Welcome to Belize! Now what?!
When it comes to getting around Belize, you have plenty of options. It really just comes down to what your priorities are. Do you want ease or adventure? Convenience or budget friendly?
Here are the travel options we have used to get around Belize, and a few we haven’t.
From the Airport
The first issue you will need to address is what to do when you first land in Belize at the Philip S Goldson International Airport. As with most airports there will be drivers with cars waiting to take freshly landed tourists where they need to go.
The standard price for a car from the airport to Belize City is $25 US dollars no matter who you go with. If you have four or more people, you may have to pay a little more.
For trips into Belize City or to the Water Taxi, you will likely not have any trouble just hiring a car at the airport once you’ve landed and grabbed your bags. If you are the kind of person that likes to have things arranged in advance, make a reservation with an airport transfer service when you are planning your vacation.
Staying in Placencia? Hopkins? Airport transfers or shuttles can be reserved to take your group anywhere you want to go. Hire a car to take you and your group straight there. This is going to be a slightly more spendy option but not as expensive as in-country flights, and it will take a lot of the stress out of travel. Think air conditioning!
Hire Personal Transportation
Most transfer and shuttle companies provide service city to city, not just from the airport. Again, this can be a slightly pricier option but there are benefits that make it well worth it.
This is the way to go if you want private transportation, if you want to make stops for food or points of interest along the way, or if you’ll just feel better having your arrangements secured in advance with someone in country looking out for you.
These guys can even help you make arrangements to cross the border if you want to extend your trip into Guatemala or Mexico.
We highly recommend this Belize shuttle and airport transfer company. We know these guys personally. They are really good people and are from Belize, so not only do they know all the best stops and inside information, you get to enjoy that captivating Caribbean accent during your trip.
Around towns, watch for the cars with the green license plates and flag one down. Just tell them where you’re going and ask how much. Agree on the price ahead of time before you get in. Around town is usually in the neighborhood of $5 US dollars.
Being Belize, most of the drivers speak English. That being said, this is not always the case.
Safety Tip: Use Google offline maps on your phone to track your location. This can be useful not only for tracking your location but we have used it a couple times to show our driver where we were headed and make sure they took us to the right place.
On one stay in San Ignacio, we hailed a taxi to take us to our Airbnb. He made like he knew what we were talking about, but once we were in the car and down the road a little ways it became apparent that he had no idea where we wanted to go. Our Spanish is no bueno and his English was about the same… thank God for offline Google maps. Even with the language barrier, we were able to show him where we were going. Google maps saved our asses, once again.
We’ve used the ADO bus line a couple times… Cancun to Tulum, Tulum to Belize City, Flores (Guatemala) to Belize City, Belize City to Cancun. The tickets are cheap, although a bit of a hassle to get because you can’t get them online. To purchase tickets you have to find a vendor in country. The buses are usually air-conditioned and have small but decent restrooms onboard.
The night bus from Belize City to Cancun is really not that bad, except for the two hours in the middle of the night at the Mexico-Belize border crossing.
We’ve taken the express bus from Belize City to San Ignacio a couple of times. At only $10 US, if you are on a budget, this is your way to go.
Go to the bus station in Belize City. Tell the attendant where you are wanting to go and he will tell you which bus to watch for and where to wait. The buses are marked with their destinations and also marked if it is an express bus. Just pay attention and make sure you get on the right bus. You pay for your ticket in cash after you board. An attendant will come through collecting money for the bus fare. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to buy a coconut tart for your trip.
Use the bathrooms there at the station before you board, there are no bathroom breaks along the way. And don’t forget your $1 coin toilet paper fee… always remember to carry extra coins for the public bathrooms!
Rent a Car
This is our favorite way to get around Belize. If you can handle the crazy driving habits of those you will be sharing the road with, this is the method of getting around that will give you the most freedom to see the country on your own terms.
We wrote a post on Everything You Need to Know For Your Belize Road Trip.
For more, you might also like Cost of 10 Days in Belize including a Private Island!
Whatever method of travel you choose,
just be sure to slow down and enjoy it! We love Belize, it is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Take the time to really soak up something new, strike up conversations and meet new people.
Until next time… Life is too short to stay in one place. Be adventurous, and enjoy safe travels!
UPDATE: Our most recent trip to Central America included renting a car in Mexico and crossing the the Mexico Belize border.