The best way to travel long distances in Central America is different in each country. In Guatemala it is best to use tourist shuttles, in Costa Rica a rental car is recommended and in Belize it is very easy to get from A to B by public bus. But isn’t riding a bus in Belize complicated and time-consuming?
Are you wondering how bus driving works in Belize, how expensive bus driving is and how to get from Belize City to Placencia, from San Ignacio to Dangriga or to the border to Guatemala by bus? We will tell you the most important things so that you can safely and inexpensively cover longer distances in Belize with the public buses.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Public Buses in Belize
The public buses in Belize are, as in Guatemala, discarded school buses from the USA. They are not as colorfully painted and lit as the chicken buses in Guatemala, but the ride comfort is about the same. In our opinion, the driving style of the buses here is much more pleasant and also safer than in Guatemala.
The bus drivers in Belize don’t rush around the curves like lunatics and don’t make any reckless driving maneuvers. That’s why we can recommend bus driving in Belize without any restrictions. You are among locals, you don’t pay much and at least we didn’t see any other tourists during our round trip through Belize.
The seats are reasonably comfortable and the seat pitch is also okay. Because most of the time all windows and sometimes also the door are open during the trip, it is pleasantly cool due to the wind when the bus is moving.
How to travel Belize by Bus?
Of course, the principle is the same as in any other country in the world: you hop on, the bus drives to its destination, you get off. But all joking aside. In Belize, of course, it’s all much more relaxed than in Europe, for example. The bus usually starts and ends at real bus stations, like you know them from other countries in Central America. But it is absolutely no problem to get on or off the bus in between.
You can see where the buses are going by the signs on the windshield. If you are at a larger bus terminal, it is best to ask an employee or passenger to tell you the right bus or a connection to your destination. By the way, almost all buses in Belize go through the capital Belmopan.
How to stop a Bus?
To get on a bus, you don’t have to walk from your hotel to the bus stop, bus terminal or take a cab. Instead, you just stand on the street and hold your arm out when it pulls up. Most of the time, the bus will honk briefly and then stop right in front of you so you can get on. Its the same if you want to get off. You call out briefly to the driver to stop and he does. But hold on tight. The brakes are fast and hard.
How to pay for the bus ride in Belize? Where to buy the tickets?
Tickets for buses in Belize cannot be bought in advance at a ticket office. The conductor will walk down the aisle shortly after the bus leaves to collect the money. You just tell him where you want to go and pay the money in cash.
Your large bags usually go in the back of the bus. For this, the conductor or bus driver will go to the back with you and help you put the bags in the back of the bus. This is not a separate luggage compartment, but simply the back of the bus. So if you are worried about your luggage, you can sit in the back.
Sometimes big backpacks go into a small luggage compartment on the side of the bus. You take your small backpacks with you on the bus. You could of course put them on top of you in the available compartments, but for safety reasons I would recommend to have the bags with you at all times. It is best to put all valuables as well as your passports and money in your daypack.
How safe is traveling by bus in Belize?
We crisscrossed the country and had no problems. Neither were we robbed, nor were there any accidents or other dicey situations. There are no seatbelts on the buses, but neither are there in many cabs in Central and South America. So we can fully recommend public bus travel in Belize if you are on a budget in Belize.
How much is a bus ride in Belize?
In general, bus travel in Belize is quite inexpensive, considering the country’s rather high price level. Roughly speaking, you can expect to pay 1-2 Euro per person per hour of bus travel. Exact bus prices for different popular bus routes in Belize are summarized in the next chapter.
Bus Connections in Belize
If you want to know how to get from A to B in Belize, we have noted some important connections here. Formore information about bus schedules and connections in Belize, please visit the following website:
From Placencia to Belize City
- You drive from Placencia at 10:30 am to Dangriga | Cost: 8 Bz$ | Duration: 2h
- At 12:30 pm you take the direct connection from Dangriga (via Belmopan) to Belize City | Cost: 12 Bz$ per person | Duration: 3.5h
From San Ignacio to Placencia
- Around 10:30 am you will get on the bus to Belmopan | Cost: 5 Bz$ | Duration: 1.5h
- From Belmopan you continue at 12 o’clock to Dangriga | Cost: 6 Bz$ | Duration: 2h
- From Dangriga the bus continues (via Hopkins) to Placencia | Cost: 8 Bz$ | Duration: 2h
From San Ignacio to Belize City
- You can take a direct connection from San Ignacio via Belmopan to Belize City | Cost: 10 Bz$ | Duration: 2.5h
From Belize City to Orange Walk Town
You have to go to Orange Walk Town if you want to visit the Mayan site of Lamanai.
- From Belize City there is a direct connection to Orange Walk Town | Cost: 10 Bz$ | Duration: 3h
From Belize City to Caye Caulker/San Pedro
This connection can not be done by bus, but you have to take a boat. From the bus station in Belize City you can walk to the port (or take a cab for Bz$10) and take a water cab, which will cost you Bz$18 one way and Bz$28 round trip. There are several providers, but we chose the market leader Belize Watertaxi, which makes the approximately one-hour trip at the following times:
- 08:00h, 09:00h, 10:30h, 12:00h, 13:30h, 15:00h,15:30h, 16:00h, 16:30h, 17:30h
More info at: http://www.belizewatertaxi.com/schedule By the way, we got vouchers for the crossing at the border, but you can probably also get them from many cab drivers in Belize City. With these vouchers you save a few dollars. By the way, the same boats continue from Caye Caulker to San Pedro/Ambergris Caye and take only half an hour longer.