Airlines Boats Buses / Cars / Budget and other Hotels or a large list of hotel websites and e-mail / News and Newspapers / Tours / Real Estate / Weather Fishing Some thoughts about my most recent trip to Belize. You don't have to pay a lot to travel between Belize City and the airport. Exact Bank Exchange Rate to the US dollar. Belize Newspapers Belize Road Conditions Buses Belize Tourist Board Belize email directory Retirement there? Belize First Magazine has lots of info. Volunteer Opportunities Join a Dig Belize Event Calendar. See Travmed.com for travel medicine considerations. Online Radio Stations
Updated: 20 November 2012
Info and Items of Interest by Area
Birds of Ambergris Caye contains
some oddly interesting articles on the topic. See also the Half Moon Caye Rookery.
Hopkins has a website that
appears to list all local businesses
Placencia sea kayaking
Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm (near Lubaantun)
Belize Directory at Belize.net
Punta Gorda scene
Amandala, a weekly
Belize Report, info on the
usual plus retirement and investment.
Channel 7 Transcripts
I have decided to no longer list real estate links, because the prices look absurd and can't be good for Belizeans to compete with.
Use this Trip Planner to put in the dates for your intended trip and see how the average weather in Belize is then.
Trent University's Minanha Project. University credit possible.
The Belize Valley Archaeology Reconnaissance Project. This teaches students archaeological techniques in summer efforts at several sites in Belize, most of which are close to Cayo. The fee includes weekday meals and lodging. The minimum recommended stay is two weeks.
Thoughts About the
Shuttle Service from Belize City Airport
The Aguada Hotel in Cayo advertises shuttles to Cayo, Placencia and Dangriga.
The Trek Stop offers a shuttle to Cayo (San Ignacio)
Belize Shuttles and Transfers offers shuttles from the airport to various locations
Maya Island Airways goes all around Belize, and lists Savannah and San Pedro Sula
Tropic Air flies all around Belize
and to Flores. It also does Tikal tours.
Airline (Not Online)
Beyondtouring.com looks interesting, especially if you want to begin with a tour of Lamanai.
S & L Travel is in Belize City. I found them to be quite good.
Katie Valk at Belize Trips is very knowledgeable, but does "not work
with budget travelers". She was very clear about that.
Also check the Belize
Business Directory under "Travel Agencies, Tours and Field Instruction
Maya Travel Services is based in Belize City and has a number of itineraries.
Raggamuffin (sic) Tours in Caye Caulker has interesting fishing, snorkeling and camping trips.
In Cayo, for Actun Tunichil Muknal and other interesting tours,
River Rat Kayak and Land Expeditions
in Cayo has a number of interesting excursions.
Hun Chi'ik near Cayo in San Jose Succotz, runs a good number of tours
See a long list of local tour agencies
Here is some General Information
Linea Dorada: Belize City-Flores, overpriced Guatemalan luxury buses.
In Belize City
Note that car rentals are very expensive in Belize and if you don't rent a 4 wheel drive, you will be limited to paved roads.
Auto Rental Belize sounds affordable for Belize.
advertises allowing you to drive to Tikal. This is probably the only one that does that. But the insurance does not cover that.
None online currently known.
Thunderbolt schedules between San Pedro, Belize City and Corozal
How about three days of "island hopping" from Placencia to Caulker?
Reef Crawling. This is not a budget trip, but if you want to spend an all-inclusive six days with one friend and a two person crew aboard a sloop visiting some cayes, while gawking, fishing and/or snorkeling or whatever, this sounds pretty good.
What to fish for in Belize and when.
The online Belize Guide has some useful info, but only check out hotels it lists if money is no object
The Ruta Maya River Challenge is an annual race.
A discussion of Belizean food
Online Belizean radio stations from BelizeWeb
A trip of mine to Belize
Getting from Belize City to the airport without paying a
Field Guide to Ambergris Caye
See a virtual guide to Belize.
A great list of Belize Nature Links.
The Embassy Hotel near the Int'l airport will store luggage for a small fee.
Belize Eco-systems map.
See a list of the fauna of Belize.
