Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City

Posted By: Gaelen

Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/06/01 01:38 AM

I know this topic has been discussed and I'm sorry for bringing it up again, but I still haven't gotten a sense of just how much of a hassle it is to take the ferry from the mainland to Ambergris.
My husband and I really want to save money, but we'll also be coming in on an overnight flight from San Francisco and will likely be too cranky to put up with a lot of ferry delays and hassles.
We don't mind the extra travel time, but I'm just wondering how often the ferries come and how well they stick to their schedules. My last ferry experience was in Greece where the boats just sort of show up "whenever." [Linked Image] So if it's that sort of situation we'll pony up and take the plane to Banana Beach. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Concord, CA
Posted By: deano

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/06/01 02:38 AM

This one has been beat to death..There are several ferry boats,You can find the schedule on this web site under the Caye Calker water taxi assn. The thunderbolt also has a website here with the schedule. The bottom line?? They leave on time and it takes about an hour and a half. ya got to take a taxi from the airport and get there before the last one leaves.(about 330) I think. Its a great trip..
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/06/01 05:45 PM

Here is the complete skinny on getting to San Pedro. By the way, Banana Beach is a great place -- you should enjoy it.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Magazine


Getting to San Pedro is easy as lime pie, but it does require at least one stop along the way. There is no international air service direct to San Pedroís little 3,000 foot airstrip. Continental, American and TACA fly non-stop into the International Airport at Ladyville near Belize City from three U.S. gateways: Continental and TACA from Houston, and American from Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami. Delta has checked out Belize but so far hasn't committed to serving the market. Occasionally there are charter flights to Belize from large U.S. and Canadian cities. Belizeís International Airport also has non-stop service from San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Flores, Guatemala; San Salvador, El Salvador; and, at least in the high season, from Cancun, Mexico.

From Belize City, you can either fly or take a boat to San Pedro. By air, 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 arrive, 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 concourse 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 15 or 20-minute taxi ride. A taxi from International to Municipal is about US$17.50 for up to five passengers, and taxis take U.S. dollars. A tip isnít necessary unless the driver carries a lot of your luggage, in which case add a couple of bucks. Taxis -- they have green license tags -- are plentiful and await passengers just outside the main lobby.

A party of four will pay 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 will be 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, though more often than not flights are boarded on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of reservation status. 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: 800-521-1247 or 501-26-2435l fax 501-26-2192; e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]; schedules and fares at // or
Tropic Air: 800-422-3435 or 501-2-62012; e-mail [email protected]; schedules and fares at // or

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, Andrea, Sea Escape and Triple J. Probably the most reliable boats are those in the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association. These leave from the Marine Terminal near the Swing Bridge in Belize City. The Marine Terminal has a waiting area and two small museums to visit while you wait. Boats to San Pedro leave at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., with a brief stop at Caye Caulker. Fares are US$12.50 one-way to Ambergris Caye. You disembark at Sharks pier in the middle of town. Fares just to Caye Caulker are US$7.50, and boats depart at 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30, 3 and 5. Children 5 to 10 go at half price; under 5 free. You can make reservations, but service is more likely to be first-come, first-served. A cab to down Belize City from the International Airport is about 20 minutes and US$17.50 for up to five people.


TIP: The cheapest way to get to Belize is usually not to fly to Belize but to fly to Cancun (or sometimes Cozumel) and then bus from there. There are many charter flights into Cancun from the U.S., Canada and even Europe, often at fares that are one-third to one-half what they are into Belize. From Cancun or Playa del Carmen, you can take a bus to Chetumal (five to six hours and US$15 or so for a nice, comfortable reserved seat, with air conditioning and videos). There you transfer to a Noveloís or other Belize bus into Corozal Town or Belize City.
Posted By: Mike and Daphne Ryan

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/06/01 08:41 PM

Lan, that's the best run-down I've seen on this. I'm going to print it out and put it into our folder.

Posted By: KC

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/06/01 11:11 PM

Mike, If you have not already... you should buy Lan's books. They are chock full of information as above. The only "reference library" you will ever need for Belize. Be sure and get the "Adapter Kit". You will find it very helpful.

Posted By: Gaelen

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/08/01 01:49 AM


Posted By: Plunk

Re: Flying vs. Ferry from Belize City - 11/08/01 03:52 AM

Go out or log on right now to buy his book --you will wonder why you waited so long.

Every country should have a Lan Sluder!!!
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