Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It is on a small peninsula protruding into the Caribbean Sea. It was the capital city until flooding and other damage from a hurricane in 1961 prompted the government to relocated to Belmopan, closer to the geographic center of the country.
Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (IATA: BZE) is in Belize City. It is about 30 minutes drive from Belize City centre. The best way to get to and from the city centre is by taxi. Although an airport bus service exists, it is very infrequent and unreliable. BZE is served by most major US airlines (American, Delta, United, and US Air) as well as a couple regional carriers (Honduras, Maya, and Tropic).
By water taxi
Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association and San Pedro Belize Express have boats going out to Caye Caulker and San Pedro Town from the city often. Both companies have terminals in the city centre close to the swing bridge. Remember if you buy a round-trip ticket, you will have to use the same company going back as you took going there.
From Guatemala City (travel time: 8 to 10 hr), you have the following options to Belize:
Altobuses del Norte ADN. Linea Dorada, first class buses leaving Guatemala City at 21:00 for USD30,"first class" buses at 10:00 and 12:00 for USD22 and an economy bus leaving at 22:00 for USD16. Fuente del Norte has 15+ departures from Guatemala City per day. Most of these are local runs with second-class buses (older pullman coaches without air conditioning), but they also operate a few first-class express buses (with toilets and air conditioning) leaving from Guatemala City at 10:00, 14:00, and 22:30, and a deluxe bus leaving from Guatemala City at 21:00.
Use a taxi. If you want to get out of Belize City, use the taxi, bus, or even the little airplanes which take you to other destinations in Belize for less than USD100.
- Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts. The largest cultural center in Belize and also hosts the National Art Collection of Belize.
- Eco-museum Belize, Mile 14.5, Western Highway. A living museum of Belize tropical treasures. Here, they show you how Belizeans utilize and recycle natural resources in the construction and decoration of the museum. The is dedicated to show visitors the beauty of nature in harmony with the Belizean culture.
- Government House. Once the residence of the British Governor General, this is now a "House of Culture" that is open for visitors.
- Image Factory. An independent gallery and cultural center with changing exhibitions and a small book shop. Probably the best place in Belize to learn about contemporary local art.
- The Museum of Belize (City centre, walking distance to water taxi terminals as well as the "Tourism Village"). A former prison and now the national museum of Belize.
- Old Belize, 5 miles Western Highway, Belize City, Belize, ☎ +501 222 4129. Old Belize is a landmark attraction, offering a total Belize experience for locals and tourists. At its heart is the Old Belize Exhibit, a stirring, large as life, cultural and historical display taking visitors back in time to various defining segments of Belize’s past, with authentic relics from key periods, a haunting introductory teaser to the Mayan legacy in Belize, an eerie depiction of the Belize City of Colonial days, an intimate glimpse into 18th century logging camps, and more. Old Belize also features the only beach in Belize City, the Old Belize Marina, a full service restaurant, plus conference facilities and banquet hall. Old Belize is located at Mile 5 on the Western Highway, a BZD10 cab ride from the Tourist Village, Brown Sugar Terminal, downtown Belize City, and most central locations in Belize City.
- St John's Cathedral. An Anglican cathedral that was built in 1812. The cathedral is a landmark of Belize and one of the oldest remaining buildings in the city.
- Yarborough Cemetery (Next to St. John's Cathedral). This cemetery was in use from 1787 to 1896. It was renovated in 1999 and has been designated an archaeological reserve in 2009.
Most tourists use Belize City as a transportation hub and spend little time in the city. With that said, Belize City is still the cultural centre of the country and offers a comparably large number of cultural attractions.
All places accept US dollars as the Belizean dollar is pegged to the US dollar at BZD2=USD1. If you are traveling to the cayes, stock up on your cash at the central bank, as the ATMs on the islands often run out of money on weekends.
If you want to shop there is tourism village in the Fort George area which has jewelry shops like Diamonds International and lots of gift shops. Fort George is located on a boardwalk.
Albert Street is the main street in the Commercial District and features many shops and small shopping centres.
- Tourism Village. Created to boost cruise ship tourism in Belize City, the Tourist Village is only open when a cruise ship is in town and features a variety of shops and restaurants.
- Mama Chen, Eve Street (near Queen Street). It's not a guesthouse anymore, but it is a nice Chinese restaurant with a familial and friendly atmosphere. Meals around 10BZD.
- Vegetarian Restaurant, Mile 14.5, Western Highway, Orchid Garden Eco-Village: Delicious Food, Nature at its best.
- Neris II, Regency Street: great conch soup, but the season ends on the first of July.
- Big Daddy's Diner, Central Market: Reasonably priced, very local, and a great view of Haulover Creek, home to much of the city's modest fishing fleet.
