Our first destination of call during our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Christmas was to Belize.  After exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, Belize has been on my wish list for quite some time and unfortunately I’d only get a taste of this un”belize”able place (as the tour operators rightly called Belize). But a taste was enough to whet my appetite and understand why so many tourists are flocking to the amazing English-speaking cayes (small islands) off the coast of Belize.

Belize Barrier Reef

The majestic blue-green hues of the Belize Barrier Reef were stunning.

By far the largest attraction in Belize is her beautiful, vibrant barrier reef. Belize boasts 190 miles (300 kilometers) of the 560-mile long (900 kilometers) of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest barrier reef in the world spanning from Cancun on the northeast tip through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras. Most people come to Belize to enjoy the diverse scuba-diving and snorkeling activities afforded by the reef, however, there are many other fabulous things to do and see in Belize.  Belize hosts her own share of noteworthy Mayan ruins, adventure sports and amazing wildlife.

Our cruise line had many amazing excursions in Belize but given the ages and interests of our kids, we wanted to do something we would all enjoy. Of course, I love anything adventurous. I would have loved to take the 8-hour tour of the Mayan ruins but snorkeling also strongly fit the bill of being adventurous.  We signed up for a four-hour tour that included a ride on a semi-submerged submarine through the barrier reef followed by a beach day on our own tiny little private island called “Rendezvous Caye”.

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas

Since Belize City does not have a port large enough to handle cruise ships, we had to tender. Here is our ship in the distance. It is huge!

The only downfall of taking a cruise into Belize is that Belize City does not currently have a port large enough to handle cruise ships meaning you have to tender. Getting 3,600 people off the ship into tenders takes a very long time and was a pain. Thankfully Belize is investing millions of dollars into the expansion of their port and hopefully will soon be able to eliminate the annoying tendering process. Since we were going on an excursion, we experienced less waiting time to get off the ship. But little did we know our day in Belize would require taking six separate boat rides!

Our first ride was on a tender that would take us forty minutes away from the ship to our semi-submerged submarine ride. It was a gorgeous day with bright blue skies that bounced off the aquamarine waters of the sea. The temperature was a perfect 84 degrees and we were all smiles. My children had never before seen such gorgeous blue-green water and were mesmerized by the beauty.


My daughter Sophia and her cousin Hanna watch the ocean.


Sophia watching us pass a fisherman’s care.

Although the skies were clear and bright, the wind conditions were stirring up the water beneath. Our hour and a half spent on the semi-submerged submarine (which required an additional boat to reach after the tender) was an enormous disappointment. We could hardly see a thing. Thankfully the best part of our day awaited us. Our trip to the Rendezvous Caye.

Inside the semi-submerged submarine you could hardly see a thing! Here is my son Max.

Inside the semi-submerged submarine you could hardly see a thing! Here is my son Max.

We boarded a small boat that ferried us over to tiny, private Rendezous Caye. In the distance, the caye was so small it looked like a mirage. I have never been on such a small island in my life!

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Off in the distance lies the Rendezvous Caye, Belize.

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

The gorgeous pure white sand of the Rendezvous Caye, Belize.

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

I could have stayed here all day long!

Rendezvous Caye, BelizeSadly, by the time we reached the caye we only had a little over an hour to enjoy before our long process back to the ship. I could have stayed the entire day on this little island, snorkeling, bathing in the sea and drinking the local beer.

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

First thing’s first. Had to try the local beer. It was delicious!

Snorkeling gear was provided and it was time for my children to learn something new. We didn’t have much time in the water but it was amazing.

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Max’s first time snorkeling. And he is now addicted!

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

My nephew found a giant coconut which was fun.

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

And my daughter Sophia finally lost that wiggly tooth!

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

We even got to see a live starfish.

And play in the sand….

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

But then just like that, it was time to leave. So sad!!!!

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Rendezvous Caye, Belize

Tiny Rendezvous Caye, Belize.

We got back to the ship around 2:30 pm and were all starving. After a quick lunch, we boarded the tender to head into Belize City. I had read that there was really nothing at all to see or do there and I was right. The port was extremely small and outside of the port  had very little to offer, especially for young children. At least we got our souvenirs! And for me, a huge urge to go back and experience more of un’belize”able Belize.