Some Belize Cyber cafes
northwest of Belize City
Online Maps of Belize,
its regions and municipalities
General Weather Info by month.
Although mostly for Ambergris, you can also find out about other places in Belize from people who have been there.
Travel Health Info
Need more info, either
travel related or about
Belize First magazine covers Belize quite well and includes a number of caveats.
See also Belize Magazine online.
Belize Forums is the most useful message board for advice about Belize. Just do a search there of some of the many threads before posing what may be a FAQ
Ask questions at Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree. If you register, the suggestions from readers can come straight to your email address. Just remember to search first to see if yours has already been answered. It may very well have been.
Me resting up in Placencia
Aktun Tunichil Muknal Altun Ha Marco Gonzalez at Ambergris Caye Blackman Eddy Cahal Pech Caracol Caracol Reports Cerros Colha Cuello K'axob La Milpa Lamanai Lubaantun Mayflower Minanha Nim li Punit Nohmul Pacbitun El Pilar Pook's Hill Santa Rita Pucilha Uxbenka Xibun Xunantunich, also see photos. A visit to Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit.
Belize City (North)
Belize City (South)
San Pedro -
If you need more info, ask questions at Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree , but don't be an idiot. Do a search
there first before asking a question that may have been answered recently. If you register and ask a question, the
suggestions from travelers can come straight to your email address.
Recent Trip Observations
I spent most of my early 2004 trip in Belize and here are my thoughts
I was in San Ignacio for two nights and saw Caracol from there. This is an impressive site and well worth the time and money to visit it. There were four other people where I was staying (the Hi-Et) who wanted to go to Caracol, so we had a guaranteed group. Unfortunately, the nearby office of the Snooty Fox was not open, so we arranged the trip at Eva's. The cost was $55 US and what the fellow there did was arrange to have Everald of Snooty Fox come and pick us up. I still wonder how much cheaper it would have been if we had been able to deal directly with him as a group. For those who are alone and want to go on a trip to local sites, Eva's can be a viable alternative to get listed for one.
High cost there is especially true for Internet, because Eva's is the highest in town, despite it being a mere dial up service. The cheapest place for Internet in town has older equipment, but only charged 5 cents Belizean per minute compared to Eva's $5 Belizean per 15 minutes. To find the cheap place, go past Pop's from the Hi-Et to the end of the street and turn left. At the end of that street it is directly ahead. There are a couple places in town that have satellite hook up and fancy equipment too, but they were still cheaper than Eva's was.
I liked breakfast at Pop's. Had I been around for lunch, I would have gone there too. Maxim's has pretty good Chinese food and non-Chinese as well. I was underwhelmed by Erva's (yes, Erva's) Restaurant, but it might have been more due to my then queasy stomach. By the way, I had bought some Cipro in Mexico for under $7 for 12 tabs, so my taking some for a few days sent my stomach back to normal. Presuming that I get back there, I will try the place in good condition and see how it seems.
I stayed two nights at Orange Walk, but one night or even less would have been better. If a person wants to see Lamanai and can get to the Reyes and Sons boat area right on the river south of town between 9-11 AM, it would be likely to join a group and it would not be necessary to spend more than one night there. One could even dispense with it entirely by getting dropped off at the bus station and heading off right after seeing the ruins. I had forgotten how much nonsense guides spout during their talks, but now after guided tours to this and to Caracol, I vividly remembered.
What I liked least about Orange Walk was the lack of choice in restaurants. Juanita's was fine for breakfast and lunch. Otherwise there only seemed to be Chinese restaurants except for some market stalls if one were to hurry and eat an early supper, which I didn't. Being tired of Chinese food, I ordered a fish burger at a particular Chinese joint one night. It was more what I would describe as a fish cake sandwich with lots of breading. The next night I ordered a beef burger and it was more like a beef version of the fish cake. Fortunately I still had some granola bars.
I was at the Hotel Akihito and had cable TV and the hotel PC with Internet had Chinese letters on it along with the normal ones, so doing email was interesting.
I recommend seeing the Lamanai ruins. The boat ride through jungle is interesting in itself and the boatman pointed out interesting things along the way, including a crocodile.
