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Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

Layton, Utah
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Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

I'm planning a trip for two to Belize in October. We are looking at staying for 10 days and spending a few days in: Hopkins, San Ignacio, and San Pedro.

All things being consider (money, time, damage risk to vehicle) would it best to rent a car to travel from BC to Hopkins to San Ignacio and back to BC or look at taking a regional flight? What about taking a bus?

I've seen some say a car isn't needed in Hopkins but very useful in San Ignacio? Any thoughts?

What about the water taxi to San Pedro vs. a flight?

Thanks guys.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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1. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

I'd probably take a shuttle from BZE to San Ignacio. Rent a car for a day or two while there if you want to do some independent touring. No sense having an expensive rental car just sitting while you're on guided tours.

Then, either a bus or shuttle to Hopkins and back to Belize City. You could also fly from Dangriga (close to Hopkins) to Belize City Municipal (not BZE) and fly to San Pedro from there.

The water taxi is cheaper than flying. It takes about 90 minutes vs. 15 for the flight. I consider it money well spent. The water taxi ride isn't very scenic and can be crowded. Not the most comfortable seats.

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2. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

If money is no problem, I'd say a car rental would be best -- it gives you more freedom. And although you probably won't need a car in Hopkins, getting to Hopkins is not so easy and a car would be best.

If you don't rent a car, the private transfer services are a good idea for the longer trips, especially the trip to Hopkins.

Buses are the cheap way to go -- BZ$7 from BC to San Ignacio. They're frequent and will take a little bit longer than a transfer service, but they are old school buses so not very comfortable. Bus service to Hopkins is not very frequent and you might consider a transfer service or taxi.

Water taxis vs. flights to San Pedro -- depends on whether you want to get there quickly or cheaply. Both are good ways to travel.

Here's a site that might help...


It has bus information and links to all the transfer services, water taxis and airlines.

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3. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

If your first night is in Hopkins I would take an 18 minute regional flight directly from the International airport into Dangriga and then either the local Hopkins bus or a taxi to Hopkins. From Hopkins, you can take the Hopkins bus at 7:00a.m., transfer onto the bus to Belmopan, enjoy the beautiful Hummingbird highway then take a bus from Belmopan to San Ignacio. You will arrive in time for lunch. You can rent a vehicle in San Ignacio. Matus is one company that visitors have been happy with. It is an easy bus trip from San Ignacio to Belmopan then on to Belize City. Take a taxi to the San Pedro water taxi for your trip to San Pedro. I would fly directly from San Pedro into the International airport for my flight home.

San Ignacio, Belize
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4. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

Jean hits the nail on the head. Unless you really want to be in control of a car at any time, you don't really need a rental car. Many tour operators provide the transportation, so cars do sit around a lot. There are some great things to see that you can do on your own with a car, like Caracol and MPR, Calico Jack's, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech. I really wouldn't think you'd need it in Hopkins.

Have fun!

Newcastle, Australia
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5. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

Travelling by bus offers the traveller another insight into Belize. Some may not be very comfortable but you are travelling with a mix of very friendly people from a large variety of backgrounds. The best way to travel in my opinion. The buses are very inexpensive, regular, safe, the staff at the terminals are most helpful.

Some of the longer routes have coach style buses rather than old school buses.

I would suggest you travel at least one section of your trip by local bus just for the experience.

As a guide in San Ignacio: US$30 was the asking price a private taxi from San ignacio to Xunantunich return for 4 persons. Waiting time 2 hours.


The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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6. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

I'm really fond of buses which we took almost exclusively during our 1st visit, 2003. In 2009 we combined buses and private shuttles since we were staying a few places where the limited bus schedules didn't suit us (Baboon Sanctuary and Hopkins). You can see our photos and blogs and read about our trips below if you're interested. Happy trails!


7. Re: Car rental vs. air travel vs. buses and taxis

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