Belize Airports – International Airport Versus Municipal and Flight Fees
When you first arrive, there are two Belize Airports you can choose to fly from. One of my longtime readers Jenny and her family always fly to Municipal to save a few dollars. This time she and her husband Brad were coming down for a solo trip and out of habit she got me to book them through Belize Municipal Airport then she wrote me back and said she realized that since there were only two of them she wanted to make it easy fly to San Pedro from Belize International Airport instead. All international flights to Belize arrive at Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE).
Since this is a topic that often comes up on Trip Advisor in the Belize Forums I asked Jenny to do a comparison between the two airports. This will help you decide which option is best for you. Personally, after a long day of travel, I like to hop on a Tropic flight and get home to Ambergris Caye as soon as I can.
Flying to San Pedro: Airport – Municipal or BZE
When flying to San Pedro or any other Belize destinations, two options exist: flying directly from BZE to San Pedro (SPR) or taking a taxi to Municipal (TZA) and flying to San Pedro from there. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and some people have a definite preference. We, on the other hand, have done both and decide on each trip which way is the best option to use that time.
The main advantage of flying directly from BZE is time. Once you exit immigration, pick up your luggage and get through customs, you go directly to the departure area and fly straight over to San Pedro. Depending on your arrival time and the length of the line ahead of you, you could be in San Pedro within 45 minutes. There is a cost for this convenience, as the price to fly from BZE is $125 USD plus fees per person, adult and child.
The main advantage of flying from municipal is cost savings. At $72 USD plus fees for an adult and $50.50 plus fees for a child, there can be a definite saving over flying from BZE, especially if you have kids who qualify for the child rate (I think it is up to age 12 or 13). Even when you consider the $20 USD taxi ride each way, the savings for a family of 5 can exceed $335 USD.
There are other reasons to choose one way over the other, though. Now that duty-free shopping is available for departures to San Pedro, some folks like to stock up on wine or liquor before leaving for San Pedro. Others actually like the taxi ride to municipal, since a talkative driver can make the 20-minute ride feel like a tour of the city. Sometimes, a good driver can even make you forget about the lack of air conditioning with stories about local events, politics, fishing, and the history of the city! One reason we like to fly out of Municipal is our ritual of checking in and then heading straight to the little waterside café to drink our first Fanta and eat our first plates of rice and beans! It is also fun to see the look on people’s faces when the plane from Municipal, on occasion, stops at BZE to pick up the same people who were on your arrival flight. When they get on the plane and see that you are already settled in, they can get thoroughly confused!
by Jenny Koechle April 2012
Either way you decide to fly to San Pedro, you can cut your wait by packing light enough for carry-on luggage only. That way, you do not have to wait around for the luggage to be unloaded and claimed and can go directly to the customs line. If you stay in a condo, you likely have a washer and dryer, so you can wash clothes as needed throughout your stay.
Be sure to use the coupon code – horizon – for all Tropic Air flights! Book with tacogirl and automatically donate to charity (at no extra cost to you).
Read an informative post about one of the busier days for flying on Tropic Air from Belize City to San Pedro.
Planning to fly out of Municipal Airport? Learn more about what your Belize City taxi will be like on TripAdvisor.
While on the topic of flying and pricing I decided to add some information about flight fees and have included a picture of the airport departure tax sign.
Local Security Fee; Adult/Child $0.75
Belize Airports Authority Rider Fee; Adult/Child $2.50
Fuel Surcharge; Adult/Child $3.10
The rider fee is only charged once for a round trip but the fuel surcharge is charged both ways.
The Security fee is only charged on your way out of BZE. If passengers only travel one way from SPR to BZE they do not pay the security fee.