How much time do you have? I've 10 or 11 weeks total in Belize and have barely scratched the surface. Just figure anything you don't fit in this trip is just an excuse to return.
For most 1st timers, splitting between an inland stop (often the San Ignacio area) and a beachy place (Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia are probably the most popular) is a good way to fit everything in. Happy planning!
PS I wouldn't consider Dangriga as a base, personally. We liked Placencia but it's not the best base for visits to Maya sites, caving, or snorkeling/diving (since the reef is so far out). Just my 2 cents' worth...
I second the suggestion to split your trip between beach and mainland, but if not, either Placencia or Hopkins, which is only 10 miles from the reef
For access to the reef, I'd stay on either Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Which one you choose will depend on budgets and whether you prefer lots of shops, restaurants, nightlife (AC), or a lower budget, quieter village atmosphere (CC).
For access to inland activities, I'd stay in or near San Ignacio. You could find a hotel in town, or choose one of the jungle lodges.
Good luck keeping 10+ people happy!
With 10 guests, chartering a big catamaran starts working out pretty favorably compared to nicer shore side accommodations.
And, you get to move your "hotel" wherever you want it. Start in northern Belize and work your way south...island hopping all the way down.
Would suggest combination of San Ignacio and either Ambergris or Caulker Caye. We also stayed in Placencia in between but after seeing the beaches and water in the Cayes the beach in Placencia was not as beautiful. Dangriga was not recommended as a top place to stay on a first visit (at least to us).
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