Belize-How to drive and where to stay

Read about roads and driving in Belize, some roadtripper recommended hotels/camp spots, gas prices, and other useful information if you are traveling by car in Belize. 

Basic Facts

  • Population: 320,000, International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2008-10-09.
  • Capital: Belmopan
  • Fun Fact: Belize is home to one of the top-ten scuba diving locations in the world (according to Jacques Cousteau), the Blue Hole.

Roads and Driving

Road Signs

Road signs are in English but generally speaking highway numbers and signs are non-existent. There are not too many roads in Belize but be prepared to ask around for directions.

Bumps

Speed bumps are present in Belize but they are nowhere near as often or as huge as other Central American countries. They are found close to communities.

Military Checkpoints

There is supposedly a checkpoint just before Burrel Boom where you will have to present your car documents. If you pass through there on the weekend, there may not be anyone working there, but it is always a good idea to make sure your papers are in order.

Other Road Hazards

Donkeys, cattle, horses, dogs, pedestrians, and bicyclists will be a common site on and along the roads. Many roads lack shoulders or sidewalks, so there are few places for pedestrians to walk except on the roadbed itself.

Driving Tips

It's possible to drive from the Chetumal border to Placencia in about six hours – you can skip Belize City via Burrell Boom, turn off the Northern Highway to your right at around mile 13, this skirts Belize City and puts you on the western highway. Good road information can be found at ambergriscaye The 56 mile Hummingbird Highway is in great condition and takes you some beautiful Belizean scenery and definitely worth driving if you have the chance.

Visiting the Cayes with a car

If you are going to head out to the Cayes (islands), you will need to leave your car behind. Belize City has a high crime rate, buy you may be able to leave your car at one of the nicer hotels in the area. Spend a night and/or give a nice tip to the security guard. You could also leave your car at a surrounding town and bus into Belize City.

Driving at Night

Just like most Latin American countries, Belize has a very high car accident rate and it would seem that this number would increase at night. Avoid any night driving.

Gas Prices

Belize is a small country, unleaded and diesel gas stations are easily found.
Gas prices are expressed in the units of the specific country.

1/21/2012
Regular: $5.62/gallon

10/8/08: Price is in Belize dollar ($) per gallon
Regular: $7.14/gallon
Conversion: 1L = 0.26 gallons

Camping and Hotels

Near San Ignacio

Barton Creek Outpost has hosted many roadtrippers and if you're in Belize, don't pass it up. It is nestled in the foothills of Belize's Mountain Pine Ridge and on the outskirts of an Old World Mennonite community in western Belize and was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top five places to visit in Belize. Detailed directions are available on their website as well. Owners Jim & Jacquelyn Britt also blog at BelizeBritts.wordpress.com

San Ignacio

Inglewood Camping. N 17°08'20.2" W089°05'14.4". $B25 (extra if you want power). Several kilometers west of town. Little shade, some palapas, a cooking shelter, power and water to all sites, a spot to dump waste water near toilet block, some highway noise (main road to Guatemala), simple clean bathrooms with electric warm showers, and free WIFI (but only available certain hours as it is on a timer).

Trek Stop is a little closer to the border. Good for tent campers, just watch out for the tarantula holes. $11 BZ per person. Cold showers, self-compostng bathrooms, restrauant and wifi. Photos and more info here.

SARTENEJA

Way out on the northeast corner of Belize is Sarteneja. There's a few hand crank ferry crossings and a lot of dirt roads, but it's worth the trouble.

Backpacker's Paradise is the best place to stay. $7BZ per person. Has showers, bathrooms, restaurant, wifi and a huge mosquito screened common area with a good kitchen. The owners are amazing. You can park your car here and take a boat out to the cayes. The ferry costs a little more than if you go from Belize city, but this is a good secure place to park. More info here.

Near Altun ha ruinS

Mayan Wells has camping, mostly hot showers, bathrooms, and internet if you ask the owners nicely. Cost $10BZ per person. Watchout for botlas files. Photos and directions here.

NEAR Belize Zoo

The Tropical Education Center is not more than a kilometer from the Belize Zoo entrance. Great place for tent campers. Has a huge field, and covered areas for cooking. Cost $10BZ per person. Gigantic showers, clean bathrooms and an office/library area with electricity and internet (and lots of books about bugs). Photos, GPS and other info here.

Placencia

Located behind the soccer field in Placencia, the Garden Cabanas are cute little cottages raised off the ground which can accommodate two to three people. A small but pretty well equipped kitchen, private bathroom (with hot water) and stereo system are found inside. Prices vary depending on the season and the cabinas start at $30 USD per night and go upwards of $50 USD per night in the high season. You may be able to negotiate a discount for a longer stay. Vehicles can be parked along the side of the road, it is pretty quiet and safe though leaving valables in the car is not recommended. 

