One of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken was the week I spent with my girlfriends in San Pedro, Belize. We went snorkeling at Hol Chan, chilled out at the beach bars, ate tacos at a yoga retreat, enjoyed the not-so-secret Secret Beach, and got bitten by a million mosquitos. Here’s everything you need to take with you so you, too, can have a fabulous time in Belize, but also a few things we wished we had brought (more bug repellant and sunscreen, please)! If you’re wondering what to pack for Belize or what you’ll want to wear, here’s my ultimate Belize packing list so you have an awesome trip!
Backpacks and Suitcases
Only you can decide if you’re going to take a roller bag-style suitcase or if you’re going to backpack. There are major benefits to traveling with a backpack or using a roller suitcase that is small enough that you can travel carryon only. If you’re only going to be in one place the entire time, then the main thing to consider is if flying with checked luggage will cost you more money.
I use a Bergans Skarstind 48 similar to this Bergans backpack. I absolutely love it, and it’s served me well traveling through six countries so far. For those who are Osprey diehards (and I get it) then I would choose something similar to this Osprey Women’s pack which is the same size. It holds more than enough clothes to get through a week without having to do laundry, just with a little mixing and matching. I can fit a week’s worth of clothing, two pairs of shoes (plus wearing a third on the plane), makeup, toiletries, a travel hair dryer, etc. all in this bag.
Note: Not all backpacks are carryon sized. To make sure you can use your backpack as a carryon, check the dimensions of the bags. I can use both my Bergans backpack and this similar Osprey Women’s pack as carryons, provided the top isn’t too full. I’ve also checked my backpack whenever I have a free checked bag, just so I don’t have to wear it in the airport.
When I traveled to Belize, I used an Osprey Sojourn roller bag as my main suitcase. I have been using mine for over two years for big trips where I need a suitcase, and I lived out of just this bag and a day pack for eight months. I absolutely love this bag. Its soft core makes it easy to pack, even when I have strange dimensions (like lugging around a podcasting microphone). And whenever I do want to shop somewhere, it always seems to stretch just a bit more to add what I’ve bought.
Daybags & Day Packs
If you’re flying with a checked bag, then you can have a full backpack as your day bag. If you are flying with a carryon as your man luggage, then your day bag needs to fit under the seat in front of you to qualify as a personal item.
I use a large Longchamp as a purse/daypack for trips where I’m backpacking. If I take a suitcase and a carryon backpack, then I will roll this bag up and put it in my backpack so that I still have it. I absolutely love that it can roll up but still handle a lot. It’s an amazing day bag for tropical locations and places that are a little more bougie because it looks nice on its own, but it also is the perfect size to convert into a beach bag when needed.
For a larger day pack, I use this SwissGear Travel Laptop Backpack. It’s a great travel daypack because it has a laptop slot (crucial for days digital nomading in coffee shops, but also just important for getting my laptop with me to my destination), but the middle pocket is large enough to fit my camera and work as a camera bag.
The key to successful packing, whether backpacking or traveling with a roller bag, is to make sure your bag is organized. I always have my stuff divided up into smaller pouches like this:
- 1-2 large packing cubes for clothes, bathing suits, and bathing suit covers
- 1 medium packing cube for underwear, socks, pajamas
- 5 small bag cosmetic-style bags. I have a random collection of bags bought at various H&Ms across Europe, but they are all similar to this one. I have them split up like this: wet toiletries, dry toiletries, prescriptions and medications, cords, chargers, and converters, and makeup
- 1 laundry bag (comes with the packing cubes)
- Canvas Tote Bag. This is clutch in Belize. This can be used as a beach bag for beach days, for groceries, and as a go-to day bag for any day where you’re going to be taking it easy and don’t want to lug around something bigger.
- 1-2 empty gallon ziplock bags and 3-5 empty small ziplock bags which end up becoming necessary on the road (great for open bottles, packing up wet clothes, etc).
