The best way to get from Belize City to San Ignacio is by renting a car in Belize City Airport

Belize City to San Ignacio: 4 transportation ways (2023)

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San Ignacio is a getaway to adventure in Belize. Located in the western Cayo District near the border with Guatemala, it offers quick access to some of the best Mayan ruins in Belize, zip-lining, and cave tubing.

Although San Ignacio doesn’t have a beach, don’t dismiss it! There’s plenty to do here and if you like adventure, you will love this small town that has plenty of charm and authenticity. 

In this article we are going to take a look at how to get from Belize to San Ignacio, so you could plan your trip to this hidden gem. 

➡️ Belize or Costa Rica? Check my honest comparison of the two countries

Where is Belize City International Airport located?

Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) is about nine miles north of Belize City in Ladyville. It’s the only international airport in the country, so unless you are arriving in Belize from Mexico or Guatemala, your Belize itinerary will most likely start at Belize City Airport. 

How to get from Belize City Airport to San Ignacio: an overview

If you want to get from Belize City to San Ignacio, you can rent a car, take a shuttle bus or catch a taxi outside the Belize City Airport.
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Taking a flight from Belize City to San Ignacio 

Taking a flight from Belize City to San Ignacio is the most expensive option. The flight to San Ignacio from Belize City Airport is about 30 minutes. 

The San Ignacio Airport Airstrip (also called Maya Flats) is about 8 km away from town. Some hotels in San Ignacio offer paid shuttle services, so make sure to check with your accommodation if you are flying to San Ignacio.

All flights to San Ignacio are on 9-13 Cessna which fits about a dozen passengers. Flights are operated by Tropic Air and Maya Island Air, two domestic airlines in Belize. 


Private shuttle to San Ignacio from Belize City 

A private shuttle provides door-to-door services and is the most popular option. You will save lots of time and won’t have to deal with trying to get a taxi or catch a bus. 

An English-speaking driver will pick you up at the airport and transport you to your hotel in San Ignacio. Belize private shuttles allow you to relax and take a nap after a long day of traveling in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with Wi-Fi and complimentary water bottles.

Why you should book your private shuttle to San Ignacio now: 

  • Private shuttles can book up during the high season in Belize (December through March) when the demand is high. It’s always best to book a shuttle online, so by the time you arrive in Belize City, all you need to do is meet your driver in the arrivals. 
  • Private shuttles in Belize are not allowed to take passengers on the spot, and you will not be able to pay the driver at the airport if you haven’t booked it online ahead of time. 

Are there any cons to booking a private shuttle to San Ignacio:

The only obvious disadvantage to booking a private shuttle to Placencia is that you will not be able to stop anywhere along the way. When in San Ignacio, you will need to book guided tours or get around by taxi.


Booking a shuttle from San Ignacio to Belize City 

A private shuttle to San Ignacio is a great option to get you back to the airport.


Driving in Belize is a fun experience and a perfect way to see some of the most beautiful places in Belize
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Renting a car at Belize City Airport 

Renting a car for your trip to San Ignacio is the way to go if you want to travel around Belize on your terms and don’t rely on tours and public transportation.

To get San Ignacio from Belize City, take the Western Highway (The George Price Highway). This is a well-maintained, two-lane road that has several gas stations, roadside stands, and small stores. 

✅ Read: Honduras or Belize vacation?

How long is the drive from to San Ignacio from Belize City?

The drive to San Ignacio from Belize City is about 1 hour and 40 minutes by car.

Why you should consider renting a car in Belize

Renting a car in Belize City is a great idea if you want to see more of the country and have the freedom to enjoy some of the best things to do in Belize without tours or public transportation. 

Renting a car in Belize City

The best place to rent a car in Belize is Philip Goldson International Airport. They have several car rental companies, and you don’t have to get outside the airport to look for car rentals.

Another alternative is to rent a car in Belize City, but, but you will need to catch a taxi from Belize City Airport, which will add more expenses to your trip.

Where to rent a car in Belize City? 

Check available options for car rentals in Belize through, my favorite platform for finding car rentals in Belize. I frequently use DiscoverCars for renting cars during my trips and have used it for renting a car in Belize. 

It has available cars and prices online, so you only need to do is type in your travel dates and look for the vehicle that you want. Once you select your vehicle, pay the price, and voila! 

When you arrive at the car rental company’s office, all your need is to sign the paperwork. 


