Being in Belize, for us, was like a short trip back to Jamaica. In both countries, English and patois are spoken, reggae is played everywhere, people are laid-back, many of them smoking marijuana, the Chinese run all the supermarkets, and the local street vendors have a hit-and-miss selection of fruits and vegetables.
We crossed almost the whole of Belize coming from Mexico and heading to Guatemala. Travelling was affordable using former US school buses, but slow. On our way from Mexican border to Placencia, the transmission broke down, and so we were waiting in the middle of nowhere for another bus to come for rescue. The whole trip, less than 300 km (200 miles), took over twelve hours.
Buses can be a hassle when travelling with big backpacks as one has to keep an eye on them. The bags are loaded either in a trunk or if there is none, at the back of the bus. The bus assistants offered our bag to one of the passengers who was hopping off but we noticed it and grabbed the bag. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to try and get a back seat to guard the luggage at all times but buses are often so full that this is not possible.
We stopped in Placencia which is a beautiful and peaceful beach village although very touristy with lots of guest houses and hotels, and in San Ignacio which is another peaceful village without beach, near the Guatemalan border.
What we enjoyed most, in addition to the chilled out atmosphere, was the fact that tap water is potable in cities. It was also nice to speak English, and unlike in Jamaica, all people speak English to foreigners instead of patois which is pretty incomprehensible.
Please note that while entering Belize doesn’t require buying a tourist card like in Mexico, there is an expensive departure tax of 20 USD/person when leaving the country. After having to pay that, it might be that the first visit will also be the last, unless you want to stay in the country for a long time. Visa extensions in Belize do not require exiting the country.