Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It is on a small peninsula protruding into the Caribbean Sea. It was the capital city until flooding and other damage from a hurricane in 1961 prompted the government to relocate to Belmopan, closer to the geographic centre of the country.
1 Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE IATA), Belize City (about 30 minutes drive (15 km) northwest of Belize City centre in the village of Ladyville), ☏ , [email protected]. BZE is connected from the U.S. (American, Delta, United, and Southwest); from Central America (Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos. Guatemala city and Copa. Panama city) and from the surrounding regions of Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula and from Flores by Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. There are seasonal flights offered from Canada with Air Canada Rouge and Westjet. The best way to get to and from the city centre is by taxi. If going to San Ignacio see "By shuttle" in the below as there are shuttle companies based in San Ignacio that offer airport transfers to San Ignacio and to the surrounding areas in the Cayo District. Some may connect the airport to other places such as the water taxi terminals in Belize City or Placencia from the airport without going to San Ignacio. Ask. An airport bus service does exist, but it is very infrequent and unreliable.
By water taxis
- 3 Ocean Ferry Belize, 50 N Front St (Along Front Street at the northeast end of the Swing Bridge), ☏ , , . Connects Belize City to Caye Chapel, Caye Caulker and San Pedro
- 4 San Pedro Express (http://www.belizewatertaxi.com), 111 N Front St (behind a marketplace that is 250 m east along Front St from the Swing Bridge & the Ocean Ferry Belize Terminal), ☏ . Connects Belize City to Caye Caulker and San Pedro Town. They have a once daily connection from Caye Caulker and from San Pedro to Chetumal.
Buses from Santa Elena/Flores in Guatemala (2-3 hr) arrive at the San Pedro Express water taxi terminal at 111 N Front St while the ADO bus to Mexico are at the Novelo's bus terminal. See the below:
- 5 Mundo Maya Travels, Suite #26, Brown Sugar Market Place 90 Front St (250 m east along Front St from the Swing Bridge & the Ocean Ferry Belize Terminal.), ☏ . They sell tickets for onward travel to Guatemala by Fuente Del Norte (FDN) and San Juan Express. They may also sell tickets for Linea Dorada and ADN as well.
- 6 S & L Travel & Tours, 91 N Front St (Same building as Image Factory, Next to Spoonaz Coffee), ☏ . They offer tours to different places around the region as well shuttle transportation to Tikal, Flores and Cancun
- Grupo ADO, Novelos Bus Terminal @ W Collett Canal St. Once nightly departure to/from Cancun and Merida.
- 7 Various from Novelos Bus Terminal, Novelos Bus Terminal @ W Collett Canal St (W Collett Canal St and King St). Bus travel is a very common mode of transportation in Belize for going to work, shopping and other errands. Therefore, bus service along the main highways is frequent, usually hourly and sometimes half-hourly during peak travel times. For service to/from small rural towns off the main highway they can be less frequent to as little as 4 times or twice daily and no service on Sundays. Like the famous chicken buses in Guatemala, they operate former U.S. school buses, but they can also be in the older MCI (Motor Coach Industries) buses (intercity buses used by Greyhound and other companies in the U.S., usually for "express" services). They are usually not crowded, but they can be. The services provided are either "regular" which means they stop anywhere along the road to pick up and let off passengers and "express" with only scheduled stops in major towns.
- The Northern Zone (Belize City - Orange Walk - Corozal) Some continue north to Chetumal in Mexico from Orange Walk while others may deviate east or west from the Philip Goldson (Northern) Highway (main road) to other surrounding towns. They are: Albion’s, Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC), Cabrera’s, Chell’s, Frazer, Joshua’s, Morales, Tillett’s, T-Line and Valencia. Northbound buses depart from Belize City about every half hour from 05:30 to 19:30. Jex and Sons Bus provides bus service between Belize City and Crooked Tree.
