Belize City & surrounds
If you need to spend your last night in the city to catch an early flight, don’t write it off as a wasted day
Captain Hook’s Shrimp Farm & Croc Sanctuary (20 minutes to 2 hours)
On the Philip Goldson Highway (the one headed north to Mexico) about a mile north of the airport: take the turning by the Shell Station next to the inflatable white ‘space rocket’. Follow that side road for about two miles as far as you can go and you’ll reach the shrimp farm. There’s a bar in the big white 3-storey building to the back of the ponds. They serve the freshest shrimp you can get in Belize and ice cold beer. There’s a watch tower, telescope, and at the right times some of the best water-bird watching in the country. Ask to tour the croc pond too.
Belikin Brewery Tour (90 minutes)
Again, very close to the airport: travelling toward Belize City it’s the turning just before the one to the airport on the right hand side. You’ll see the Coca Cola factory and Belikin Brewery as soon as you turn in (check the pond to your right for large waterbirds too: often jabirus, wood storks and large herons in there)
Travellers Liquor Factory Tour (one hour)
Continue toward Belize City on the Philip Goldson (northern) highway. You’ll cross the bridge over the Belize river estuary, another two or three miles and you go straight over a roundabout next to a large glass store called Westrac. Carry on along the busy road for about another mile and the factory is on your right, with a large ’one barrel’ barrel outside. Can’t miss it!
Belize Museum (one or two hours)
You would probably be wise to have a map or satnav to get here. From the Travellers Factory (above), you get to the large ’flags’ roundabout, take a left and keep going along the seafront (about 3 or 4 miles) until you come to the ’cannon’ mini roundabout. Take a right there and the first left at the next tiny roundabout and you’ll see the museum on your left. If you get lost or miss it, you really do need a map. There’s a fabulous exhibit on the devastating Hurricane Hattie and some amazing Maya artefacts, and the whole museum is actually the old jail. Fascinating.
Tourism Village (as long as you can stand)
If you want to experience all the glitz and chinz of a cruise ship village without taking a cruise, this is the place to go. You’ll need your passport to get in (proving you’re not local) and a fat wallet: the drinks and gifts are quite pricey.
Belize City Centre (one hour)
Feel free to walk around during the day. There’s some real characters on these streets and some beautiful old buildings. Be prepared to say no to beggars. Spooners Café near the swing bridge is great for a riverside beer.
Sip & Sit
A crazy little mobile bar with peddles attached to the bar stools. Grab a cocktail and propel your bar along the Belize City seafront.
Ocean Ferry Express (at least 5 hours)
For the extreme travellers, take a lightning day trip to Caye Caulker. Jump on the ferry next to the old swing bridge (or the more modern one close to the Town Hall and Mirab department store) and enjoy the cheapest cruise in the country ($35BZ return), a few hours and a few beers on a sleepy, sandy island, and back again in time for dinner.
Old Belize (one hour)
This is on the western (George Price) highway about 5 miles out of the city. It’s a marina, bar, restaurant, man-made beach with water slide, and a museum: a walk-through re-creation of Belize through the ages. Really well done and worth the trip if you have time.
On the road—Prison Gift Shop and Baboon Sanctuary
On the way you’ll pass the prison and probably smile at the ‘Prison Gift Shop’ but the crafts the prisoners make and sell there are actually pretty good, if you’re interested. There’s some great birding ponds around that area too. If you have the time (you’ll need a good two hours to be sure) you could pop into the “baboon sanctuary” It’s signed off the highway at Burrell Boom, about half an hour in on that road. You don’t need to take an official tour to see the howler monkeys there: they are everywhere.
At the airport
You only really need an hour and half before your flight , especially if you check in online first. It’s about 30 minutes from the city centre to the airport, or a $25BZ taxi ride. There’s very little going on at the terminal so don’t rush to get there or to go through immigration.