It's a little rushed, but you can do it, either by flying over from Municipal or taking the ferry, or a combination.
Here's some info on getting to San Pedro from Belize City, from my new guide to Ambergris Caye. From the cruise ship dock you can walk to the Marine Terminal/Swing Bridge area where most of the boats leave from, or take a taxi (US$3 or so) to the Municipal Airport.
--Lan Sluder www.belizefirst.com
From Belize City: You can either fly or take a boat to San Pedro. Itís a 20-minute flight; the boat trip takes about 75 minutes. Two Belize airlines, Maya Island Air and Tropic Air, each have about one flight per hour every day to San Pedro, starting at around 7:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. In peak visitor season, sometimes additional flights are added to accommodate demand. Flights originate from both the International Airport in Ladyville about 9 miles north of Belize City, where your TACA, Continental or American flight arrives, and Municipal Airport, a small airstrip in Belize City. In many cases the same Maya Island and Tropic flight picks up passengers at both airports, making the short hop between the two in a few minutes.
Should you fly to San Pedro from International or Municipal? Depends on whether youíd rather save time or money. Itís easier just to fly into International and walk over to the domestic terminal and catch your connecting puddle jumper. But youíll save money, especially if traveling in a party of several people, by flying from Municipal. Adult and child one-way fares on both Maya Island and Tropic are approximately US$47 from International; from Municipal, adult one-way is US$26 and children under 12 are US$18. Round-trip fares are twice one-way. Rarely are there any bargain fares or discounts for advance booking.
Transferring between the airports requires a 20-minute taxi ride. A taxi from International to Municipal is US$17.50 for up to five passengers. A tip isnít necessary unless the driver carries a lot of your luggage, in which case add a couple of bucks. Taxis Ė they have green license tags Ė are plentiful and await passengers just outside the main lobby.
A party of four pays almost US$400 round-trip to San Pedro via International, and less than US$250 round-trip from Municipal, even including the taxi transfers. If the party has children under 12, the savings are even greater.
Do you need to make reservations for Maya Island or Tropic flights in advance? Off-season, itís not really necessary, though having a reservation wonít hurt. In-season, a reservation might save a wait. Most hotels on Ambergris Caye will arrange for your air travel to the island at the time you make your hotel reservations, and thereís usually no extra cost to you. The hotel gets a small commission from the airline.
You also can book direct with the airlines by telephone or over the Internet. Hereís contact information:
Maya Island Air: 800-225-6732 or 501-226-3838, fax 226-2192; e-mail [email protected]
or [email protected]
; schedules, fares and reservations at www.mayaairways.com.
Tropic Air: 800-422-3435 or 501-226-2012; e-mail [email protected]
; schedules, fares and reservations at www.tropicair.com.
Another option is to take a water taxi or ferry from Belize City to San Pedro. The trip, mostly on fast open boats with twin outboard engine seating 20 or 25 people takes about 75 minutes. On a sunny, calm day, itís a great introduction to Belize; on a rainy, windy day, the trip can be wet and rough.
Several fast boats ferry passengers back and forth between Belize City and San Pedro, including Thunderbolt and Triple J. The Triple J (tel. 501-223-3464), which has a covered passenger area, makes a daily run to Caye Caulker and San Pedro at 9 a.m., leaving from the Court House Wharf, returning at 3 p.m. from San Pedro at the Texaco Wharf. Thunderbolt (tel. 501-226-2217) leaves Belize City from the Texaco gas station near the Swing Bridge at 1 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and at 9 a.m. Sunday, returning daily at 7 a.m. from its dock on the lagoon side. Probably the most accessible and convenient boats are those in the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association (tel. 501-223-1969). These leave from the Marine Terminal in Belize City at 10 N. Front Street near the Swing Bridge. The Marine Terminal (tel. 501-23-1969, e-mail [email protected]
) has a waiting area and two small museums to visit while you wait. With a ferry ticket, entrance to both museums costs just US$1.25. Boats to San Pedro leave at 9, noon and 3, with a brief stop at Caye Caulker. All boats charge about the same. Adult fares are US$12.50 one-way to Ambergris Caye. Children 5 to 10 go at half price; under 5 free. You disembark at Sharks pier in the middle of town. Returning from San Pedro, boats to Belize City leave at 8, 9:30, 11:30 and 2:30, plus 4:30 on weekends and holidays. Fares just to Caye Caulker are US$7.50, and boats depart at 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30, 3 and 5, returning at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 10, noon, 3 and 5. You can make reservations, but boarding is likely to be first-come, first-served. A cab to downtown Belize City from the International Airport is about 20 minutes and US$17.50 for up to five people.