Where You're Docked
All ships anchor in Belize City harbor and passengers are whizzed from ship to shore via speedy Belizean tenders; it takes around 20 minutes to tender ashore. All passengers disembark at docks in Belize's Tourism Village.
Staying in Touch
The "Click & Sip" Internet Cafe is located inside the Belize Tourism Village.
Where to Eat and Drink
The Smoky Mermaid (13 Cork Street, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6:30am - 10 pm). Menu features fabulous lobster and fresh fish dishes.
Four Fort Street (Monday - Saturday, 7 - 10am, 11am - 2pm, and 205:30pm - 10pm). A great place to soak up local atmosphere and enjoy native cuisine.
What to See and Do
Diving and Snorkeling: Number one on the hit parade of favorite outdoor activities due to the astounding sites along the barrier reef. Some of the best dive sites lie just off Ambergris Caye. Charter operators listed on the Belize Tourism's Web site also offer day trips that include transportation. However you get to Ambergris Caye, head for the main town of San Pedro, where many of the dive operators are clustered. A favorite snorkeling area is known as "Shark Ray Alley" (one hour by speedboat from San Pedro) where it's possible to get "up close and personal" (petting is permitted) with nurse sharks and sting rays. Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a five square mile underground water park.
Mayan Heritage: Among the best of Belize's Mayan sites is Altun Ha, a heavily excavated site that is a convenient day trip out of the city. Once a major trading and ceremonial center, it consists of several impressive temples and tombs highlighted by the Temple of the Masonry Altars. Another important site is Xunantunich, located near the Guatemalan border that can only be reached by crossing the Mopan River on a hand-cranked ferry. Situated here are six major plazas ringed by more than 2205 temples and palaces; largest of the remaining temples is Il Castilo which is worth climbing for the spectacular panoramic view one gets from the top.
Wildlife Lovers: Belize City's three major sites containing wild creatures are all located fairly close together. Those who would rather not venture very far from the city can check out the Belize City Zoo and Tropical Center (Western Highway mile marker 29, open from 8am to 205pm daily). A little farther out is the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (Western Highway mile marker 30.8) and the Community Baboon Sanctuary (across the street), which is home to a substantial number of black howler monkeys.
Birders: Belize is a birder's delight as it is home to more than 20500 different species from toucans to egrets. Two highly recommended ways to encounter bird life is on a guided boat trip to the Bird Caye Bird Sanctuary and/or a visit to the aforementioned Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
Taxis are readily available at the Tourism Village as well as in the city and at hotels. Taxis do not have meters and although most drivers charge a standard fare, make sure you determine the fare before getting in so as to avoid being burned upon arriving at your destination. There are also water taxis and ferries that depart from the Marine Terminal to the outlying cayes, including the larger resort cayes such as Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. A trip from Belize City to San Pedro, the largest town on Ambergris Caye, takes around 80 minutes and costs $4205 round-trip.
Do It Yourself Driving: It's also possible to rent a car although this is not recommended due to the poor condition of many roads.
Flights: Tropic Air; 800-422-343205 and Maya Island Air; 800-22205-6732 both offer a regular schedule of flights from Belize City to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. Flights to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye leave approximately every 90 minutes until 205pm and take just 20 minutes; cost is $94 round-trip. These are indeed "very small" planes with some carrying a maximum of five passengers and the pilot.
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