- The Western Zone (Belize City - Belmopan - San Ignacio - Benque Viejo Del Carmen) They are: BBOC, D and E, Guerra’s Bus Service, Middleton’s, Shaw Bus Service and Westline. Westbound buses depart from Belize City between 05:00 and 21:00. Some may continue west from San Ignacio to the Guatemalan border at Melchor del Mencos but they do not cross into Guatemala. Others may continue north or south from Belmopan, San Ignacio, etc to reach other towns not on the Western Highway.
- Southern Zone (Belize City - Belmopan - Dangriga - Placencia - Punta Gorda) Buses to the Cayo and Stann Creek Districts to the south are: James Bus Line, G-Line Service, Ritchie’s Bus Service and Usher Bus Line. Buses authorized to operate in the rural areas of the Southern Zone are Chen Bus Line, Yascal Bus Line, Smith Bus Line, Richie Bus Line, Martinez Bus Line, Williams Bus Line, Radiance Ritchie Bus Line, and Polanco Bus Line.
The companies and drivers' unions don't have websites or published schedules. If they do, it's usually handwritten on a piece of paper or cardboard and taped to a wall or bus station window for all to see at the bus station. The buses do display the final destination or a list of major destinations served on the windshield.
Shuttles can pick you up at the airport, your hotel or from anywhere, and transfer you much quicker to almost anywhere in the country and with much more ease since they are door to door:
- Belize Ground Shuttle The only shared shuttle service in Belize with daily scheduled airport service. email: belizegroundshuttl[email protected]
- Ron's Belize Shuttle. Provides private shuttle service to destinations throughout Belize. email: [email protected]
- Nelson Diaz Transfer Service, Belize City, ☏ , [email protected]. Shuttle that can be done on your time to transfer at any resort or hotel.
- Teddy Bear Shuttle, (office) #17 San Ignacio Town, Cayo, ☏ , . Taxi service that can be found just behind the Belize Bank in the center of San Ignacio Town.
- Mayan Heart World, (office) 29 Burns Ave, San Ignacio Town, Cayo District. Offers private shuttle transfers from San Ignacio to destinations within San Ignacio Town, toward Belize's western border and to Flores or Tikal in Peten, Guatemala.
- Belize Shuttle Co, ☏ , toll-free: (US). Shuttles driven by Denfield Gomez, known locally as Denny.
- http://www.sanignacioshuttles.com/, (office) 22 Burns Ave, San Ignacio City, ☏ . Operated by Sergio Paiz, runs to all major shuttle destination in Belize.
- Williams Belize Shuttle, 26 Gorge Price Highway, ☏ , [email protected]. Airport transfer service, with door to door pick-up and drop off.
- BASS, ☏ . Airport shuttle service to Belize City, San Ignacio or any other destination in Belize.
Most of them are based in San Ignacio Town, east of Belize City in the Cayo District and wrote about connecting San Ignacio to the airport and other places in Belize. Therefore, you must ask them if they provide transportation originating in Belize City and going somewhere else if you don't plan to go to San Ignacio.
Use a taxi . If you want to get out of Belize City, use the taxi, bus, or even the little airplanes which take you to other destinations in Belize for less than US$100.
In Belize City, you will find plenty of local auto rental companies along with a couple of international ones. It's about US$70 per day to rent a car in Belize (as of 2021). If you stay for a longer time in Belize, you can get a discount on the rental. The auto rental companies can be spotted across the parking lot as you exit the Belize International Airport. They include Hertz, AQ Car Rental, Budget Rent-A-Car, Avis Car Rental, Jabiru Auto Rentals, and Dollar/Thrifty Rent-A-Car.
- 1 Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts, Southern Foreshore, Belize City, ☏ . The largest cultural centre in Belize, it also hosts the National Art Collection of Belize.
- Eco-museum Belize, Mile 14.5, Western Highway. A living museum of Belize tropical treasures. Here, they show you how Belizeans use and recycle natural resources in the construction and decoration of the museum. The museum is dedicated to show visitors the beauty of nature in harmony with the Belizean culture.
