Belize City To San Ignacio: CHEAPEST & EASIEST Ways To Travel

If you are looking for the perfect spot to explore in mainland Belize then there is no better option than San Ignacio. This quaint jungle town to the perfect mixture of adventure, history and simply relaxing.

Though how do you actually travel from Belize City To San Ignacio?

Well, don’t worry because I will let you know exactly how whether that is by shuttle, bus, or taxi, including how to book, prices, and more!


Belize City and San Ignacio are two of the most popular destinations in Belize, a small country that offers a rich diversity of culture, nature, and adventure.

Belize City is the largest city and the main port of entry for most visitors and also the gateway to the islands such as the popular Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.

In contrast, San Ignacio is a charming Cayo District town surrounded by lush rainforest, Maya ruins, and wildlife. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway, a cultural immersion, or an adrenaline-filled adventure, you will find something to suit your taste here.

Though how exactly do you travel from Belize City to San Ignacio?

San Ignacio is also a popular spot if you are backpacking Central America and perhaps are doing the gringo trail.

Even though Belize overall is a pretty expensive country, I did find accommodation and food pretty affordable in San Ignacio so no wonder it’s a popular spot with backpackers.

Originally I was only planning on spending two nights here before crossing the border to Guatemala, but instead, I quite enjoyed the quaint vibes so extended my stay by a couple of extra nights.

Luckily for you, it is super incredibly easy to travel from Belize City to San Ignacio, though you will need to hit the road as flying is not an option.

No biggie, instead, you can book a tourist shuttle, navigate the bus system, or book a private taxi. Though don’t worry because I will let you know the costs, times, and more for each of these options.

That way you can book the best option for your adventures!

TimeCostHighlight
Tourist Shuttle2 hoursfrom $20Comfortable journey
Bus3 hoursfrom $3Adventurous
Taxi1.5hoursfrom $100Easy and stress-free
FlyN/AN/AN/A
Car Rental1.5 hoursfrom $60Freedom

Belize City To San Ignacio: The Best Ways To Travel Explained


🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo


Belize City To San Ignacio Distance

Now there is nothing worse than being stuck in a hot and sweaty vehicle for hours on end. Belize may be a hot and sweaty country but thankfully the distance between Belize City and San Ignacio is relatively short. Especially so if you are used to overnight buses in Mexico, or 8-hour shuttles in Guatemala.

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One of the factors to consider when traveling is the distance between the two locations. Luckily from Belize City to San Ignacio, it is only 100 km by road.

If you decide to take the tourist shuttle or a private taxi they will use the main roads and take this route. Though be aware if you are wanting a bit more of an adventure and instead take the bus, this may be less of a direct route with regular stops in local towns.


Belize City To San Ignacio Travel Time

Another factor to consider when traveling from Belize City to San Ignacio is the travel time for different transport methods. Here are the average travel times for some of the most popular transport methods:

Tourist Shuttle: Taking a shuttle from Belize City to San Ignacio will take about 2 hours, depending on traffic and stops along the way.

Bus: A public bus from Belize City to San Ignacio will take approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, depending on traffic and stops along the way.

Rental Car: By hiring a rental car to travel from Belize City to San Ignacio the journey will take you about 1 hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Taxi: Lastly we have a private taxi which is the fastest method taking around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

As you can see, the travel time varies depending on the transport method you choose. You should weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide which one suits your budget, time, and preference.

hanging out at one of the mayan ruins in san ignacio, a highlight of my stay

Can I Catch The Ferry On The Same Day

Now can you take a ferry from Caye Caulker or San Pedro and still get a bus or shuttle from Belize City to San Ignacio? Well, thankfully the answer is yes! This means no overnight stops in the lackluster Belize City.

If there is one thing I have learned from my years of backpacking it’s not to cut things too close with timing. Especially if it is going to cause you unnecessary stress. Though thankfully this is one of those journeys where you don’t need to worry about this.

Just catch one of the earlier ferries to the mainland and organize your transport for a midday departure. The journey from Belize City to San Ignacio is relatively short, though most tourist shuttles go further on into Guatemala so they leave mid-day so they have plenty of time.


