Bus travel is a very common mode of transportation in Belize, with many Belizeans relying on buses for daily commuting to and from work, school or shopping. Therefore, bus service along the main highways is frequent, usually hourly and sometimes half-hourly during peak travel times, and Belizeans don’t really need printed schedules. Only one bus company, Ritchie’s Bus Service, has a website.
In Belize City, Belizean and ADO buses arrive at and depart from the Belize City bus terminal (still commonly known as Novelo’s, the name of a former bus company) located on West Collet Canal. Express buses to Guatemala stop at the Marine Terminal near the Swing Bridge in Belize City. Other cities and town have a bus terminal or a central point where buses stop.
Most of the buses are used Bluebird school buses; not very comfortable, not air-conditioned, and not well equipped to handle luggage, but they are cheap! Air-conditioned buses are used on some Express runs. Buses operate on Sundays and public holidays, sometimes on a less frequent schedule.
Bus companies offer two types of service: “Regular” buses stop for passengers anywhere along the route, and “Express” (or non-stop) buses stop only at main towns. The final destination of a bus is displayed in the front window of the bus.
When boarding a bus at a terminal, just get on and find a seat. Buses tend to be crowded, so try to get to the terminal well before the departure time to be assured of a seat. Luggage can be stored in overhead racks, or at the back of the bus, or wherever the conductor says. Always keep an eye on your luggage because passengers often use the rear emergency door as an entrance or exit. I like to keep my luggage within arms reach if possible. Once the bus gets going, a conductor will collect the fares. If you’re on a Regular bus and want to get off, move to the front of the bus and tell the driver or conductor where you want to get off.
If you’re waiting on the side of a road and want an approaching bus to stop, wave an arm up and down (the bus will not stop if it’s an Express, it’s full or the driver doesn’t feel like stopping). After taking a seat, the conductor will collect the fare.
All bus providers have been given permits to operate within assigned zones.
1. Northern Zone – Belize City to Corozal (135 km / 84 miles)
The bus companies authorized to operate on the highway in the Northern Zone are Albion’s, Belize Bus Owners Cooperative (BBOC), Cabrera’s, Chell’s, Frazer, Joshua’s, Morales, Tillett’s, T-Line and Valencia. Northbound buses depart from Belize City about every half hour beginning at 5:30 am; last departure at 7:30 pm. Many of the northbound buses continue to Chetumal. Southbound buses depart from Corozal about every half hour beginning at 3:00 am; last departure at 7:15 pm. All buses are Regular buses; no express buses. There is also bus service to the nearby villages.
The bus terminal in Corozal Town is located on the main highway, and about a 2 minute walk from the center of town. Here’s a link to a map of Corozal: http://www.northernbelize.com/map_cortwn.html
The red line is the main highway. Look for the number 1 in a circle. The bus terminal is on the upper left side of the circled number 1, on the curve in the highway. The buses to the villages wait on the other side of the market near the post office.
A Regular bus from Belize City:
to Orange Walk (87 km / 54 miles) is about 1.5 hours & BZ$5.00,
to Corozal is about 2.5 hours & BZ$9.00.
Bus service to Crooked Tree
Jex and Sons Bus Service provides bus service between Belize City and Crooked Tree.
Buses depart from Belize City Monday to Friday at 10:50 am and 4:45 pm; Saturday at 10:50 am; no bus on Sunday.
Buses depart from Crooked Tree at 6:30 a.m.
Trip time: about 1.25 hours
Bus service to Sarteneja
Here’s some information I received from a resident of Sarteneja on 24 June 2010:
Buses depart from the Swing Bridge (NOT the bus terminal) in Belize City on Monday to Friday at 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm. On Saturdays, buses depart at 10:30 am, 12:00 noon, 4:00 pm. No bus on Sundays.
Same bus passes through Orange Walk, stopping across from the St. Christopher Hotel (NOT the bus terminal). Departure time from Orange Walk is about 1.5 hours after departure time from Belize City.
Buses depart Sarteneja on Monday to Friday at 3:30 am, 4:30 am, 5:30 am, 6:30 am. It is a good idea to check at the bus depot the day before to confirm how many buses are leaving the next day.
On Saturday and sometimes during the week and sometimes on Sunday, there is a bus to Chetumal which departs Sarteneja about 6:00 am and returns through Orange Walk (2:30 pm) at 4:30pm.
