Macal River

Family Packing Guide for Belize

June 20, 2021millionmilermom

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Planning a family trip to Belize and unsure of what to pack? Read below for a comprehensive list of what to pack for a family vacation to Belize.

If you plan to horseback ride, long pants are recommended.

Clothing & Accessories

Belize has a hot and humid climate. Even in the wee hours of the day, there is still a warmth in the air. You can easily pack light and do laundry to minimize your luggage:

  • Lightweight, quick dry clothes are ideal for the entire family. Not only will they help with keeping you cool but they will also dry quickly if you get wet from an unexpected rain shower. The ability to wash and hang dry clothes in our room is another plus.
  • For everyone: a few pairs of lightweight shorts and at least one pair of lightweight pants are necessary. You will find yourself in shorts most of the time but some activities, such as horseback riding, are more comfortable with longer pants. Also, for anyone susceptible to bug bites, pants are an easy way to keep them off your skin.
  • For women: bring with a few casual dresses that work for daytime and evening. I found a great black romper from Old Navy that I could wear with flip flops during the day and with nicer sandals and jewelry as something dressier. Also, I found sports bras much more comfortable that a regular bra in the humidity. One more tip: consider wearing a tankini top as a top/bra. I love the tops from Jessica Rey swimwear.
  • For shirts, a mix of lightweight tank tops, short sleeve and long sleeve will fit the bill for various activities. Anything with SPF built-in is a huge plus!
  • Socks and underwear – I usually pack for 7 days and do laundry if our trip is longer.
  • We usually bring 2-3 swimsuits per person if we know we will be swimming at least once per day so we have an extra pair while the most recently used one is drying.
  • Bring a hat and sunglasses for each family member.
  • Masks are still required in Belize and not wearing one in public can carry a $500 USD fine. If you use a surgical mask, bring a few as the humidity will make them pretty gross quickly.
Whether you’re canoeing, tubing or just hanging on the beach, sturdy water shoes are key!


We try to minimize the number of shoes we bring when we travel and try to stick to these categories:

  • Sturdy walking shoe – something good for hikes and active day trips. Sometimes makes sense to wear this pair on the plane to minimize luggage.
  • Water shoe – a study water shoe is essential for Belize as there are several active watersport opportunities and also some rocky shorelines on the rivers. Our family loves the Keen brand (look on Facebook Marketplace and Mercari for gently used kid’s pairs). Mine are from Lands End and are still in great shape after almost a decade!
  • Flip flop – I am a big fan of having a lightweight flip flop for around the hotel, walking to the pool or beach and as an extra casual shoe you can easily throw in your bag for a day trip. I love Havaianas or the basic ones from Old Navy.
  • Nicer shoe – if you will have any nicer meals or days you want to look a bit more put together, try throwing in a nicer shoe like this to instantly dress-up an outfit.


  • Sunscreen – ensure it is a reef-safe option if you’ll be in the ocean
  • Insect repellant – if you prefer an option without DEET, check out BuzzPatch. They are little stickers infused with essential oils that you stick onto clothing. After a few days of testing, we feel like they actually did work! I used about 2-3 each time I put them on the kids.
  • Hair care items, facial/skincare items
  • Small first-aid kit with items like cortisone (for any insect bites), aloe vera (for any sunburn)
BuzzPatch legit worked on repelling mosquitoes. We loved having a non-DEET option for the kids.


I try to keep my tech as simple as possible when I travel to avoid carrying around so many items of value. My must-haves are:

  • Mobile phone with charger
  • Portable speaker and/or ear buds for music
  • iPads for the kids for entertainment
  • Streaming device (unless you know the hotel has a Smart TV)

If we have room and a safe place to keep stuff while we’re out and about, I will also bring:

Other Items

On my random item list for Belize are:

  • US Dollars – acceptable alongside the Belizean dollar, although you will get change in Belizean dollar. Try to have a mix of small and large bills. I made sure to have twenty dollar bills to use for guides ($20-40 depending on length of tour), $10 bills for transfers and shorter tours and then a bunch of $1s and $5s.
  • Wet bag – we always bring a wet bag with and Belize was no exception. We used it while we canoed down the Macal River and again when we did a day trip to Thatch Caye.
  • Carabiners – we find these to be a useful utility item for various scenarios.
  • Reusable water bottles – to fill up with filtered water
  • Entertainment – items like a journal, coloring book, books, magazines, etc.

Have any questions or any other items to pack for a trip to Belize? Leave a comment below.

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