Belize Guide

Belize

Firstly, costs in Belize are considerably higher than in either Mexico on Guatemala. Be prepared to be spending at least 50% - 100% more than in Mexico. Yes, we only went to a couple of places, but we spent more in a week than 2 in Mexico. Was it worth it? Definitely, just budget it properly and be prepared.

Belize City buses expense budget transport

Belize City

This town looks like it has been hit by a cyclone more recently than it has. However, the people are generally very friendly and the food is amazing! We stayed at North Front Street Guest House (email ), partly as our first option, Freddies Guest House on Eve St was closed for the season. It is a old house and run down in parts, but is secure, has shared bath, good value at $30 and the rooms are clean. The proprietress, Mrs. Metilda C. Speer is a lovely woman who knows the area well and will give you advice on where to get anything. Be a little cautious of men coming up and chatting to you before asking for $1 - I suspect if you got your wallet out you might be volunteering for a foot race. A taxi from the bus station should cost $6.

Food in Belize is superb. I found the food in Mexico generally disappointing - it wasn't often bad, sometimes great, but I just expected better on average. The Jerk Pit on King St between Regent and Southern Foreshore (I suspect it is where 3 Amigos was, but can't confirm - might also be between Regent and Albert - in any case, easy to find with a big sign out front) does the most amazing Coconut Curry Chicken in their courtyard. Ditz Restaurant also on King, but between East Canal St and Albert St also does great Chicken Stew with Beans and Rice and is a good cheap feed.

Don't even think about posting anything bigger than a letter home. Postal rates in Belize are stupidly high. A 2 kg parcel to New Zealand would cost around US$90, a bit cheaper to Europe!!! Internet is available just next to the Post Office for $5 an hour.



Caye Caulker

Almost all the rooms on this island are about the same price - $25 to $35. If you say you are staying for a few nights the price will probably come down $5. Tropical Paradise Hotel has lovely, cool, clean cabanas for $30 with bath. It has deck chairs to lounge with by their quiet bit of coast under the palms. Turn left (South) when you get off the pier and walk about 150m along the beach path until you see the large red and white round sign for the hotel.

Food is good all over the island. Rasta Pasta does HUGE burritos that are good and a delicious curry. Both are quite pricey, but good if you are hungry. The Key Lime Pie from the desert shop just outside on Front St is great for a sweet tooth fix. Rainbow has a lovely location and good food, while The Happy Lobster has good prices for good food.

Belize Caye Caulker accommodation islands snorkelling diving swimming

I came here to do some diving, but was put off by the lack of service and stupidly high costs. A days diving to the Blue Hole and Half-Moon Caye costs US$190 for 3 tanks!!! The snorkel trips are OK, but the reef is pretty stuffed where they take you, little care was taken by our crew to avoid further damage to the reef. However, it was still nice to swim with sharks and rays and we saw a few other more unusual critters. Tours to see manatees, complete with shark and ray snorkels cost $80.

One of the tour guides (was not on our tour - we had dinner with him) on the island is a Belizian / American marine biologist who has amazing depth of knowledge and is worth seeking out. He usually works with a tour company near Rasta Pasta. He has worked with manatees for years and has done years of post graduate studies in Belize on the reef and marine ecosystem. He was telling us about an American woman who came to Belize to get the amazing water colours. She brought with her glass bottles and would ask him to stop at each time they passed over a differently coloured patch of water to collect a sample. He tried explaining to her that the water actually wasn't a different colour at all, but she knew best. Classic!

Belize City to Flores, Guatemala

There were 2 buses a day from Belize City to Flores when we were there - 9.30am and 4pm. We arrived at 11am and didn't want to wait 'till 4 so caught the mid-day bus to Benque el Viejo. Benque has replaced San Ignacio (Cayo) as the transfer point to the border and Melchor de Mencos. Once you arrive at Benque take a taxi ($2 pp) to the border where you will need to pay your departure fee of $37.50 pp. Change all other remaining BZE$ before crossing with the registered money changers who hang around the car park. The rates were reasonable.

Once you are through both Belizian and Guatemalan border posts cross the small bridge and wait in the dusty car park on the other side. Minivans to Flores come through every 20 minutes or so. You do not need to get a taxi to the bus station, but you may want to if you want to choose prime seats in the minivan. Cost should be around Q35 but seem to change depending on driver and how gullible you look. By Flores airport our minivan driver stopped and tried to get us to change to another minivan saying he wasn't going to Flores but only to Santa Elena. We said we would just go to Santa Elena anyway and go from there. In the end he dropped us happily in Flores - I suspect the other minivan driver wanted to take us to a hotel where he would get a commission.