Coming in by air - The easiest method of travelling around Belize is by air. Caye Caulker is located approximately 15 minutes by air from mainland Belize. Hourly flights from the Philip Goldson International Airport as well as the Belize City Municipal Airstrip to Caye Caulker are provided by the local airlines Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. There is no international air service direct to Caye Caulker. Continental, American and TACA fly into Belize City from a number of U.S. gateways. (see above). Charter flights from large U.S. and Canadian cities are sometimes available during the winter.
For a recent (April 24, 2000) Associated Press article on visiting Caye Caulker, click here!
International travelers fly into the newly renovated and expanded Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City. From there, connections can be made to various destinations within Belize, including: Caye Caulker, Caye Caulker, Corozal, Dangriga, Big Creek, Placencia and Punta Gorda; as well as to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Travellers already in Belize City should utilize the smaller Municipal Airport for in-country flights, as costs are much lower. Charter flights can also be arranged to off-the-beaten track destinations as there are many private airstrips throughout the country.
Getting here from the United States:
Two Belize airlines, Maya Island Air and Tropic Air, have many flights daily to Caye Caulker from both Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville about 9 miles north of Belize City and Municipal Airport in Belize City. One-way fares are approximately US$24 from Municipal and US$42 from International, and twice that for round-trip. A taxi from International to Municipal is about US$15. Most hotels on Caye Caulker will arrange for your air travel to the island at the time you make your hotel reservations.
After deplaning from your flight at Philip Goldson International Airport outside of Belize City, you will pass through Belize Immigration showing your passport and the immigration card you filled out on the airplane. Your baggage will come out on the belt. There are several porters to assist you with your bags. They will carry your luggage to the customs area for you. If you are handling your own luggage just proceed to customs. More often than not, a customs officer will open your bags, or ask you to do so. After clearing customs, go into the main terminal.
If you are dressed for cold weather, this is an opportunity to change into
more comfortable clothing. (The dress code on Caye Caulker is shorts,
t-shirts, tropical blouses, swimsuits, sarongs and cool islandwear - shoes
are optional. The locals hardly ever wear shoes.) Only light clothing is
required the year round nnd should preferably be washable. Light, informal
tropical clothing is recommended except for hunting trips. For jungle
excursions to the mainland, the thick forest growth and the possibility of
insects should be taken into account.
They fly into Caye Caulker until sunset or about 4:30 p.m. There are no lights on the Caye Caulker landing strip. If you miss the last flight out to Caye Caulker, you can always try to catch the last water taxi that leaves Belize City at 5:00 p.m. You can make a reservation but it is not really necessary.
The flight from International takes around twenty minutes and is spectacular. If you fly low enough, you can see the manta and sting rays and coral formations as you approach the island.
Visitors coming to Belize in private aircraft must obtain permission to land at the Belize International Airport from the Chief Civil Aviation Officer 48 hours before the scheduled time of landing. Pilots of private aircraft will have their documents inspected, and must file the normal flight plan. Landing fees are based on the weight of the aircraft and are charged per 1,000 lbs. Parking fees are also charged per 10,000 lbs.
Caye Caulker Airport
Both Maya Island and Tropic air services have connections to the Phillip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville where Continental, Grupo TACA, American Airlines make daily stops on their routes to and from the U.S. and Canada and most of the Caribbean and Central and South American countries that Pan American Airlines left when it ended service to Belize. One final caveat about the Phillip Goldson International Airport... it is the hub for international arrivals and departures only. If you intend to air travel around Belize - don't go through the International Airport. Air fares to that terminal are literally double those of Belize Municipal Airport. The Belize Municipal Airstrip is located in Belize City, ten miles from the International Airport, and is the central hub for all inland flights within the country of Belize.
Coming in by sea -
Departure time from Caye Caulker to Belize City are at 6:30 a.m., 7:30
a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m. with a final trip to
the City at 5:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
These boats are extremely reliable so don't wander off close to boarding time. Boarding time is 15 mins. before departure. The Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association also offers scheduled water taxi ferry to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This ferry service too, is also very reliable.The water taxi association also offers charter trips to out islands and serves as the ferry of choice for incoming cruise ships. For more information, contact Wendy at Caye Caulker Travel and Tours.
