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Car rental is going to put me over budget

Iowa
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Car rental is going to put me over budget

Hi tripadvisors.

I found airfare for 10 days in March 2010. I wouldn't mind staying more but even at 10 days, car rental is eating into my budget.

I think that if I really want to see all that Belize has to offer I need to rent a car.

I would like to get down to Placencia or Hopkins and, also, to the ruins.

Will I need to rent a 4x4?

The big name car rental companies (Hertz, Budget...) are very expensive, it seems, and I'm not familiar with the reputation and costs of the local rental agencies.

Are there any recommendations you may have for me? Any car rental tips? For example, would it be better for me to find a local rental business that is not located at the airport? Or are there any one-way rentals available (I would rent from Belize City then drive to Placencia and drop off the car).

Thanks.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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1. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

How many people in your party, and where do you plan on going? Sounds like maybe Cayo, Placencia and Hopkins?

I'd either take a bus or arrange a shuttle from BZE to San Ignacio. Then, only rent a car for the days you're actually going on tours you can drive to. You will need a guide for ATM, no sense paying a car rental for that day. Same thing if you're heading to Tikal in Guatemala.

From there take the bus, or again, arrange a transfer and head to either Placencia or Hopkins. What do you want to do while at these locations? If your ideas are water based tours, once again, you won't need a car.

Another option is flying from Belmopan to Placencia. I don't know the cost, but, you'd save lots of time.

Have you bought your plane tickets? If you have extra time, fly into Cancun and take the bus to Belize. You'll probably save hundreds of dollars on air fare.

Iowa
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2. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

Hi Jeanh,

There will be, at most, 2 people on this trip. I haven't bought my ticket yet because I'm waiting to hear back from someone that may go with me.

The reason I would prefer to rent a car is so that I can stop and see the local sights on my way to the destinations (Hopkins, Placencia).

Can I drive to ruins and hire a guide there?

Does anyone know of one-way car rentals?

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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3. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

I think Jean's advice is right on. It's easy to get from the airport to the San Ignacio area without a rental, either by taxi/bus or by arranging a shuttle. Once there, many of the things you'll want to see either don't require a car or require a guided tour or are over the border where I wouldn't want to drive anyway (and most rental companies won't let you drive). A combination of public buses and shuttles have been good for us. Some places, like the zoo (don't miss it!) are easy to access by bus; just hop off at the zoo and wait for the next bus heading your way when you're through. When that's not the case, private shuttles, though not cheap, allow you to stop as often as you want. Buses and private shuttles in combination are likely to be way less expensive than renting and are a more interesting cultural experience, too, imo.

There are shuttle driver recommendations in my 2009 travelogue. Good luck!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

San Ignacio, Belize
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4. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

There really is no need to rent a car. They are too expensive! I've heard many people say that they spent more on a vehicle rental than on lodging. Unless you really use it every day, and you won't, it's better to use the bus system, and maybe rent a car for a day when you really need it, like for seeing Mountain Pine Ridge and Caracol.

You don't have to get a guide at the ruins, but there are always guides there you can hire. You do need guides for the caves, but you can also get them there. Many sights are right on the side if the road, so you can just get off the bus, see it, and catch the next bus.

Check out the Belize Bus Blog for times and schedules.

Have a great time!

Iowa
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5. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

I appreciate the great advice.

I do think that car rental will work best for me. I'm just trying to find the best deal. If I could do it for under $75/day, I'd be okay.

One reason for a car rental is so that I can stop and take pictures whenever I want.

I found that Budget Car rental offers one-way rentals to Placencia. Does anyone know of others?

Thanks again.

Edited: 08 February 2011, 20:02
Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

We bumped around Bellize last summer and loved having a car. It really does allow the freedom to stop whenever. We also helped a couple of locals with flats on deserted roads and picked up hitchhikers (locals) coming and going out of Hopkins/Dangriga. It was expensive but was worth it. We rented from one of the larger companies at the airport. The car was a bit of a jalopy and I think next time I would want something a little more, um, held together.

Montreal
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7. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

We were in Belize a coupla years ago and wanted something along the same lines; use a car while visiting Cayo, then drop it off and head to the cayes.

We used Crystal Auto from the airport and had no problems. They have a couple of options within your budget - figure a weekly rate, plus 3 extra days, plus collision insurance ($14/day), plus 12.5%tax.

This comes in at $730USD or $776USD for their first two options here

http://www.crystal-belize.com/rentals.html

Note, the insurance is optional and may be covered by your own insurance plan/travel insurance/credit card (better check on this one, though!).

If you have your own insurance, it'll shave off $140.

We're heading there next week and I chose this outfit again.

Expensive? yeah, probably, but for us, worth it.

Iowa
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372 posts
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8. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

lala067, did I understand correctly? You rented a car from Crystal Auto in Belize City and dropped it off in Cayo?

Also, do you think a person would be better off (safer and able to traverse more terrain) if they rented a 4x4? I've heard that some of the roads can get very muddy and Crystal Auto only allows SOME of their cars on unpaved roads.

Thank you.

Edited: 09 February 2011, 14:59
Iowa
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372 posts
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9. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

Jeanh and hopefulist,

Do you have any shuttle services that you would recommend? This is not an option I had considered.

Thanks.

Iowa
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372 posts
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10. Re: Car rental is going to put me over budget

I'm sorry, hopefulist.

I just noticed your travelogue's shuttle recommendations.

Edited: 09 February 2011, 16:39