Caye Caulker To Belize City

Personally, I preferred taking the Belize Express Water Taxi when I was in the country. They had large comfortable boats, regular departures, and the ferry terminal was right by the travel agency I used to get around the country.

The average ferry between Caye Caulker and Belize City takes about 1 hour and the fastest ferry takes 45 minutes. The ferry service runs several times per day from Caye Caulker to Belize City. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays.

The tickets cost between $21 and $65 depending on the operator and the time of departure.

Some of the morning ferry times from Caye Caulker to Belize City are:

  • 06:30 Caye Caulker – 07:35 Belize City
  • 07:00 Caye Caulker – 07:45 Belize City
  • 07:30 Caye Caulker – 08:35 Belize City
  • 08:30 Caye Caulker – 09:45 Belize City
  • 09:00 Caye Caulker – 10:05 Belize City

By taking one of these earlier ferries you can ensure you can catch your connecting transport through to San Ignacio.

a single boat chilling in the calm waters around caye caulker
a single boat chilling in the calm waters around caye caulker

San Pedro To Belize City

Similarly, I recommend taking Belize Express Water Taxi to get from San Pedro to Belize City. All ferries between San Pedro and Belize City take 1 hour and 15 minutes on average. The service runs several times per day from San Pedro to Belize City.

The tickets cost between $22 and $75 depending on the operator and the time of departure. You can book your ride online or at the terminal. Some of the morning ferry times from San Pedro to Belize City are:

  • 06:00 San Pedro – 07:15 Belize City
  • 06:30 San Pedro – 07:45 Belize City
  • 07:00 San Pedro – 08:15 Belize City
  • 08:30 San Pedro – 09:45 Belize City
  • 10:00 San Pedro – 11:15 Belize City

By taking one of these earlier ferries you can ensure you can catch your connecting transport through to San Ignacio.

hanging out on the waterfront with the gold buggys lined up in san pedro ambergris caye
hanging out on the waterfront with the gold buggys lined up in san pedro ambergris caye

Tourist Shuttle From Belize City To San Ignacio

A shuttle is a shared van that picks up passengers from various locations in Belize City and drops them off at their destination in San Ignacio. There are several shuttle companies that offer this service, though I will mention the company I booked with down below.

The shuttle fare ranges from $18 USD to $60 USD one-way per person depending on the company and availability. You can book your shuttle online or by phone in advance or on the same day of travel.

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The shuttle ride from Belize City to San Ignacio takes about 2 hours on average depending on traffic and stops along the way. The shuttle usually departs from various locations in Belize City such as hotels, airports, bus terminals, etc., between 6 am and 6 pm daily.

The shuttle usually arrives at various locations in San Ignacio such as hotels, hostels, etc., between 8 am and 8 pm daily.

The shuttle is recommended for travelers who want a hassle-free and affordable journey. However, the shuttle may not be very comfortable or spacious, especially if it is fully booked. The shuttle may also have a fixed schedule and limited availability, so you may need to plan your trip accordingly.


How To Book Tickets

These tourist shuttles are super easy to book, you can either do so in advance online or instead wait until you are in Belize City.

Personally, I traveled the country with Atlanta Express which operates out of the San Pedro Express Water Taxi Belize terminal, perfect if you are coming to or from the islands. I used them quite a few times including crossing from Belize to Mexico and it was all straightforward enough.

If you are interested in using Atlanta Express you can book on GetYourGuide and meet at their shop in the water taxi terminal. I originally got their details when I was in Mexico, and once I arrived in Belize it turned out to be one of the most popular transport operators for tourists.

Pre covid times they would operate buses on their routes, though at the moment it is just however the amount of minivans is required. The cost for a tourist shuttle from Belize City to San Ignacio is $20.00.

Nevertheless, if you do happen to miss out on shuttle tickets, taking the bus is another popular method of transport from Belize City to San Ignacio.