Belize City

Cucumber Beach Marina. Mile 5, Western Highway. N 17°28'20.2" W088°14'54.3". $10 + $5 for power. Marina with good restaurant, artificial beach, and Old Belize tourist attraction. Good (sometimes too strong) breeze, quiet, security & night guard, hot showers, laundry facilities, free WiFi. We stayed three nights here to catch up on internet stuff. Need to go over to restaurant area for best signal, and use “British Honduras Room”, as it’s more consistent. If you have any 2-
peso Mexican coins, they work in the washer and dryer, because that’s what they gave me for one of the tokens! Breeze was a saviour, because it was hot and there’s no shade.

Maya Centre

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (Jaguar Reserve). US$2.50 per person for camping plus US$5 per person for park entry. Camping area is east of Maya Centre about 6 miles on a good dirt track. Parking is in Sanctuary’s parking lot. Toilets and cold showers. Lots of good walking trails.

Punta Gorda

Sea Front Inn (TC’s By the Sea - listed in other camping info - was nowhere to be found). $B25. Take the left fork as you reach the north edge of town and the hotel is on the right, right across from a small dock. We had access to the staff bathroom and free WIFI, but no shower.

Hummingbird Highway

Blue Hole National Park. Entry is US$2.50 per person, were allowed to park overnight in small parking lot for no extra charge. Pit toilets, but no shower, and quite hot, sticky, and buggy when we were there. Enjoyed it anyway, because the birds were great. There’s also a cave you can explore and what could be a great swimming hole - muddy when we were there due to rain.

--Thanks to Anne for much of the great camping information in Belize (from Belize City to San Ignacio)

Notes

Time Difference

Belize and Mexico are not always on the same time. In the summer months Belize is an hour earlier than Mexico so check the current local time as soon as you cross from country to country.
--Thanks to Karen and Eric

Mail

Postcard stamps to the US and the UK are much cheaper in Belize than they are in Mexico (.30 US cents in Belize vs. .80 US cents in Mexico) so mail your postcards in Belize.
--Thanks to Karen and Eric

Duty Free Deals

There is an enormous duty-free area in the no-mans’ land between Mexico and Belize. The usual suspects (cigarettes, booze) are cheaper here than in Mexico or in Belize. Fuel (which is extremely expensive in Belize) is also available here. Prices per liter where .86 cents for regular and .89 cents for super and diesel. At the time of our crossing that worked out to about .50 more than the price of fuel in Chetumal, Mexico but less expensive than in Belize. However, the fuel sold in the duty free gas station comes from Venezuela and some claim its cleaner than the fuel sold in Mexico.
--Thanks to Karen and Eric

Read about dealing with Belize borders when driving in the Belize Border Crossing article.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 19:06
Anonymous (not verified)

Seich

Hi there,
I'm currently on a worldtrip, so I bought a car in Canada and drove all down to Cancun (Mexico). My plan is to fly from there to Peru, but first I've got to get rid of my car... and that's a big Problem here im Mexico. Therefore I thought about a little detour to Belize to sell/dump the car there.
So, does anybody know if it's possible to sell an imported car and leave the country without any problems?
Many thanks in advance!
 

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 19:07 (Reply to #1)

selling a car in belize?

Hi Seich, We don't have any information about selling a car in Belize. I do know of people selling cars in Argentina and Panama, and I have heard it is tough to buy or sell a car in Mexico. I put your question in the forums for you, I hope someone can answer it for you. The title is Difficult to sell a car in Belize?

Fri, 09/02/2011 - 07:20

Selling Car in Belize

When entering the country, the temporary car importation permit number was noted next to my entry visa; based on my experience, if you leave without the car it will be obvious.

Sat, 09/10/2011 - 19:01

Gas Price in Belize

Regular gas is BZ$11.10 as of 9 Sept, 2011 per gallon

Sat, 08/18/2012 - 14:00

Want to see the Cayes but don't know where to park your vehicle?

We visited Caye Caulker two weeks ago (8/4/12), from Guatemala. We're traveling to Patagonia overland and are currently staying in Antigua Guatemala (http://UnwireMe.com).

 

We looked for a place to park my Jeep while we visited the Cayes.  At the LonelyPlanet forums, someone advised us that Dave, from EdgarsMiniStorage.com would be the one to talk to.  I tried to cotact Dave using the e-mail listed on the page, and he responded 3 days later.  His other e-mail address is edgarsministorage_1@yahoo.com and phone number 00-501-602-4513.

 

Dave is a retired US Expat, former Marine, and has been in Belize for a few years.  His storage facility is right behind his house.

 

I actually left my Jeep at his house, which is fenced in and locked.  He charged me $10Bz a day (airport is $19bz).  He'll also give you a ride to the Water Taxi location for $20-$30Bz each way (cheaper than a taxi, he claims). The expat stories are free ;)

 

He's about 15 minutes away, in Ladyville.

 

I recommend him if you want to hit the Cayes and don't know where to leave your car for a few days. Tell him that Rich, the guy with the Guatemalan wife and kid recommended him :)

 

-Rich Polanco

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 19:03

Secure parking in Belize city for a trip to the cayes

We parked in the Radisson Hotel secure parking lot, with an onsite guard 24hrs a day. It was 20Bz per night.