Getting Around Belize

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Getting Around Belize

Belize is a fairly small country, and transportation between most destinations is rarely long and tedious.

By Plane

Tropic Air and Maya Island Air both have multiple flights daily to various towns around the country and to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. They fly out of both of Belize City's airports, but flights from Belize City Airport (IATA: TZA) are often significantly cheaper than those out of Phillip Goldson International (IATA: BZE). Domestic flights are generally pretty reasonable, and thus popular if your time is limited and budget is not. Flights are operated with planes ranging from 8 to 68 seats. Because of the limited capacity, booking in advance is advisable. For bookings from outside Belize, there is only one internet agent, airviva, who can make bookings, take payment (credit/debit cards/Paypal) and then send e-tickets. Some hotels do also offer to make the flight reservation on your behalf.

By Bus

Several competing buslines operate on the main road in the north-south direction from Punta Gorda to Belmopan and Belize City. There are bus stations in the main towns, or simply stand on the side of the highway and wave at an approaching bus. Most buses have a conductor in addition to the driver, who stands by the door and will come to your seat to collect the fare at some point during the trip. Fares run anywhere from BZ$2-25 depending on distance traveled.

Express buses can save up to an hour and a half (depending on the distance of your trip); they do not stop for passengers waiting on the roadside, making only scheduled pick-ups and drop-offs in towns.

Most buses in Belize are retired US school buses (Bluebirds), that have been given a slight makeover, a luggage rack installed, and sometimes a new paint job. They generally aren't too crowded, but you may have to stand occasionally.

Children selling snacks and soft drinks often board the buses at stops, and this is an inexpensive way to have a snack if you've exhausted what you've brought along or just want to try some home-made travel foods.

By Water Taxi

For those wanting a truly Belizean experience, take the water taxis from city to city. The San Pedro Belize Express has the most daily runs and departs from the Brown Sugar Terminal in Belize City at 9AM, 11AM, 12:00 noon, 1PM, 3PM, 4PM and 5:30PM to San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Departure from San Pedro Town pier on Black Coral Street next to Wahoo's Bar and Grill and leaves at 7AM, 8:30AM, 10AM, 11:30AM, 12:30PM, 2:30PM, 4:30PM to Caye Caulker and Belize City as well as a last boat to Caye Caulker only at 6PM.

There are boats departing from Caye Caulker to both Belize City and San Pedro Town and they leave from the pier in front of the Basket Ball Court. Caye Caulker to Belize City: 7:30AM, 9AM, 10:30AM, 12:00 noon, 1PM, 3PM, 5PM and Caye Caulker to San Pedro: 7AM (Connection to Chetumal), 9:45AM, 11:45PM, 12:45AM, 1:45PM, 3:45PM, 4:45PM and last boat 6:15PM.

Chetumal Runs are available from Caye Caulker at 7AM and from San Pedro at 7:30AM.

Traveling from Chetumal to Belize, the boat leaves the Municipal Pier at 3:30PM en route to San Pedro (90 min) and Caye Caulker (120 min).

Rates: Belize City to San Pedro, San Pedro to Belize City: $30 Belize or $15 US (one way), $55 Belize or $27.50 US (round trip) Caye Caulker to San Pedro, Belize City to Caye Caulker: $20 Belize or $10 US (one way), $35 Belize or $17.50 US(round trip)

Car Hire

Of course, if you like to make our own itinerary when traveling around Belize, car hire is an option. There are several car hire companies based at the major airports for travelers convenience and some basic rules to remember are that the roads are bumpy - very bumpy - so a four wheel drive is the best choice. Lighting on minor roads is not great so stick to highways or day time driving. The main highways through Belize are the Northern Highway, beginning at the Mexican border, The Western Highway from Belize City to the border of Guatamala and the Hummingbird Highway which takes you to the Southern part of Belize. These will take you pretty much anywhere you need to be and are relatively well-maintaned roads. The Hummingbird Highway is the oldest, and roughest of the paved highways, and you will often experience potholes, stretches of gravel, and unmarked speed bumps along the way, especially in the mountains. Always use caution when entering the vicinity of towns and villages. The newest paved road is the Placencia turn-off, which is smooth and very well-marked all the way to the southernmost tip of the Placencia Peninsula.

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