Belize City Transportation Options

Driving in Belize City takes some getting used to

Photo credit: © BID Ciudades Sostenibles

Once the capital city of Belize, Belize City remains the most populated city in the country by far. Tourists who visit this spot do so not only because of how easy it is to get here thanks to the international airport, but because it is the major urban center of the country with its huge number of hotels, shops, restaurants, and government buildings.

Its close vicinity to the Caribbean Sea may also play a role. Surrounded by water on three sides and featuring a river that runs through the center, traveling to and around Belize City can be done on land, in the air, and by sea.

Getting There

When it comes to traveling to Belize City, there are multiple ways to get the job done. Most people prefer to fly, but those after a specific site and nothing else may prefer to take a cruise and enjoy other areas of the Caribbean along the way. If sailing is your thing, you can captain your own yacht and sail directly into the city, and if you've got time to spare, you can drive to Belize, a trip that will take about 24 hours without stops.

...explore other areas of the country...


Getting Around

Tourists with plans to arrive in Belize City and stay here until it comes time to return home will find rental cars and taxis to be their greatest ally in getting around. If you have plans to explore other areas of the country, including the cays, you may find that buses and ferries are just what you need.

Air Travel

With direct flights from several large air travel hubs in the United States, booking a flight to Belize City is an easy feat to accomplish. The local international airport is the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, and it is the largest airport in the country welcoming flights from the United States, Canada, and the rest of Central America. Belize City is also home to a small municipal airport, Belize City Municipal Airport, where tourists can go to find quick flights to other cities throughout the country, typically for cheaper than if you were to take the same flight from Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. Click here to read our Belize City Air Travel Guide, which will further detail the process of flying to this major tourist destination.


When you enter local waters, it is required that you dock and clear quarantine, customs, and immigration within 24 hours. Belize is very strict about this, and in fact have officials patrolling the waters by boat to ensure that there are no illegal sailors hanging about. You'll be asked to produce four copies each of you ship's papers, your crew list, and your stores list. Once approved you can continue on to your marina or anchorage of choice and stay in Belize for up to 90 days.


Cruising is one of the most popular ways to get to the Caribbean these days. People who choose a cruise with a stop in Belize City do so primarily to utilize the city as a jumping off point to explore the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mayan ruins, or the well-protected jungles and other natural habitats. If you'd like to cruise to Belize City in order to see a specific site, make sure to figure out when the best time to visit that locale is and plan your cruise then. You may even be able to book with a cruise line that offers an excursion to your desired destination. The best way to find out is to check directly with the cruise line.


Belize is one of the few countries considered to be a destination in the Caribbean that you can drive to. There are two highways into Belize, the Northern Highway from the Mexican Border about 103 miles away from Belize City, and the Western Highway from Guatemala which is about 82 miles away, and both are well-maintained roads that are recommended if you're going to drive your own vehicle into the country.

International drivers will need to purchase Belize Liability Insurance and a one-month importation permit in order to cross the border, plus you'll have to register the vehicle in your passport. If you plan to stay longer than one month, you can obtain a permit extension once you're in Belize City by visiting the Customs Department.

Rental Cars

As soon as you arrive at the airport in Belize City, you'll find a row of rental car agencies just waiting to fit you with the perfect vehicle for your vacation. If you're going to stay in the city and only use the car to get from your hotel to your restaurant reservations, any car will do; however, if exploration is in your nature, you'll want to get a sports utility vehicle. The roads in this country are poorly maintained, and most are unpaved. This can lead to cars getting stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere, especially during the rainy season when many roads become long, extended mud puddles. If you're interested in renting a car for your trip, click here to read about how to go about obtaining a vehicle, and what you need to know about driving in Belize City.


Taxis are everywhere in Belize City, making them a great option for tourists who may not feel comfortable driving in a foreign country or don't want to deal with the expense of a rental car. In Belize, rates are neither metered nor standardized by the government, so an exchange between the driver and the passenger is necessary in order to determine how much the ride will cost. Click here to learn more about how to handle taking a taxi in Belize City.


If you have hopes of exploring Belize outside of Belize City, you're in luck.  An inexpensive bus travels from Belize Cityto many other towns and cities throughout the country on a daily basis.  While you may not be able to get local bus transport within the city to help ease the cost of travel, this option will allow you to see even more of the country on the cheap.  

For details about bus travel from Belize City to other important towns, read this.


While many people will choose to fly from Belize City to the cays that line the coast of Belize, a more scenic route can be found at the ferry docks. Ferries and water taxis are the buses of the sea, offering relatively inexpensive transportation for a large number of people at once.

Please be sure to check out our Ferry Guide to Belize City, where you will be able to find the routes and kinds of prices to expect for any ferry-bound travel.

With so many transportation options available in Belize City, you have a lot of work cut out for you as you begin to plan your getaway. Take the time to go over every possibility so you can be sure you've made the right decision when it comes to booking your trip.


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