- 2 Government House. Once the residence of the British Governor General, this is now a "House of Culture" that is open for visitors.
- 3 Image Factory Art Foundation, 91 North Front St, Belize City, ☏ , [email protected]. M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 10:00-17:00. An independent gallery and cultural center with changing exhibitions and a small book shop. Probably the best place in Belize to learn about contemporary local art. Free parking across the street in secure parking lot.
- 4 The Museum of Belize (City centre, walking distance to water taxi terminals as well as the "Tourism Village"), ☏ . A former prison and now the national museum of Belize.
- 5 Old Belize, Mile 5 George Price Highway, Belize City, ☏ . Old Belize is a landmark attraction, offering a total Belize experience for locals and tourists. At its heart is the Old Belize Exhibit, a stirring, large as life, cultural and historical display taking visitors back in time to various defining segments of Belize’s past, with authentic relics from key periods, a haunting introductory teaser to the Mayan legacy in Belize, an eerie depiction of the Belize City of Colonial days, an intimate glimpse into 18th century logging camps, and more. Old Belize also features the only beach in Belize City, the Old Belize Marina, a full service restaurant, plus conference facilities and banquet hall. Old Belize is located at Mile 5 on the Western Highway, a BZ$10 (Belizean dollars) cab ride from the Tourist Village, Brown Sugar Terminal, downtown Belize City, and most central locations in Belize City.
- 6 St John's Cathedral. An Anglican cathedral that was built in 1812. The cathedral is a landmark of Belize and one of the oldest remaining buildings in the city.
- 7 Yarborough Cemetery (Next to St. John's Cathedral). This cemetery was in use from 1787 to 1896. It was renovated in 1999 and has been designated an archaeological reserve in 2009.
Most tourists use Belize City as a transportation hub and spend little time in the city. With that said, Belize City is still the cultural centre of the country and offers a comparably large number of cultural attractions.
All places accept US dollars as the Belizean dollar is pegged to the US dollar at BZ$2=US$1. If you are travelling to the cayes, stock up on your cash at the central bank, as the ATMs on the islands often run out of money on weekends. A number of merchants do recognize and accept US dollars or give change in US dollars or a combination of US and Belizean dollar bills and coins.
If you want to shop there is tourism village in the Fort George area which has jewelry shops like Diamonds International and lots of gift shops. Fort George is located on a boardwalk.
Albert Street is the main street in the Commercial District and features many shops and small shopping centres.
- Tourism Village. Created to boost cruise ship tourism in Belize City, the Tourist Village is only open when a cruise ship is in town and features a variety of shops and restaurants.
- 1 Cave Tubing (Belize Cave Tubing), ☏ , [email protected]. Cave Tubing – Enter an exciting realm where rivers disappear into the underworld as you float on inner tubes with only your headlamp to lead the way. tours are scheduled to fit within the port time of the cruise ships arriving in Belize City.
- Publics Supermarkets, W Canal Street, ☏ . 08:00-21:00. there are now three Publics stores in Belize city. has most things you need.
- The Belize Bank, Scotiabank and Atlantic Bank (all over Belize.). 24 hour atms. All three banks have ATMs that take Mastercard.
- 1 Mama Chen, Eve Street (near Queen Street). It's not a guesthouse anymore, but it is a nice Chinese restaurant with a familial and friendly atmosphere. Meals around BZ$10.
- Vegetarian Restaurant, Mile 14.5, Western Highway, Orchid Garden Eco-Village.
- Neris II, Regency Street: great conch soup, but the season ends on the first of July.
- Big Daddy's Diner, Central Market: Reasonably priced, very local, and a great view of Haulover Creek, home to much of the city's modest fishing fleet.
- Dit's Cafe: Great watermelon juice and wonderful pastries.
- Smoky Mermaid, Fort George area: Upscale dining.
- Harbourview, Fort George area: Very upscale dining, with a great chef.
