Getting from Belize City Airport (BZE) to San Pedro/Ambergris Caye

There are two main ways to get to Ambergris Caye from Belize City: by boat or by plane. What route is best for you depends on your budget, how much you value time and convenience, and your comfort level with riding in a tiny plane. Here’s a look at some things to consider when choosing how to get to San Pedro.

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San Pedro Belize Hotels?

Ambergris Caye can be easily divided into two main parts: south of the bridge and north of the bridge.

Map of San Pedro Belize
It’s about a 10-minute taxi ride to the bridge from the airport.

South of the bridge is where the real “city” is and north of the bridge is quieter and has less traffic. I’ve stayed in both parts before and enjoyed them both, so you can’t really go wrong.

However, if you like things a little quieter and don’t mind renting a golf cart (which I highly recommend), then I’d go with hotels north of the bridge.

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Ferry vs plane to San Pedro

Here are the prices and estimated times you can expect for making your way to San Pedro via ferry or plane.

By Ferry

The ferry ride is about 75 minutes one way from Belize City to San Pedro.

I’ve seen prices at the following rates: 

  • $28 (one-way) 
  • $38 (roundtrip) 

But I’ve also seen prices a little cheaper ($25) when booking with GuateGo so you might want to give them a look. You can book all the main destinations in Belize starting from the airport to the water
taxi station or connect to Caye Caulker, Caye ambergris, Chetumal, etc. 

Chart of booking taxi

You can check out the other prices for the ferry route and others nearby destinations here.  

Keep in mind that if you’re coming from BZE airport you’ll need to pay an additional $25 for taxi fare to the airport to the Marine Terminal.

By Plane

Maya Island Air plane
Maya Island Air plane. Photo by Aero Icarus

If you’re in a crunch for time then going by plane may be the better route for you. It only takes about 20 minutes to get from BZE to Ambergris Caye/San Pedro by plane and the plane ride is stunning as you soar a few thousand feet above the turquoise waters and reef. 

This option is more costly, however.

There are two airlines that fly from BZE to San Pedro’s airport (SPR): Maya Island Air and Tropic Air.

My first time to San Pedro, we flew Maya Island Air and for the two of us roundtrip it cost us $315.02 including all taxes and fees. I put in the same information for Tropic Air and the total came out to $315 as well. Each person is allowed a checked bag up to 50 pounds but after that fees may be incurred.

My second time to San Pedro, I flew Tropic Air.

Tropic Air has many more flights and nicer stations for departure from the island and we had more room inside their planes, although the planes can still be very cramped depending on where you sit.

Tip: Try to be one of the last to board the plane and the staff should force others to scoot up a row leaving you a seat in one of the back rows which will give you more room. 

Overall, Tropic Air felt a bit more “legit” to me so in the future I will probably look to fly with them.

Save money flying to and from Belize Municipal Airport

If you book the flight from the Belize Municipal Airport (TZA) to San Pedro it’s about $192 for two people round-trip.

It costs about $18 to take a taxi from the international airport to the TZA so the total cost for two would be about $100 cheaper.

For us, we were only going to be in Belize for 2 nights/3 days, so the more daylight we could get, the better and we opted to just have our flight departing and arriving from the domestic terminal at BZE.

However, if you’re flying with a larger group or say a family of four then your savings will be greater and it might just be worth it to fly from Belize Municipal Airport.

For example, for four adults the cost would be $631 from BZE but $384 from TZA, a savings of about $230 when you factor in the connecting taxi.

Ocean view from Cessna
Clouds reflecting off the shallow waters.

Booking online or at the airport?

I’d come across some people online talking about it being cheaper to book the tickets at the airport versus online but I inquired with the folks at Maya Airlines and they told me that that is not the case — the prices will be the same whether you book in person or online.

Reservations are a good thing but are loosely followed

I really wish I had known this before our trip as it would’ve made planning our connecting flights to much easier!

While it’s a good thing to make reservations for your flight from Belize City to San Pedro, you don’t actually have to get on that specific flight time.

Basically, they operate the flights on a first come-first serve basis and so whether you are early or late you can likely just catch the next flight to or from San Pedro, which means you don’t have to stress out when planning your connecting flights.

Tip: the flights usually go out every hour but they sometimes will have a couple of planes going out every hour so just check with them and see because you may not have to wait the full hour.

The planes are really small

Three guys in Cessna
All smiles after take off.

This probably won’t be a major issue for most but I think it’s worth mentioning that these planes (called “puddle jumpers”) are tiny and can feel extremely confining.

I definitely battle claustrophobia a bit and it took a bit of extra effort to not get worked up when I first stepped into our plane.

Once the plane took off and I was overwhelmed with the amazing scenery it was easy to calm down and relax, but just consider your comfort-level with small spaces before you definitely choose which route you want to go.

Ocean and beach view from Cessna
View on the way to Ambergris Caye

A word on Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE)

If you’re like me and enjoy arriving early to airports to relax in a nice lounge for an hour or two before your departure you’re going to be very disappointed in BZE.

There are no lounges and no *real* restaurants, just a few snack/souvenir shops and rows of wooden benches. The airport isn’t much nicer than your average bus stop and so this is one of those airports where you probably want to spend as little time as possible inside.

On the other hand, I will say that the staff at the airport was very helpful and friendly. If you arrive at BZE and aren’t sure where to go for your connecting flight to San Pedro just ask one of the staff members.

They all seemed to speak greta English and went the extra mile to make sure we were relaxed about finding our connecting flight.

Update: the airport now has wifi so that will help you pass the time a little better!

Tip: If you’re coming from San Pedro, I recommend finding a bar or restaurant near the Maya Island or Tropic Air side of the airport and then heading to the airport to catch a flight about a 1.5 hours before your scheduled boarding time.

Getting to your hotel from the San Pedro Airport

Many hotels offer complimentary taxi service from the airport to your hotel. Check with your hotel and make sure they do so you can save a few bucks. Also, there are golf cart rentals available right next to the airport for you as well.

I highly recommend renting a golf cart! They are an excellent way to explore the island and make your life a lot easier.

If you want to learn more about San Pedro, Belize check out my list of top things to do.


  1. Great review! I agree with the BLZ airport. It is always painful to wait long hours there.
    Locals speak both English and Spanish so tourist should have to problem communicating.

    I prefer the Ferry but you do lose time taking a taxi to the “port”.

    Planes are tiny! First trip I was scared for the whole flight. Second trip I took a nap on the plane ! Lol 🙂

    San Pedro is beautiful, laid back and relaxed. Take the Night snorkel tour with Chuck & Robbies! They are awesome!

  2. I am going for a seven day trip and landing in Belize City International in January. I am thinking about renting a car because I wanted to see San Ignacio Town, explore Ian Anderson Waterfall cave, explore the Ancient maya city of Xunantunich, and maybe Hopkins Village. I still want to goto Ambergris Cayefor 2 days. 1st Question – Is it wise to rent a car? 2nd question – If I do rent the car, do I return the rental at the airport and fly to San Pedro or are other options like the water taxi but then what do I do with car? My flight back from BZE is at 12:45pm.

    1. Hi there, I haven’t spent time on the mainland so I’m not really experienced with renting a car. What seems like the best plan, though, would be to rent the car from BZE and return it there. You could then fly to San Pedro from BZE or you could take a taxi to the water taxi port. Either way, I would just plan on returning the vehicle to the airport and then go from there.

  3. Thank you for all the information I truly appreciate it especially how to get around from Belize international to domestic airlines. And if we have to wait at the airport before a flight goes out where to eat and how comfortable the international airport would be. Thank you so much I appreciate you happy travels.

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