Driving in Belize

Driving in Belize
Orange Walk Town, Belize. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Getting Around in Belize

Enjoy Belize up close and personal.

Driving yourself through the country is an adventure all on its own.

While some tourists enjoy being carted around on a pre-planned excursion, there are those that like to get to know the country outside of tourist-filled destinations. Nothing helps you connect with a country better than driving around it yourself.

Your first stop is picking up your car rental at the Belize International Airport following your arrival. Due to the rough roads that can turn into quagmires during rainy days, it’s best to go with a four-wheel drive, such as a Toyota 4runner, Isuzu Trooper or Ford Explorer. Though expensive, they ensure the best traction when you venture off of one of the country’s three highways.

Be sure to check vehicle mileage. Expect the total to range from 100,000 to 150,000 and never be afraid to ask for a new vehicle if the mileage is too high for comfort. Breaking down in Belize is nothing like breaking down in America. Also, take a good look at the tires. Figure out where the spare and the jack are. Next, talk with the rental company about what you should do in case of a break down. Some will send mechanics to your location. Expect to pay around $6.50 per gallon for gas.

Once you’re on the road, there are some interesting local practices to be aware of. The most noted are the speedbumps along the residential roads. Used in place of stoplights for many areas, they are extremely common, giving you a chance to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding country.

For your safety, it is important to not drive at night. Apart from the wildlife that frequents the desolate roads, Belize also has drunk drivers. In addition, never pick up any hitchhikers. Though it may seem like a nice gesture, if they are found to have even an ounce of marijuana while you are stopped at a checkpoint, your entire party will be thrown in jail. Make sure you always remove valuables from your car and always leave it parked in a protected, well-lit lot.

Beyond this, have fun navigating the myriad of roads and sites within the country. Travel the Phillip Goldson, George Price and Hummingbird Highways. Head off-road to jungle sites not seen by the typical visitor. Explore the bustling culture that makes up the heart of Belize.

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