On most vacations we rent a car. It give you flexibility, the ability to grocery shop easily, and see more the place than just walking distance from the hotel. On this trip, there was no car involved. Instead we took almost every mode of transportation you can imagine: busses, planes, small planes, water taxi, fishing boats, walking, hitchhiking, taxi, kayak and golf cart.
From Belize City to Dangriga (where we would head off to Tobacco Caye) we took the public bus. At $5 US per person for a 2+ hour trip it was a steal of a deal. Complete with blasting reggae music, vendors selling plantain chips and bags of juice, and crowded with locals. This was seeing the country.
After a night in Dangriga we found our boat to Tobacco Caye. Captian Doggy (we later found out that his real name is Clifford and kids gave his that nickname after the big red dog cartoon!) expertly navigated us and all our luggage in an open fishing boat out to the Caye. We saw dolphins and many many birds.
After a return trip (this time much rougher, wetter and cloudier) with Doggy we bussed back to Belize City, taxied to the water taxi terminal and took the water route to Ambergis Caye.
On Ambergis we had a golf cart that was fun, but not very reliable. Our first full day we drove the car north. Pavement only goes the first 2 miles or so past town, and from there it is a combination of dirt, rock, puddles, sand, beaches, potholes and mile signs. After a beautiful snorkel out to Mexican Rocks, we headed another mile north and then turned around. At mile 7 ¼, the cart died. Wheels would not turn. So we locked up the cart and started walking.
This could have really been bad. Mosquitoes were out, the sun was going down and we were 7+ miles from town on a not well traveled road.
But it was just fine. Along came another golf cart and we hitched a ride (6 people total) on a golf cart until that couple was home, and from there we hitchhiked again and were picked up by a taxi driver headed to town with his family for the weekend. They were very friendly and dropped us off at our condo. Phew.
The next day they rescued our cart, “fixed” it, and we were able to drive south to explore that end of the island. It stalled a few times but got us home in one piece. Then the next day died as we headed over the bridge. That morning we got our exercise running to catch the water taxi.
Again, the cart was rescued, but our week was winding down. We managed to get in some more driving, but also did a lot of walking. The last day, we had a totally flat tire. Walking earns you more fry jack right?!
To get back to the mainland we flew on small 12 seater planes with Maya Island Air. A quick 15 minute flight, followed by a 5 minute flight and a 25 minute taxi ride and we were back at the International Airport. Why two flights you ask? The first stop actually IS at the international airport, but the municipal airport has MUCH cheaper airport fees. It was worth it to say on the plane, land at the muni airport and taxi over.
For me, transportation was a huge part of our experience in Belize, not just for how we got around. We met interesting people, saw very real parts of Belizean life, and enjoyed the ride.