By October, the weather in Belize is cooling down. Temperatures on the coast top out around 82°F (27°C) while inland reaches about 84°F (28°C). The trade-off, however, is that rains typically hit Belize hard during this month. October sees the most rain, with an average of 10 inches. Plus, there are frequent storms, which can last a couple of days or more. Add to that the fact that August is hurricane season and these factors can mean rain-outs for nature tours, hikes, and excursions.
In particular, the wet weather makes it difficult to find catamaran trips running to the outer atolls along the Belize Barrier Reef. Also, inland cave tours, which are popular active excursions, can be closed during this month due to flooding. And if you do decide to take a riverboat trip or visit Mayan ruins, know that rain will likely hamper the day. All of that aside, there's enough decent weather during October that your vacation shouldn't be a total wash-out.
Crowds & Costs
October is one of the most sparsely visited months on Belize's calendar. That means savvy travelers who come during this off-season can reap the benefits in the form of lower rates on tours and hotels. It's possible to save $100 or more on even luxury hotels, plus there are many discount packages for honeymooners and families that expire before the high season starts. Another benefit is that you can visit popular attractions, like Maya archeological sites, without having to contend with massive crowds.
Where to Go
Speaking of Maya ruins, Altun Ha is located a mere hour north of the capital of Belize City. This is one of the country's most popular ruins, as it covers a large area (three sq. miles) and features two plazas, impressive pyramids, and even ancient ball courts. Visitors can hike to the top of the largest pyramid, the Temple of the Sun God, which stands 53 feet (16 m).
Near Altun Ha is the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected wetland home to exotic water birds like herons and storks. It's easy to combine a trip to the ruins with Crooked Tree on a single day trip. Also nearby is the Moho River, which is a popular destination for wildlife tours by kayak.
Water visibility is still good in October, so you'll want to take advantage of Belize's Barrier Reef. There are many marine reserves here. South Water Caye is actually the second-largest such reserve in Belize, covering an area of 117,875 acres (47,700 hectares). Within it is an island of the same name, around which are patch reefs and atolls perfect for diving.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
For all the talk of Belize's drizzly October weather, it does offer noticeable benefits. Namely, the blooming flowers and tree fruit bring out exotic animals. They're so active, in fact, that October marks the annual birding festival. This is a great time of year to come out and spot some of Belize's over 580 species, which include toucans, macaws, egrets, herons, motmots, red-footed boobies, and more.
In general, wildlife excursions are great in October. Travel down the Moho and New rivers, for example, and you'll see exotic birds and animals like howler monkeys, iguanas, kinkajous, and crocodiles. Or stay in an eco-lodge in Mayflower Bocawina National Park, in the Southern Maya Mountains, and hike around waterfalls. There are also various adventure activities, such as zip-lining, hiking, and rappelling.
Activities at sea include swimming with nurse sharks and rays at Shark Ray Alley, located in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest island. Weather permitting you can visit the tiny island of Tobacco Caye, located right on the reef. Spend your time above the water on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, below it on a snorkeling trip, or lazing on the beach in a hammock.
Events in October
Belize Birding Festival. Each October on various days, the Belize Audubon Society organizes a birding festival. It includes a variety of activities around birding hotspots in the country, such as San Ignacio. These include birding tours, urban walks, vendor exhibits, birding ID competitions, and raffles.
Pan American Day (October 12). Formerly Columbus Day, it's now a celebration of indigenous Maya culture with parades, street fairs, concerts, and more.
Traveling to Belize in October? Check out these great itineraries
Rainforest & Reef Exploration - 7 Days. Take advantage of the abundant wildlife in October with this trip to both the inland rainforests and marine reserves of Belize. Enjoy adventures such as birding, hiking, zip-lining, and more at Bocawina National Park. Then head to the Southern Barrier Reef for snorkeling and water sports around the gorgeous islet Tobacco Caye.
Belize Wildlife, Mayan Ruins, & Reef Tour - 9 Days. Nine days in Belize allows for more in-depth explorations of the country's wildlife, ruins, and reef. Tour the ruins at Lamanai, which is the second-largest Maya archeological site in the country. After a boat trip down the New River to spot wildlife, you'll head to Lighthouse Reef Atoll for snorkeling and diving excursions.