Last year my friends and I went to San Ignacio Belize on a flight deal and had a blast. I loved that little area we were in! It was like someone made a resort and threw it in the heart of where the natives lived. It was everything! We had the best of both worlds, luxury, and authentic cultural experiences.
Our initial plan was to go to San Ignacio and then go to the Cayes for a day or two. After a bit of research and native word of mouth, we learned without private transportation, that was an impossible task.
Public transportation is poor to say at best. It requires water taxis, regular taxis, buses, maybe even a flight to travel around the country. ALL are EXPENSIVE. We vowed to go back, stay longer, and split our time between the two to experience it all.
Practically a year to date I found myself back in Belize. An executive decision was made to rent a car for travel and it was by FAR THE BEST DECISION EVER!!!
We were able to come and go as we pleased, allowing us to visit Belize City, Dangriga, Hopkins, Belmopan, San Ignacio, and hopped on over to Guatemala for the day! It was nice to be able to venture out on our own safely, and unrestricted at any given time of the day.
The tour our resort offered to Guatemala was over $275 per person. It cost two of us about $150 including gas, country entry/exit fees, park entry fees, and fumigation fees to make the trip by renting a car. A tour with the hotel to the Belize Zoo was $85 per person, and it only cost $15 per person for entry if you had your own transportation. We came to the realization that these tours prices are based on gas. Gas is about $4.50 per gallon in Belize, and travel between most places can take some time to get there.
Having our own car, also allowed us to save a great deal of money on food. Due to the fact we could drive to local restaurants, our meals were a fraction of the cost at the resort. Dinner on average was $25 pp at the resort. At a local restaurant, it may have been $20 or less for two, including drinks. Plus, the food was much more appetizing and filling. We even saved money on alcoholic beverages! Went to “The Mall” and brought a whole bottle of wine for $10. A glass at the resort was $8 easily.
When it was all said and done, we probably spent about $200 on gas. Considering the various cities we visited (some twice), the fact we went to a whole different country, AND just went joy riding. All and all, I definitely believe it was worth it.
For the BEST EXPERIENCE of an amazingly beautiful country, do yourself a favor and RENT A CAR!!!