- Marva's: a small family-run restaurant serving good, hot breakfast within walking distance from the water taxi terminal
- 1 Riverside Tavern, 2 Mapp St (Mapp St & N Front). Tu-Su 11:00-24:00. Owned by Belize's only brewery you can get the freshest and coldest draft beer. Also great hamburgers, and other food available.
- 2 Spoonaz Photo Cafe, 89 North Front Street. Coffee shop near the water taxi terminal. Has a nice patio and A/C inside. Great place to spend some time waiting for the ferry or a night bus. Free Wi-Fi.
Although Belize City has a bad reputation, Commercial District and the Fort George District are safe during the day. Virtually all sights and the water taxi docks are in this area and tourist should not be worried about exploring these neighborhoods while waiting for a bus or water taxi. Other neighbourhoods in Belize City have a very high crime rate and you should take a taxi if you have to leave the city centre.
- 1 Three Sisters Guesthouse, Queen Street, near majestic alley cross, ☏ . Check-out: 11:00. Held by a lovely Salvadorean woman. Three narrow rooms with private bathroom, wifi, no a/c. Large (somehow empty) common space. Noisy during daytime, ok at night. 1 person=BZ$55, 2p=BZ$63, 3p=US$71, 4p=BZ$109, 5p=BZ$120 (Dec 2014).
- 2 Sea Breeze guest house, Gabourel Lane. Central but quiet location. Dbl with fan: BZ$60, with a/c: BZ$80
- 3 Orchid Garden Eco-Village, 241 Western Hwy, San Ignacio, ☏ , [email protected]. From this tranquil, secure and beautiful home base some fourteen miles from Belize City, you just need to pack lightly to visit other interesting locations, such as Caye Caulker or San Pedro, Placencia, and San Ignacio.
- The Red Hut Inn, 90 Bella vista, Belize City (near Brodies supermarket. 3 miles from the port.), ☏ . A great place for backpackers. four bed dorm . free wifi. cable tv, outdoor terrace, atm nearby. $18 per person.
- Chateau Caribbean: A great place to stay. Food is great, especially the seafood soup. The service is awesome. The hotel is a large colonial style house which was at one time a hospital. The structure could use some repairs, but if you can look beyond that it is the best deal in town, especially as it offers you a great view of the seafront while sipping on the best Baileys Colada in Belize City.
- Seas Guesthouse: A resort on the outskirts of Belize City on the western highway named Old Belize. It is a beautiful resort with a beach named Cucumber Beach. One can learn about life in Old Belize there. Tourists are shown the chicletos and rum makers of Belize and the importance of baymen and loggers who logged the mahogany (the national tree). There is also colonial houses, a marina, and restaurants.
- D'nest Inn ([email protected]), 475 Cedar St, Belama Ph 2 (From the Best Western Biltmore, head towards the police station and then make a right. The D'nest Inn is located next to the soccer field and the river, right behind the far goal), ☏ . This very cozy and reasonably priced B&B is half the price of the Biltmore, has large spacious rooms, with cable TV and air conditioning. There is plenty of hot water and great water pressure. Best of all, this B&B is run by the nicest couple you will meet, who will go out of their way to make your stay extra enjoyable. Breakfast is included with the price of the room and is always a home cooked meal.
The Western Highway leads to Belize West or the Northern Highway to Belize North.
San Pedro Belize Express departs from the Brown Sugar Terminal in Belize City with scheduled runs at 09:00, 12:00, 15:00. 17:30 to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.
Rates: Belize City to San Pedro, San Pedro to Belize City: BZ$30 or US$15 (one way), BZ$55 or US$27.50 (round trip), Belize City to Caye Caulker: BZ$20 or US$10 (one way), BZ$35 or US$17.50 (round trip)
A week-long trip to Green River in the south to experience the rain forest and a week-long trip to the coral reefs to experience the reefs are both recommended.
Belmopan capital of Belize (80 km to W). Stop on way to see Belize zoo at Mile 29 George Price Highway.