Where Does The Shuttle Drop You Off

Copan Ruinas is a relatively small place so it won’t take you long to walk around. Though the issue you will quickly come to discover is the heat, it is so freakin hot!

Seriously you don’t want to be walking around on the hilly streets carrying or pulling your luggage along as you will quickly become absolutely drenched in sweat!

Luckily, most drivers will be happy to drop you off at your hostel or hotel in San Ignacio. Most of these tourist shuttles will be continuing on to Guatemala so not everyone will be stopping in this town.

The only issue you may have with this is if you have booked an Air BnB of sorts where it is not a popular drop-off point or proper accommodation. The drivers are using their previous knowledge of hotels and hostels, and if it isn’t somewhere common you may need to communicate where exactly it is or walk.

on one of the back roads when traveling from belize city to san ignacio
on one of the back roads when traveling from belize city to san ignacio

My Experience Taking The Shuttle From Belize City To San Ignacio

After organizing my shuttle a couple of days prior with Mahhamad from Atlanta Express it was the day to travel from Belize City to San Ignacio. Though first off I needed to get off the island of Caye Caulker and back to the mainland.

Luckily enough ferries are pretty damn regular so this wasn’t something I was overly worried about. This means no crazy early wake-up call. Instead, I got up, packed up, and went to a lovely cafe for my last meal on the beach.

With a full stomach, I head back to the hostel and grab my luggage before heading down to the ferry pier.

It was great arriving in the shade of the building after a hot and sweaty walk there. I purchase my tickets, drop off my luggage and grab a seat while we wait for the boat to arrive.

Typically it will go in the pattern of Belize City – Caye Caulker – San Pedro, so lucky it was just a straight drive back to the mainland for us.

Soon enough it arrives, we load up and grab a seat as we settle in for the drive. Soon enough we arrive, and I grab my bag and make my way from the boat to the ferry terminal. Once inside I head to the Atlanta Express shop and meet up with Mohammad and sit down with some of the other travelers.

It’s always better to be early than late and this is something I live by. Therefore I did have about a 40-minute wait before our shuttle departed.

Though with a cold drink in hand, time flies and soon we are split up and issued our drivers for the trip. We grab our bags and make our way to the parking lot where the vans are waiting. We jump in and grab a seat before heading out of the city.

Honestly, the journey from Belize City to San Ignacio is pretty straightforward. About an hour into the drive, we stopped at a small supermarket for snacks and a bit of a bathroom break.

This was more for the travelers who would be staying on longer and heading into Guatemala than myself and a couple who were getting off in San Ignacio.

Just less than an hour later we are pulling up to the small town and it is barely even the afternoon. The shuttle pulls up alongside the road to my hostel and I jump out, if only all travel days in Central America were as short and straightforward as this!

looking down one of the main roads in san ignacio
looking down one of the main roads in san ignacio

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo


Bus From Belize City To San Ignacio

A public bus is a cheap and easy way to get from Belize City to San Ignacio. Honestly, if you are wanting to bus in Central America Belize is an excellent place to start. English is commonly spoken and the locals are crazy friendly!

The bus ride from Belize City to San Ignacio takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes on average depending on traffic and stops along the way. The bus usually departs from the Belize City Bus Terminal, which is located on West Collet Canal Street, between 5 am and 8 pm daily.

It then usually arrives at the San Ignacio Bus Terminal, which is located on Burns Avenue, between 7 am and 10 pm daily.

The bus is recommended for travelers who want a cheap and simple journey. However, the bus may not be very comfortable or reliable, especially if it is old or crowded. The bus may also have a fixed schedule and limited availability, so you may need to plan your trip accordingly.

Also, I have heard that the bus terminal isn’t the safest location in Belize City and is a popular spot for petty theft, especially targeting travelers.

Though I haven’t done this myself, I did meet plenty of people in the country who did, and even a solo female traveler who hitchhiked to San Ignacio with a friendly local because she had heard not to risk visiting the bus station.


How To Take The Bus From Belize City To San Ignacio

There are several bus companies that operate this route from Belize City to San Ignacio. Though as long as you head to the bus terminal you should be fine in finding something heading in your correct direction.

