Car Rentals in Belize City

Driving in Belize City takes some getting used to

Seasoned visitors often recommend that tourists forgo renting a car during their stay in Belize City, but for some, not renting a vehicle is not an option. Fortunately, the process of renting a car here is not difficult, but you will have to be prepared to be a defensive driver on these poorly maintained roads.

Renting a Car

Most visitors will pick up their rental cars directly from the airport when they arrive in Belize. A collection of both local and international chains are located across the main parking lot from the airport, and if you've reserved your rental you can just cross the lot to your agency of choice and pick up your vehicle. If you decide to rent on a whim, you may have to make your way down the row until you find an agency with an available car.

Rental agencies are also scattered throughout downtown, and many will make arrangements to drop the vehicle off to you at your hotel if you prefer to first take a taxi to your accommodations.

Review the following table for contact information.

Vehicle Rental Companies
Name Phone Location
Crystal Auto Rental (501) 223-1600 5 Miles Northern Highway - 2.2 mi. (3.5 km) Northwest of Belize City
Hertz Belize City (501) 223-5395 #1 Goldson Lane - 1.3 mi. (2.0 km) Northwest of Belize City
Jabiru Auto Rental (501) 224-4680 5576 Princess Margaret Drive - 1.4 mi. (2.3 km) Northwest of Belize City
Pancho's Auto Rental (501) 224-5554 5747 Lizarraga Ave. - 1.4 mi. (2.3 km) Northwest of Belize City
Vista Auto Rentals (501) 225-2292 798 Vista Del Mar - 2.1 mi. (3.5 km) West-Northwest of Belize City

Just make sure that you do rent a vehicle with good suspension and four wheel drive if you do visit during this time, because you'll likely have to power through a lot of muddy roads. Always, regardless of when you visit, make sure you check the rental for prior damage and make the agent aware of any imperfections so that you cannot be held accountable for them, and ensure that there is an extra tire, a jack, engine coolant washer fluid, and oil in the car.

The Cost of Renting a Car

Regardless of which agency you choose to rent with, you'll find a wide variety of makes and models available to you, from compact vehicles known for their good gas mileage to sports utility vehicles that are good for managing some of the country's lesser developed areas. Expect to spend between $60 and $140(USD) a day, including the cost of insurance, which is highly recommended.

This set of tables offer an indication of local rental rates. The lowest rates in each table are typically only available from the lowest cost firms during the slowest times of the year. The high end of the range is what you might need to pay when demand is at its peak.

Vehicle Rentals, Daily Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 49.00 $ 63.00
Pickup Truck $ 59.00 $ 115.00
Light SUV $ 65.00 $ 105.00
Standard SUV $ 80.00 $ 128.00
Heavy SUV $ 85.00 $ 136.00
Vehicle Rentals, Weekly Rates
Rental Type Low Rate High Rate
Economy Car $ 295.00 $ 398.00
Pickup Truck $ 374.00 $ 730.00
Light SUV $ 390.00 $ 630.00
Standard SUV $ 480.00 $ 762.00
Heavy SUV $ 510.00 $ 795.00

...only four paved highways...

 

Rates tend to be lower during the rainy season when tourism drops, so if you're looking to save money you may want to consider visiting between the months of June and November.

With regards to the legality of driving in Belize City, you can drive here with your driver's license from home or an International Driver's License for up to 90 days. After this, you will be required to apply and test for a Belizean license. Most agencies expect drivers to be over the age of 21, but that differs from place to place, so make sure to call and confirm that you will be allowed to rent if you're in your early 20s.

When it comes to the rules of the road, driving in Belize City is much like driving in the United States. Despite Belize being a former British colony, traffic moves on the right side of the road, and speed limits are posted in miles per hour rather than kilometers per hour. Seat belts are required by law, and drinking in driving is illegal. That may be where the similarities end.

The infrastructure of Belize is lacking. There are only four paved highways, and they are not very well kept. Pot holes and dips are common, as are unmarked speed humps, so it is always best to proceed with caution. Local roads, especially in Belize City may also be paved, but have the same issues. Roads that are not paved can be anything from sandy stretches to dirt to gravel. During the rainy season, many of these roads get washed out and become impossible to drive on. Be on the look out for pedestrians and animals in the road, and be overly cautious when you are around other drivers. Belizeans are not known for their skilled driving.

Roadside services are virtually non-existent here, so if you run into trouble with your vehicle you'll have to call the rental car agency to come take care of the issue. If you're in danger, 9-1-1 will connect you to the police. Have a cell phone and a flashlight on you at all times when you are driving in the event of an emergency.

Gas Stations

Fortunately, you'll find gas stations plentiful in the city and along the highway, but always make sure to fill up before you go exploring in the event you wander down an unmarked road and find yourself in a place where gas stations don't exist. Leaded and unleaded are available here, and at most gas stations attendants will pump your gas for you for free. Not all gas stations accept credit cards, so make sure to have cash on hand when you're out and about.

Gas stations in the area are luckily quite available. Check out the listing directly below to see some of their locations. the list

Gas Stations
Name Location
Belchina Bridge Gas 0.6 mi. (1.0 km) Northwest of Belize City
CP Gas 1.2 mi. (2.0 km) Northwest of Belize City
Puma Gas Freetown 0.9 mi. (1.5 km) Northwest of Belize City
Puma Gas Puma Street 1.7 mi. (2.8 km) Northwest of Belize City
Puma Gas Woods Downtown Belize City
Ramon Esso Gas 1.7 mi. (2.8 km) Northwest of Belize City
Shell Gas Cemetery Road 1.0 mi. (1.6 km) West of Belize City
Shell Gas Northern Highway 1.9 mi. (3.1 km) Northwest of Belize City
Uno Gas Station 1.2 mi. (1.9 km) Northwest of Belize City

True, driving in Belize City is not recommended, but it can be done without problems if tourists arrive prepared to handle all of the obstacles that these roads are known for. Having learned about the road and driving conditions, you are now one step closer to a trip to the city in which driving is just an easy way to get around rather than something you should fear.

 

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