Also, the Thunderbolt water taxi that runs from Corozal to Ambergris Caye will stop at Sarteneja on request.
Bus service to Benque
A Valencia bus departs from Corozal Town daily at 3:00 am and goes to Orange Walk, Belmopan, San Ignacio and Benque (bypassing Belize City). The bus departs from Benque in the afternoon (I don’t have the exact time).
New Bus Run Between Benque & Northern Border (May 2013)
Operated by J&J Bus Line.
Departs from Benque daily at 4:00 am with stops at San Ignacio (4:30 am), Belmopan (5:20 am), Belize City (6:30 am), Orange Walk (8:15 am), Corozal (9:05 am) and Santa Elena border at 9:20 am.
Departs from Santa Elena border daily at 3:30 pm with stops at Corozal (3:45 pm), Orange Walk (4:45 pm), Belize City (6:15 pm), Belmopan (7:25 pm), San Ignacio (8:15 pm) and Benque at 8:45 pm.
2. Western Zone – Belize City to Benque Viejo Del Carmen (130 km / 81 miles)
The bus companies authorized to operate on the highway in the Western Zone are BBOC, D and E, Guerra’s Bus Service, Middleton’s, Shaw Bus Service and Westline. Westbound buses depart from Belize City about every half hour beginning at 5am; last departure at 9:30 pm. There is also bus service to the rural areas. There is a main bus terminal in the central part of Belmopan. In San Ignacio, the buses stop in the central part of town.
A Regular bus from Belize City:
to Belize Zoo (29 miles) is about 45 minutes & BZ$3.00,
to Belmopan (50 miles) is about 1.5 hours & BZ$5.00,
to San Ignacio (73 miles) is about 2 hours & BZ$7.00,
to Benque is about BZ$8.00.
The image below is the bus schedule in 2009. The schedule was reorganized in June 2011, and National Transport Services Limited no longer exists (their runs were taken over by other bus companies). Until I get a copy of the new schedule, I’ll keep the old schedule posted. There should not be much difference in departure times, but the bus companies will be different.
3. Southern Zone – Belize City to Dangriga (169 km / 105 miles) / Placencia (257 km / 160 miles) / Punta Gorda (338 km / 210 miles)
The bus companies authorized to operate on the highway in the Southern Zone are James Bus Line, G-Line Service, Ritchie’s Bus Service and Usher Bus Line. Buses authorized to operate in the rural areas of the Southern Zone are Chen Bus Line, Yascal Bus Line, Smith Bus Line, Richie Bus Line, Martinez Bus Line, Williams Bus Line, Radiance Ritchie Bus Line, and Polanco Bus Line.
A Regular bus from Belize City to Dangriga is about 3.5 hours & BZ$15.00.
A Regular bus from Dangriga to Placencia, is about 1.5 hours and BZ$5.00.
Buses between Dangriga and Hopkins
Buses depart from Dangriga Monday through Saturday at 10:30 am and 5:15 pm. On Sunday, only at 5:15 pm.
Buses depart from Hopkins Monday through Saturday at 7 am and 2 pm. On Sunday, only at 2 pm.
James Bus Line schedule can be found at 3 sources:
Hickatee site: https://www.hickatee.com/belize_bus_times.html
The Toledo Howler: http://www.belizenews.com/howler/
Minor differences exist; I don’t know which one is the most accurate.
Ritchie’s Bus Service
The image below is the bus schedule posted in the Dangriga bus terminal in 2010. I’ll keep it posted until I get an updated image.
4. Belize City
The bus service providers authorized to operate in Belize City, and the zones in which they are authorized to operate (the routes include the downtown area) are:
Arrow Line or Arrowline — West Landivar area.
Belize Intransit/Metro Bus Service – West Landivar, Fabers Road, Kings Park areas.
Haylock Bus Service — Belama area.
Lemott Bus Service — Port Loyola Area.
Lopez Bus/Shuttle Service — Lake Independence Area.
Some buses are old Bluebird school buses, but some buses are modern, new looking, 25 to 30 seat mini-bus type vehicles, and appear to be in good condition. The Arrow buses are air-conditioned.
Fares are usually BZ$1 for adults and BZ$0.50 for children and students in school uniform. The fares for Arrow are twice those fares because the buses are air-conditioned.