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Belize City


Getting Here & Around | Money Matters & Services Provided
Things to Do | Attractions | Accommodations
Belize City Local Flavor | Find a Tour Guide

The city is a myriad of sights, sounds, colors and flavors. Two large monuments welcome visitors and also serve as major landmarks: from the north, the Flag Monument and from the west the Hand of Friendship. Belize City was once a low-lying swamp that was settled by the baymen who named it the capital of British Honduras. History oozes out of the colonial style architecture and stilted wooden buildings. After Hurricane Hattie destroyed much of the city in 1961, the capital moved inland to Belmopan but Belize remains the financial and business hub for the country.

The wooden buildings are gradually giving way to not-quite-high-rise cement ones while the narrow lanes are filled with cars. As a port, the river and sea are still vital to the health and industry of the area. Today every ethnic group of Belize is represented in the city. This urban center of Caribbean breezes and color has much to offer you the traveler.


Getting Here & Around

By Plane
The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) is 10 miles north in the community of Ladyville. Taxis are available from PGIA to Belize City for a standard rate of US$20. The cheaper option is to walk the 1 mile to the Northern Highway and catch a bus into the city.

There is also a small municipal airport in Belize City about 1 mile from downtown that serves the domestic airlines. Several flights from all destinations in the country arrive and depart daily. It is usually cheaper to fly to destinations within Belize from the municipal airport.

By Bus
Buses arrive in Belize City from all inland destinations in Belize. Several villages in the Belize District and Northern Belize also have daily bus service to Belize District. The main bus station for Novelo’s Bus is on West Canal Street on the South side of Haulover Bridge. James Bus uses the Texaco Station about one block away for their hub. Private buses from the villages arrive at various points in the city.

By Water Taxi
Passengers arriving from the Cayes by Water Taxi will all land near the Swing Bridge. If you use the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association (also serves Ambergris Caye), the terminal is directly next to the Swing Bridge. Thunderbolt arrives and departs from the dock directly in front of Holy Redeemer Catherdral. Triple J arrives and departs by the Courthouse Wharf, opposite to the Water Taxi Terminal.

Getting Around
It is easy to get around to most main points in Belize City on foot. During the day, it is a good idea to have a hat, wear sunscreen and have an umbrella handy (for shade or rain). At night or if you are alone, it is probably best to opt for a taxi.

Taxis are abundant throughout the city and easily identified by their green license plates. Most taxis charge a minimum of US$3 but some as much as US$4 to US$5 for a stop. It is a good idea to ask the price before getting into the vehicle and if you are not satisfied with the price ask another driver.

Recently due to the increase in cruise ship stopovers, there are additional options for getting around the city. For the defensive driver and brave at heart, bikes and scooters can be rented or for those who want to sit back and relax, horse and buggies are available.


Money Matters & Services Provided

Banks
As the financial hub of the nation, all banks have their main branches in Belize City.
Click here for banking locations and information

Internet
There are a few internet cafes in the city with at least one on each of the major downtown streets: Queen Street, Albert Street and Regent Street. The BTL (phone) offices offer internet services and a few more cafes are located near the Tourism Village. Prices range from US$3 and up per hour.

Laundry
Several Laundromats are available around the city and so it is best to ask for the closest one to your location.

Luggage Storage
Luggage can be stored in secured lockers at the Water Taxi Terminal next to the Swing Bridge. Rates are by the hour, day or week.

Stores & Shops
The downtown area along Queen Street and Albert Streets are the major shopping streets where groceries, clothing, shoes, and crafts can be found. Three large grocery stores sell a wide variety of goods. Brodies has two locations, one downtown on Albert Street and the second, newer branch 3 miles up on the Northern Highway. Save U is located in the Santiago Castillo Plaza next to the Flag Monument where the Northern Highway comes into the city. Numerous other small stores and shops are located throughout the city.

This is a port city with plenty of fish and fresh seafood available. Romac's on Albert Street has a good selection of food that is already cooked and packaged.

There are several quality gift shops located in the Fort George area of the city, just north of Haulover Bridge. The National Handicraft Center, near Memorial Park supports local artisans from around the country and has an excellent variety of items. There are also two art galleries between the water taxi terminal and the cruise ship terminal.

Restaurants
The city has a nice variety of restaurants available to suit almost every taste and budget. Below is a sample of well-established, reputable restaurants.

Belizean: Upstairs in the downtown Commercial Center Big Daddy’s Diner serves cafeteria style foods in small and large portions at budget prices. Nerie’s, on the corner of Queen & Daly Streets offers a variety of Belizean foods, including some local game meats. Marlin’s on Regent Street West, just west of the Swing Bridge has a nice covered veranda on the riverfront, an ideal place for breakfast. Macy’s on King Street is a long-standing favorite of many locals.

East Indian: Mouth-watering, authentic Indian foods are served at Sumathi Restaurant on Princess Margaret Drive near the Princess Hotel. Prices are mid-range and you can expect to pay US$10-15 per dish, but there are generous portions making it easy to share.

