Busses, Belize City
Follow Orange street over the canal and Novelos is on the left. You can get tickets to Ladyville, Dangriga, or out the Western Highway.
I took the local bus out to San Ignacio. It took a little over 2 hours and stopped often. It cost $4.50US one way. The busses are bluebird school busses so they will be familiar to those who went to school in the US.
I also took the bus out to the zoo for $3 US round trip. After 2 PM the busses come every half hour so it is easy to catch a return ride. See my pages on the zoo on my Belize page, It is definatly worth the short bus ride to visit.
There are many different compagnies offering you a bus service to Flores, Guatemala and they all have there prices. It's best to inform you in advance before just bying a ticket, because price are verry different, services are almost the same. A good place to inform you is the Boat tirminal at the swing bridge (which not swinges).
And hopefully you bus trip doesn't end like the photo one!
Novelos has the monopoly on bus trips in Belize, there is only one bus station in Belize City which makes things easy. Be sure to pay the little bit extra for an express bus as the normal service will stop anywhere on the route to drop off and pick up passengers.
A one hour trip to Orange walk took us 3 hours on the standard bus so it is better to wait at the station for the express bus as it will be quicker and more comfortable than sitting in an overcrowded unairconditioned bus. The waiting area is basic but there are market stalls close by for drinks and there are toilets, although you need to be desperate to use them!
You got all options. Bus, plane, boat. I got there by bus from Mexico and took off by bus as well towards Cayo. You got to choose between 'norma' bus and so-called 'Chicken Bus'. The latter is
Here a short excerpt from one of my stories about Belize:
..............At 12 O'clock noon the bus was ready for boarding and I lined up amongst dozens of other passengers to get on the 'ancient' bus. My backpack landed between sacks of rice and beans, chicken cages and boxes of fruits. The bus was overcrowded, but since I was one of the first that had bought a ticket I could enjoy a reserved seat. The joy was over soon though, since a chicken bus seat is not a sofa chair. I was literally squeezed into the seat row with my knees pressed against the backrest of the row in front of me. Besides this very non-European seat size I had a bench mate that was certainly oversized for an average Belizean lady and she had countless plastic bags on her lap that would slide onto me whenever the bus made a turn or ran over a bump. The most distinctive feature of a real chicken bus is yet that there are basically no official stops or bus stations. If you want to get on or off the bus you can do that anywhere along the route. The bus stops everywhere a potential passenger is sighted, somebody hitches the bus, or a passenger yells 'Aquí, aquí' to signalize the driver his desired drop off location. In summary, on this 100 km journey we stopped roughly 280 times and picked up and dropped off people basically constantly. After three and a half hour of painful chicken bus ride we reached Cayo and I could finally straighten my legs again. I picked up my backpack, which obviously had some discrepancies with the chicken cages during the trip since it was covered with smelly chicken crap.
This is called the San Pedro's Belize Express and you can find the station at the Belize Terminal. It's actually a water taxi. It goes from Belize City to Caulker, San Pedro, Chetumal, Mexico.
Here's their daily schedule as of September 2011:
Belize City to Caye Caulker & San Pedro:
9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:30pm
Caye Caulker to Belize City:
7:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm
You can book via online or go to their office at 111 North Front Street in Belize City.
Caye Caulker to San Pedro:
7:00 am (Connection to Chetumal), 9:45 am, 12:45 am, 3:45 pm
San Pedro to Caye Caulker & Belize City:
7:00 am, 11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 4:30pm, 6:00 pm (Connection to Caye Caulker)
Caye Caulker to Chetumal (via San Pedro):
San Pedro to Chetumal:
Chetumal to San Pedro/Caye Caulker:
If you are going into Belize via Mexico, you will likely take a bus from Chetumal. At the bus station in Chetumal, you can take Premier Line. This appeared to be the only bus offering this service, although I believe there may be others that were not apparent or departing from this station. The ticket booth, as well as one of its reps, is located near the main entrance of the station. You will likely hear him ask you if you are going to Belize or Belize City, especially if you appear to be a backpacker or looking around. The bus was pretty comfortable. It was similar to Greyhound buses used in the US during the 1990s, so you should not feel worried about comfort level. There are several buses during the day, as it takes less than 3.5 hours to get to Belize City, with brief stops at Corozal and Orange Walk. They stop in the main Novelo's bus station away from the downtown water taxi station.
Cost: $9 US
Travel Time: 3.5 hours
Border Crossing from Mexico and Belize were relatively easy. It took less than 10min and $10 US to exit Mexico and then less than 15min to go through the Belize Immigration and Customs for our entire bus.
If you are looking to head west into Guatemala, Belize City offers several bus companies that head that way. Buses leave from the Water Taxi Station in the heart of the city. Inside the station a 2-3 stands advertise buses going to several places, including Flores or Tikal, Guatemala. I chose the San Juan, as I had seen it referenced in other travel tips. I was staying at one of the hotels adjacent to the Tikal Ruins, so I chose the trip all the way to Tikal, which would have gone to Flores and tranferred me to a smaller bus; however, the bus passed one of its smaller shuttles between Flores and Tikal and quickly pulled over and rushed me out to the minibus (the driver knew he had one going to Tikal). The bus was a rather old bus with ratted seats and curtains, as well as inadequate shocks. Also, there is NO air conditioning on the bus, so if you are going slow (especially in the Guate section) or are stopped, you will get warm quickly. The other bus company passed us with much better speed and looked much more comfortable. So, if you can find the name of the other company, I may recommend taking that one instead of San Juan.
Cost: $15-20 US
Departure Time: 9.30AM
Travel Time: about 3hours to the Bze-Guat border and then 2hours to get to Flores/Tikal.
Border Crossing: The exit from Belize was easy, taking only a few short minutes. It cost 30$BZ ($15US) for the departure tax, as well as 7.50$BZ ($3.75US) for a conservation fee. I did not have to pay the conservation fee for some reason: I thought it may have been because I was in Belize less than 24hrs. After leaving the Belize side, you simply walk a couple hundred meters (if that much) to the Guatemala border patrol. It cost $2US to enter.