Driving in Belize 

If you rent a car in Belize, something to be aware of is that the country still has a developing infrastructure. 

While main highways in Belize are in good shape, secondary roads can be bumpy. For example, while major highways are well-maintained, some roads around San Ignacio are in poor shape with bumps and potholes.

This is particularly true if you visit remote areas like Caracol Mayan ruins near San Ignacio or go to remote areas where roads are less maintained. 

What is the drive from Belize City to San Ignacio like? 

The highway to San Ignacio is a busy road, but it rarely sees heavy traffic. When driving to San Ignacio, watch out for pedestrians and cyclists on the side of the road. If it rains, slow down a notch, as the road can get slippery because of the type of paving material. 

Best stops between San Ignacio and Belize City

Stop at Belize Zoo, along the highway between the two cities. The name zoo is somewhat misleading, as this place is more of a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned animals native to Belize. 

Here you can spot macaws, tapirs, and jaguars. The Belize Zoo operates on donations, so while the price is a bit steep, your money goes a long way to help these animals. 

San Ignacio is one of the best places to visit in Belize and you can get there by renting a car in Belize City
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My custom itineraries include information on popular landmarks, restaurants, and hidden corners that most tourists miss. As part of my services, I also offer suggestions on flights, hotels and activities.

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Tips for driving in Belize 

  • Adjust your expectations – Don’t expect to find gas stations and stores on every corner, and keep your tank full at all times, as services are limited throughout Belize. 
  • Drive with caution – Especially in rural areas where many roads are rough. Download offline maps, because the GPS signal could drop off if you go to more remote areas. 
  • Limit your trips to day time – road signs are not always present, and lighting is poor along the roads in many parts of Belize, including the highway to San Ignacio.
  • Watch out for speed bumps – Many villages along the highway have speed bumps, so lower your speed near a town. 

How much is gas in Belize?

Gas prices in Belize are high and run between 9 and 12 Belizean Dollars per gallon (just over USD 5 per gallon). The high gas prices are the reason why transportation in Belize costs so much money. 

What do I need to rent a car in Belize?

To rent a car in Belize, you need a valid driver’s license. You will need to present it at the car rental office, and if you get stopped when you travel around the country. 

How much does it cost to rent a car in Belize?

A car rental in Belize costs between $60-80 USD per day, depending on the time and season of your trip. 


What’s the alternative to renting a car in Belize?

Renting a car is not cheap, and if want to save some cash, another option is to take guided tours. You can book guided tours in San Ignacio with one of the local tour companies downtown or online through, a platform that has many tours in San Ignacio and other parts of Belize.

Check my complete guide to some of the best things to do in Belize

The most popular tours from San Ignacio, Belize: 

  • Xunantunich Mayan Ruins – While a tour is great, you can also reach the entrance by taxi from downtown San Ignacio and pay the standard fee to see the ruins.
  • ATM Caves – Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM caves) is one of the best things to do in San Ignacio, Belize. The caves were used by the ancient Mayans in the Pre-Columbian times to conduct rituals. It’s a fun trip where you get a chance swim and walk through the caves and get a glimpse into the history of Belize.
  • Caracol – Carakol is an impressive Mayan ruin site in the jungle near the Guatemala border. The road to Caracol is pretty rough, so your best bet is to get a guided tour from one of the local tour companies.
  • Mountain Ridge Forest Reserve – Home to the tallest waterfall in Central America, a mysterious Rio Frio Cave, and the beautiful pools where you can cool off after the day of adventures, this place is a perfect place for spending in the nature if you are craving a break from the city.
  • Tikal in Guatemala – One of the most popular day trips from San Ignacio, Tikal is one of the most famous Mayan ruins in Central America.
  • Zip-lining – San Ignacio offers perfect opportunities for zip-lining thanks to its location in the lush jungle, and if you love adventure, you shouldn’t miss out on this fun trip!
  • Tubing in Barton Creek – Barton Creek Cave is one of the most popular things to do in San Ignacio. Here you can tube or canoe inside the cool cave that was used for rituals and ceremonies by Mayans.

A bus to San Ignacio from Belize City

A bus to San Ignacio is the best transportation for budget travelers. However, it’s also the slowest way to get around, so it works best for travelers with extra time. 

To get to San Ignacio by bus from Belize City, you will catch a taxi to Novelo Bus Terminal in Belize City where you can buy tickets to San Ignacio. 

Buses to San Ignacio run daily, and prices can range depending on the bus company.