Taiwanese & Chinese: Completely vegetarian, Mama Chen’s offers an excellent variety of soy-based meals at very low prices. It is a popular spot for the Taiwanese Community in Belize City but closed weekends. There are numerous Chinese restaurants throughout the city. China Town on Cinderella Plaza offers good quality food.

Jamaican: Just south of the Swing Bridge on King Street near the Sea, is Jambel’s Jerk Pit, that fires up some of the hottest jerk dishes around.

Italian & American: Pepper’s Pizza is always dependable and offers delivery anywhere in the city. Subway, the only international restaurant chain in the country, is located on Freetown Road and is exactly the same as the Subway restaurants in other places of the world. HL’s Burger is a local chain around the city, including one at the BTL Park next to the Princess Hotel & Casino.

Coffee Shops & Cafés: Located just off of Queen Street on Barrack Road is the brightly colored Guilt Trip Café serving the extreme opposites of healthy salads and sinfully decadent desserts. Located just one block over on Daly Street is Moonclusters, the most comprehensive coffee shop in the country. Their drink menu includes espresso & cappuccino, Central American coffees, frozen drinks and their famous “cholis”. They also have a few snacks on the menu. Le Petite Café, located in the courtyard of the Radisson Hotel Complex is a full-service bakery that makes hearty breads, flaky croissants, and sweet treats ideal for breakfast, lunch or an after-dinner treat.

Upscale Restaurants: Several restaurants with more expensive meals (US$12 & up) are in the city. Cho Saan Palace, located off Freetown Road, serves authentic Chinese dishes. Smokey Mermaid, Harbor View Restaurant and The Stone Grill are located near the waterfront in the Fort George area. A bit further down the Marine Parade near the Princess Hotel is Bob’s Bar & Grill and Calypso Café.


Things to Do

Walking Tour: One of the best ways to see the sites in Belize City is to grab a map and visit the museums, monuments and historical landmarks around the main area of the City. The new Marine Parade stretches along the north side of the city from the BTL Park all the way past the Princess Hotel and Casino. It’s perfect for an evening stroll, early morning jog or watching the full moon rise out of the sea.

Museum Hopping: A delightful and educational option is to spend a day visiting the museums in the city. Starting at the St. John’s Cathedral, travel to the House of Culture, then up to Maritime Museum, stop off at the Image Factory Art Gallery and end at the Museum of Belize which was once the jail and now houses many Maya masterpieces found across the country.

Movies & Shows: The only cinema in the entire country is located at the Princess Hotel and Casino and shows movies each weekend. The Bliss Center for Performing Arts regularly has concerts, performances and shows that you will not want to miss. It is located in back of the courthouse on the south side of the Swing Bridge.

Birding: As a coastal city, Belize City has recorded over 200 species of birds in the city. An early morning stroll along the sea or through the residential streets will yield a good morning bird count.

Bowling: The Princess Hotel and Casino also has a large bowling alley which is ideal to visit with a group or when there is adverse weather.

Shopping: Gift and souvenir shopping can be done in a variety of places. The National Handicraft Center next to the BTL Park works with local artists and ensures them a fair price for their works. The Image Factory Gift Shop supports local artists and also has a collection of books authored by Belizeans. There are many local craft vendors who set up during along the road between the Tourism Village and Water Taxi Terminal. Other gift shops include two run by environmental conservation groups: Programme for Belize and Belize Audubon Society with are located next Mirab near the Tourism Village. The Tourism Village offers souvenir and duty-free shopping in a mall-like atmosphere but at higher prices.

Night Life: Weekends come alive late on Friday and Saturday nights at several clubs: including MJ’s, Grand, Eden, Princess Hotel & Casino’s Charisma, and Honey Bees. Karaoke is a popular national pastime and can be heard at many smaller bars. The larger hotel bars sometimes have live music for happy hour on the weekends. Princess Casino has Russian dancers and free drinks for spenders.

Marine Activities: Scuba Diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing and manatee tours can all be arranged from Belize City with local tour guides.

Inland Activities: Cave tubing, birding, hiking, visits to the zoo and wildlife sanctuaries can also be arranged from Belize City with local tour guides.


Attractions

Check out the interactive map for a complete list of attractions

Swing Bridge: Opened in 1923, the manually operated swing bridge is the oldest one operating in the hemisphere. Twice a day, four men turn the cranks until the bridge is parallel to the shores and boats can pass on either side of the bridge.


St. John’s Cathedral: This red-bricked cathedral is the oldest Anglican church in Central America.

Old Belize: Located just a few miles outside of the city is a walk-through museum of the history of Belize including an old boat, a small beach and a restaurant.


Accommodations

Click here to find Belize Explorer accommodations in Belize City. It will open in a new window.

Belize City Local Flavor

With 70,000 residents, there is no shortage of local flavor in Belize City. This section continues to grow, and as you meet folks, drop us a line so that we can include them too!

Musicians & Artists | Interesting People


Belize District:  Belize City | Crooked Tree Village | Gales Point Village | Lucky Strike Village | Scotland Halfmoon Village | Community Based Tourism





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