Getting Around Belize: Bus & Taxi Tips from a Local
Belize has a safe highway system that can be driven from the north to south in only six hours.
Here are a few ways to get around Belize:
- Taxi - best for short distances
- Water Taxi - main travel method to cayes
- Bus - cheapest to get around regions
- Car - best for stopping & sight-seeing
- Shuttle - best for tight schedules
- Plane - alternative travel to cayes
Taxis are easily spotted by their green license plates. They have no fixed meter rate or consistent look besides the color of their license plate.
Mainland taxis in Belize City cost between $3 USD to $5 USD for short trips. Very touristy areas like Ambergris Caye are twice the cost at $10 USD to $20 USD for short trips.
Some small towns like San Ignacio Town offer shared taxi service known as colectivos in Latin America.
Here are some common taxi rates.
|Taxi Service||Approximate Taxi Fare (USD)|
|Shared taxi from San Ignacio to Xunantunich||$1.50 per person|
|Transfer within Belize City (inland)||$2.50 to $5.00 per group|
|Transfer within Caye Caulker Village (cayes)||$5.00 to $10.00 per group|
|Airport to Belize City transfer||$25.00 per group|
Transportation by ferry or boat is locally called the water taxi service. These services connect inland locations to the islands which run on a daily basis about every 2 hours.
A roundtrip ticket to Caye Caulker from Belize City will set you back $31.50 USD.
Belize Water Taxi - has daily trips from Belize City to Caye Caulker Village and San Pedro Town. They also offer trips to Chetumal, Mexico.
Thunderbolt Water Taxi - offers daily trips from Corozal Town to Sarteneja Village, San Pedro Town, and Caye Caulker Village.
Belize Sea Shuttle - offers daily trips from Belize City to Sarteneja Village which is a large fishing village in northern Belize.
Belize has a safe and fairly reliable bus network that runs country-wide 7 days a week from sunrise until about 9:00 PM. There are no night buses available.
There are two type of buses that run throughout Belize:
- Regular Bus - Public buses that go from one location to another but stop at every village along the way to the destination.
- Express Bus - Public buses that go directly to the destination without stopping at every village to pickup or drop off passengers.
Using the example below, O.WALK EXPRESS means it's traveling directly to Orange Walk without stopping.
- Be very patient - Schedules are rarely on time. Most buses are very old and experience mechanical problems.
- Always choose express buses - If you know your exact destination, take an express bus which is faster than regular buses.
- Avoid regular buses - they often take twice as long because they stop at every village along the way dropping and picking up passengers.
- Pay on the bus - bus fares are normally paid in route to destination and collected in cash (US Dollars or Belize Dollars)
- Check if you need tickets - some official bus stops require bus tickets to be purchased prior to boarding.
- Bus fare is predictable - in general, bus fare is $5.00 BZD ($2.50 USD) for every hour of travel.
- Take morning and evening buses - early morning and late evening buses are fastest and most reliable because they transport office workers.
- Avoid traveling on weekends - Weekend bus schedules are extremely unreliable especially on Sundays and on holidays.
Bus routes may seem short when viewing on a map app, but it doesn't account for all the curves and how slow the buses are in reality.
As a local, I can share with you realistic travel times and prices that can be hard to find online.
|Origin||Destination||Time to get there||Bus Availability||Price (USD)|
|Belize International Airport||Belize City||30 mins||No bus, taxi, walking||$25.00 per group|
|Belize City||San Ignacio Town||2 hours 15 mins||Available hourly||$10.00 per person|
|San Ignacio Town||Guatemalan Border||30 mins||Taxi and hourly bus||$2.00 per person|
|Belize City||Orange Walk Town||1 hour 45 mins||Available hourly||$2.50 per person|
|Orange Walk Town||Corozal Town||1 hour 15 mins||Available hourly||$2.50 per person|
|Corozal Town||Mexico Border||1 hour||No bus at the moment||$2.00 per person|
|Belize City||Dangriga Town||2 hours 45 mins||Available hourly||$5.00 per person|
|Dangriga Town||Hopkins Junction||25 mins||Available hourly||$1.00 per person|
|Hopkins Junction||Hopkins Village||5 mins||No bus, taxi, hitchhike||$10.00 per group|
|Dangriga Town||Placencia Village||1 hour 45 mins||Every two hours||$2.50 per person|
|Dangriga Town||Punta Gorda Town||3 hours 15 mins||Every two hours||$6.00 per person|
Renting a car in Belize is expensive compared to other countries in Central America.
High gas prices and import duty play a factor into the high rental prices. Car rental can range between $35 USD and $75 USD per day excluding the deposit fee.
Despite the high rental rates, having a car in Belize offers a massive advantage though since you can travel to natural reserves and explore hard to reach places. Public transportation doesn't have routes to many remote villages as yet.
Oh, and watch out for speed bumps. They are rarely labeled.
Below are the two largest car rental companies in Belize.
Private shuttle services are lot more expensive than public transport but can be useful if you're on a tight schedule.
Here are a few popular recommendations:
If you're pressed for time, traveling by plane can help. These companies take you to the major cayes & cities within the country and even to neighboring countries.
A one way flight ticket to the mainland or cayes is between $75 to $150 USD.
Maya Island Air - only offers flights within Belize.
Tropic Air Belize - offers flights within Belize and even international flights to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
- ADO Belize - this is a Mexican bus service that operates in Belize. Tickets can be bought at the Novelo's bus station in Belize City.
- Fuente del Norte - this service is found at Melchor, El Petén in Guatemala which is just 30 minutes away from San Ignacio Town in Belize.
Pride of Belize - water taxi departing once a week from Mango Creek, Independence in Placencia, Belize to Puerto Cortés, Honduras.
Tropic Air Belize - offers flights from Belize City to Roatán, Honduras.
All services recommended are listed in alphabetical order to prevent biases.
Is Uber available in Belize? No, Uber is not available in Belize nor are there ride-sharing apps available as yet.
Is the public transport available on g00gle maps? No, Belize's bus system is not developed and synchronized with online maps. Sadly the public transport system is very primitive as yet.
Are there car ferries to the islands? No, this is not a service that's accessible. If renting a car, it's best to do inland activities and then move to the islands by water taxi or plane.