Related posts:

Snorkeling Rendezvous Caye in Belize is Spectacular via TropicalSnorkeling.com


      1. Ah yes, another wonderful place! I spent a couple of weeks there anchored in the little harbour on my partner’s sailing boat, visiting friends who have a home there (the only downside was the presence of the deadly mosquitoes!) Well, this could go on and on…

  1. It’s disgusting what they’ve done to this island. It used to be so nice until the cruise ship invested money in it for tourists to enjoy. Stair rails into and out of the sea? Really? It’s Just sad…

    1. I agree that cruise ships have done a lot of bad to places as well. They aren’t good for the environment. The only thing that they have helped with however is brought money into places which does help the economy. I read that tourism is one of the biggest money makers for Belize. With building the new port that will accommodate more ships, that will bring more ships in and more people thus ruining the tranquility of the place. Yet it will also bring in revenue for the economy. It is definitely a mixed bag. But I do think so far Belize has been lucky as without the port it isn’t as crazy as a lot of other places that cruises go to in the Caribbean. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Nicole, you have GOT to go back to Belize — it is so lovely and easy to visit! I spent two weeks in Caye Caulker back in 1981 (yeah, I’m that old)– and it’s about the most laid-back, sweet, relaxing, gorgeous, ocean-oriented place I’ve ever been! I know CC and neighboring Ambergris Caye have gone thru a lot of development since then, but I also have heard that they are still really about as pristine as what you experienced!
    So happy you got to fall in love with it just a bit of it , too… but I’m worried that the cruise-domination glut of tourists will ruin what’s so truly great about Belize — which is its pristine beauty!!! Please write me if you want any recommends when you go back … Happy Trails!

    1. I really really want to go to the Cayes in Belize. I went to Roatan last year and I heard it is somewhat like it but the Cayes of Belize are less developed. I loved it. Would love to do a family vacation there. Yes cruises have a lot of downfalls to them. I agree but at least the cruise doesn’t go near the Cayes.

  3. The pics make me long for a long white beach and warm sun. Instead I get snow and bitter temps lol One of these days I am going to drop everything and go someplace like this. 🙂

  4. What a beautiful place! I’m with you.That little island would have been hard to leave. Thanks for the useful info if we ever go there. We will definitely look into a trip to Belize. But not via cruise ship. I want to go to one of those places and STAY THERE. Your photos convinced me!

  5. Three years ago we had planned a trip that started with a 10-day Mexican ruins trip, then we were jumping off this tour at Cancun and heading to Belize, then on to Guatemala. Unfortunately while in Playa del Carmen I received an email that my dear friend Barbara was admitted to the hospital and wanted expected to live long. We had to head back to AZ but hope to take that trip again someday. It looks like the kids loved snorkeling.

    1. I remember hearing that story LuAnn. How tragic but also so wonderful you could also be there to see your friend before she passed away. That would be a really tough situation especially to hear such news while on vacation. My nephew unexpectedly passed away several years ago while I was in Australia. It was terrible and I wasn’t able to make it back.
      As for the trip, it was wonderful. I’m so glad we decided to go despite the fact that it was originally supposed to be a huge family cruise with my parents. They insisted we went and we did have a really wonderful time. I’m very close to my sister and family so my sister and I skyped my parents every day from the cruise and they loved it. 🙂

      1. That is a great story Nicole. Your parents were definitely there with you in spirit. Like you with your nephew, I did not make it back in time to see my friend. I was about 30 minutes from Sedona when I got the phone call that she had passed. I feel very fortunate that she and I had many intimate moments together when we discussed her illness and impending death, and how we both felt about each other.

    1. Oh….Belize is a must! I was in Roatan last year and did a bit of snorkeling there (I volunteered in the mainland and then spent a few days relaxing). It is the same large reef system. I would love to go back and get certified there and swim with the whale sharks! Someday!

  6. Stunning! The colour of the water just doesn’t look real! 🙂 I can definitely understand why you want to go back. I’ve only driven through Belize on my way to Mexico from Guatemala. The changes once you step over the border are quite amazing, the different culture, the language.

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