How much is a ticket from Belize City to San Ignacio?

A bus ticket to San Ignacio costs about $10 USD one way and has to be paid in cash. Once you buy a ticket, you will need to wait in the bus terminal area. Buses in Belize have signs with the name of the destination that are placed on the windshield. 

A bus ride from Belize City will take an average of 2,5 hours as buses often make frequent stops along the road when passengers need to get in and get out. 

Taking a chicken bus in Belize 

Belize has a network of buses that serve different parts of the country, and are known as “chicken buses.” They look like repurposed high school buses painted in quirky colors. 

Are there any downsides to taking a bus to San Ignacio?

Most buses in Belize are pretty old and have minimal to no amenities. If you decide to take a bus to San Pedro, expect minimum amenities, as chicken buses in Belize have no AC, little space for your luggage, and can get very crowded. 

On a positive note, you will save a lot of money by taking a bus from to San Ignacio from Belize City, but the downside is that your ride will be less comfortable. 

Taking a taxi to San Ignacio from Belize City

A taxi is the most expensive way travel between Belize City and San Ignacio. After you go through the customs at the Belize City Airport and pick up your luggage, you will find plenty of taxis outside the terminal.

You will likely pay a steep price for a taxi to San Ignacio on the spot, so don’t forget to negotiate with a driver. A taxi is a good option f you are traveling with a group of friends or family, as you can all split the price of a taxi cab. 

What to know about taking a taxi in Belize 

When catching a taxi ride from Belize City Airport to San Ignacio, don’t expect a brand-new vehicle. Most taxi cabs that I’ve taken in Belize looked pretty old, and not all of them had AC, so be ready for a less comfortable ride than with a private shuttle. 

Check if your driver has a proper license

When taking a taxi in Belize City, check if your driver has a license. Legal taxis in Belize have a green license plate and you can also ask your driver for his or her paperwork. Taxis also have the name of the company on the front or the side.

Do NOT take unlicensed taxis in Belize for safety reasons.

How much is a taxi to San Ignacio? 

A taxi to San Ignacio will cost from $120 to 160 USD from Belize City depending on your negotiation skills and the time of your trip.

Is there an Uber in Belize?

As of 2023, there are no Uber or other ride-sharing companies in Belize, and the ride-sharing apps that you have on your phone will not work in the country. The most popular way to get around Belize is by private shuttle, car rental, or taxi. 

Where to stay in San Ignacio

San Ignacio has many accommodations for all types of travelers. Whether you are a backpacker visiting San Ignacio on a budget or a luxury traveler looking for a fancy place to stay, here are some of the best hotels in San Ignacio: 

  • Budget: Hotel Venus – a centrally located hotel within walking distance to restaurants, tour companies and other landmarks in San Ignacio.
  • Mid-budget: Mariposa Jungle Lodge is located in the Belize jungle and has six comfortable cabanas, a nature trail and an outdoor pool with a slate waterfall.
  • Luxury: Ka’ana Resort & Spa is an eco-friendly property and one of the best luxury hotels in San Ignacio, Belize. It features tropical gardens and is located about 6 km from the archaeological site of Xunantunich.

Read my complete guide on where to stay in Belize

Belize City to San Ignacio: FAQ

Taxi is the fastest way to get from Belize City Airport to Placencia and you can catch a taxi cab right outside the main terminal
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Is it safe to travel from Belize City to San Ignacio?

The drive to San Ignacio is perfectly safe and goes along a well-maintained two-lane highway, but you should watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists. Belize has some reckless drivers who travel at high speeds, so your best bet is to follow the posted speed limit when traveling around the country. 

How far is Belize City from San Ignacio?

San Ignacio is about 115 km away from Belize City via Western Highway.

How much is the shuttle bus to San Ignacio?

A shuttle bus from Belize City to San Ignacio costs about $70 USD per person on average. It’s a great price considering that you will save a lot of time and travel in comfort straight to your hotel.

How to fly from Belize City to San Ignacio?

The flights to San Ignacio depart from Belize City Airport. Your flight to San Ignacio will depart from the domestic terminal at Belize City Airport. 

Final word

San Ignacio is the second largest urban area in the country after Belize City. It boasts a plethora of activities for an adventurous traveler like kayaking, zip-lining, and caving. Also, don’t forget about the Mayan ruins. The drive to San Ignacio is a lot of fun and takes you through small towns and villages where you can grab a roadside snack and enjoy the scenery.