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#300951 - 09/27/08 06:37 PM Safety/Driving in Belize
BoomerTC Offline
Hi Everyone,

We are planning on doing a 3 day trip of the mainland in November before hitting Ambergris Caye. We were planning to rent a car for the whole trip, but have read some recent news about serious violence in the Cayo district. We were planning to drive down to Placencia, but also read about areas of the road being washed away from a tropical storm in May. We are:

1.Looking to find out if the roads have been repaired to Placencia and how long of a drive from Belize City it is.

2.Can we make this drive in a day or should we plan on stopping in between? We are debating flying vs driving there instead.

3.Also looking to do some ruins and the Belize Zoo.

4.Is it safe to drive and tour on your own?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks


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#300984 - 09/27/08 09:54 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: BoomerTC]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
I've been driving around Belize, including remote corners of the country, for 18 years, and the worst thing that's ever happened to me is that on one trip I parked my rental car on a deserted rural road overnight, and somebody tried to break in. They failed, but the lock was broken, and it cost me US$50 to get it fixed.

Personally, I think a car rental is a great way to see the country. I don't think there's any real concern about safety when driving -- just use common sense.

As to the Kendal Bridge near Maya Centre, the temporary bridge was out again a few days ago due to heavy rains. Not sure whether it's open again yet or not. It's been washed out several times since the original bridge was washed away. I would think it will be another year or longer before the bridge is permanently replaced. You should check in advance before driving to Placencia to see what the status is.

It usually takes me about 3 1/2 hours to drive from Belize City to Placencia, but it depends on how you drive, how often you stop, and road conditions.

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#301160 - 09/29/08 11:09 AM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Lan Sluder/Belize First]
Laguna Punta Offline
Driving on the mainland is a joy. Particular care should be taken for 1. Slow horse drawn traffic 2. Large speed bumps entering and leaving all small towns 3. Keep filled up...not many stations in Southern Belize. 4. Highways particularly dangerous when wet...no center lines and improper gradiation. The most picturesque roadway in Belize is south from Placencia to Punta Gorda. Very picturesque Mayan villages set along the roadway within the Belizian Rainforest.
_________________________
Gone fishing!!

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#301213 - 09/29/08 05:17 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Laguna Punta]
Barbara K Offline
I highly recommend spending time on the mainland. Driving can be a bit challenging and requires a lot of attention (and following the tips above). Be very aware around busses - people will pass them going around curves, at speed bumps, etc. That said, I do often recommend renting a vehicle and driving to Cayo and other places inland. It allows much more flexibility for tours & meals than taking all packaged tours, especially if staying at a jungle lodge. IMO, Placencia is a long drive for a 3 day stay. Not sure of the state of the washed out bridge at this moment, so it may not even be viable. One option may be flying to Placencia and renting a vehicle while you are there. It is not really necessary on the peninsula but I guess it depends on where you are staying - the hotels are fairly spaced out and it is a 20 - 25 minute drive from Maya Beach to Placencia village depending on the condition of the road (usually bad)- it is probably a $25 taxi ride.

I usually drive when I am on the mainland several times a year. It is mostly safe driving around Belize but there have been some incidents in the past few years so you do need to very aware of your surroundings, don't drive at night and let people know where you are heading and when you should arrive. It is always an adventure one way or the other! Definitely rent from a reputable company with good vehicles and a 24 hr road side assitance plan.
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#301230 - 09/29/08 07:20 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Barbara K]
Peter Jones Offline
If you want the flexibility having a car gives but don't actually want to cover many miles, consider contracting a taxi for a few hours. You have the twin advantages of not having to bother about what happens to the vehicle, and of having a guide onboard with you who should be able to point out things you would never have known about. The cost compares quite favourably with renting a car.

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#301651 - 10/01/08 02:58 AM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Peter Jones]
BoomerTC Offline
Thanks everyone for the replys. I think we are going to go for it. It should be a lot of fun, and a great way to see the country!

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#301772 - 10/01/08 05:27 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: BoomerTC]
Barbara K Offline
Pick up the "Driver's Guide to Beautiful Belize" at the auto rental place or at a gift shop in Belize City (The Bilmore shop usually has them). Lots of good useful info and anecdotes about stuff you will see on the way. You may be able to order one in advance on Lan's website site above. Any in stock, Lan?
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#301801 - 10/01/08 07:35 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Barbara K]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Barbara,

No, we no longer sell them. I agree that the Driver's Guide is very useful, though.

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#301947 - 10/02/08 04:10 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Lan Sluder/Belize First]
Barbara K Offline
Someone will have to pick up where Emory left off to do the updates. What's the last one? 2004?
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#304453 - 10/15/08 11:49 PM Re: Safety/Driving in Belize [Re: Barbara K]
lakegirl Offline
Ok everyone, I know I have asked this before maybe twice!!!!

Which car rental company is best? Has anyone had any problems with any agency's??

Are they all priced about the same?

Thanks so much.

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