I like resting up a bit at the end of a journey, so I headed to Placencia, which made it pleasant enough. I even abandoned my idea of later heading off to Hopkins and remained until it was time to go toward Belize City for my flight.
I enjoyed having a common kitchen at Lydia's Guest House. I checked out the locations of grocery stores and other useful spots, most of which are on the road. Most useful to me were the Every Day Market is on the right shortly after the small sign on the left for Lydia's Guest House. Next was Placencia Market. It has a freezer with affordable Belizean steaks and chops. The steaks there are sliced so thin that they are not as chewy as one might expect.
There are other stores, one on the right and Wallen's on the left. Wallen's has the best selection, a pharmacy on second floor and a hardware store next door, but it was rather far from Lydia's. I got a useful knife dirt cheap at the hardware store there and enough cheap chloroquine at the pharmacy to start the my next trip.
At the fishermen's cooperative, I bought shrimp and fish for two dinners. I found that the fajitas at the stand in front of Wallen's make a delightful and inexpensive lunch. I liked Flavours Restaurant near the Shell station for a meal. Their problem seems to be that many people are unaware that most of the seats are upstairs, so they think it is small and pass it up. I also enjoyed an inexpensive lunch at Omar's.
I did two snorkeling trips and one day trip to Monkey River. One snorkeling was a half day to nearby cayes and the other was to Silk Caye, both of which I enjoyed very much. The latter is an island that is even smaller than Laughing Bird Caye, at which I had snorkeled three years before.
Monkey River has a lot of wildlife to see. We saw several crocodiles and many large iguanas and numerous birds. Along a jungle path, there was a small colony of Montezuma Oropendolas with their curiously hanging nests. The guide pointed out a water vine and a number of types of trees. There are far fewer monkeys since the hurricane, but we did see one family. In fact, we saw nearly as many people there to study the monkeys as there were of those primates to be studied.
The cheapest company taking people snorkeling or on other tours seems to be Ocean Motion. The lady in the office is friendly and they will set up trips to suit you, particularly if you can connect with others on where you want to go. Both of the times I have stayed at Lydia's I have met others who wanted to go snorkeling on the same day I did and we set something up.
It does seem that every time I return to Belize, the use of Spanish becomes more and more useful due to increasing numbers of people with limited knowledge of English. Sometimes it even looks like Guatemala took it over and that is why they no longer feel the need to claim it.
I also discovered how to avoid paying $20 US to get to the BZE airport. I took a Ladyville Transport bus from the regular station for $1.50 BZ to the crossroad and when I arrived, I was ready to hike the two miles into the airport. However, I found two taxi drivers there awaiting fares. The woman driver came up and asked me if I wanted a ride in and out of curiosity, I asked, but was expecting a huge figure. The price was $6 BZ, so I took it. A male driver came up and informed me that he was ahead of her in line.
I explained that it was she who convinced me to ride rather than walk. Then I got into her cab. On the way in, she explained that the other cabbies do not accept her as a woman driver and that by the other cabbie's definition, he would be always ahead of her in line. Although one can expect some slant in her opinion, it is likely that there is some truth to it. As for the locations of their cabs, she got to me quicker and his was further away from where I got off the bus.
Placencia Information and Useful Links
Car rentals in Placencia
List of some Placencia Businesses
Fly or other fishing with Permit Pow
Florentino Bol offers tours here.
Note that Ocean Motion is friendly and has
the least expensive prices, but is not online
Toadal Adventures does some interesting sea kayaking trips
Playa de Piratas Properties.
Some properties are listed for sale here. Note that nothing is cheap.
Belize Raised Taxes on Tourists
International Airport Departure Tax & Fees: US$35, up from US$20,
effective April 1, 2004
Hotel Room Tax: 9%, up from 7%, effective mid-2005
Sales Tax on Most Items: 9%, up from 8%
Archaeological Fees: US$5 at most sites, including Xunantunich, Altun Ha, and Cahal Pech, up from US$2.50; at Caracol, fee is US$7.50. Effective April 1, 2004
Marine Park Fees: US$10 to $15 per person per day, depending on the park, effective November 1, 2004.
Land Border Exit Fee: US$18.75, up from US$13.75.