Planning a Trip
The Belize Tourist Board (tel. 800/624-0686 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or 227-2430 in Belize; www.travelbelize.org) has its main office at 64 Regent Street, in the heart of the business district of Belize City. If you missed their desk at the airport, they have another information desk here with regional brochures, basic maps, and a score of hotel and tour fliers; the office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Local travel agencies are another good source of information. Two in Belize City to try are Discovery Expeditions, 5916 Manatee Dr., Buttonwood Bay (tel. 223-0748; www.discoverybelize.com) and S&L Travel and Tours, 91 N. Front St. (tel. 227-7593; www.sltravelbelize.com).
Belize City is surrounded on three sides by water, with Haulover Creek dividing the city in two. The Swing Bridge, near the mouth of Haulover Creek, is the main route between the two halves of the city, as well as the city's principal landmark. At the south end of the bridge is Market Square and the start of Regent Street and Albert Street. This is where you'll find most of Belize City's shops and offices. To the west and east of these two major roads is a grid of smaller roads lined with dilapidated wooden houses. On the north side of the bridge and to the right is the Fort George area. From the southern side of the city, Cemetery Road heads out of town to the west and becomes the Western Highway, while from the northern side of the city, Freetown Road becomes Haulover Road and then the Northern Highway.
All international flights into Belize land at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (tel. 225-2045; www.pgiabelize.com; airport code BZE), which is located 16km (10 miles) northwest of the city on the Northern Highway.
In the baggage claim area, there's an information booth maintained by the Belize Tourist Board. This booth supplies maps and brochures, and will often make a call for you if you need a hotel or car-rental reservation. Inside the international departure terminal is a branch of Belize Bank (tel. 225-2107), open daily from 8:30am to 4pm. Across the parking lot, you'll find car-rental and tour-agency desks, open daily from 8am to 9:30pm. A taxi into town will cost BZ$50 to BZ$60 (US$25-US$30/£13-£16).
If you fly in from somewhere else in Belize, you'll probably land at the Municipal Airport (airport code TZA), which is on the edge of town. A taxi from here costs just BZ$10 (US$5/£2.65). There's no bank or any other services at the Municipal Airport, although most car-rental agencies can arrange to have a car there for you.
There is no direct bus service to either airport.
There are only two highways into Belize City: the Northern Highway, which leads to the Mexican border (166km/103 miles away), and the Western Highway, which leads to the Guatemalan border (132km/82 miles away). Both are well marked and in good driving condition. If you arrive by car from the north, stay on the road into town, paying close attention to one-way streets, and you'll end up at the Swing Bridge. If you're arriving on the Western Highway, stay on it after it becomes Cemetery Road, and you'll end up at the intersection with Albert Street, a block away from the Swing Bridge.
If you arrive in town by bus, you'll probably end up at the main bus terminal on West Collet Canal Street. This is an easy walk to downtown, but it is not recommended after dark. A taxi from the bus station to any hotel in town will cost around BZ$8 (US$4/£2).