Coming in by land:
If you want to drive from Cancun or other spots along the southeast coast of the Yucatan, The roads between Cancun and the Belize border are paved, two-lane all the way and quite easy to drive (at least as of two years ago). The distance is about 350 miles (583 kilometers) and I drove it in about 8 hours. You take highway 307 south from Cancun almost to Chetumal, then 186 into Chetumal or the Belize border cutoff. I would be leery of trying to cross the border with rental cars, though you can park them in Chetumal or Corozal if you are heading back the same way. There is no rental car return in Chetumal.
Once in Belize, holders of foreign driving licences are required to have a temporary driving permit which is obtained upon application to the Chief Licensing Officer in Belize City. The temporary permit is valid for 90 days. Holders of international driving licences are not required to obtain a temporary driving permit. No overnight parking in any public place is allowed.
You can also get a nice, clean, air conditioned bus with rest rooms and reclining chairs (maybe even a bar and TV!) that run non stop between Cancun and Chetumal. To do this, you must take two buses. From the main terminal in Cancun center, the ATS company runs air-conditioned buses to Chetumal (near the Belize border). The main bus station is in Cuidad Cancun just off Avenida Tulum (the main drag in Cancun City) at the traffic circle at Avenida Uxmal (Oosh-mall). The fare is roughly US$10, and they run about five times a day. The trip takes almost five hours. The earliest departure is around 6:00 a.m., which gets you to Chetumal in time to catch the second "Premier" service (Batty Brothers) bus to Belize City. ADO's site at http://www.adogl.com.mx lists their deluxe services and there just one departure at 16:30. However they have first class services at 00:30, 06:30, 08:00, 12:00, 15:00, 17:00, 23:00 and 24:00. These stop at some or all of: Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Felipe Carillo Puerto.
At the Chetumal terminal, you will find a Batty Brothers Bus Line counter where you can buy tickets to Belize. Batty's runs several times a day to Belize City. Two of those are the "Premier" service, an express, air-conditioned bus with snack service. The Premier departs Chetumal at 10:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. The fare is US$6, and the trip takes about 2 hours. They also run regular buses about every hour and the fare is US$4.50. Bear in mind that these buses make numerous stops and can add a few hours to your journey to Belize City. Phone Batty's in Belize at 501-2-72025 & 73929, for more details on schedules and reservations.
We've done the Cancun to Belize bus thing a few times. There are 2 different classes of transportation, express and regular service. The express ticket will cost about $15, U.S. The express service will take you about 5 hours to get to Chetumal, where you will change busses and the Batty Brothers bus can take you into Belize. Busses from Cancun leave about every hour, but I'm not sure what their nighttime schedule is. ADO is the most popular bus line. However, the first bus from Chetumal into Belize doesn't leave until 10 a.m. That ticket will cost only a few dollars. Make sure you exchange enough money in Cancun for the return trip because the bus terminal i Cehtumal only takes pesos, and if the exchange is closed you're at the mercy of the gift shop. You can take a flight from Corozal to Ambergis Caye, and not have to go all the way into Belize City. It will be a fete to get all these different company schedules working though. You might end up with a "layover" in Chetumal or Corozal. If you end up stuck in Chetumal overnight, we stayed at the Ucum, for $10 a night and a $3 cab ride. Clean and quiet, its around the corner from the more expensive Holiday Inn, and down the street from the Mayan Museum. We ate from the food carts also, with no problems. The flight from Corozal was $24 U.S., and it shaves about 3 hours off your travel time. If you go all the way into Belize City you can take a water taxi to San Pedro from the marine terminal for about $12.50 U.S. Not being familiar with the downtown Belize City area I would recommend taking a cab for $4, from the bus terminal to the Marine terminal. If you ever get stuck in Belize City and are looking for budget accomodations, try the Seaside Guest House. Its run by the Friends (a Quaker Organization), you can stay in a dorm-style room for $8 a night or have a private room for $12 (I think) a night. All rooms share the baths.
Buses depart out of Belize City for most of the major towns (Corozal, Orange Walk, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda) and border towns in Mexico and Guatemala.
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