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Traveling to Belize and Caye Caulker
Current information as of October, 2002
The easiest method of traveling to Caye Caulker from the mainland is by air or water taxi. Caye Caulker is located approximately 15 minutes by air from mainland Belize or 45 minutes by water taxi. There is no regularly scheduled air from Philip Goldson International Airport as well as the Belize City Municipal Airstrip, flights to San Pedro stop on request to Caye Caulker at no additional charge. Air service is provided by the local airlines Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. There is no international air service direct to Caye Caulker, you must first fly into the Philip Goldson International Airport 8 miles northwest of Belize City. Continental, American and TACA fly into Belize City from a number of U.S. gateways. (U.s. Air is scheduled to begin service from North Carolina in November, 2002) Charter flights from large U.S. and Canadian cities are sometimes available during the winter.
International travelers fly into the Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City. From there, connections can be made to various destinations within Belize, including: Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, Corozal, Dangriga, Big Creek, Placencia and Punta Gorda; as well as to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. If you are already in Belize City, you can utilize the smaller Municipal Airport for in-country flights and costs are much lower. Charter flights can also be arranged to off-the-beaten track destinations and the many private airstrips throughout the country.
Getting here from the United States:
Miami, Florida.- American Airlines or TACA International Airlines.
Dallas, Texas - American Airlines
Houston, Texas - Continental Airlines or TACA
Houston, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco/Oakland - TACA
All flights are about 2 hours and cost approximately $400-650 plus tax.
In addition to many air carriers that fly into Cancun, you can fly Northwest MLT, the charter affiliate of Northwest Airlines has 7 and 14 day airfare specials available in their "Hot Deals" section of their website www.mltvacations.com . Their gateway cities are Detroit, St. Louis, Dallas and Minneapolis. Airfare prices range from $99 to $400 depending on fare sales and availability.
You can take a first class bus from Cancun Bus Terminal to Chetumal, Mexico (Mexico-Belize border) approx. $15 U.S. Busses leave at all times during the day making a few stops before arriving in Chetumal. The trip takes approximately 5-1/2 hours. When you arrive in Chetumal, leave the main entrance of the bus terminal and turn left, just next to the terminal is a large supermarket called San Francisco's, Northern Transport and Novelos Bus Lines has an agent there, and this is where your connecting bus to Belize is picked up. Northern Transport has regular (2nd class) service to Belize City for $5 U.S. with busses leaving at 4 a.m. and 9 a.m., or Premiere (first class) service for $12 bz at 6 and 9 a.m. Novelos first class air conditioned busses also leave from San Francisco's at 10:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 5 p.m. Both bus lines have second class buses that leave all day from the Mercado Nuevo area on the hour beginning at 4 a.m. until 6 p.m.. Total travel time is 8 hours
To save time, and to avoid going all the way to Belize City, you can fly from Corozal to San Pedro a spectacular 20 minute flight, or take the new Thunderbolt Water Taxi Service from Corozal to San Pedro 1-1/4 hours. Flights to Caye Caulker are not a regularly scheduled stop, but are routed through San Pedro. The cost for these flight on Maya Island or Tropic Air from the Municipal Airport are 70 bz from Corozal to San Pedro and 52 bz for San Pedro to Caye Caulker leg, one way, round trip is 130 bz to San Pedro and 93 to Caye Caulker. Maya Island flight times are 7:30, 12:00 and 5:30 p.m., Tropic Air flight times are 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m.
Water Taxi service with the new Thunderbolt from Corozal to San Pedro leaves Corozal at 3 p.m. every day returning to Corozal from San Pedro at 7 a.m. The cost is $45 bz each way. The Thunderbolt is a covered boat with comfortable airline-style seating. The boat carries approx 40 passengers. Once in San Pedro you can get a water taxi to Caye Caulker for $15 bz each way or 25 bz round trip at 8 a.m., 9:30, 11:30, 1 p.m. and 2:30. There is a 4:30 p.m. boat on weekends and holidays.
Aerovias flies from Guatemala City to Belize City (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) $75.00 one way/$150.00 return. Approx 1 hour 20 minutes.
Maya Island Air and Tropic Air from Tikal/Flores, Guatemala to Belize City. Each airline has 2 flights daily. $US 160.00 return.
Southern Guatemala-Ferry or boat from Puerto Barrios or Livingston, Guatemala to Punta Gorda, Belize. Daily shuttle boat run by Requena's Charter Services Telephone: (501) 07-22070 or e-mail email@example.com departs Puerto Barrios daily at 2.00 pm. Cost $10.00 each way. (Return boats each morning at 09.00 am.) From Punta Gorda airstrip there are regular flights to most Belizean destinations.
Roatan, Bay Islands-Caribbean Air. Saturdays only. Approx US$160 round trip
San Pedro Sula-TACA approx $180.00 return. The flight takes 35 minutes to Belize City.
· There are currently no direct or same-day connecting flights from Europe to Belize (and none that are planned at present). The most convenient route is via Miami, Houston or Cancun with an overnight stay on the outbound leg only. Return flights from Belize connect with overnight flights from Miami and Houston to London and other European destinations.