What to Wear in Belize for Women
The country has pretty much the same climate year-round, making it easy to know what to pack for Belize. The main seasonal differences is there’s a wet season and a dry season, but you should bring a rain jacket year-round. This list is designed for a week. Take items off if you’re going for less time than that. Going for more time? You’ll want to do laundry while there.
- 3-4 lightweight shirts (think tank tops, flowy tops, things that breathe)
- 2-3 dresses (flowy and breathable)
- 2 pairs of capri leggings or capri yoga pants (optional, but I like pairing them with swimsuit covers and having the most breathable combo possible. In seriously hot weather, I would even wear them as pants. Seriously, it gets hot).
- 1 pair of shorts.
- 1 pair of long, breathable pants if you’re going to be hiking or doing jungle activities.
- 1-2 skirts (optional but I loved having them).
- 1 sweater, cardigan, or kimono for light layering at night
- 1 rain jacket or a travel umbrella
- 1 pajama top
- 1 pajama bottoms (or use one of the leggings)
- 2 swimsuits
- 1-2 swim cover-ups
- Comfortable Walking Sandals (I have had a pair of these Tevas for the last two years, and I’ve worn them so much they have a hole in the right sole. When I buy a new pair, it will be the exact same kind because that is just how much I love them).
- Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal (I use these Croc Jellies because they work for hostel showers but are also wearable outside and work for the beach).
- Flip-flops (Necessary for hostels, but I also like having two pairs of beach shoes, so I’ll bring the jellies plus flip-flops since they pack down to basically nothing.
- Hiking Shoes (If you’re going to do any activities or hiking).
Underwear & Socks
- 7-8 pairs of underwear
- 1-2 bras
- 1 sports bra if you plan on doing a lot of activity
- 1-2 pairs of socks
Jewelry & Accessories
- 1-2 pairs of earrings (Nix the jewelry if you are the kind of person who can’t wear jewelry in the hot weather. Leave valuable jewelry at home).
- 1-2 necklaces
- 1-2 rings
- Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required) If you’re taking a nice pair, maybe bring another cheap pair for the beach or boating.
- Hairpins, Bobby Pins, or Barretts (1-3 styles depending on your hair needs)
- Headbands or Hair Wraps (1-4 depending on your needs)
- Hair Ties (if you have long hair, prepare to want it off your shoulders in the sticky weather)
- A hat (optional, but great for staying out of the sun or taking Instagram pics)
- Watch (optional)
What to Wear in Belize for Men
Here’s what men should pack for Belize for a week. If you’re going to be there longer, plan to do laundry. If you’re going to be there for less than a week, take less of each kind of item.
- 4-5 lightweight shirts (think tank tops, tee shirts, and fabrics that wick)
- 3 undershirts
- 2-3 pairs of shorts
- 1 pair of long, breathable pants if you’re going to be hiking or doing jungle activities.
- 1 rain jacket
- 1 tee shirt and shorts for sleeping
- 2 pairs of swim trunks
- Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes (Sneakers, hiking shoes, or boots, depending on your preference).
- Comfortable day sandals.
- Extra Easy Slip-on Sandal or Flip-Flops
Underwear & Socks
- 7-8 pairs of underwear
- 2-3 pairs of socks
Jewelry & Accessories
- Sunglasses (regular or prescription if required. If one pair is expensive, I’d bring a second pair for activities).
- A hat (for staying out of the sun).
- Watch (optional)
- Any personal jewelry
What to Pack to Go Scuba Diving
If you’re going to go scuba diving, you have the option of renting equipment or bringing your own. Talk to your diving company about what they have available to rent, and what they recommend for the type of diving you’ll be doing.
- Scuba Certification Card (if already certified)
- Mask and Snorkel
- Travel BCD
- Lightweight Regulator and OCTI
- Pressure and Depth Gauges
- Dive Computer
- Surface Signaling Device
- Dive Light
- Mesh Bag
- Go Pro for underwater and action photography
What to Pack to Go Snorkeling
You can rent or bring your own snorkeling equipment. The advantages to renting is that you don’t need to take up any space in your luggage, but it also is a nightmare for germophobes, people with specific needs, and anyone who wants to snorkel more than just on an organized tour. Here’s the equipment you’ll need if you want to have your own.
