If you wish to explore the tropical paradise of Belize on your own, then it is best to know the ins and outs of driving and renting your own car in Belize.
There are several Belize auto rental companies scattered throughout the country. In Belize City, there is Budget Rent-A-Car, Buy Belize Auto Rental, Crystal Auto Rental, Euphrates Auto Rental and Sales, Jabiru Auto Rental, Nexgen Auto Rental, Pancho’s, Smith and Sons, Thrifty Car Rental, Hertz/Safari Car Rental, and Vista Auto Rental.
In other locations are Avis Rent-A-Car in Ladyville, Barefoot Rentals in Placencia, Cayo Auto Rental in San Ignacio, Matus Car Rental in Cayo District, and Ready Rentals in Dandriga.
First off, you need of course a valid driver’s license in order to rent a car in Belize. Credit cards details are usually held as deposits but sometimes, Belize auto rental companies also accept travelers’ checks or cash. If you feel uncomfortable giving out your credit card information, then you can inquire if they accept the two latter options.
Purchase the maximum amount of auto insurance available from the rental company. You also may be able to get additional coverage from your credit card company. The people of Belize are a gentle people until they get behind the wheel of a car. You really need to protect yourself in case of a mishap.
There are three main highways in Belize: the Northern Highway which stretches from Belize City up to the border of Mexico in Quintanaroo, Chetumal, the Western Highway which extends from Belize City through Cayo district, ending at the Guatemalan border, and the Hummingbird Highway which reaches out from Belmopan to Dandriga Town.
A comprehensive country map is particularly helpful if you plan to avail the services of a Belize auto rental. You just have to take note of significant landmarks and tourist attractions in order to maximize your personal use of a car to tour the country.
For example, just in Western Highway alone, you will already find a lot of impressive tourist spots. There is the capital city of Belmopan, Hattieville Village, the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, The Belize Zoo, the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya Ruins, the Pine Ridge Area where the 1000 feet falls and Rio Frio caves are, and the famous Inland Blue Hole.
Other roads you have to watch out for are the Southern Highway which has a considerable amount of beautiful paved road and stretches to 10 miles up to Punta Gorda town and the Old Northern Highway which carries a whole lot of history. There is also the Coastal Road or Manattee Highway which many Belize auto rental companies might advise you to steer clear of it since they are very dusty and the condition of the roads get even worse during rainy days.
Night driving is generally fine for major roads since most of them are lighted with street lamps. The only hitch is that during tire or automobile emergencies, you might have a hard time chancing upon other motorists who will help you on the road. If you can help it, it is best to drive during day time.
Like any other country, there are speed limits in Belize. In major roads, it is always safe to stay under 60 MPH and in dirt roads, lest you want to be covered in dust and trapped in large potholes, it is best to drive within limits. As for gas stations, there are approximately 40 gas stations throughout the country. There is Esso, Shell, and Texaco Service Stations. Both Belizean and US dollars and credit cards are accepted, so you need not worry about bills you have not yet exchanged.
You should take your time when exploring Belize by automobile. There is so much to see in the countries beautiful tropical paradise.