Hands down, the cheapest way to get around Belize is by bus. For only a few Belizean dollars (cut any price in half to calculate American dollars) you can get yourself a ride in your very own Blue Bird to just about any place worth going. These old US school buses are repainted with the name and colors of one of several bus lines that serve the country, overhead luggage racks are installed, and voila, your chariot awaits!
With buses scheduled regularly, and drivers who seem to take this time table pretty seriously, you know a bus will show. The real question: will there be a seat? Here, when the bus arrives, everybody just kind of goes for it trying to get on. Luggage goes in the back or over head rack, people get on the front and climb in the back and no seats does not mean no go; if you can stand you can ride. At the scheduled departure time the bus backs out of the depot and hits the road, stopping at a few other known bus stops on the way out of town. Once on the highway, the conductor, who rides door open in the front step well, makes his way back through the bus to collect your fare. Tell him where you are going, or where along the way you want to be let off, and he’ll tell you how much. If your lucky, he’ll even tell you when you get there! Along the way the driver will slow for folks who flag him down from the side of the road, only sometimes coming to a complete stop so people can jump or step on. If you’re lucky, people selling bread or donuts or other treats will hop on so you can buy snacks in transit.
Windows always down, music blasting, flying down the mostly paved roads, around corners, through beautiful and changing landscapes, I feel a sense of calm and anticipation each time I board a bus toward my next destination. I can’t imagine seeing Belize any other way.