Toiletries & Skincare
- Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner. Some people swear by solid shampoo, but I just refill the same travel size bottles.
- A small hairbrush (Between the humidity and the heat, your hair is probably going to do strange things in Belize).
- Travel-sized hair dryer (If you need a hairdryer and you’re not staying in a typical hotel, you’ll want to bring one. If you’re heading out for long-term travel, get a travel-sized one. Otherwise, save money and just pack your regular hair dryer).
- Full Sized Travel Towel. Most bloggers I know hate their microfibre travel towels, but I opted for a big, beautiful microfibre towel that’s perfect for the beach or a hostel. Seriously, no one loves their travel towel as much as I do. The fun stripes also make it perfect for enjoying a beach trip without feeling like you’re using a travel towel.
- Dry Shampoo
- Hair products specific to your hair type
- Sunscreen – sunscreen is crazy expensive in Belize compared to other countries. If you can bring some with you, then do. If you’re flying carry-on only, then at least grab a travel sized to get through your first day before getting to a store.
- Mosquito Repellant – this is critical. If you’re traveling carry-on only, bring a travel sized thing of bug spray so that you can get through the first night before you can get to the store. If you’re checking a bag, I would bring all the mosquito repellant that you’ll want for at least a week or two. It’s really expensive in Belize, and this way you can save some money.
- Baby Oil – for sand flies
- Tissues, Toilet Paper, or Kleenex
- Travel Sized Hand Sanitizer
- Moisturizer and Night Cream (travel is brutal on your skin)
- Makeup removing towelettes
- Eye Care (contacts, glasses, prescription sunglasses if needed. If at all possible, bring disposable contact lenses for diving and snorkeling if you typically wear glasses).
- Shaving Cream (optional)
- Nair or Veet (for when I get lazy)
- Nail File
- Nail Clippers
- Tweezers (2 pairs. One for my makeup kit and one for my toiletries kit).
- Laundry Detergent Powder (I like to have enough for 3-4 loads of laundry. If I’m traveling longer than this, I can always get more on the road).
- Something to deal with that special time of the month. If you have to deal with a period on the road, pack whatever you need depending on your preferences.
- Seabands if you get motion sickness (golf carts and boats are rough)!
Over the counter medication from pharmacies is pretty easy to find, so you don’t need to lug around everything you could possibly need. Just make sure to bring a few basic items.
A basic medicine kit will include:
- Your personal prescriptions, medications, contraception needs, and regular vitamins.
- Anything you take weekly (for me this would be things like antacids).
- Your OTC Painkiller of choice.
- After Bite for mosquito bites (even being extremely careful, you may end up with some if you have to go somewhere at dusk).
- Bandaids (After accidentally stabbing my thumb with my own razor in the Lisbon airport and having to pretend like I wasn’t bleeding to death while eating a steak, I vow to never leave home without band-aids).
- Travel-sized Vaseline (Always, always, always pack Vaseline).
- If you anticipate sleep issues from any time changes, I love having melatonin with me on every trip.
Anything else that comes up, you can easily get at a pharmacy in Belize. Just be prepared that certain OTC items might cost more than you’d expect.
Technology & Accessories
These are the items I travel with as a travel blogger. For you, some of these items might be overkill.
- Laptop (I use a MacBook Air)
- Laptop Charger
- Laptop Cover (I have a navy blue one similar to this)
- Smart Phone (I used my Apple iPhone 6s Plus for my trip to Belize, but I’ve switched to a Samsung8. I also had anApple iPhone 7 Plus in the middle, but I prefer Samsung now).
- Phone Cover (An OtterBox is basically like carrying your phone around in a pillow)
- Phone Charger (I used this phone charging cable for my iPhone)
- Backup Charging Bank
- DSLR (I use my Nikon D810) (If you want something lighter, my business partner prefers the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digitial Camera)
- Spare Camera Batter (I use this spare Nikon Battery that goes with my camera)
- Camera Battery Charger (This is the one that goes with my Nikon)
- SD Cards (I recommend having a primary and a backup.)
