A Day in Belize City: A Change of Plans

Earlier this week, I saw a Facebook post by a Placencia blogger. She shared that the Belize Tourism Board was holding The 3rd Annual BOOM forum on April 11. Free in Belize City. A slew of speakers – local and international. A great chance to meet people from around the country working in tourism. I signed up.

I’d need to be in Belize City for the 9 a.m. start time. My mind started whirring. Think of all the errands I could take care of during intermissions and lunch breaks! I could get the blood tests my doctor suggested at Belize Medical Lab. I could test out new mattresses. I could go shopping at Brodies.

Fueled by my ambitious plans, I went to bed early, setting my alarm for 530am. It would give me time to golf cart to town (about 35 minutes) and make the 7am water taxi from Ambergris Caye to Belize City.

I almost always enjoy a day in Belize City – seeing different things, eating at different restaurants, chatting with taxi drivers, and doing errands that I can’t do in San Pedro. Or take advantage of services that are significantly cheaper on the mainland.

Let me tell you about my day…

I made it to Central Park in San Pedro by 635am…plenty of time to catch the water taxi or so I thought. There was a line…the ticketing process takes a while…and we left about 10 minutes late. And picked up dozens of folks in Caye Caulker. The boat was packed to the gills.

Early morning view from Central Park
Early morning view at Central Park, San Pedro

We docked at about 840am. The round-trip ticket from San Pedro to Belize City (with your $10bze yearly membership card) is $69bzd.

There are a slew of taxis waiting at the water taxi terminal. It was a $10bzd fare to my first stop. Belize Medical Laboratory. I’d sent them my prescription from my doctor for my lab tests…a little bit of everything from thyroid to liver to blood sugar. $264bzd for all but the last one. I found that it is WAY cheaper than getting a test on the island.

Details of my blood tests
In case you are interested in the details…

They were also super friendly and made the whole process easy. They Whatsapp-ed me the results that evening.

I walked around the corner to Belize Medical Associates (a busy private hospital) to grab a taxi to my next location. The Biltmore Hotel for the conference.

It had just started and they were packed with folks from every part of the Belize tourism industry. This presentation (and many others) were by the Zimmerman Agency. (You can see some of the work they do with the Belize Tourism Board here)

Boom conference

There was talk of AI planning itineraries, trade shows, travel agents, and increasing overnight arrivals to the country (just over 500K last year), especially during the “Green Season” and building new vendor booths in Belize City. After three sessions, I decided to watch the taped sessions.

BTB speaker at BOOM conference
Mr. Josue Carballo | Director of Industry Development

I decided to take all of the suggestions for the future of tourism and put them into action immediately. I did a “vibe check”: I was “craving authenticity” – I would go out and “live life” and make my own special “experiences”. Today in Belize City.

(You can watch the entire conference on the Belize Tourism Board Facebook page)

The Biltmore helped me call a taxi (it’s a bit pricier that way – it’s always a good idea to have a few taxi drivers #s in your phone) and for $20bzd, he dropped me off at Belize Foam Company to find a new mattress.

Belize Foam Truck
Oh my…the pun!

They make foam, they make mattresses and pillows…

Inside Belize Foam
The shop where they are making the mattresses

And the new showroom.

Belize Foam Company
The new showroom

A lovely salesperson explained the mattresses and the differences…and I laid on a bunch and picked a favorite…and was very pleased to find that my fave was under $1000bzd.

Mattress prices at the Foam Company

But I wouldn’t be buying just yet…I wanted to head over the Courts to test some of their more expensive models. THAT would be another trip to the city.

I walked out front to hail a taxi. (Look for the Green License plates!) A guy hanging out with his family at the house across the street yelled over to me. Need a taxi? Yes…yes I do.

I crossed over and met him…told him where I was going and before I knew it, he had flagged down the local bus and I was ushered on it. Apparently, he was not headed in my direction…

For $2.50bzd and about 10 minutes, I was at the Belize City bus terminal. Check out my post: 8 Tips for Traveling by Bus in Belize

Bus in Belize
It’s an authentic Belize experiences!

