Almost 2 weeks later, at the end of our trip, we returned to Belize City for one night. This photo shows the mini-van shuttle that brought us from San Ignacio, 72 miles away on the Guatemala border. We had spent a week there, based at a great lodgings called the Trek Stop, and they had a planned run into the city for an airport pickup, allowing us to tag along for US$15 each. This was a great deal because we had planned to take the Express bus, which would have been much slower and would have cost US$6 each. The shuttle dropped us off directly at our Seaside Guesthouse accommodations.
Mini-vans similar to this are quite often used as taxis in the city, and we used them twice for in-city rides and twice more to get to the International Airport in Ladyville. We had a great driver for our final ride to the airport (the standard US$25 rate for the two of us) - the same guy who had picked us up in town the day before. He had given us his card to call him for our drive to the airport and waived the $3 charge for our in-town ride. Give him a try if you get the chance (see below).
My two friends and I went to Belize in July 2003 and rented a car from the Belize City Airport that we drove all around Belize and to the Guatemala border (where we parked and walked over the border). We booked it through cheaptickets.com from Budget car rental. We did the weekly rate and rented for 1 week. It didn't seem too bad, since we split the cost 3 ways. We thought for awhile we had a Jimmy, but realized it was a Suzuki JimNey about halfway through our trip. :) Make sure you get a 4-wheel drive vehicle if you plan to get off the one main road at all!
My company let me borrow this truck, which is useful for getting around Belize City. I don't feel very comfortable walking around, especially at night. I used a 1 page black and white map that the Radisson desk gave me. Be careful when driving, because pedestrians and bicyclist have the right of way. This means that a bike can come darting in front of you, and believe me, they will! Also be careful of dogs, they're everywhere and on my first day driving, I almost hit one. Just relax, turn on the reggae music, and take it slow so you don't hit anybody. Also there is a police stop on the Western Highway coming into the city, be sure to come to a complete stop and cooperate with them.
The website that I listed here is very good, you can click on the different tabs (lodging, food services, real estate, tour guides, transportation, other, all) to see where things are located on the map. I wish I would have found this sooner.