Belize is located just south of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, west of Guatemala, on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. Belize is 8,867 square miles or the size of Massachusetts. Its small size allows for easy air travel and the country offers endless adventures. From dense tropical jungles and ancient ruins of lost civilizations to premier snorkelling & scuba diving at the second-longest reef in the world, and many Caribbean islands to explore.
When planning your vacation be it a first-time or repeat visit, consider adding a flight to a different district than the one you are staying at into your itinerary. The following information and clickable links will help you in deciding where to go and what to see.
Districts of Belize
This district is an agricultural area growing sugar cane and papayas. Corozal Town is 9 miles from the Mexican border, has a population of approximately 10,000 and is where you can find Santa Rita ruins. It has been excavated, and the site is open to the public. The area is rich in Mayan Archaeology but very few of the sites have been excavated. Corozal Town is a sleepy coastal town that is a common stopover for travellers before heading on to other parts of Belize. See here for Things to Do in Corozal.
The district of Orange Walk is the second largest in Belize in terms of area and shares its borders with Mexico and Guatemala. Orange Walk Town is well known as the starting point for the river tour to Lamanai ruins.
Many Mennonites have settled in Orange Walk and farm the land growing sugar, vegetables, soya, and dairy products. It is home to over 400 different species of birds making it a paradise for Birders.
Belize & the Cayes
This district was settled first and many of the rivers provided transportation to early settlers. This is the historical seat of the country and includes Belize City and many of the islands or cayes (keys), including Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker which are considered two of the country’s primary tourist destinations. Most of these islands are along the Belize Barrier Reef, which stretches the entire coastline and is teeming with over 100 different corals and 500 species of fish life.
Located in the west part of Belize on the border with Guatemala. It is the largest and third-most densely populated districts of Belize. The district’s capital is the town of San Ignacio, but it is also the home of the nation’s capital; Belmopan. San Ignacio is known for its rolling hills, beautiful forests, and tourist attractions. There are several Mayan Ruin sites in the district, however, the most popular two being Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. You can also explore different caves and go tubing down rivers.
Getting its name from the old world term “safe haven”, Stann Creek is a district in the south coast region of Belize. Dangriga is the capital and is also known as the cultural center of Belize due to its history of Garifuna people. These are the descendants of two slave ships that wrecked in 1635. Placencia is on the coast to the far south and is known to have some of the best white sand beaches in Belize. Hopkins is a small fishing village between the two but is also known to have one of the few mainland beaches and is very rich in the Garifuna culture. It is worth the trip to visit Stann Creek to see more of the true Belizean culture than anywhere else in the country.
The southernmost district in Belize, with Punta Gorda serving as the district capital and is home to a Mayan Cacao (chocolate) factory. Toledo is the least developed region in the country, however, true adventures enjoy the extensive cave networks, coastal lowland plains, unspoiled rainforests, and offshore cayes. Sometimes the least developed areas are where you can have some great fun.
Flights Around the Country
San Pedro (SPR) is the only town on Ambergris Caye and serves as the hub for Tropic Air’s domestic flights*.
Flight Durations From SPR:
- Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) Airport Code BZE; 20 minutes
- Belize Municipal (TZA); 15 minutes
- Belmopan (BCV); 40 minutes
- Corozal (CZH); 20 minutes
- Orange Walk (ORZ); 20 minutes
- San Ignacio (CYD); 55 minutes
- Caye Caulker (CUK); 5 minutes
*Corozal and Orange Walk flights are only available from San Pedro. All others are also available from BZE and TZA.
Other Domestic Flights:
From PGIA or Belize Municipal
Belmopan – San Ignacio; upon request, by emailing reservations@tropicair(dot)com. The flight takes only about 10 minutes.
Dangriga (DGA) to Placencia (PLJ); 15 minutes with a connection to Punta Gorda (PND). Add 20 minutes.
Here are some helpful guidelines when flying into Belize. You will have to go through immigration and then customs (which takes about 45 minutes), so keep that in mind if you are flying to your next destination and need to connect. A great thing about this airline is that they fly every hour so if you miss one, you can usually just catch the next one. When you are returning home, Tropic Air recommends that you schedule your domestic transfers to arrive at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport at least three hours ahead of all international flights. All international airlines now have a 1-hour cut-off window for check-in which is strictly enforced. On weekends it can get congested at the PGIA, especially at departure passport control.