep in mind that they’re bulky and difficult to pack.
The only reason we could imagine bringing our own gear is if we wanted to do a lot of snorkelling and Daniel wanted very good underwater vision. He wears glasses, so if we regularly wanted to snorkel or scuba dive, we would consider investing in a prescription mask.
The above list might seem long at first, but keep in mind that we also listed a lot of small items. If you follow our packing list for Belize, you will end up with everything you need for your holidays. Please leave us a comment below to let us know which item you think is the most essential, or to add anything else that you would take!
To make planning your trip easier, we have a few more resources that we think will be interesting for you. Make sure to check them out!
- One week in Belize – the perfect itinerary
- The best things to do in Caye Caulker
- Hop over to Utila – a Caribbean island paradise in Utila
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