Belize Transportation - Ground and Boat Transfers

Belize Ground and Boat Transfers

Private Ground Transfers:   A private ground transfer is often the most practical way to reach most jungle lodges in the Cayo and Orange Walk Districts of Belize.  Expect about a 2-3 hour drive, depending on exact location.  (Note:  the drive to Chan Chich Lodge in the Orange Walk District is about 5 hours, so private air charter is the way most people get to and from Chan Chich Lodge.)  Drivers are good, and will explain the various sites you see along the way. 

Private ground transfers are also available for resorts and lodges in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts.  However, flying to Dangriga, Placencia or Punta Gorda is actually the most economical way to travel from Belize City or Belize International unless you are traveling with 4 or more people in your group.  Plus, you'll save a lot of time by flying.  (Flight times from Belize International to (i) Dangriga 15 minutes, (ii) Placencia, 30 minutes, (iii) Punta Gorda, 60 minutes.  Drive time fromm Belize International to (i) Dangriga, 3 hours, (ii) Placencia, 4 hours, (iii) Punta Gorda, 5.5 hours.

Rental Cars:   Most car rental agencies are located in Belize City, with all the international car rental companies based out of Belize City, such as Thrifty, Budget, Avis and Hertz.  Local car rental agencies operating out of Belize City include Crystal, Buy Belize, Discount Car Rental, Euphrates Auto Rental, Flames Auto World Rental, Jabiru Auto Rental, Jag's Car Rental, Kia Rent A Car, Motor Solutions, Nexgen Auto Rental, Pancho's Auto Rental, Safari Rental, Safe Tours Belize, Tour Belize, Varela's Auto Rental and Vista Auto Rentals.

Cars may also be rented in Cayo and in Placencia.

Rental cars in Belize are often older models with high mileage due to extremely high duty on car imports into Belize.  This will be true at local car rental companies as well as some international branches.  So, caveat emptor does apply to some extent - make sure your car rental company provides you with a cell phone and a number to call if you have problems.  Also, check out the car carefully, paying particular attention to the tires, radiator and oil. 

Also, we don't generally recommending renting a car -- at least not for your first trip to Belize.  Roads are not well lighted, can be very slick in the rain (especially on the Western Highway), Belize drivers have some local peculiarities (such as pulling to the right to let the cars behind past before making a left turn), and all roads in the country are used by both vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists - even at night.  Unfortunately, at night pedestrians and cyclists will almost assuredly not be wearing anything reflective and may have been drinking - a recipe for disaster on an unfamiliar road - especially at night.  Plus, if you drive on your first trip, you'll miss the insights that a driver will give you about the country and what you're seeing. 

Boat Transfers:   Of course, ground transfers won't work for the islands, so you'll need to either fly or take a boat to the island destinations of Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye or the Turneffe Atoll resorts.  For other small islands such as Thatch Caye, Whipray Caye, French Louie Caye and Southwater Caye, you'll need to get to the mainland jumping off point for your island destination and then take a boat to the caye.   Unfortunately, regularly scheduled water taxi service to the islands is only available from Belize City to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.  It's not possible to take a water taxi from Belize City to Dangriga, Placencia or Punta Gorda.  Also, private boat transfers for these destinations aren't all that easily arranged. 

You can, however, travel to Livingston and Puerto Barrios, Guatemala by water taxi from Punta Gorda, and to Puerto Cortez, Honduras by boat from Placencia.  Also, the Hokey Pokey, a water taxi service between Placencia and Mango Creek/Independence/Big Creek, runs about every two hours.

Shuttle Services:  Belize has no regularly scheduled shuttle bus services except for a few runs generally in the western part of the country that service commuters into Belmopan or San Ignacio.  So, no shuttles between the Belize International Airport or Belize City, San Igancio, Belmopan, Dangriga, Placencia, etc. (Note:  there are services that are called shuttle services, but these services are usually shared rides that are scheduled as needed.)

Taxis:  You can find a taxi to take you anywhere in Belize.  But, if you're going far, pay attention to the condition of the taxi - and the driver.  And, make sure to settle on the fare ahead of time.  Also, all licensed taxis have green license plates.  Taxi fare between Belize International and Belize City will be approximately US$25 one-way for 1-4 people (not including tip).  If you're going directly to San Pedro or Caye Caulker when you arrive in Belize and plan to fly, fly directly from Belize International.  It used to be less expensive if you had kids under 11 years old to take a taxi to Belize City Municipal and fly from there to San Pedro or Caye Caulker, but no more.

Public Buses:  Public buses in Belize are mostly old Bluebird school buses from the US.  They're usually not in great mechanical shape and you may have to stand (even though standing is not allowed under Belize law).  Bus travel also isn't the fastest way to get around in Belize.  However, if you have the time, not only are the buses cheap, but they're a great way to learn about Belize's many cultures, and to meet people -- and make a few friends along the way.