· British Airways has started direct flights from London to Cancun one day each week (Monday). Again, arrival time does not coincide with flights from Cancun to Belize so an overnight in Cancun is necessary. Depending on the season, day of the week and airline chosen, round trip tickets from London to Belize range from £450 - £700 plus taxes which can be as high as £50. These are the UK and USA departure taxes but do not include the $18.75 Belize Departure Tax which can only be paid in Belize and $3.75 Conservation fee.
Airlines Offering In-Country Service:
· Maya Island Air: tel. in U.S. 800-521-1247; in San Pedro, 501-26-2435, or 26-2945 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; Tropic Air: tel. in U.S. 800-422-3435; in San Pedro, 501-2-62012; e-mail email@example.com. Both airlines offer scheduled flights and private charters.
· Caribee Air Service: (501) 02 44253. Private charters only.
· Javier's Flying Service Ltd: (501) 02 35360. Private charters only.
Regular international services are maintained to the United States (Miami, Houston, Dallas), Mexico and Central America by TACA, American, Delta and Continental Airlines. The Belize International Airport is located 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Belize City.
After deplaning from your flight at Philip Goldson International Airport outside of Belize City, you will pass through Belize Immigration showing your passport and the immigration card you filled out on the airplane. Your baggage will come out on the belt. There are several porters to assist you with your bags. They will carry your luggage to the customs area for you. If you are handling your own luggage just proceed to customs. More often than not, a customs officer will open your bags, or ask you to do so. After clearing customs, go into the main terminal.
There are two airlines that serve Caye Caulker from International Airport; Tropic Air and Maya Island. Check your baggage and go to the departure lounge. Flights leave hourly and are scheduled to correspond with the arrival of the major carriers (TACA, American Airlines, Continental and Delta).
They fly into Caye Caulker until about 5:30. You can make a reservation but it is not really necessary. After clearing customs go into the main terminal and try for which ever airline you can get on the soonest. It is about $94 US return per person. The flight from International takes around fifteen minutes and is spectacular. The airlines have special permission to continue flying at night until all passengers have been transported to their destination.
Visitors coming to Belize in private aircraft must obtain permission to land at the Belize International Airport from the Chief Civil Aviation Officer 48 hours before the scheduled time of landing. Pilots of private aircraft will have their documents inspected, and must file the normal flight plan. Landing fees are based on the weight of the aircraft and are charged per 1,000 lbs. Parking fees are also charged per 10,000 lbs.
Tropic Air is the oldest Inter-Belize air service in this country. It also has a connection, via Ladyville International Airport with Tikal in Guatemala. Both Caye Caulker Airstrip air carriers have regular daily flights to seven major destinations throughout Belize and "On-Demand" stops can be arranged at airstrips on island and resort hideaways scattered throughout the country and along the barrier reef.
General Information about Air Service in Belize
Both Maya Island and Tropic Air services have connections to Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville (15 miles north of Belize City) where Continental, Grupo TACA, American Airlines and Delta make daily stops on their routes to and from the U.S. and Canada and most of the Caribbean and Central and South American countries that Pan American Airlines left when it ended service to Belize. One final caveat about Belize International Airport... If you intend to air travel around Belize - don't go through the international airport, except to arrive and depart the country - because of the Belize governments unusually high landing fees at the international airport, air fares to that terminal are literally double those of Belize Municipal Airport. As a matter of fact - if there are 2 or more people in your group, you can taxi into Belize city from the International Airport ($15, U.S. for the whole cab, not per person); tour around Belize City and then fly to Caye Caulker from the Municipal Airport for about the same money as a one way flight from Philip Goldson International Airport to San Pedro.
A note about exit fees: the cumulative exit taxes from Belize's international airport total approx. $20 U.S. per person, which can NOT be paid for with a credit card.
Water Taxi Service: (Getting there is Half the Fun)
How to get to the Marine Terminal: When you arrive in Belize, take a taxi to the Marine Terminal, near the Swing Bridge in downtown Belize City. The price from the International Airport to Belize City is $17.50 U.S. for the entire taxi-not per person. Go to the ticket counter and purchase your ticket for the next outbound boat to Caye Caulker. If you have time, store your luggage in the very safe, guarded lockers and take a little walk into downtown Belize City. (see description below) One way water taxi fare from Belize City to Caye Caulker is 15 bz and the trip takes about 45 minutes. Most of the taxis have big engines and go about 25 knots or more, some are covered partly, but if it rains you could still get wet (a little rainwater never hurt anyone). The ride is the smoothest in the back of the boat, behind the captain. Service is very reliable and crewmen will handle your luggage on and off the boat and assist you in loading and unloading.
From Belize City to Caye Caulker & San Pedro
7:30 a.m., 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 and 5 p.m.
From Caye Caulker to Belize City
6:30 a.m., 7:30. 8:30. 10, noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 and 5 p.m.
From Caye Caulker to San Pedro
7 a.m., 8:30, 10, 11:30, 1 p.m., 2:30 and 4 p.m.
From San Pedro to Caye Caulker
8 a.m., 9:30, 11:30, 1 p.m., 2:30, and 4:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m. to Belize City weekends and holidays
PORTERS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE CAYE CAULKER MAIN PIER WITH BICYCLE CARTS TO ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR LUGGAGE AND TO HELP YOU FIND A HOTEL IF YOU DON'T ALREADY HAVE RESERVATIONS. THE USUAL PRICE IS 5 BZ PER PERSON.
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