These companies include Westline, Silva’s Bus Line, BBOC, and Shaw’s Bus Line, but the easiest way to figure out the schedule is to head online to Belmopan Online and click on the Western Route which shows buses from Belize City to San Ignacio.

Basically, these buses operate from 5 am to 9 pm, departing every 30 minutes or so.

The bus fare is around $3 USD to $7 USD one-way per person depending on the company and the type of bus. You can buy your bus ticket at the bus terminal or on the bus itself.

the main street in san ignacio by night
the main street in san ignacio by night

Taxi From Belize City Or Belize Airport To San Ignacio

A private taxi is a fast and comfortable way to get from Belize City to San Ignacio. There are several taxi companies that offer this service, though I recommend shopping around for a good price.

The taxi fare ranges from $100 to $150 one-way depending on the company and availability. You can book your taxi online or by phone in advance or on the same day of travel.

The taxi ride from Belize City to San Ignacio takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes on average depending on traffic and road conditions. The taxi usually picks up passengers from various locations in Belize City such as hotels, airports, and bus terminals whenever you are ready.

The taxi will drop you off wherever you would like once in San Ignacio whether this is your hostel or hotel.

The taxi is recommended for travelers who want a fast and comfortable journey. However, the taxi may be very expensive and require a tip for the driver. You will also need to negotiate the fare with the driver before getting in the taxi.

welcome to belize signage at the airport
welcome to belize signage at the airport

Flying From Belize City To San Ignacio

Unfortunately, there is not a domestic airport close enough to San Ignacio to make the journey by plane worth it. Therefore this time I recommend staying on the ground and taking some sort of vehicular transport to get from Belize to San Ignacio.


🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo


Car Rental From Belize City To San Ignacio

A rental car is a flexible and convenient way to get from Belize City to San Ignacio. There are several car rental companies that offer this service, such as Crystal Auto Rental, AQ Belize Car Rental, and Barefoot Rentals.

The car rental cost ranges from $60 to $90 per day depending on the company and the type of car.

The drive from Belize City to San Ignacio takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes on average depending on traffic and road conditions. The distance is about 100 km and the route is mostly along the Western Highway (also known as George Price Highway).

The road is paved and well-maintained, but it may have some potholes, speed bumps, and animal crossing.

Car rental is recommended for travelers who want a flexible and convenient journey. It is pretty common for travelers to rent a car and explore the country at their own pace.

However, car rental can be expensive and require a valid driver’s license, credit card, and insurance. You will also need to be familiar with the driving rules and regulations in Belize, such as driving on the right side of the road, obeying speed limits, wearing seat belts, etc.

make sure to be aware of pot holes and speed bumps on the road
make sure to be aware of pot holes and speed bumps on the road

🚗 How I Book Ferries & Shuttles In Belize: GuateGo


FAQs About Traveling from Belize City To San Ignacio

How many days to spend in San Ignacio? The recommended minimum stay in San Ignacio is 3 days. This will allow you to see the main highlights of the town and its surroundings, such as Xunantunich, Actun Tunichil Muknal. It is a nice quaint town which is a good place to chill out for a few days.

How far in advance do I need to book tickets? It is recommended you book tickets in advance to ensure you can travel with a reputable, clean, and safe company. You should try for at least a week in advance to be safe. Though if you are not worried about this then book at least 48 hours in advance.

As I said earlier I traveled around the country with Atlanta Express (message Mohammad on Whats App +501 652 6565). It was always easy enough to message him, then on the day of travel, I would meet at the travel agency alongside plenty of other backpackers.

There isn’t too much information online about them, but once you are on the ground in Belize it is a transport company that is commonly used.


Where To Stay In San Ignacio?

San Ignacio is a popular destination for budget travelers who want to experience the natural and cultural wonders of Belize. There are many options for cheap and cheerful accommodation in San Ignacio, ranging from hostels and guesthouses to campsites and eco-lodges.

