Getting to Ambergris Caye

Getting to Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye, Belize

This article provides insight into the different ways of getting to Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye. Find out if a short flight or a couple of hours ferry ride is for you.

If you’re planning to visit Ambergris Caye then you’ve probably figured out by now that you can’t just drive to the island. Ambergris Caye is located off the eastern coast of Belize and is only accessible by ferry or plane. That being said, it’s a rather big option when deciding which way you want to get there.

Factors to Consider:

  • Money
  • Experience
  • Duration
  • Arrival Time

Taking the Ferry:

If you have the time and patience for the ferry, then this is the most cost effective method to get to the island. The round trip ferry price for an adult will cost around $32/pp and its $22/pp for children, depending on the season. The ferry ride itself will take about 1 1/2 hour to get from the mainland of Belize to the city to San Pedro and is overall a cool way to see the area around the island.

The only slightly negative factors to keep in mind when taking the ferry is the fixed time schedule and the duration of the ride. Depending on how long you’re staying for, going on a set schedule and at a slower pace may not work for you. The ferry schedule runs daily and usually every hour or hour and a half between rides starting at 7:00 AM and until about 5:30 PM.

There are two main companies we recommend when using the ferry option:

Flying to San Pedro:

It took us two flights to get to Belize as it was, leaving out really early from NY, so flying was the option we chose.

When flying to San Pedro there are two airport options you have to fly out from:

  • Belize City Golden (BZE)
  • Belize City Municipal (TZA)

The main difference between these two airports is their proximity and the pricing. BZE is the closer airport and is walking distance to where you flew in from internationally,, though the pricing is higher here. The municipal airport is located about 30 minutes from the main airport and it costs about $25 for a taxi ride there. (Looking back now, I wish we chose the BZE option rather than TZA, just to forgo the hour roundtrip taxi ride) The pricing for each really is going to depend on the day, as it fluctuates with how far out you buy the tickets, but roughly it costs the following:

  • BZE – roundtrip for around $130+/- per person
  • TZA – roundtrip for around $64+/- per person

The flight itself takes about 10 minutes and from boarding to departure you really only spend about 20 minutes in the plane. Now I’ve flown in small planes previously, but nothing quite as small as what they use. The plane fits about 10 people max, and though it is really short when boarding, you aren’t usually too cramped inside. I will admit that I was a little nervous about my first landing in a plane this small, though it really is a relatively smooth ride from beginning to end.

A few other things about flying over:

  • Small Terminal: don’t expect anything like you’re used to with commercial terminals, these ones for the short flights are basically just a few chairs with a bathroom.
  • Boarding Pass: unlike the larger airlines, the small ones will give you a plastic color pass when you check-in. You’ll hand this pass to the attendant before you board and this is the only actual boarding pass you’ll need.
  • Boarding: since there are only a few people on each flight the passengers are called by color (ex: 12:30 PM flight is the orange group) and everyone boards together. The attendant will lead everyone out to the tarmac and you’ll climb the ladder into the plane.
  • Not handicap accessible: As mentioned above, the plane is small and requires walking upstairs to board. If you have difficulty traveling or need extra assistance to board normally, then the ferry may be a more comfortable option for you.
  • Seating: there is no reserved seating on a plane this small. When you board you are free to pick your own seat (can even sit next to the pilot!), though there will be times that the flight crew may ask you to move to another seat in order to even out the weight distribution on the plane.

Now there are two main companies that provide air transportation back and forth to the island:

We flew on Tropic Air both getting there and coming back, but we flew Maya Island Air when we did a day excursion on the mainland. Both airlines run their setup the same way and were equally as good in service.

Boarding Passes with Tropic Air

If you aren’t afraid of flying then the plane is the fastest way to get your vacation started! Leave your comments below!

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