How to Be Smart When Using Public Transportation in Belize

Public Transportation in Belize

People might think travelling in public transportation is dangerous. Well, I have to tell you are wrong if we are talking about Belize. If you are travelling to Belize but are on a budget: public transportations is a must for you! Get where you are going cheaper and faster. Here in Belize there are several public transportations that work every day, but of course, all within an hour schedule. Also, a great plus when moving around Belize with this rapid and cheap transit is you get to connect with locals and strike up a conversation. 

Here are some of the public transportation options in Belize and some tips and tricks to getting around.

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This is the best option to travel around the mainland because it is fairly cheap, reasonably reliable, and found across the country. The bus system is not well documented, but you can surely get from one place to another if you start early. Always “splurge” for the express bus when it is available. At the bus station, you can ask locals about when a bus will go to your next destination. You can also see common endpoints and whether the bus is express or not in the front window of the bus.

We do not have grey-hound style buses. The ones you will find in Belize are old American buses with no air conditioning. Sit next to the window and let the nice, cool breeze blow through. Make small talk with your seat-mate or listen to headphones as you cruise down the highways of Belize.

The prices to travel on a bus are way better than renting a vehicle. Expect fares to be between $5USD and $20USD ($10-40BZD). Travel times may take up to 8 hours, depending on the destination. The country is small though – so you can travel from San Ignacio to Belize City within 3 hours.

 Here are somethings you might be aware when travelling in buses:

  • Use taxi service between airport/water taxi/taxi in Belize City, don’t walk between them.
  • You will always hear loud music on the bus sometimes passengers sign along 
  • Buses travel through major highways 
  • When catching the bus, make sure to head out to a bus terminal as it is more secure you have a seat during your ride, than standing.
  • If you need to use the bathroom or get some snacks the bus makes a different stop for a 5 min break so that will help.
  • You get to choose where you seat and share with locals 
  • Conductor and helper will always help with your luggage, make sure to look out the window when luggage is being taken down so your one is not taken by mistake.
  • Tip people who help you with your things.
Travelling by bus you find as a great experience and adventure. Try new snacks and delicious fresh juices when street vendors come on the bus. Treat yourself to local delicacies and street foods. Bus stations will also have food and drink options, bathrooms for $1BZD, and seating areas. Belmopan is the capital city and Belize, and a transfer point for most bus trips.

Water Taxis

Most travelers visit popular destinations, such as Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The most economical way to get there is by water taxi. They are two companies travelling from Belize city to the islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker, which are Ocean Ferry and Belize Express. Both are affordable and have the same offers, $30 USD ($60 BZD) roundtrip.

You might also want a water taxi/shuttle options moving from the mainland to other Cayes around the country like Placencia or Tobacco Caye. These options would start further south.

Some tips when travelling water taxi are:

  • Try find a good place near the back, where you have a view of the ocean and get a nice breeze 
  • Sometimes it might be a little rough because of the weather so get some nauseous pills if you’re prone to seasickness
  • Make sure not lose your luggage ticket, as you will need it to pick up your luggage at arrival
  • Roundtrip tickets are cheaper, book upon arrival, and show up around 30 minutes early.

Taxis / Shuttles

Taxis might be a little higher priced, but are the fastest and easiest way to get to your destination around town. To identify a taxi most of the time they have the taxi sign on the top part of the vehicle or in the back window. Also, if you are standing by the road, a taxi might stop or honk at you to check if you want their service. 

You can even use taxis for transportation between cities and districts. Depending on how much moving around you plan to do, renting a car may actually be cheaper than taxis and shuttles. Expect a taxi on the mainland to run around $7-15 USD ($15-30 BZD) for short trips around town and $100 USD ($200 BZD) for longer distances.

Here are some tips you need to know to travel like a local:

  • Make sure to ask locals what the price range is for rides before speaking with a driver, because some taxis might charge more than what you should have to pay.
  • Make sure to ask what the fare is before you board.
  • There are no meters and sharing rides is common. 
  • If you want a taxi, just stand by the road and a taxi will eventually stop or honk. Wave them down if you see them. 
  • If you like the ride make sure to get their card and phone number to call on them for your next ride!

Riding a taxi might be one of the best ways to learn about an area, since taxi drivers are very social people and take on the role of tour guide when driving you around small villages or between districts. 

*Caye Caulker has taxis, but they are golf carts instead of regular cars or vans.

Public Transportation in Belize

Now that you know what to expect, get out there and travel cheaply around Belize! Experience the country like a local, getting around by bus from Belize City to the furthermost points of the country.

If you are interested in renting a car or taking flights, check out this blog.

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