- Dropbox Account for Backing Up Photos
- Two Universal Outlet Adapters with USB Ports (only if your electronics aren’t the Type A and B plugs common in North America. If you’re coming from the US or Canada, you won’t need an outlet adapter).
- Kindle Paperwhite for reading without having to haul around books. This version is great for reading outside in glaring sunlight.
- Kindle Cover (Mine is like this one, but there are lots of options
- DJI Osmo Cell Phone Gimbal for shooting video with your cell phone. I didn’t have it with me in Belize, but I travel with one now and I love it. (Not for everyone, obviously, but if you want to make videos on your trip, this gimbal changed my life).
- Go Pro for underwater and action photography. I was able to rent one while I was there, but they only had one available. I was super lucky. If I was going back, I’d make sure to bring one with me and not chance it. Especially important for diving and snorkeling.
- Your Passport & either quick access to a soft copy or a couple of hard copies.
- Passport Holder I didn’t have a waterproof one, but FYI if your passport gets water damage, you can be stopped from leaving. I saw this happen to a couple at the airport. Never let your passport get wet. If you’re worried about it, get a waterproof passport holder.
- Your Driver’s License (If you plan on renting a car or golf cart)
- Your Travel Insurance Policy Information: I never leave home without travel insurance. You just never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into on the road. I’ve had several broken phones, a nearly stolen wallet, car rental accidents, etc. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. I always get the higher level so that I have coverage for more of my technology in case anything gets lost or stolen. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any snorkeling or scuba diving. Have your travel insurance available in a soft copy, and forward your policy info to your primary emergency contact.
- Credit & ATM Cards (make sure to call your banks to let them know you’re traveling if they require it). Never travel with only one account or one card. You never know what can happen on the road. Many places in the resort towns take cards, but you’ll also need to have access to cash.
- Scruba Certification if going to scuba dive.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’re going to be doing any water sports, like scuba diving, sailing, or snorkeling, or if you’re going to do anything in the jungle or visit any ancient ruins.
- The Lonely Planet Belize which is available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition. (While you all know I’m a Rick Steves stan, he doesn’t have a guide to Belize).
- Belize: A Novel is a historical novel about the history of the country and takes place in almost every corner of Belize.
- Beka Lamp is a poignant novel about a young Belizean girl growing up during the British Colonial era.
- The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird tells the story of Sharon Matola, who launched one of the most successful campaigns to save Central American wildlife from her zoo in Belize.
- Google Translate
- Google Maps (Download the maps for the country it will be available offline).
- Skype (Great for calling to get your bank cards unblocked)
- Facebook Messenger (This is ninety percent of how I communicate these days).
- Instagram (Because aren’t we all basic at heart?)
- Adobe Lightroom for Desktop & Lightroom Mobile for your Smart Phone for photo editing
- Snapseed for the photo editing features that Lightroom doesn’t have when on mobile
- Podcast Addict or other Podcatcher (Looking for travel podcasts to inspire you? These are my favorite travel podcasts).
- Dropbox Mobile for backing up cell phone photos
- Uber for getting around in Kiev
- The mobile apps for any airlines you’re using
- TripIt for organizing flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets.
What to Pack for Staying in Hostels
Hostel life can definitely save you money, especially in some of the pricier areas, but you’ll need a few more things with you.
- Flip-flops or shower shoes. I can’t imagine going to Belize without flip-flops, but it’s extra important if you’re in hostels.
- Full Sized Travel Towel. This is the best travel towel in the world, and you’ll need it if you are staying in hostels where you have to bring your own towel.
- A lock for your stuff.
- Sleep Mask and Earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.
More about Traveling in Belize
- 7 Ridiculously Fun Things to Do in San Pedro, Belize
- Belize City to San Pedro: How to Get from the Airport to Ambergris Caye & Back
- Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- How to Visit Secret Beach on Ambergris Caye
Have you been to Belize or are you planning an upcoming trip? Leave your best tips for a Belize packing list and any questions about what to pack for Belize below!
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