In a country of only 8,867 square miles - under 200 miles of Caribbean coastline from "proud Rio Hondo to Old Sarstoon" (north to south), and under 90 miles at its widest point from Belize City along the Western Highway to the Guatemalan border (east to west) - the phrase "Belize travel" would seem to have limited significance. Yet this magical little country is so rich and so varied, that travelling comparatively short distances can bring you to dramatically different locations / eco-systems / amazing adventures.
Some key statistics for you to consider - 40% of the entire landmass and offshore coral reef is under Government protection as wild-life nature reserves; they cover mountain pine ridges, rainforest-covered limestone foothills, riverine forestation, cave systems, wetlands, scrubland savannah and coral reefs and atolls. There are reserves for tapirs, jaguars (the only one in the world), birds, butterflies, marine life - a continuous wildlife corridor for flora and fauna throughout the country. More than 700 species of tree, more than 500 species of bird, over 300 varieties of orchid and bromeliad; only 320,000 residents and currently 8 sets of traffic lights in the entire country.
Small wonder that the locals refer to Belize as the jewel, as in the expression, "Welcome man, dis jooel is fer evribadi."
Belize City is the largest city in the Central American nation of Belize. Unofficial estimates place the population of Belize City at 80,000 or more. It is located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean. The city is the country's principal port and its financial and industrial hub. Several cruise ships drop anchor outside the port and are tended by local citizens. The city was almost entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on 31 October. It was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then named) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.
Belize is not a country to come to just to lie on a beach. There is so much more to see and do; such as the world-heritage-protected natural wonder of the Belizean barrier reef, the Cayo foothills riddled with amazing caves, mighty rivers and awesome rainforests. Guests can revel in a continuous corridor of government-protected wildlife reserves covering 40% of the country's landmass, over 700 species of trees and over 500 species of birds, and the substantial remains of ancient Mayan cities spread throughout its 8867 square miles and dating back more than a thousand years. Belize has many fascinating, day-filling Belize tours to offer you!
Belize takes its eco-tourism seriously, and trains its guides to an unusually high standard of expertise in delivering responsible tours (within the city and throughout the country) for which they are responsible. You can expect wide-ranging knowledge, as well as the friendly willingness to be of service for which Belizeans are famous. You will probably find you have more photos of you and your partner together than is normally the case when you go on holiday, because your guides are always willing to take those pictures for you.
The best Belizean holidays are those that combine a range of sea-based activities with inland tours. The tours are normally great value as well - just click on our individual tours link to see the wide range of really worthwhile Belize tours we have researched and can recommend without reservation.
Belize Country Guide
Belize still remains undiscovered in comparison to the Yucatan peninsula in the north. This has its own advantages with the Mayan sites less crowded and more authentic. Bird watching remains feasible and the corals well preserved. The majority of tourists come to Belize for some of the best dives in the world. Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Caye and the Turneffe Islands are just a few of the world-class diving spots. Snorkelling remains equally as popular and fun. For those adventure thrill seekers, jungle treks and water rafting is popular in the interior. The lush jungle and abundant wildlife make this a must for thrillseekers and nature lovers. In short Belize has something for everyone.
Whilst still relatively undiscovered, come and visit now before the world catches up, and get a glimpse of the uniqueness that Belize has to offer.
This Belize Country Guide gives some useful background information about this wonderful country. A great way to see the local highlights of Belize and experience the local culture is by taking a Belize tour.
Transportation in Belize
Belize is easily accessible from the Yucatan peninsular by land and also by plane from the United States. Only two hours by plane from Texas and Florida, Belize is easily accessible from the north. The small compact geography of Belize means that travel in Belize is fast and efficient compared to other larger nations in the Americas.
Travel by bus means that the experience of travelling Belize is always fun and a cultural experience. The locals travel by bus and friendships are easily made.
This Belize Transportation Guide gives an indication of the options available for you to get to and from Belize, as well as getting around the country. For further detailed information about transport to specific destinations, as well as getting around, visit our Belize City Transportation Guide page. The Belize Destination Guide gives information about places around the country you may be interested in.
Belize Transportation Guide
Getting to Belize
Most visitors arrive to Belize by air at the Philip S Goldson International Airport, the main international airport in Ladyville. The airport is only 30 minutes drive from the centre of Belize City. Taxi is recommended as the best mode of transport from the international airport and may cost around US $20 to Belize CIty.
Direct flights are best served from the United States. The airport is served by American Airlines from Fort Worth, Dallas and Miami. Continental Airlines have a service from Houston and Newark. In addition US Airways provide a direct service from Charlotte and Delta Connection from Atlanta. From Houston, Miami or New Orleans, Belize City is only 2 hours by plane.
There are some connections from Central America to Belize. Taca Airlines have a service to the main international airport in Belize flying from Houston, San Pedro, Sul and San Salvador. Atlantic Airlines de Honduras offers a direct service from nearby Honduras flying from Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, Roatan, San Pedro Sula. Starting from May 2009 Maya Island Air will offer a service from Cancun, Mexico and to Guatemala City in Guatemala.
Getting Around Belize
Flying within Belize is a great experience looking down at the beautiful and varied landscape. There is finally a good domestic air service offered within Belize by the two major national airlines Tropic Air and Maya Island Air. Most of the services are from the main international airport Philip S. W. Goldson but some services may operate out of the smaller Belize City Municipal Airport, only 1 mile from the city. Both airlines have services to Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel, Corozal, Dangriga, San Pedro Sula, Placencia, Punta Gorda, San Pedro and Savanah. Both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air typical fly with a small single-engine plane on their domestic services.
In the US or Canada call: 1-800-422-3435
In Belize call: 011-501 – 226-2012
P.O. Box 20
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Maya Island Air
Maya Island Air Regional
Building #1, 2nd floor
Telephone: (501) 223.1140 or (501) 223.1362
Fax: (501) 223.1722
There are several competing bus lines on the main north to south road in Belize from Punta Gorda to Belmopan and Belize City. The distances between cities in Belize are generally small. From Punta Gorda to Belize City is only 5 hours by bus. The two major companies are Novelo's or Southern Transport. These two companies offer the best service. Fares may typically range from US $2.50 to US $11 depending on the distance travelled. Most buses in Belize have a conductor with a driver. The conductor will come to your seat to collect the fare. Travelling by bus represents one of the best pleasures of Belize. Not only will you see the country furthermore the locals tend to travel by bus. So you can expect a cultural experience! Express buses tend to be faster than normal buses and may save 30 minutes on an intercity bus journey.
Buses can be caught at the main bus terminals in Belize's major cities such as Belize City. Tickets can be pre-bought and expect to arrive 30 minutes before departure. If you find yourself on the north to south road highway, it is still possible to hail down a bus. Wave to the bus and then tell the bus driver where you would like to go. The type of buses in Belize can be compared to out-of-commission Greyhounds and US school busses. There are newer buses on the northern and western highways but expect to pay a few more dollars for the privilege. Young children may bring snacks and food onto the bus during stops which may be an opportunity for refreshment.
Car rental begins at around $40 and the Philip S Goldson International Airport has the major international car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis. An international drivers licence and passport is required. Expect to pay a large insurance deposit for rental. Insurance is also mandatory. Although a former British colony, driving is on the right in Belize. Petrol is cheap with a gallon of unleaded fuel costing $4.25-$4.40. Some of the roads are in poor condition.
By Shuttle Van
A shuttle van can be rented for US $36 per trip which can take you directly to many cities throughout the country. Using a shuttle van is good value for money when shared amongst fellow passengers. Discovery Expeditions is just of the major companies offering this service.