For more than 3,000 years, the ancient Maya civilization dominated Central America from Mexico down to El Salvador. Belize was the heartland of that civilization, the site of important trade routes and fierce city-states like Xunantunich and Caracol that vied for dominance with Tikal (just over the border in modern-day Guatemala). Today, Belize has more Maya ruins than anywhere else, and visiting these ancient wonders is one of the top attractions in the country for visitors.
Belize is an easy country for American visitors to explore. The electrical system is identical (110 volts AC), the currency (called the Belize Dollar or BZD) is permanently pegged to the US dollar at 2:1, and Belize has yet to convert to the metric system, so gasoline is still sold by the gallon (around $5 USD/gal) and distances are measured in miles. And although Belize is a former British colony, cars drive on the right-hand side just like in the United States.
All international flights land at the Philip Goldson International Airport (three-letter code: BZE) in Ladyville just outside of Belize City, the largest urban area in the country. Tour Belize Auto Rentals conveniently has two locations in Belize City, including one at the international airport offering a full range of 4WD SUVs and 2WD pick-up trucks ideal for navigating the highways and byways of Belize.
Anyone with a valid driver’s license in their home country can legally drive a vehicle in Belize. The country has five major highways that connect all of the bigger towns, including Corozal, Belmopan, Orange Walk, Dangriga, Placencia, San Ignacio, and the border crossing into Guatemala at Benque Viejo del Carmen. Most destinations in the country can be reached in three hours or less by car from Belize City.
Many visitors prefer to explore Belize with their own rental vehicle because it allows them to admire the fantastic scenery along the way. Although some minor roads are unpaved, driving in Belize is generally a safe and fun experience, allowing visitors to set their own itinerary and explore remote sites at their own pace.