Different people vacation differently, whether having an agent book everything for them so all they have to worry about is getting to Belize, or landing at the airport and seeing where the wind takes them. Lately tourists have been leaning towards the latter, craving a ‘build your own’ type of trip. They have gone in search of ‘local’ ways to enjoy Belize, going beyond avoiding the ‘tourist traps.’ If you fit into this category, here are ways to experience Belize like a local (sans curated tours.)
- Public Transportation. First and foremost, skip the taxi (excluding transport from the airport, of course.) Every major city or town has its own bus terminal and they leave approximately every 15 minutes. The fare is fairly inexpensive, for example a ride from Belize City to Orange Walk runs you about $2.50 USD (and vice versa.) Belizeans usually take the bus to get to work in the city or even to cross the border to Chetumal. Taxis aren’t off limits, of course, but locals only use them when its raining or when they have to get somewhere quickly.
Tip: If you’re not stopping at any of the villages in between, make sure to hop on a bus that writes “Express” or “Non-stop.” You’ll get to your destination way faster.
- Re-think the flights. You’re on a vacation, so where’s the rush? Sometimes it might seem more feasible to simply get on a plane from Belize City to Placencia, but you’d be missing out on the wonder that is the Hummingbird Highway. It might seem like a no-brainer to fly instead, but the pay off of the mountainous region and seeing the Sleeping Giant will be worth it. Same thing goes when traveling to the North Islands. Take a water taxi instead of a flight and experience the Belizean commuter life.
- Ride it out. Instead of renting a golf cart as soon as you hit Caye Caulker, opt for renting a bicycle instead. The caye is so small you won’t even need a golf cart, you can even walk the width of the island in less than 5 minutes! Not to mention it’s more eco friendly. This also goes for San Pedro, where you can bike almost anywhere as well.
- Local Cuisine. Walking around the city? Instead of popping into a high class restaurant for brunch, look out for food stalls lining the streets. These serve authentic Belizean dishes for a fraction of the price. Tip: look for one that is pretty crowded. It means the food is excellent (and worth the wait!)
- Avoid the traps. There are many places in Belize – both inland and islands – that have a certain glamour to tourists. If you’re visiting Belize for the first time, it is nice to experience the different night life activities that are offered to visitors. You get to meet new people and have some treasured memories. However, if you’re looking for something more low-key, ask your concierge where locals hang out on a Friday night. There are rustic hole-in-the-wall bars that give you a different vibe than those popular loud clubs. You will experience how Belizeans like to have fun, not to mention get a whole different outlook than the places overrun with tourists.
These are a few ways of getting to know Belize like a local, perfect for your second (or third!) trip to the jewel. For more information on traveling within Belize, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686.