Personally, I stayed at Bellas Backpackers. After having such a good stay at their Caye Caulker location and making a lot of new friends I was excited for the same experience in San Ignacio. Though surprisingly the location here is a lot more quiet than on the island.

I was actually the only person in my dorm for all 3 nights of my stay. On average there were about 4 to 6 people staying in the property each night.

Nevertheless, the small number of people actually made for quite a homely feel. At night we would all hang out in the kitchen, discuss travel plans and cook up a yummy meal.

If you are looking for a more social stay Old House Hostel is actually where the majority of backpackers in San Ignacio stay. I met a couple of travelers who were staying there are they said it was super busy, so the complete opposite of my hostel experience in San Ignacio.

shark hostel

Bellas Backpackers

A chill family-style hostel in the center of town. Dorms start at $12.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
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The Old House Hostel

The most popular hostel in the town. Dorm rooms start from $12.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
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Yellow Belly Backpackers

Another lovely hostel in a great central location. Dorms here start for around $12.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
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Nabitunich

A beautiful countryside farm stay for a unique experience. Private rooms here start at $60.00 per night.

BOOK NOW

Things To Do In San Ignacio

San Ignacio is a town in Belize that offers a variety of attractions and activities for travelers who want to experience the natural and cultural wonders of the country. Here are some of the best things to do in San Ignacio:

Visit the Xunantunich Ruins: These are ancient Maya ruins that date back to the 7th century AD. You can climb the El Castillo pyramid, which is the second tallest structure in Belize, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding jungle and river. You can also see impressive carvings and sculptures that depict Maya gods and rulers.

Explore the ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal): This is one of the most adventurous and fascinating things to do in San Ignacio. The ATM Cave is a sacred site where the Maya performed rituals and sacrifices. You can see pottery, bones, and even a crystal skeleton inside the cave.

You will need to hike, swim, and crawl to reach the cave, so be prepared for a challenging but rewarding experience.

Walk along the Macal River: The Macal River is a scenic and tranquil river that flows through San Ignacio. You can walk along the riverbank and enjoy the views of the forest, birds, and wildlife. You can also rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the river, or join a tubing tour for some fun and relaxation.

Green Iguana Conservation Project: This is a project that aims to protect and conserve the endangered green iguana in Belize. You can visit the project at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel and learn about the iguanas and their habitat. You can also interact with the iguanas and feed them with fruits and vegetables.

Visit the Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve: This is another ancient Maya site that is located on a hill overlooking San Ignacio. Cahal Pech means “Place of Ticks” in Maya, but don’t let that deter you from visiting this impressive site.

You can see several temples, palaces, plazas, and ball courts that date back to 1200 BC. You can also visit the museum that displays artifacts and information about the site.

Take a day trip to the mighty Tikal Mayan Ruins: Tikal is one of the most famous and impressive Maya sites in Guatemala, and it is only a two-hour drive from San Ignacio. You can cross the border with a tour or on your own and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can see hundreds of structures, including pyramids, temples, palaces, and stelae that span over six centuries of Maya history. You can also spot wildlife such as monkeys, toucans, and coatis in the surrounding jungle.

Discover the ancient ruins of Caracol: Caracol is another Maya site that is located in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, about two hours from San Ignacio. Caracol was once one of the largest and most powerful Maya cities in Belize, with over 35,000 buildings and 140,000 inhabitants.

You can see the Caana pyramid, which is the tallest structure in Belize at 43 meters, as well as other temples, tombs, altars, and carvings.

Visit the San Ignacio Market: The San Ignacio Market is a lively and colorful market that takes place every Saturday in downtown San Ignacio. You can find fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, crafts, clothing, souvenirs, and more at this market. You can also sample local dishes such as rice and beans, tamales, salbutes, pupusas, and more.


Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


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If you are looking for the perfect spot to explore in mainland Belize then there is no better option than San Ignacio. This quaint jungle town to the perfect mixture of adventure, history and simply relaxing. Though how do you actually travel from Belize City To San Ignacio? Well, don't worry because I will let you know exactly how whether that is by shuttle, bus, or taxi, including how to book, prices, and more!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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