- Dit's Cafe: Great watermelon juice and wonderful pastries.
- Smoky Mermaid, Fort George area: Upscale dining.
- Harbourview, Fort George area: Very upscale dining, with a great chef.
- Marva's: a small family-run restaurant serving good, hot breakfast within walking distance from the water taxi terminal
- Riverside Tavern. Tu-Su, 11:00-24:00. Owned by Belize's only brewery you can get the freshest and coldest draft beer. Also great hamburgers, and other food available.
- Spoonaz Photo Cafe, 89 North Front Street. Coffee shop near the water taxi terminal. Has a nice patio and A/C inside. Great place to spend some time waiting for the ferry or a night bus. Free wifi.
Although Belize City has a bad reputation, both the Commercial District and the Fort George District are safe during the day. Virtually all sights as well as the water taxi docks are in this area and tourist should not be worried about exploring these neighborhoods while waiting for a bus or water taxi. Other neighborhoods in Belize City have a very high crime rate and you should take a taxi if you have to leave the city centre.
- Three Sisters Guesthouse, Queen Street, near majestic alley cross, ☎ +501 203-5729. Check-out: 11:00. Held by a lovely Salvadorian woman. 3 narrow rooms with private bathroom, wifi, no a/c. Large (somehow empty) common space. Noisy during daytime, ok at night. 1person=55BZD 2p=63BZD 3p=71BZD 4p=109BZD 5p=120BZD (Dec. 2014)
- Sea Breeze guest house, Gabourel Lane. Central but quiet location. Dbl with fan: 60BZD, with a/c: 80BZD
- SeaSide Guesthouse, 3 Prince St (From main bus station, head south on Cemetery Rd until Albert St, go right on Albert St until Prince St, then left on Prince till the seawall ends), ☎ +501 227-8339, fax: +501 227-1689, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Basic rooms but centrally located and probably one of the cheapest options in Belize City. If you are lucky, you might get a free public Wi-Fi from the terrace. Dorm from BZD30.
- Orchid Garden Eco-Village. From this tranquil, secure and beautiful home base some fourteen miles from Belize City, you just need to pack lightly to visit other interesting locations, such as Caye Caulker or San Pedro, Placencia, and San Ignacio.
- The Princess: A great hotel at which to stay, which has great service. There is a swimming pool, casino, buffet, restaurant, marina, and nightclubs and bars.
- Best Western Biltmore Plaza: A very good hotel with pool and amenities.
- Radisson Fort George: A great hotel with a buffet, restaurant, marina, and gift shops. Try to stay in the main building or the tower; the annex is not as nice.
- The Great House: A nice hotel in a large colonial house across from the Radisson. The rooms have the feeling of a B&B.
- Chateau Caribbean: A great place to stay. Food is great, especially the seafood soup. The service is awesome. The hotel is a large colonial style house which was at one time a hospital. The structure could use some repairs, but if you can look beyond that it is the best deal in town, especially as it offers you a great view of the seafront while sipping on the best Baileys Colada in Belize City.
- Seas Guesthouse: A resort on the outskirts of Belize City on the western highway named Old Belize. It is a beautiful resort with a beach named Cucumber Beach. One can learn about life in Old Belize there. Tourists are shown the chicletos and rum makers of Belize and the importance of baymen and loggers who logged the mahogany (the national tree). There is also colonial houses, a marina, and restaurants.
- D'nest Inn (email@example.com), 475 Cedar St, Belama Ph 2 (From the Best Western Biltmore, head towards the police station and then make a right. The D'nest Inn is located next to the soccer field and the river, right behind the far goal), ☎ +501 223-5416. This very cozy and reasonably priced B&B is half the price of the Biltmore, has large spacious rooms, with cable TV and air conditioning. There is plenty of hot water and great water pressure. Best of all, this B&B is run by the nicest couple you will meet, who will go out of their way to make your stay extra enjoyable. Breakfast is included with the price of the room and is always a home cooked meal.
- Hotel Mopan, 55 Regent St, ☎ +501 227-7351. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. One block away from the Caribbean Sea, close to water taxis, restaurants and shops. Clean, comfortable, friendly, budget minded hotel. BZD100-130.
The Western Highway leads to Belize West or the Northern Highway to Belize North.
San Pedro Belize Express departs from the Brown Sugar Terminal in Belize City with scheduled runs at 09:00, 12:00, 15:00. 17:30 to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.
Rates: Belize City to San Pedro, San Pedro to Belize City: BZD30 or USD15 (one way), BZD55 or USD27.50 (round trip), Belize City to Caye Caulker: BZD20 or USD10 (one way), BZD35 or USD17.50 (round trip)
A week-long trip to Green River in the south to experience the rain forest and a week-long trip to the coral reefs to experience the reefs are both recommended.