It’s easy to find a taxi there ($10bzd)…and some delicious homemade Belizean candy. I bought a few SIGNIFICANT chunks of wangla (sugar cooked with sesame seeds – like a sesame brittle) and headed over to Brodie’s store downtown.

Sesame seed candy - wangla
Wangla candy

Brodie’s is a huge grocery store, a bit of a department store, and a pharmacy located in two locations in Belize City. It has a full range of Bob’s Red Mill products at the same price as they would be in the US. I got rye flour (I’m loving this Rye Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe—chewy and nutty and delicious), whole wheat flour, and a couple of packs of steel-cut oats.

Outside Brodies to the court house
Outside Brodies looking toward the court house

I walked toward the Belize River…and noticed this sign that showed the water level (about 20+ feet above the current river) after Hurricane Hattie in 1961.

It really put into perspective this devasted hurricane that re-shaped Belize City and the entire country. 70% of the buildings in Belize City were destroyed or damaged. Storm tides of 10 to 11 feet along the Belize City waterfront deposited mud as high as 3rd floor on some buildings.  Terrifying.

Belize City and hurricane hattie sign

I walked around the bend of Spoonaz Cafe…

View from Spoonaz
View from Spoonaz

Spoonaz is just minutes from the water taxi and has cool AC, great Wifi, a very clean bathroom (I need to give credit where credit is due), a fantastic view of the river…

View at Spoonaz

I ordered 2 samosas and a lime juice and waited for the water taxi.

Across the street this Chinese fry chicken joint was jumping. (Chinese fried chicken IS the fast food of Belize)

Chinese fried chicken joint
The entrance ot the water taxi terminal

San Pedro Belize Express water taxi has a fancy new lobby area to wait for the boat.

San Pedro Belize Express water taxi terminal
Austrian Consulate
I noticed the Austrian Consulate in the terminal…how many Austrians are in Belize?

And boarded the 130pm water taxi for the 90-minute ride back to San Pedro. Easy peasy, right?

Well…not quite. When I got back to the golf cart it…wasn’t starting. I called our mechanic (pro tip for life in San Pedro: make your golf cart mechanic your best friend…no, make him family) and he arrived about 45 minutes later.

The starter belt was gone. Sigh…

Missing starter belt

Thankfully a very quick fix.

I hope you are having a good weekend. We had our first rain yesterday – since maybe the beginning of February? Just a short shower but it felt good…to our plants, for the dust and, hopefully for our quickly emptying cistern.

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  1. Patti on April 14th, 2024 at 10:03 am

    Do you travel around Belize City by yourself? I rented an Airbnb in December of 22 in Ladyville and was told by the owner to stay out of Belize City and off Hummingbird Highway (which a big chunk was closed due to construction anyway.)

    • San Pedro Scoop on April 14th, 2024 at 11:19 am

      Yes, by myself. I wouldn’t walk down any alleys or explore at night by myself…but busy areas, I feel totally fine. May I ask why you are staying in Ladyville? Off the beaten path!

  2. Rick on April 14th, 2024 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks much for this wonderful read and great pics. Appreciate your blog.

    • San Pedro Scoop on April 15th, 2024 at 7:57 am

      Thank you!

  3. David Martin on April 14th, 2024 at 8:18 pm

    Missing starter belt – the same belt that runs off the crankshaft pulley and spins the alternater. I suppose you could have driven a bit like that with the battery supplying juice to the sparkplug. But I’m suspicious: maybe a golf cart mechanic needed a belt and sent someone to snatch yours?

    • San Pedro Scoop on April 15th, 2024 at 7:57 am

      I usually hear it fling off – but I was listening to podcasts 🙂 You can go forever…but when it stops without it…it doesnt not restart!

  4. Scott Boyd on April 16th, 2024 at 12:34 pm

    Great article